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Top Five Earth 2 Characters

Top Five Month continues (check here to see an archive of all the top five lists featured so far) with a timely (as Justice Society of America Annual #1 visits Earth 2 this week) look at the top five characters invented AS Earth 2 characters (as opposed to characters moved over during the Silver Age)!

Enjoy!

5. Obsidian

Todd Rice, the son of Alan Scott, Green Lantern, has had quite a checkered comic book past.

First, he didn’t get much to do in Infinity, Inc.

Then, he didn’t get much to do in Justice League America, except for a pretty painfully bad “is he gay?” subplot.

Then he became a bad guy.

Then, FINALLY, he became a good guy again and Marc Andreyko did some excellent work with him in Manhunter.

Andreyko finally had Obsidian come out as a gay superhero, and it’s really worked well for the character.

4. Atom-Smasher

I think Al Rothstein has been one of the best pieces of work by David Goyer, James Robinson and Geoff Johns, as I really did not like him when he was Nuklon.

But in the JSA, now under the name Atom-Smasher, Al became a much more interesting character, filled with great depths.

His moral struggles were some of the best character work of the entire run of JSA.

3. Jade

Jade was one of the few characters to make it out of Infinity, Inc. and still be used regularly. A dearth of good female superheroes will do that, I suppose.

She was used to great effect in both Ron Marz and Judd Winick’s run on Green Lantern.

Sadly, she was recently killed off (it was a pretty bad death, too).

2. Huntress

The daughter of Batman and Catwoman, Helena Wayne quickly became one of the most popular Earth-2 characters.

Her mixture of the aesthetics of her parents made for a really interesting character dynamic.

After Crisis, she was remade as a daughter of the Mafia, with an origin similar to Batman’s, only if Thomas and Martha Wayne were members of the Mafia (and don’t think that retcon won’t happen!).

She’s been a popular character since, currently featured in Birds of Prey.

1. Power Girl

The cousin of Superman, Power Girl has become one of the top female superheroes in the entire DC Universe, and is soon going to gain her own ongoing series!

That’s the list! Agree? Disagree? Let me know!

37 Comments

FunkyGreenJerusalem

July 29, 2008 at 1:44 am

I don’t want top five month to end!

yeah… Can we keep going and make this a regular??

Top Five Image characters, Top Five re-boots, Top Five Alan Moore Creations, Top Five Movie Franchises, Top Five Computer Game tie-ins (please?? – I’m thinking of Atari Force here)

Oh, and YAY!! PG rocks!!!

I suppose Jay Garrick was a Silver-age – Earth Two-er?

Ha, awesome. So glad PG gets #1 spot – she has quite the legacy to live up to, and I was so glad when (through the various infinite crisis arcs) her significance as the last link to the E2 Superman was brought to the fore.

I cannot wait for the series, and it’s one of only a handful of monthlies I would even bother to pick up at the moment.

Great choice of cover, too. It’s such a defining shot.

What about Alan Scott & Jay Garrett? I love Huntress and would have her #1 instead of Power Girl but you forgot the original JSA members.

Random Stranger

July 29, 2008 at 6:04 am

Gee, why didn’t you just make it the top 5 characters in Infinity Inc?

I’m kidding. Power Girl and Huntress would have to be on the list and Jade is a shoo-in but past them I don’t have any great suggestions unless we allow for golden age characters.

Splint Chesthair

July 29, 2008 at 6:26 am

The original JSA’ers are not on this list because they were created before there even was an Earth-2 to stick them on. These characters were all created after the idea of the multiverse came about.

Didn’t Brainwave (the son of the original) and Mr. Bones start out as Earth-2 characters? I think the latter deserves at least an honourable mention.

No. No, don’t make me remember the Gerard Jones Justice League run. No. NO…NOOOOOOO! ARRGH, Wally West obsessed with the Yazz’s sexuality! AAARGH, the creepy blue Icemaiden’s stupid mindgames with Bea! Make it stop make it stop make it-Oh, no, Kara’s pregnancy! *passes out*

Ron Marz’s idea of using Jade to “great effect”: Having her show off her curves to distract super-villains during fights. Having everyone mention she was green. Often.

“Having her show off her curves to distract super-villains during fights. ”

Did you notice who made #1 on this list? It’s obviously not an issue here. :)

But, yeah, Jade’s death was an especially pointless one, and was basically the last bit of dismantling of the Marz / Winick status quo for Green Lantern. Heck, I’m surprised that Ben Rabb didn’t think to do it first – he just had her cheat on Kyle.

One addendum on Huntress: the current Year One series is going rather well – I don’t know how much it’s actually retconning the Helena Bertinelli character since I didn’t have much exposure to her before she became a featured player in the Batbooks. But it’s fleshing out a background that always, to me, seemed a bit sketchy.

I can’t argue with the list much, but I’d give an honorable mention to the German WWII counterparts to Batman and Robin, Grösshorn Eule and Fledermaus, from Young All-Stars. Particularly Fledermaus, who has the combined obnoxiousness of every incarnation of Robin ever created *and* on top of that, he’s a creepy little Hitler Youth bastard!

Power Girl and Huntress definitely go in the top 2 slots. One thing I’ve noticed, though, reading the ’70s Earth-2 stories, is how much more they could have done with Huntress. Being the daughter of Batman and the Catwoman is a great story hook… but we barely get to see her interact with either parent before they’re each (separately) killed off!

I really enjoyed the JSA Confidential bit about the hole in the front of Kara’s costume… though I did think the

Previews version of the Turner cover was improved by the breast-reduction (See an old “Lying in the Gutters” for what I’m on about)

Pride of place on my wall is an Adam Hughes PG sketch from GlasCAC ’91…

I was a big fan of the female Firebrand from All-Star Squadron. Sure, she hasn’t ever really been used anywhere else, but she was a lot of fun.

Can’t argue with this list, seems pretty flawless to me. I’m really looking forward to the JSA annual that ships this week and will be featuring the return of Earth-2.

I have to agree that Jade’s death was really senseless. For a start, it was the most blatant case of WiR in quite some time, as she was killed off only to give Kyle Rayner more superpowers. And then to make it even more pointless, Kyle lost those powers almost immediately. Such a terrible waste of a good character.

Yeah. She was my favorite All Star.

No love for Iron Munroe?

Iron, Grösshorn Eule, and Fledermaus were not Earth-2 characters in the first instance. Roy Thomas created them specifically to replace those characters that had been ‘lost’ in the Crisis

Given this list, I thought people would appreciate this somewhat recent Ethan Van Sciver cover from Superman/Batman #27 featuring the top two: http://www.zaldivacomics.com/images/comics/june21_06/supermanbatman_27%20(Large).jpg

Also — and maybe this is for an edition of Comic Book Urban Legends — I believe there is some apocryphal story about how Wally Wood kept enlarging Power Girl’s bosom in every subsequent issue of All-Star Comics until DC editorial caught on and told him to stop. (I remember Amanda Conner talking about in an interview once.)

I’d also like to protest the lack of love for Danette Reilly.

Oooo, you know who else was a great Earth-2 character? Psycho-Pirate.

There was a Golden Age guy by that name, but totally different guy, different M.O. The one we know was an original Silver Age Earth-2 creation from 1965.

Or is part of the idea that even the name had to be new? That would let out Firebrand, of course, but also probably Huntress.

Wasn’t Flamebird originally an Earth-2 character brought over in the Crisis?

Theno

Nah, pre-Crisis Betty Kane was the original Bat-Girl, a Silver Age Earth-1 character (and niece of original Batwoman Kathy Kane) who became a member of Titans West.

Post-Crisis, that character became Bette Kane, Flamebird, as a jokey reference to the pre-Crisis heroes of the bottled city of Kandor, Nightwing and Flamebird. Clearly she and Dick were MEANT to be together!

Although, now that I think about it, the Kanes were introduced at a time when Batman was still kind of making the switch from Golden to Silver Age. Kathy was introduced in 1956, about five years earlier than Betty, and was later seen as a character on both earths, I don’t think there were any Earth-2-specific sightings of Betty, though she popped up every now and then on Earth-1 until the Crisis erased Batwoman and Bat-Girl out of continuity.

First I’d heard of a Power Girl series and :)

The JSA Annual, if well-done, should do a lot for her character. I don’t know why DC doesn’t seem to know what to do with the character. She’s an extremely tough personality with Superman-level powers but with a large degree of vulnerability because of her lost origins. Personally, I really enjoyed the kick-off for JSA Classified.

Earth-2 Robin had both the best and worst costumes that any Robin has ever worn.

“I don’t know why DC doesn’t seem to know what to do with the character. ”

She’s a less screwed-up version of Supergirl. For the moment, that’s enough direction (plus being the leader of the JSA, even though, like Black Canary, she’s seemingly been written to defer to the more traditional leadership characters like Jay, Allen, and Mr. Terrific).

I think they’re actually – for the first time since the mid-90s, it seems – doing a good job of slowly building to her getting a solo book. Focus on her in JSA v1, give her the big-name Classified spotlight, move her into the JSA leadership in v2, now the annual, and THEN launch the solo series. Heck, Meltzer even inserted that little bit about her being ready for JLA membership in the first issue of the new series.

They did stuff like that (you know, actually creating demand for a series instead of rushing it out with five pages’ worth of publicity in a dollar special) with Nightwing / Birds of Prey / Robin and all of those books are still ongoing. The last time I can think of something similar was with Hawkman, and even then they didn’t really prime the pump with a miniseries or special.

The Secret Six ongoing is another recent example of this type of marketing, and as a result I think it’ll do well.

I’d’ve put the Helena Wayne Huntress into the #1 slot. And yes, Jade’s death was especially pointless. (I suppose if there’s any character guaranteed to be a Black Lantern next year, it’s Jade!)

All the choices are good, though — even though they’re all Infinitors. There was also All-Star Squadron and Young All-Stars to choose from, right? (I guess a lot of the Squadron, like Liberty Belle, actually existed back in the ’40s, right? But I’m betting Amazing Man was new.) If Buttler’s right about Psycho-Pirate, then he deserves to be here. I’m also very fond of the new Icicle, the son of the original. Was he created when Earth-2 still existed and Geoff Johns has just built him up, or is he a GJ invention?

Icicle first showed up in 1987.

I’d drop Obsidian off the list & change the order around a bit–not sure who I’d put in for Obsidian, but probably Fury. And the Huntress would be #1.

Oooo – someone mentioned Atari Force. I dug me some Atari Force back in the day. Still good stuff that holds up well. Or is it just me?

Looks like more than a few made it out of Infinity Inc. And yeah, Jade’s death was pointless. The Gwen Stacy Syndrome strikes again!

Iron, Grösshorn Eule, and Fledermaus were not Earth-2 characters in the first instance. Roy Thomas created them specifically to replace those characters that had been ‘lost’ in the Crisis

Oh, yeah, you’re right, and I knew that, just wasn’t thinking. They’re “Earth-The-Only-One” characters.

I’d also put the Huntress at #1. She’s a more original character than Power Girl, who’s Supergirl who more attitude and a bigger cup size.

Well, to be fair, Huntress was filling the role of the Earth-2 Batgirl just as Power Girl was the Earth-2 Supergirl. But they did take the trouble to give her a different backstory and a cool costume.

Power Girl has always appealed to me far more than Supergirl ever did… She just seems like a tougher individual… She also visually LOOKS stronger, even if they are supposed to have similar (if not identical) strength, — In fact she always struck me as more of a She-Hulk to Superman’s Hulk than Supergirl ever did…

And she was GREAT in the JLE!! (Diet soda anyone?)

None of the stories in recent years can surpass the Earth two one of Batman and Cat Woman falling in love, marrying and having a daughter who became The Huntress. Why DC doesn’t do an Else World situation around those three characters is beyond me. Wise up DC.

I just stumbled on this old post, and want edot make a quick correction.

Technically, this is the top five Earth-ONE, not two, characters. Earth One is the JSA/GOLDEN AGE earth, Earth-Two the JLA/Silver and Bronze age earth.

…and ignore my post, I’m an idiot.

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