During the original run of Earth 2, one of my favorite characters was Jay Garrick, who received his speedster powers from the dying Greek god Hermes. Jay was always an interesting character because he represented the everyday person who was essentially gifted their abilities. Throughout Earth 2, Jay’s loyalties wavered between doing what was best for the planet and what was best for him – namely protecting his mother. This caused some level of friction between himself and the other Wonders, but never to the point where it had real consequences. After all, can he really be blamed for putting his family at the top of his priorities? Jay faded to little more than a background character for most of Worlds’ End and Convergence, as other players like Val and Dick rose to prominence. Now in Society, it is good to see that Jay is being put in the center of the action once again.
In the last issue, we learned that Jay is pretty much hated by the more hardline heroes such as Huntress, Red (Green) Arrow, and Batman because of something cowardly he did during the yearlong time-skip. Daniel Wilson’s reveal of what happened starts in the present time, with Sloan’s Overwatch ship crashing down to the planet after being hacked by Anarky. Flash, Superman, and Batman, along with a very Dark Knight Rises Batwing, head up to the falling ship in an attempt to save the crew.
Once they get there, through the beauty of comic book logic, Commander Sato reveals that the only way to save the ship is to send some really big ball thing through a gyroscopic thing and make it spin really fast so science STOP ASKING QUESTIONS. And of course Val isn’t strong enough and Dick isn’t fast enough so let’s all work together to save the ship. It has to be one of the most forced moments I’ve seen in a while. I imagined Val looking at Jay and being like “well thank God we brought you instead of Huntress, because if we did everyone here would be dead.” Whatever it takes to get the band back together, I guess.
So now it’s time to find out just what happened that turned so many of his comrades against him. After the cities were formed, things like power lines and sewers had to be built in order to keep things habitable. This isn’t the best job for a fledgling Wonder, and Flash gets turned into a superhero version of City Simulator. About a month into his wiring and digging, Flash settles down in Midwest City and becomes the local celebrity. Long story short: burnt-out, superpowered, nineteen year-olds are not the most responsible of human beings. Flash finds that being a savior is not exactly the life he wants to lead and receives some literal deus-ex-machina in the form of Jimmy Olsen. All these events lead us to where we first met Jay in Society, a social outcast who is seeking refuge with Val.
When it comes to the artwork, Jorge Jimenez’s ink are both expressive and powerful, especially when it comes to Jay and Dick. As the center of this issue, they have by far the most personality and life to them, but I couldn’t help but be turned off by many of the aesthetic choices. This is the first time we’ve seen the new Batsuit (in the image above) and, man, does it look bad. I didn’t have too much of a problem with the snout-cowl, but that color scene and the style of the exoskeleton are just too avant-garde for me. Other than that, this was a strong issue in terms of art.
- Just like in the first Earth 2 run, there was a moment here where I rolled my eyes a little at just how good Val is supposed to be at – what – engineering? He’s able to dismantle Dick’s exoskeleton and adjust it so it fits to Jay’s body in fifteen seconds? And while he’s depowered from red sun exposure? It just felt like a lazy loophole for the writing staff to force Dick, Jay, and Val to all work together.
- So the big baddie who hired Anarky, killed Terry Sloan, and took control of the Source Vault was none other than child-deity Jimmy Olsen. That came out of left field didn’t it? There was little to suggest that Jimmy would make such a heel turn, but that’s what you get for giving a teenager who was already crazy overpowered the abilities of a god.
Favorite Quote: “I think you’re confused, Superman. Dying while near each other isn’t the same thing as being on a team.” – Batman
- You’re a Jay Garrick Flash fan.
- You’ve been enjoying Jorge Jimenez’s work on this series.
- You want some questions answered.
Not Recommended If…
- You don’t like flashbacks.
Overall: A strong entry into the Earth 2: Society line-up, this issue brings with it a look into the overwhelmed lives of the Wonders. While some can rise to the challenge, others must fall from the pack, but there are few things better than a redemption story.