Earth 2: World's End #5: Solomon Grundy, super hero?

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.

This week, the characters we've met in the previous four issues start to cross over and collide, and uneasy alliances take shape. Solomon Grundy emerges as a key player in the war against Apokolips, and Terry Sloan manages to surprise us yet again by revealing the massive warship he's been hiding. As if that's not enough, Batman starts to lose his grip in the fire pits now that Desaad has taken off with Huntress. And during the conversation of all this, Wilson shares how an NBA forward is sort of making a cameo on Earth-2.

How does this issue mark a shift for the series?

In issue five, a lot of the setup is finished and we’re really rolling with the action. The Green Lantern is looking for the other avatars and working with Solomon Grundy. We have got the supers down in the fire pits, and on the surface, we have the furies wreaking havoc. Then we have Mister Miracle and that group going off to launch an assault on Apokolips itself. So the balls are all rolling; everyone has met each other and it’s time to get the action started.

Why is Grundy a character you wanted to play with?

His powers match up with the gray. Also, his personality plays well off of Alan Scott. You think of these guys as good guys or bad guys, but at the end of the day, Grundy is part of Earth. Dying is a part of life. When you look at the big picture, you realize our heroes and villains often depend on each other to define themselves. It was really interesting and fun to play these two off of each other and realize how much they have in common in terms of wanting to protect the earth itself from an outside entity.

Were you a fan of Grundy?

I like his attitude. Mike Johnson wrote most of those scenes, and I think he did a great job demonstrating Grundy. Grundy gets to fill in for the reader with honest reactions to what’s going on, and to be a pain to Alan Scott. Part of this journey is to collect five avatars and build this union. Grundy was pretty clearly the one we wanted to feature first.

We spend four pages with Grundy/Scott, then shift to Aquawoman and back to them. Is it correct to think there’s a connection between these three?

Aquawoman and this storyline with Green Lantern and Grundy are definitely going to cross paths in the next few issues. Around issue seven or eight we start to see what that connection is.

Is Aquawoman an avatar?

That’s a good question. We will find out! But I wouldn’t make so many assumptions.

I’m caught up in this mystery of guessing who these avatars are ...

It is fun. We had a lot of dialogue about who should be one. There are obvious choices, then ways to be more interesting. You also get to indulge in some stuff. There are storylines I really like that I wanted to get into this, and we did it through the avatars. Expect to be surprised.

Can you talk about the character design on Famine, the Fury of Apokolips? She’s a bit of a rotund, grotesque creature.

The thought process on the furies is they’re loosely modeled after the four horsemen of the apocalypse. They did have steeds for a while, and we nixed that idea; in the original description they had vehicles/steeds they’d ride in on, but it didn’t fit in. We decided they’d all be women and visually make them the opposite. Famine is huge and gorging herself at the expense of those around her. War, you’d expect to be a giant, brutal tank-like character -- so we made her a little girl. Death is pregnant. Pestilence is just mutating into different forms at all times. 

Doctor Fate is such a mysterious character, and we don’t know what to make of him yet. Will you talk more about what he’s up to?

He is a mysterious character, and whenever magic is involved, it’s always unclear what a person’s capabilities are. With him, I am interested in what the helm of Nabu is and how it works. Part of his storyline in the future is to open that mythology more and blend it in with some of the technological stuff. That’s my favorite thing with the more magical characters, play the magic off the technology. 

There is some banter between the New Gods and the World Army where Barda and Miracle call the humans weak. Then Terry Sloan shows off a warship he built in secret, and Mister Terrific reveals god-killing Boom Spheres. Are the gods impressed by this?

Miracle has a bigger ego than Fury. She’s the one who sees the potential here and is more impressed at this point. But they’re not so impressed. They see these things as gimmicks and trinkets, and at the end of the day, you can snap a human in half and that’s it. It is like stepping on an ant. No matter how much of this technology they see, that’s not what’s going to ultimately impress a god. What impresses them is a strength of character, and those interactions will come later.

Terrific says the boom spheres have the power to kill a god. Is he thinking the humans will align themselves with Miracle/Fury/Barda now, but after they take care of Apokolips, these guys are next?

I don’t think so. I don’t think that’s how Michael Holt thinks. Now Sloan might be thinking about getting his hands on those boom spheres. What Holt is trying to say is, “Look, I’m a human but have created something dangerous to you so how about some respect?” Remember Holt, Miracle and Sloan were all under the mind control of Bedlam creating boom tubes for a whole lot of Earth 2 monthly. So they’ve accumulated a lot of knowledge -- and been in each other’s minds -- so they’ve a closer link than most humans and gods.

Meanwhile, Sloan built this Shackleton Assault Craft without anyone noticing. Commander Khan of the World Army seems rightly concerned that this guy could hide an entire ship. Is this laying some groundwork for something big?

Absolutely. This is going to be a huge part of the plot moving forward. I can say Khan’s destiny is tied up intimately with the Shackleton Assault Craft.

Wow, that’s a tease! As far as our heroes in the fire pits, what is Batman’s problem? Thomas Wayne seems more pissed off than Bruce ever was.

He is addicted to Miraclo and basically has ’roid rage. He has been using it for a long time, and the worse things get, the more he uses. He is starting to go off the rails with his temper and single-mindedness. He is getting to the point where he is only capable of focusing on one goal. We are watching him deal with drug addiction. 

OK, big question: We get a reveal at the end of Red Tornado discovering the body of what appears to be Clark Kent. Is that the real Superman, and what is he covered in?

That’s the question mark! Is it Clark Kent? I think you could say, yes it is. That’s part of the mystery of the fire pits. Figuring out what is under his skin is part of that. But if you go back to issue two, when Superman is attacked by parademons, you can see in that artwork they’re doing something that looks technological. It is interesting to put those puzzle pieces together. Of course you also think about Brutaal, aka evil Superman.

What is going through Red Tornado/Lois Lane’s mind when she finds him?

It is a combination of fear and hope, and ripping the scab off an old wound. She has sort of come to terms with the death of Superman and her role moving forward as a hero. She sees this and is afraid she’ll lose him again, and hopeful maybe she found Clark Kent.

Favorite moment of issue five?

I really like the reveal of the Shackleton. That is worth studying! I won’t say anything else about that scene!

I happened to like Jimmy Olsen tapping on his computer with a “beep, beep, boop” sound effect ...

I love writing those. Did I tell you about my favorite explosion? I’m in Portland and am a Trail Blazers fan, and one of my favorite players is Nicholas Batum. You’ll notice throughout the series, there will be big explosions and it’ll say “Batuuuum,” which is what fans shout when he sinks a three-pointer. Batuuuum! It’s a pretty good explosion sound; you’ve got to be proud of a last name like that.

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