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.
Within the pages of Issue Seven, Doctor Fate's helmet gets it on with a Mother Box, which yields some godlike results for Superman's best pal. Also, Batman is going cold turkey after his Miraclo addiction, and Superman clones are at the wrong end of his withdrawal. But a lot more happens, and while discussing it all, Wilson and I dig into some serious and silly pop culture influences.
We kick off the issue with the Furies of Apokolips hanging out at the former Fortress of Solitude. From a narrative perspective, what was your goal with this scene?
We’re seeing them put their powers together to prepare the earth for their masters. They are down one sister, and the question becomes how they’re going to deal with that.
Do they have their own agendas beyond being chosen to serve?
In the monthly, they explore the backgrounds of each of the series. We get a feel for where they came from, what their motivations are and what they’re thinking. I kind of think of them like the Ringwraiths from Lord of the Rings. They have been totally consumed by this evil entity and put on this mindless quest. They’re willing to sacrifice their lives for it.
Famine is gone (at the hands of Doctor Fate in Issue Six), and they know that. But Famine can be embodied by someone else, so are they looking at creating a replacement Famine?
Yeah, that’s definitely what we’re teasing at, and that comes into play in the next few issues.
How does David Bowie feel about the fact that Death has stolen his haircut from Labyrinth?
I always think she looks a lot like Pris from Blade Runner! But she’s definitely an amalgam there, huh? I’m sure David Bowie would be very pleased as long as she doesn’t steal that signature crotch bulge he’s got going on. I’m sure that’s the only thing he’s invested in!
We immediately go back to Desaad’s lab, and he chides Helena and prepares her to become a Fury (and reveals a sweet new suit for her). Does he know Famine is dead and he has to find a replacement, or is he up to something else?
No, I think he is aware of that because he is the master of the furies, he’s in charge of them. Part of his job is creating champions. There’s kind of this theme of transformation that’s happening throughout the series on the big level. We see the planet itself potentially transforming and on the personal level, as we see our characters transforming (like Jimmy Olsen), making transformations between Apokolips and humanity. But he’s definitely aware of what’s going on with the furies.
I am really enjoying Desaad’s depiction here as this Crypt Keeper type of character …
Oh, how scary is he? My 2-year-old son grabbed it off my desk and was like, carrying it all around the house going, “Bad guy, him a bad guy!” because he looks so frightening.
Who are some of your favorite villains in fiction?
I’m pretty logical about my villains and about what I’m afraid of. I think that’s just the way to deal with fear. So the way I classify my villains is:
Mans vs. Nature, like Jaws. I grew up in Oklahoma, and tornadoes are a real and scary threat. When you grow up, as a kid, getting on your hands and knees, pushing your forehead against the cold locker during tornado drills? That sh-t is scary.
Then there is sort of Man vs. Man, such as man’s capacity to do evil. Like, Hannibal Lecter is great example of that. He is somebody who is so intelligent that not only is he doing evil things but enjoying it like an epicure would enjoy food, enjoying it on a whole new moral level of evil. That’s really Desaad. He knows what he’s doing and enjoying it, and in some cases can’t even help himself. We’ll see, in the future, where he gets into trouble with the delight he takes in his job. But the scariest villains for me are the combinations of nature and man, and for me that’s embodied in a werewolf. You have a natural fear of a predator, embodied by a wolf, and man’s capacity to do evil, embodied by the human features. When you combine human and animal features that way? Oh man, that’s nightmare fuel for me.
Batman is fighting the Superman clones, and he’s doing it without Miraclo. Is he discovering his inner strength?
Thomas Wayne is all about sacrifice. He sacrifices himself to help the others. That’s what he’s been doing since he found Helena. Him not having the Miraclo, in this case, helps him. He’s not as strong as a Superman clone and won’t be able to defeat them no matter how much Miraclo he sucks down. So what this battle is about is him drawing on his knowledge as a surgeon and past as a doctor to look at the situation and be clever about it. He figures it out mentally and executes a plan. That’s a very Batman way of dealing with a battle. Not having the Miraclo helps him think better, but as he moves forward, we’ll see he’s not finished with his addiction, and he may have to make big sacrifices in order to help the people he’s around.
Continuing with the notion of transformation, the reunion picks up between Alan Scott and the transformed Sam Zhao. When Sam beats up on Solomon Grundy, is this proof there are remnants of Sam still in the White Avatar?
Yeah, Sam is definitely in there. He is a character who knows more than Alan knows about the big situation, but knows he can’t afford to devolve into allowing himself to rekindle the relationship. They have a huge enemy to fight, and the reason they’re there is to fight the enemy, not go back to some life that’s not there anymore. In this, he is the strong one and knows it’s no good. He’s the one willing to resist trying to go back to the way things were.
Help me understand more what took place between Jimmy Olsen and Doctor Fate. Did Fate turn Jimmy into a god?
We discover the Helm of Nabu is a type of Mother Box, and when it connects with the Mother Box that has chose Jimmy, they essentially create a new Mother Box. This is what fuses with Jimmy, and becomes a part of his body and mind, and elevates him to this new level. In some ways, it’s like a merging of technology and magic.
When Hornblower “sounds its reveille,” it’s marking a planet for destruction. Did it choose Earth?
It has marked Earth for destruction, and Apokolips has just appeared, on the last page, in Earth’s orbit. The entire planet has transported to just 300 thousand miles away and smashed our moon into smithereens. Now the fight is really on. We saw in an earlier issue that it looked like Apokolips was on its way toward Earth, and we’d have 23 days or something before it’d arrive. This took those plans and threw them away. Apokolips is here.
Out of this group, who is most poised to survive in a world where everything is going to hell? Who is the greatest survivor we could potentially see?
That’s a good question. Alan Scott is in charge of collecting these avatars, and they’re going to be facing a really dangerous enemy. You have Mister Miracle, Michael Holt and Khan, and they’re going to fight Apokolips directly. They’re like ants in a very dangerous situation. Of course Val, Power Girl and that group are taking on the most powerful enemies in close range. So they’re in incredible danger. I would say, if anybody was in a position to survive, it would be Sonia Sato, who is keeping track of the World Army. Or Flash and Kendra, and Jimmy, and the ones coordinating the effort and falling back with the survivors.
I didn't even get to Constantine, who is casting spells and making friends, but what is your favorite moment from the issue?
I love it when Jimmy gets elevated; such an awesome drawing of him getting thrown back and hit by the Quickening [from Highlander]. I love him moving forward as a character who has been integrated with a Mother Box.