EARTH 2 debuted as part of the second wave of the New 52 and was much heralded as the new ongoing series from James Robinson who was still lauded for his work on STARMAN in the late 90s/early 00s. He left (or was sacked, I’m not sure which) about eighteen months later leaving Tom Taylor to take the reins and things got a bit more bombastic from that point on. Part of EARTH 2‘s story was that the main three heroes – Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman – had died during the Apokoliptian invasion of the planet, but it seems you can’t have a world without Batman and while this latest version of the hero appeared in the main title, Annual #2 gave us his back story.
It starts in the past with the Earth 2 Batman Bruce Wayne investigating the murder of a man whose name anyone familiar with the Batman story will know:
It turns out that Thomas Wayne had saved mobster Franco’s life, they’d become friends, enjoyed the drugs and drink highlife (with Thomas helping supply drugs from the hospital), and Franco even introduced him to Martha. It wasn’t until Thomas and Martha had baby Bruce that Thomas wanted to clean himself up and get out from under the mob that Franco hired Chill to take care of things.
The killer of Joe Chill has worked his way up through Franco’s men and is intent on killing him to avenge the killing of Thomas and Martha, but Batman wants to stop him the right way.
They fight and Batman puts a tracker on him; he thinks the killer is Jarvis Pennyworth, Alfred’s father and Thomas’s butler, and eventually confronts him, but is shocked when he realises it’s his own father, Thomas. He’d survived the attack of Joe Chill and convinced his fellow doctor to tell everyone he’d died, knowing that Franco would never stop coming after him and Bruce. Using Miraclo, he dedicated himself to getting revenge on Franco, thinking that once he was dead, he and Bruce would be able to reconcile, but that’s not what happens.
After losing Bruce, Thomas goes back to Franco’s place and kills him, though he takes no pleasure in it. And then we’re brought up to the present day with Thomas telling the story to Hawkgirl and Red Tornado (who’s actually Lois Lane) and realising that there was only one thing he could do after Bruce had died saving the world.
And so he became Batman.
EARTH 2 sprawled a little in places and the whole Furies of Apokolips storyline went on way too long, but on the whole this, and it’s sister/sequel titles of EARTH 2: WORLD’S END and EARTH 2: SOCIETY were both largely enjoyable.