The Weekly Pull (3/6/13) – EARTH 2 #10

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Just as the Jay Garrick was getting away from his problems with the World Army, he, his mother, and the man who would be Doctor Fate are whisked away to a magical realm. In EARTH 2 #10, we see the Flash and the reluctant Khalid take on the space-bending magics in the Tower of Fate. Who is the mysterious Wotan, the mage forcing their hands? What’s his agenda? Will Jay be able to protect his mother? And while all of that is going on, could Alan Scott be made to reconsider his vow as a loner? What could compel him to change his mind and ask Hawkgirl for help?

After showing us a brief flashback to when Hawkgirl and Khalid obtained their wondrous powers, EARTH 2 #10 introduces us to Karel Wotan, a green-skinned wielder of magic and the current arc antagonist. He transported Jay Garrick, his mother, and Khalid into the realm of Nabu while the three were busy fleeing the world army forces.

Presumably we’ll not see either agent Dodds (the Sandman) or the Atom for a good while yet. Put them on the back burner.

After an incredibly long-winded speech, Wotan gets to the gist of the arc plot: he wants the helmet of Nabu, source of Khalid’s newfound power. But it’s locked in a mythic tower, which Nabu has converted to his own use. So the Flash and Khalid have to go inside and get the helmet, as Wotan is holding Jay’s mom as a hostage. He can also kick their asses with his magic, but that’s secondary to his powers of exposition.

See, what I said above in two run-on sentences takes half the book to explain in the comic. Granted, I’m heavily summarizing and leaving out details.

I don’t have a problem with exposition in and of itself. It’s vitally important for reader understanding, and failure to give proper exposition to a complex plot can seriously harm a story. That being said, James Robinson has slipped thoroughly into his old exposition style, which for those unfamiliar with his work is extended, verbose, and prone to repetition. Maybe it’s just that Wotan as a character is long-winded, but it doesn’t change the fact that even compared to Robinson’s other works this plot dump seems extra clunky. But what are you going to do? There’s a lot of backstory about what Wotan is doing, what the tower is, why Khalid banished the helmet there, and the fact that Wotan is bad and stuff. So it’s not like we can just skip over this stuff.

Really my problem is how the dialogue doubles over itself whenever different characters interject. I don’t care if it’s more “natural” to have a conversation that evolves with the characters. So is injecting ‘ums’ and ‘ers’ into sentences and constantly talking over each other. I tend to think of fiction as being allowed to take liberties for the sake of pacing and narrative coherence.

Anyway, while all of that is happening, Alan Scott – this universes Green Lantern – goes to the grave of his fiance. There he has a pretty touching scene with Sam’s father. The point of this scene is also to establish the next subplot involving Alan Scott: it was Sam and not him who was targeted for assassination, and he wants to know why. Unfortunately, he needs help.

And as much as he hates to admit it, Hawkgirl can provide just that.

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