I miss Earth-Two. No, not this Earth 2 (although I did enjoy that series). No, not this Earth 2 (although I do love me some Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely). The Earth-Two I miss hasn’t really existed since 1986.
One of the first comics I remember reading Justice League of America #148. It featured the JLA teaming up with (and fighting, due to magical mind control) the Justice Society of America and the Legion of Super-Heroes. There was something, a certain je ne sais quois, that attracted me to the Justice Society and the idea that these characters, so similar and yet so different from the superheroes I knew, were from an alternate world called Earth-Two. As the years went on and I read more comics, I became more of a fan of the Justice Society and Earth-Two. I loved how Green Lantern, the Flash, Hawkman and the Atom were so different from their Earth-One counterparts. I loved how the Clark Kent of Earth-Two was married to Lois Lane and editor of the Daily Star, and his cousin was called Power Girl. I loved how they actually killed off Earth-Two’s Batman and introduced his superhero daughter, Helena Wayne a.k.a. the Huntress.
At that time, DC Comics featured many alternate Earths: Earth-Three, Earth-X, Earth-S and so on. The 1985 maxi-series Crisis on Infiinite Earths changed all of that, as all of the myriad parallel universes came crashing down into one universe. It was supposed to make DC’s superhero comics less complicated and baroque, more accessible to new readers. Maybe it did, but it made me sad. Sure, the Golden Age heroes of the Justice Society were still around, but I missed their alternate Earth, with its different feel and different characters, with the potential to take familiar characters and do things with them that the regular series wouldn’t do (like make Clark Kent a greying newspaper editor or Bruce Wayne a pipe-smoking police commisioner). If the world of Earth-One, DC’s standard world of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Justice League, was a magical place, Earth-Two was even more magical to me, another step away from ordinary reality, with even stranger heroes and villains.
DC has recently brought back the idea of multiple, parallel Earths. But so far, I haven’t seen anything that brings back the magic of old Earth-Two. I’m happy to see a return to the epic, gonzo multiple universes of old, but I still remain somewhat unsatisfied.
Earth-Two, you live on, if only in my dreams.