Heroes getting their collective butts kicked -- that's how issue #2 of Earth 2: World's End begins. And, spoiler, but that's pretty much how it ends as well. Following its debut last week, the weekly series spearheaded by Robopocalypse author Daniel H. Wilson focuses on an alternate earth devastated by an escalating war with Apokolips. In a Blastr exclusive, every Wednesday we'll speak with Wilson for a detailed recap of the new DC Comics issue on the day it hits stands, as well as tease what readers can look forward to in future installments.
This week, we chatted about all the new characters being introduced in the book, especially K'Li, the Fury of War. We also dig into the character of Lois Lane/Red Tornado, and beat up a bit on the manipulative Terry Sloan. Read ahead, and then check out the image gallery below for our exclusive look at the panels and pages we discussed.
What is particularly important about these first two issues, so far?
All the new characters! There is this whole Court of Apokolips that appears, and they’re really fun villains. Also, the Parliament appears. They are almost complementary good guy/bad guy types. And of course the furies: War, Pestilence, Famine and Death.
At the end of last week’s issue, K’Li, Fury of War emerges from the fire pit then takes the stage in this issue. What can you tell us about her?
She is one of our favorite characters, hands down. We’ve had so much fun with her. We cooked up all four of those furies together and did the character design, and as they started to emerge, all the writers and editors were like, “Yes, this is going to be so much fun.” As a result, these aren’t just bad guys who appear from nowhere that we fight and they disappear and it’s meaningless. They have backstories and a mythology. We’re going to learn more about her. They’re not one-dimensional bad guys and are really tied into the history of Apokolips and what’s going on on Earth-2. We’ve had a lot of fun time fleshing out those characters. That said, they are bad guys with nefarious goals, and we’ll be seeing those more.
K’Li seems to really relish her job as a fury. Would that be a correct estimation?
Margeurite Bennett wrote most of the K’Li stuff, and also doing the monthly with Tom Taylor. I know in one of the upcoming monthlies, she spends some time exploring where K’Li came from. Yes, she enjoys what she does, and her origin story is pretty badass. But in the end, you realize that she is not anyone to trifle with, even though she appears in the form of a little girl.
She delivers this line “Let it be blood, then” with this malevolent look and bloody face. Is the blood a distinctive characteristic?
Yes. She should always be bleeding from the mouth and eyes. These four furies are somewhat based on the four horsemen of the Apocalypse, and each have an area effect. They have an effect on people around them, each pretty horrific. War has an effect on people’s emotions, and it incites them to rage. Remember 28 Days Later, when people get infected with the Rage Virus, and start going crazy and attacking each other? It’s something like that. Just to get near can cause you to be overcome with rage and get personal with attacks. It was a great way to leverage awesome action of our heroes fighting each other and fighting her, and also emotionality. We are seeing the grudges the heroes have with each other, and they’re saying it out loud under the influence of War.
I like this fight between Lois Lane Red Tornado, but as an android, would she be sensitive to K’Li’s powers of rage?
First of all, Lois is very sensitive to being called an abomination. She has not always been in this body and remembers being a person, and she’s lost her husband and was just reunited with her daughter (Power Girl). She is really sensitive about that, so that’s the area War attacks emotionally. She is also susceptible to War’s influence. I don’t want to give anything away from future issues, but let’s say she’s susceptible, asterisk.
Do you like Lois as a character?
She’s a robot, so you know I love her! Who do you think you’re talking to? (laughs)
That was such a softball question, I guess! But what is her appeal beyond that?
It is really summarized in that interaction with K’Li War. She is simultaneously incredibly vulnerable because she is in a new body and acclimating to a new mode of life, but she is also nearly invincible. This body has afforded her powers Lois Lane never had. If anyone has been exposed to a hero, and how a hero should act -- and what the ideals behind a hero are -- it’s Lois. In some ways, this is her chance to become a hero and adhere to what she knows a hero should be.
Alan Scott’s Green Lantern says the Earth itself feels the threat from Apokolips, and that “the elemental forces of the planet, like the Green that gives me my power ... will not easily give in.” What else can you share about this Parliament at the heart of the planet?
We’re taking the Lanterns in a slightly new direction with the idea that they are avatars of forces within the Earth. There are five forces locked together: The green, the grey, the white, the red and the blue. Together, their job, through their champions, is to protect the Earth. The entire world is physically in danger of being destroyed, and the Parliament has realized they need to summon the avatars and fight together. We will see that team being built, and there are surprises there I’m really fond of. That’s Mike Johnson writing Green Lantern and the Parliament, and I’m really happy with the stuff he’s done.
Last week we spoke about Terry Sloan not being a dude you could trust, but in this issue he is faced with the victims of worlds he sacrificed. Is this the beginning of Terry’s growth into a good guy?
Terry Sloan always exists in a gray area. I would never pretend to pull him out of that gray area. Terry Sloan is always playing both sides. What I wanted to show, though, is that Terry Sloan does have a conscience and he is making logical decisions. He is not just evil. Everything he does, every sacrifice he makes, he’s calculating what it’s worth. His problem is not everybody’s goals are aligned with his. If they were, we’d be really happy because we’d have a genius fighting for us and doing amazing things for us. But we don’t know where he’s from or who he’s fighting for, and therefore we don’t know his ultimate end goal -- and whether that involves sacrificing the earth or he needs to protect us. But we’ve caught this glimpse and know he is human and has regrets.
These new parademons are actually resurrected victims, so is this a bit of an unstoppable force when they can constantly regenerate?
Whenever you have furies and fire pits, that requires the attention of your most powerful soldies. So it’s more of a problem for the World Army. Honestly, all of the writers and editors are really tired of parademons! There have been so many parademons, so we start moving towards situations that are more complex, and kind of more awful, but get away from the constant threat of parademons. We’ve seen a lot of those.
I am intrigued by the Commander Khan character. He doesn’t seem to be getting much love from the World Council ...
He’s always so pissed off, and the World Council has irked me from the beginning ...
... I love that these characters you’re creating are also irritating you.
Project Beyond, the failure of it -- that’s the scene in #1 when evil Superman grabs an escape ship full of really rich people and world leaders, and shakes it until they fall out 200 miles above the earth -- that took care of a lot of world leadership. What’s left are people clinging to power, and this ragtag group of macho people trying to protect their power. Khan is almost to the point where everything is so FUBAR, maybe he doesn’t need to listen to the World Council.
The final page are turned versions of Huntress, Power Girl and Red Tornado standing with K’Li over a fallen Batman and Superman. What can we look forward to in #3 based on this panel?
Those furies have a lot more to deal with than just our heroes. So, we will see our characters surviving by the skin of their teeth. They are rocked back on their heels right now, but we’ll see them use their special abilities to get back in the game, figure out who their enemies are and how to fight them.
What is your favorite moment in this issue?
I like the banter between Sloan and Miracle. Sloan has the audacity to be joking around with this god. They go into his mind and he says, “My mind is a labyrinth, try not to get lost.” That’s classic jerk Terry Sloan. But it’s a big moment when Green Lantern jumps into battle and we meet the Parliament. When they kill Bedlam, that’s huge too!