Every Wednesday, we speak with author Daniel H. Wilson for a detailed recap of Earth 2: World’s End, the weekly DC Comics title he’s spearheading about an alternate earth devastated by its prolonged war with Apokolips. In this Blastr exclusive, we explore the issue with Wilson on the day it hits stands, and offer a sneak peek at what readers can look for in future installments.
This week we talked about our heroes, under the influence of K’Li (aka War, the Fury of Apokolips), fighting one another with their fists and a barrage of personal attacks. Also, Dick Grayson begins his heroic rise while John Constantine pops in for a surprise visit.
K’Li talks about the master of the pits at the beginning of the book. Is there more than one threat emerging on Earth-2 aside from the Court of Apokolips and the planet's collision course?
You tend to think of Apokolips as under the domain of Darkseid, who is mysteriously absent and has been throughout Earth-2. (Some of my favorite scenes have been at the Court of Apokolips where you see Darkseid is not there. I particularly love Paternus because he’s always freaking out and worried about what’s going to happen to Apokolips. It tickles me to see the bad guys so concerned about themselves when they’re wreaking all this havoc on earth.)
But there are definitely two threats, and that’s what’s fun about issue three. We see our heroes decide to go down into these pits in order to face this threat. And the other threat is Apokolips heading towards earth.
When we meet K’Li’s master, will it be someone we recognize?
You’ll absolutely recognize the master as a character who’s appeared already in the Earth 2 monthly but never fully realized, or had a plotline that came to fruition.
How is this collision course with Earth-2 –- which is mutually assured destruction -- a good maneuver for the Court for Apokolips?
As Commander Khan points out, there must be something they’re missing. There must be something about Apokolips they don’t understand. Really, it’s just teasing that we don’t know everything about Apokolips yet.
John Constantine arrives on the scene in this issue. Is this Earth One’s Constantine?
Yes, he is. I coordinated with Ray Fawkes on bringing Constantine over for a cameo in our series. He is having his own adventure in Earth-2 in much more detail in the Constantine series.
Will he be kicking around for a while, or is this a one-panel cameo?
Yeah, I think he hangs out for about six issues.
This is paired with a Doctor Fate scene. Does this suggest magic is at play with the events of Earth-2?
I love playing magic against technology, and love contemplating whether magic really is a form of technology people don’t understand -- and perhaps even the gods don’t understand how their powers work. It is interesting when you look at the New Gods, they’re not necessarily casting magic spells but just are very powerful. Figuring out the common thread between technology, magic and godlike powers is something we play with in this series. That’s why you see Fate and Jimmy Olsen intermingling. In my mind, in Earth-2 Jimmy Olsen is very much an embodiment of technology; that’s where his abilities lie. And Doctor Fate is all about magic. When you put them together, it leaves you contemplating that relationship.
So we’ll see Jimmy, Fate and Constantine interacting?
Not Constantine, but it’s really "John Constantine," what he does: a little random, a little tragic and a little awesome. He has his own path, and Fate interacts with Jimmy more. I’m not up to date with what Ray has done with the Constantine issues that have yet to come out, but I do think in that series Fate has some interactions with John. I hand Fate off at some point and he finishes his role in Earth-2. Which is a bummer, because you have to focus on just a few and can’t have everybody!
We’ve seen these Strongholds before, but spend a little more time there in this issue with Dick Grayson and his family. What is the purpose of these camps?
Earth-2 has been under attack for a long time, and with Project Beyond, we saw all the world’s leaders and wealthy people try to escape -- only to be murdered by Brutaal. Everybody’s been through a lot, and these strongholds exist to protect the remaining citizens after cities have been totally ravaged by war.
It seems like Dick Grayson is building towards something; where are we going with him?
I really love Dick Grayson’s story, and he’s going to be with us for the entire series. We really took our time with him and the Graysons, and other characters familiar to fans of his that are going to show up later to accompany him. We are watching his ascent to hero status for sure, and things are going to go way beyond the stronghold. By the time we get to Issue 26, Dick Grayson is going to be hard to recognize.
It is like we’re seeing the emergence of Crime Alley in the stronghold. Tragedy just seems ready to strike at any moment to the Grayson family.
Yeah. Well, I will just give you a tease by saying that often there are catalysts to tragedy … just to tie that back to John Constantine.
Amazonia just seems loaded with egomaniacs. Is it a good place to be?
It’s really the only safe place on the planet. It is the only place where people can really make plans in a safe environment instead of just reacting to threats. This is the last place people are able to think about how to respond. All the brainy people are there, and this is of course the stuff I write, so blame me for anything that happens there. I love in Issue Three you see Mister Miracle, Fury, Barda meeting, in an antagonistic way, with the World Army headquarters in Amazonia and see that relationship get forged. Eventually you’ll see New Gods and brainy humans working together. What is in the first few issues is really just the beginning of all the relationships that will play out over the course of the series.
We have Robert Crane and Ted Holland examining the Mother Box, and Crane gets pretty messed up in the process. What is the importance of these characters?
They’re dabbling in technology that’s way beyond their level. Crane wants to understand it, and thanks to his robotic body he can get closer than most people, but ultimately you don’t choose the Mother Box, it chooses you.
Amazonia is kind of a nerve center of intelligence, as in spies and spycraft. What’s happening in there in this laboratory is really interesting. I’m doing the lettering on Issue Seven, and it kind of comes together around then. It is one of my proudest contributions to the mythology. What plays out around the study of Mother Boxes and the interaction with them.
What was your favorite part of this issue?
One of my favorite parts is seeing the good guys fight each other and say the worst, meanest personal things they could say to one another as a result of K’Li. That was fun to see, and I’m excited to combine action with emotion by having them try to hurt each other physically but also emotionally. That adds stakes. You can only watch people punch each other with no effect so many times, so when you’re able to get an emotional side it’s a stronger fight scene. Meanwhile War is walking away in silhouette while the heroes are fighting in the background. She has done what she came to do and just walks away. She’s such a badass.