Recently, DC Comics has made a big deal over the fact that the Earth where the New 52 comics have been telling stories is the Main Earth. This is to clearly separate it from the Earth-One seen in the hardcover graphic novels written by J. Michael Straczynski – the first of which, Superman came out to great acclaim last year and the next, Batman is due out later this year. It also paves the way for people to understand that the Main Earth is not the same homeworld as the events seen in two second wave releases in May: Earth-2 (featuring the Justice Society of America) and World’s Finest, which features Power Girl and the Huntress of that world trapped on Main Earth. And while we were initially told this Earth-2 would be the home of World War II’s mystery men the reality seems far from it.
So what, you wonder, became of New Earth which resulted from the events of Infinite Crisis? We were told that it was altered through the events depicted in the Flashpoint event last summer, which in turn revised reality which gave us Main Earth.
Infinite Crisis gave us a new multiverse: 52 parallel worlds, many but not all of which were identified. There was New Earth and 51 other, numbered worlds including an Earth-2 as seen in some stories. Even then, Earth-One had been reserved for the graphic novels. And after Final Crisis, the resurrected New Gods, for example, had been dispatched from New Earth to Earth-51 to help it rebuild.
New Earth’s timeline, we were informed, unraveled because Professor Zoom traveled back in time and prevented Barry Allen’s mother from dying. This simple act set in motion seismic changes that brought about the more dangerous and deadly world of Flashpoint.
Some of the changes depicted in the storyline are ones that Barry’s mother had no possible impact on, specifically those seen off Earth. Heck, most of the changes on Earth cannot possibly be traced back to Mrs. Allen being alive or dead so the ones off planet have no connection whatsoever. As a result, one can therefore argue that the world altered for the purpose of Flashpoint and has been modified into Main Earth is not New Earth at all, but one of the undesignated parallel worlds from Infinite Crisis.
Flashpoint #5 stated that an unnamed party had already been meddling with the New Earth timeline who was recently revealed to be Pandora. She said that the separate DC, Vertigo, and WildStorm worlds were supposed to be one but were “splintered to weaken your world for their impending arrival.” Of course, this was the first time the DCU-centric members of the Vertigo imprint operated on a parallel world. Pandora said that she was going to use Barry Allen to “fix” things. And, boy, did she!
So basically, no matter how great or small the impact of Nora Allen’s survival, the mysterious person/group was piggybacking on the timeline changes to make far greater alterations for their own reasons. Last week, we were told in Justice League #6 that the enigmatic, powerful Pandora (looking and acting an awful lot like Peter David’s Fallen Angel) is now the single most powerful person in the universe, having personally rejiggered reality, improving it to her mind (the readers may feel otherwise).
If the above is true, then DC has cleverly given themselves an out should the New 52 ultimately collapse creatively. All they would need is a cosmic event to shift the focus from Main Earth back to the New Earth reality that was in place as of Spring 2011. Not that it was all that great a status quo at that point but at least it would offer one more fresh opportunity to reset reality.
My personal feelings about the New 52 are best saved for another discussion, but the former continuity cop in me, found this bit of nomenclature legerdemain utterly fascinating.