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 of what readers can look for in future installments.
A lot happens this week, as a trio of New Gods decide to join forces with the World Army, Fury learns the fate of her dead mom, and heroes go to Hell to face the master of the pits. As if that's not enough, the Queen of Atlantis decides to raise her own kind of watery hell, and the Court of Apokolips just loses their crap (which leads to some serious kazapping).
At the beginning of the issue, we have Mister Miracle, Barda and Fury swiftly aligning with the World Army; what’s their interest in doing so when they could as easily go off on their own?
So, that’s something we get into. Issue #11 is fully devoted to answering this question, and completely devoted to Miracle, Fury and Barda. Clearly Miracle and Barda have their own history with Apokolips, and have been on the run. But in this issue, we get to see what happens when Fury realizes what happened to her mother, Diana. That’s one of my favorite parts in here; when she learns the truth, she becomes a formidable enemy to Apokolips. The real question isn’t why they’d fight Apokolips but why bother cooperating with humans, who are so weak? Why not just go there and crack skulls? That’s something I have a lot of fun with, dealing with the relationship between powerful gods and technologically power human beings (with big egos).
Staying with Fury, why should she care her father, Steppenwolf, killed Diana? He trained her; she’s her father’s daughter.
For someone as powerful as Fury, I think it’s about agency. She didn’t have agency, the choice to decide whether she’d forgive her father for that or care about that. She was simply lied to, and Bedlam was used to control her mind. When she realized she was never given a choice, that’s what enrages her. And seeing the truth finally, coming to terms all at once. Miracle tried not to give her this information all at once because he’s afraid of what happens when you give into anger and the desire for revenge.
Whereas Terry Sloan may have a god complex, I don’t think he thinks he’s an actual god. Is a vulnerability of the New Gods that they think of themselves as gods, and as superior, but weakened by emotions?
I write a lot about humankind fixing apocalyptic scenarios and surviving on their own wits and adaptability. When you have something to lose, when you’re mortal, you can have your back against the wall and have everything on the line. You’re capable of great things. That’s something the gods don’t have. Did I mention my favorite movie is Gattaca? It’s a major theme in it as well. When anyone tells you you’re perfect and that you’re going to win, you don’t have that same sense of desperation and ambition.
Why is Jimmy Olsen so special, and why is the Mother Box interested in him?
The opening page of Earth 2: World’s End is this image of all the different earths in a spiral. You see the different universes all at once. To be able to see all that at the same time is not a gift we have. We live in our four dimensions. That’s what sets Jimmy apart; the way he sees the world. That’s what makes him interesting to a Mother Box.
The difference between gods and men is that gods are singular. There is one Apokolips, but many Earths. Many versions of our heroes are out there, but there’s one Darkseid. Do you live as one entity that can travel the Multiverse or are you one of the many copies? This goes back to Terry Sloan, called the Traveler by the Apokoliptians. In Issue One, we realized he’s been murdering copies of himself in different worlds, and hinted he’s on some sort of quest…
The Court of Apokolips is talking to the embodiment of the planet, and freaking out about the approaching Hornblower. We’ve previously seen the Mal Duncan Hornblower, but what is this?
Oh, man, that’s one I kind of have to defer on. In early issues, Tom DeFalco was helping out and Hornblower was not something I introduced. [laughs] I’m not completely certain of all the origins the Hornblower has made. But it’s essentially an entity that shows up when a planet is going to be destroyed, and marks it for death. It’s best not to have a planet anywhere near the Hornblower, so that’s what’s causing a ruckus on Apokolips; they don’t know whether it will mark Earth for death – which is what they expect – or if it will mark Apokolips. If it did, they wouldn’t know of a way to get out of it. It is almost like fate or destiny.
The Court doesn’t know what’s going on. There’s a power vacuum and they don’t understand why Apokolips has appeared here [near earth] or who’s in charge. They are really in chaos. That’s why they’re really scared. Rectifier is reporting the planets core is extinguished and Apokolips is dying. Darkseid is nowhere to be found, and there’s this new incarnation of Apokolips on the throne and telling them what to do with no explanation. And he’s occasionally doing what Tom DeFalco calls, “kazappping” someone. (I love the term and use it all the time now.)
Is the Court more terrified of this incarnation than they were of Darkseid?
Yeah, I think that’s the lack of information they have. They don’t know who to trust or what’s happening.
I enjoy the Court of Apokolips scenes, and watching those squirmy little guys running around frantic.
I really do love the Court of Apokolips. That was my first chance to make a character, and they each are sort of the heads of their departments. All the writers worked together, but Rectifier (the engineer) is my robot character. And I don’t know if I mentioned it, but Paternus (in charge of the noble) was really inspired by my love for The Neverending Story. There’s a giant head character that hangs out in the Ivory Tower. [The rest of the court includes the Mother of Tears; Arcanis (historian), the ancient witch with the long neck; and Lowest (head of the lowlies) who is the froggy-looking dude.]
Is it a challenge to flesh out characters while still introducing so many new ones?
These first four issues, we’ve really defined the major arcs. We’re going to go into the firepits, we’re going to collect the five avatars, these other guys are going to try and fight Apokolips they’ve detected outside the solar system. A lot of the major arcs and major characters have been introduced at this point. From here on out, the characters are introduced slower and not in big groups. We are looking more at the evolution of existing relationships and not a constant barrage of new characters.
Atlantis has been fairly devasted, with much of its citizens turned into living dead armies courtesy the Fury of Death. Aquawoman is now on a rampage. Does she pose yet another threat to the poor World Army? Is she going to do more damage than good?
That’s why it’s a cliffhanger, Aaron! We don’t know, do we? I do wish we could’ve seen more of Aquawoman over the long term. But she’s going to be around for a few issues and, in a major way, affect the core of the story.
Batman, Val-Zod, Red Tornado, Huntress and Power Girl head into the fire pits and Desaad is running things down there, and is master of the Four Furies. What role is he going to play?
He’s going to play a big role. I love it because the bad guys are not infallible. They have ups and downs within their own organization. Desaad is doing a good job right now for Apokolips and Darkseid, but he’ll have his ups and downs.
This is why it’s fun to go into the fire pits. This is a promise the Earth 2 monthly has made. They sent Steel in there, and he came out burned up, talking about something red in there. We’re fulfilling the promise. The heroes are willing to go to where the threat is, and try to extinguish it with everything they’ve got, immediately. They are trekking into hell, into the underworld to face whatever’s down there. It’s the classic hero’s journey. Interacting with Desaad we’ll learn more about what’s going on, and what the grand scheme is.
And what’s happening in the fire pits is exactly the kind of thing Desaad would love to be in charge of. You can get a hint by the way K’Li talks about her playthings, puppets and abominations. Desaad is the perfect guy for this job!
He’s such a go-getter, that Desaad!
Also there’s a grand plan here for Apokolips, and the court doesn’t know what it is. It’s been going for all of Earth 2 monthly, for all of this invasion and it’s only now coming to fruition. If anyone really knows what’s happening, it would be Desaad.
What’s your favorite moment in Issue Four?
There would be a bunch! Of course I love the kazapp, but that’s just because I love Tom. But I have to say my favorite scene is when Fury learns about her past, and is trying to control her rage while this reality washes over her. When that scene is over, you just realize, “Oh s—t, someone just made an enemy.”