Earth 2: World's End #10: Darkseid Rises

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.

In this week's deep dive of the series, a radically altered Huntress emerges to torment our heroes following her transformation at the hands of Desaad. Plus, we find out which character is "dead-dead," and Daniel Wilson explores some editorial snafus and an accidental tease. But, as if we didn't emphasize it enough with the headline, Darkseid is back!

Based on the cover, it would suggest Darkseid has returned! But before we get to him, we have a moment with Clark, Batman and the furious Huntress. Clark says Desaad “sought out a Kryptonian, an Amazonian ... and revived us.” It was a shocker that Clark was held for five years. So does that mean Diana is out there?

You’re right! That’s intimating something about, potentially, Wonder Woman. But that’s not really something we explore. That’s Marguerite Bennett’s dialogue, and she’s definitely kind of teasing something, some possibility. But that’s not something we’re exploring in this series. Sorry!

Huntress Fury has been radically altered by Desaad. Is she one of the top four Furies now? 

Yeah, Helena has been converted into the fourth Fury of Apokolips, which isn’t a good thing for the Avatars. I don’t know that we really give her a Fury name.

She’s just the Fury formerly known as the Huntress ...

Yeah, there is this symbol we have that’s going to represent her name from now on! [laughs]

How much of a threat does she pose when you’re dealing with someone who used to be your loved one, but looks clearly like she no longer is.

It puts the other heroes in a tough position, because they don’t want to kill her, but she certainly wants to kill them. They have to pull their punches on her. You see they don’t all just take her down; they leave it to Kara, because she has the biggest relationship with Helena. It is up to her to figure out how to deal with this new transformation.

We’re told Kara knows what she is doing, and the heroes take off for Desaad. But does she know what she’s doing? 

She does. She is trying to protect Clark, because he’s really vulnerable, and Batman too. So her first goal is to get them safe. The second goal, because she trusts in her relationship with Helena, is to find a way to find anything left of her in there. 

Is there any going back from being a Fury? We saw Famine defeated, but no one has really given a thought to her getting transformed back into a previous self.

Well, that’s not entirely true. We have seen already that Doctor Fate was able to take away Famine’s power. She shrunk down from being that gorged monster. We have sort of seen Famine get her powers taken away from her but not get killed, so there is some hope for Helena. There is a lot more to learn about the Furies, where they’re from, and why they ended up the way they are. Learning about them is going to be instrumental in defeating them. 

After a few teases, is Barbara Gordon dead? As in, dead-dead?

Yeah, dead-dead. I already got a tweet accusing me of putting her in the refrigerator [read up on the Women in Refrigerators trope here] to progress Dick Grayson along to being a hero. I’m like, “Yeah, but did you not see what we just did with Clark?” He has also had his powers taken away to help Lois progress. We are putting everyone in a refrigerator here. Especially in a title called “World’s End,” everybody is sacrificing regardless of their gender. Every time somebody dies, it has the potential to turn someone into a hero.

In Earth-1, Dick Grayson experiences tragedy at a young age but channels his rage through training and discipline under Bruce. What kind of hero can we expect from a man who experiences this at a later stage of his life?

The traumatic event is what forges a person into the hero. Based on the tragic event, that’s what gives the hero momentum. He has seen the worst side of humanity in a crisis. He is not seeing the neighbors pitching in to rebuild. He has had enough, and is much more of a ground-level crime-fighting type of hero in that he is not going to tolerate those exploiting others in a crisis. We’ve introduced Ted Grant, so he has an obvious mentor character to travel with and help him not give in to despair in this moment where he’s lost his wife and pushed his son on a train. There is a tidal wave coming, and this would be a great moment for him to lay down and die, but we’ll see a different path for him.

Why doesn’t Grayson just get on the train?

I know. I missed it in the art; I didn’t notice the train didn’t look very full. The way it’s written is the train is completely packed and there is no way for him to get on. The way it’s drawn, it is my fault, Brainwave is standing there with his hands in his pockets during this catastrophe. There is no urgency. That’s not what I was going for with that scene. Unfortunately, I didn’t notice. I was reading it and was like, “Oh, s***.” Why didn’t he just get on the train? Part of it has to do with his wife’s body, but it’s really just one of those palm-to-your-forehead moments.

Constantine gets involved, saves the day sort of, then just gives away Dick Grayson’s child and takes off. That’s classic Constantine.

This is totally appropriate for his character. It is kind of a jerk move. And now Dick’s fate is intertwined with these defrosted characters. We’ll see more of Dick trying to find his son. Brainwave, Obsidian and Jonni are going to come back into this and we’ll see how what they’re up to, and how they’re trying to save their hides.

Let’s get to Apokolips. At the Court of Apokolips, Lowest mentions they’ve detected a spacecraft. So, they know the humans are there?

They know they’ve been infiltrated. Of course, Miracle announced his presence somewhat when he fought Paternus. But they don’t know what to do. The court has been in disarray without their leader, but you’ll find a lot of this is all part of the plan.

This leads to a rare funny moment where Khan wonders if they’ve “been thwarted for so long that we can no longer recognize success.” Then we get a beat with Terrific, Khan and Sandman saying, “I’m thinking No,” “No,” “Uh-uh.”

That’s one of my favorite moments in the series, actually -- in this issue for sure. That was one of my little bits. 

They just seem to know they’ve been screwed and are about to get screwed big time.

They kind of always feel that way. 

Aside from the cover, this is the first time we see Darkseid in this series. Was it special taking on this character?

Definitely. He is the biggest bad guy of all. The gods in general are my favorite characters. I am just really excited to write them, because they are singular. They are unique across all universes. You aren’t sitting with a ton of incarnations with various backstories that are kind of similar, but different. These guys are the real deal, especially Darkseid. We re-invented the Court of Apokolips for this because we wanted to make it more furious. These bad guys should be really scary and maybe not as theatrical as they’ve been portrayed in the past. Bringing Darkseid in as the big bad guy, I wanted to make sure he doesn’t talk a lot. He is really calm, collected. He is the Hannibal Lecter of this whole thing. I made sure to treat him with respect; I don’t think he speaks to a human this entire series. He wouldn’t lower himself to that.

He is a large, foreboding character, but you introduce him in this quiet Lotus Position. Is a quiet, passive Darkseid the most dangerous Darkseid?

Yeah. You can tell he is waiting for something. He is sitting there waiting for Miracle to get more and more angry. That’s why I love the panel where you see the slightest change, where he smiles a little bit. You realize he is listening, not asleep or unconscious. He is listening and waiting, and in a lot of ways, that’s the scariest Darkseid. This is Issue 10, and we’ve got 16 more to go. Now he is a player. Things are naturally going to get more intense. It is fun to go into it a little slow. Take your time, get into it, get a good look at him. You’re getting a few seconds to look at the velociraptors while they’re inside the cage before all hell breaks loose.

Meanwhile, Miracle is losing it like a petulant child. He is losing all godlike stature and is acting human. Has he been influenced by the humans?

He is trying to figure out what side to fight on. He is trying to figure out whether to fight for humans, for what he considers his family on Apokolips or -- now that his definition of family has expanded to include High Father -- maybe he should fight for New Genesis. He doesn’t know. What he is seeing on Earth is people are fighting for their families. They love each other, even when things are going wrong. Yeah, he is comparing that to his experience with his own family and is questioning who he should fight for. He just wants one tiny sign from Darkseid that he values him as a son, and he’s not getting it. And Darkseid is allowing him to get more and more angry, hoping he’ll lash out and use the Boom Spheres to set him free. Ultimately Miracle’s rage builds to a point where, in trying to kill his father, sets him free. 

On any level, do you think Darkseid approves of Miracle doing something? Miracle does step up and takes action, even if doesn’t work out the way he expected.

I think so, but what’s different between family relationships between gods and people is that the gods will always be rivals. He’ll always look at his son as a potential usurper, so he’s always thinking about whether he is stronger or weaker than his son. There is pride, but he would never show it. That would be a weakness. We get more into that relationship in the next issue, and explore a couple interesting angles between Darkseid and Miracle.

Another bit that amused me in this issue is when Fury summons the humans then says, “Our humans are here …”

Like she got a couple pizzas, carrying them under her arms. She is on another level from the humans and definitely shows it in how she acts around them. Seeing the humans on Apokolips was fun. We start to realize Michael Holt and Terry Sloan are bridges between humanity and the gods, and are studying the gods. They are learning about Apokolips and trying to figure out the technological underpinnings about what the gods can do. That’s something to watch that will unfold more, and interesting to watch how these men decide to use this knowledge. 

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