Earth 2: World's End #21: There is no reset button

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Feb 27, 2015, 3:10 PM EST

Every week, 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. The comic is instrumental in the lead-up to the publisher's upcoming Convergence event, and in this Blastr exclusive we explore the issue with Wilson -- and offer a sneak peek at what readers can look for in its final installments.

As a storyteller, do you prefer happy endings or letting everything go to hell? Because it doesn't feel like there is a lot of hope left.

Well, on some level, I came in to pick up this project and — especially with coordination with Convergence — there was a lot that was already down in stone on how this is going to end. For me, I had to color within the lines to some degree so we reached the right ending spot. With that said, I like the Hollywood ending. I get more satisfaction tying things up. A lot of times, it feels lazy if you're watching or reading something and they just kind of leave it blank at the end. I don't have time for that. I want a story, an ending. For me, since I know how this was going to end to some extent, a lot was about focusing in on the characters. It might not have a happy ending. You could be picking up on something if you're on issue 21 and are starting to feel like there's not going to be a happy ending. But that doesn't mean it won't be a satisfying ending for each of these characters who will have the opportunity to step up.

As consumers of comics, we've gotten used to the reset button. That can be a good thing, but we also want the events of the comics to have lasting resonance and meaning.

Sure. I can tell you, I'm picking up Earth 2: Society, and all the changes in here, all the track we're laying here, continues. There is nothing that gets reset, there is no one coming back. This is it. This stuff matters. The transformations happening, at least while I'm on it, are permanent.

Thomas and Helena encounter Oliver Queen on this base in the ocean, and we learn about this codex. Can you explain what this is?

We're expecting Ollie had been protecting a doomsday device from Sloan and other bad characters. But we realize it is the opposite of a weapon; it's a tool for restarting the world in case anything happens. We realize the original Batman, Bruce Wayne, foresaw that scorched-earth tactics might be necessary and the world could be destroyed. So he set out to create a method to rebuild the world we lost. So the codex is a massively hopeful device; instead of a another weapon, it is a method of creation. In a lot of ways, it is the Wayne legacy. 

The art of the codex shows a fish, a bear, and Ollie says it is everything that we are. Does that include metahumans?

This is the natural world in a box. This is a seed vault, and everything Bruce Wayne could lay his hands on to return the world to some semblance of normalcy. This is his best attempt to re-create an ecosystem that can survive.

I've touched on this before, but can we expect the pacificst Val-Zod to unleash hell, and should he?

I think, slowly, we've been realizing, even as the writers, that's not who he is. What kind of journey is that, where he decides, "You're right, I need to unleash violence on the world"? It clearly hasn't solved any problems on Earth-2. He's a thinker, a contemplative guy. He has amazing powers, but I don't think he'll ever rip his clothes off, grit his teeth and unleash lasers everywhere. But who does behave that way? Kara. If you want a crazy, violence-unleashing super-person, I'd be looking at Kara.

We see more from Brainwave in this issue. He is stealing the ships to what end? Does he have his own moral plan?

He has been festering in Atom's Haven, stealing the ships and taking a select group of survivors with him. I imagine he's trying to rebuild his own twisted society where everyone is subservient to him. Obsidian and Johnny are along for the ride, but not necessarily willing participants. They have some shred of humanity, and aren't necessarily down with everything Brainwave is doing. They're not heroes, but not total villains in the way Brainwave is. 

Is Terry Sloan making a logical argument that the rest of the heroes on the ship can get behind? Mister Miracle sees the value in Sloan's plan. 

Sloan never shows up unless he's got something you want, or something you need. In this case, he's holding the ship hostage. If he doesn't activate the ship, they're going to die. So they don't have much choice but to work with Sloan, no matter his end goal.

It looks like the ship is getting destroyed here. Is everyone somehow transporting out of there with the Mother Box?

No, that ship gets destroyed. What exactly has happened to that ship will be revealed in the next issue. But of course, that's the button, and why I want people coming back for the next issue. 

The tease for the next issue is "Jimmy Olsen Unleashed." Can you give me more about that?

Oh yeah, d**n. This next issue is my absolute favorite Jimmy Olsen moment in the entire series. It is the moment I had in mind since he first interacted with a Mother Box in the early issues. I didn't write the "Jimmy Olsen Unleashed" tag, but that is absolutely what happens. 

Favorite moment from this issue? 

I'm not going to say Sloan getting beat up again, because we beat him up so often now! I really love that moment when the lieutenant turns around and has her mind controlled by Brainwave. Her eyes are blank, and she's snarling. It is so creepy, and the art is done so well. I love that little moment, and we realize — with all the huge things out there to worry about — now we've got a domestic issue on our hands. When things look bad, don't worry; we'll make them worse!