What’s up with Earth-8?

On October 14th, 2014, /u/switchfade asked the following on /r/DCcomics:

I’m interested in earth 8 and I like to get started with it,but I’ve searched everywhere and I’m seriously confused. What issues/series should I read?

OK, so nobody has really given you a very satisfactory answer and as no other questions this week have really needed my nerdiness, you get it all. So, here we go.

1) The history of Earth-8

So Earth-8 actually existed way back pre-Crisis, although then it wasn’t known as Earth-8 but as Angor, which first appeared in Justice League of America (Vol 1) #71 from May, 1969. From the DC Wiki:

The world of Angor was introduced in Pre-Crisis continuity as just another planet in another dimension.

So, presumably it was destroyed as part of Crisis on Infinite Earths, or maybe it was still out there as another planet. Either way, it doesn’t matter because…

With the recreation of the Multiverse following the events of 52, a version of Angor has been allocated to the parallel reality known as Earth-8. Angor is not referred to as Earth-8 until Countdown #29.

Earth-8 was a… weird place

So, in case you don’t know, following Infinite Crisis there was a weekly series called 52 (no relation to the ‘New 52’ current status quo) which saw, at the end, the Multiverse recreated with 52 new Earths which, the writers were keen to point out, may resemble pre-Crisis earths but weren’t the same – mainly so they could pick and chose as to what continuity they wanted to keep or discard.

(I assume if you’re asking about Earth-8 that you do have a bit of a grasp on the various Crisis events and their history, but if not, there’s a quick chronological primer with links to various wikis in my post history here.)

Anyway, we now had our Earth-8 – although the planet that was it’s analogue of Earth was still called Angor – and as the DC Wiki points out for it:

Like the pre-Crisis depiction of the inhabitants of Angor, the inhabitants of Earth-8 are explicit analogues to the characters of Marvel Comics. Also the events centering around the Metahuman Act is a nodding parody of Marvel’s Civil War.

Now, both those wiki links I posted to Angor and to Earth-8 are good starting places to read about the various characters there, and that will also let you find out a bunch of stuff about where they appear. For example, looking at Kal-El of Earth-8, also known as Herr Superman, you’ll see that he was in Countdown Presents: Lord Havok and the Extremists:

Countdown Presents: Lord Havok and the Extremists is a six-issue Countdown tie-in miniseries detailing some of the history of Earth-8, the origins of the members of The Extremists, and the events that take place on Angor between Countdown #29 and Countdown #27 leading up to Lord Havok and The Extremists joining Monarch’s army and their participation therein.

The Extremists first appeared in Countdown #29 and… well, you get the idea how we can do this. Moving on.

2) The upshot of this is…

…that while we do get some short series likes Countdown Presents: Lord Havok and the Extremists and other appearances, the very nature of Angor/Earth-8 as a parody/reference to Marvel means they’ve never really got the spotlight. There’s no ongoing series set there, it’s basically an Elseworlds style story that’s been returned to a few times over the decades.

3) How this relates to the New 52

Now, with the New 52 all bets are off as to how things relate to the pre-Flashpoint universe. We’ve seen the current Earth-8 in Multiversity #1 and… that’s all we’ve seen of it. There’s no ongoing, there’s nowhere else to see the characters or the world. Yes, they may turn up again as part of Multiversity‘s ongoing narrative but even that’s a limited run of connected one-shots anyway.

Still want some more info? Well, there is this from the DC’s website, where they are revealing details about the Multiverse as it appears in Multiversity:

For generations, life on Earth-8 passed like it does on our world. Largely uneventful, and when problems did arise, they were handled easily by the world’s large population of super heroes. Until a day finally arrived like no other, and Earth-8’s strongest heroes were forced to unite against a common threat. The Retaliators were born!

The Retaliators. Totally not the Avengers.

Not quite what you were expecting? Perhaps that’s the best way to describe this world, populated with heroes such as the patriotic power soldier known as American Crusader, the lightning-charged warrior god Wundajin, the massively-morphing, quick to anger monster known as the Behemoth and the scientifically-minded, elementally-powered foursome known as the Future Family. Alongside such figures as Machinehead, Ladybug, Stuntmaster and the “neo-human” heroes of the G-Men, they keep their world safe from threats like the destructive Lord Havok and the Extremists.

On Earth-8, a life of heroism often comes at great sacrifice to the man or woman behind the mask. Faith in heroes is in short supply and mistrust can run rampant. Perhaps the people of Earth-8 should talk to some of their alternate world counterparts, who turn out in droves for movies featuring the very heroes they’re shunning.

Finally, just in case you haven’t seen it and we are discussing the Multiverse, here’s a link to DC’s simple Multiverse map – which just shows the various Earths – and here’s a link to the more complicated one that includes the Source Wall, Heaven, New Genesis etc.

Hope this helps, and happy to answer any further questions or clarifications :)

This wasn’t the end of this question, actually! /u/Deadpa pointed out I had been a bit misleading in the above post:

“The Extremists first appeared in Countdown #29 and… well, you get the idea how we can do this. Moving on.”

Lord Havok and the Extremists first appeared in Justice League Europe #15 June 1990

My response:

Sorry, I was referring to the post-Infinite Crisis/Earth-8 version – who did debut then – when I wrote that, but you’re correct that it wasn’t very clear.

As Angor/Earth-8 as a concept had been through a number of revisions since 1969, as have the Extremists, so I didn’t cover it all and did leave off the version from the 1990’s. You’re totally correct in asserting that they first appeared in Justice League Europe #15 in 1990, and starred in the story The Extremist Vector which ran from then through to Justice League Europe #19.

I couldn’t include every appearance, mention or allusion – like flashbacks during the Justice League: Breakdowns arc in 1992, the New Extremists or their appearance in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon – but you’re correct in that that was misleading. I’ll correct it now :)

The Wikipedia article also has a pretty good listing of their various versions and appearances over the years.

I hate not to be thorough ;)

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