Although nobody's quite sure what's going to happen in DC's October-launching weekly Earth 2: World's End — or what's coming when it and other DC weeklies end by April 2015 — but one thing is a leading possibility: A war involving Prime Earth and Earth 2.
We've already been told that The New 52: Futures End is set five years in the future, when the DC Universe is reeling in the aftermath of a battle with another Earth.
We also know, according to Newsarama's interview with DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio, that Earth 2: World's End "will be set in the current DCU timeline" and "will have direct implications on what's happening with the five years later storyline."
Although Futures End depicts what DiDio calls a "possible future," Newsarama has detailed a long list of clues that point toward Prime Earth and Earth 2 being involved in a war between worlds.
(To be clear, "Prime Earth" is the Dan DiDio Facebook page-assigned name for the current, main New 52 Earth — not to be confused with the "Earth Prime" that is going to play a central role in Grant Morrison's Multiversity. Earth Prime is the real world — our Earth, where superheroes are only in the comic books — while Prime Earth is the one inside the New 52 comics.)
According to Newsarama's interview with Keith Giffen and Dan Jurgens, the "Earth 2 war thing" (as they called it) was devised by the writers of The New 52: Futures End, originally conceived as an event in the past of the "five years later" timeframe.
But the idea apparently took shape in other corners of the DCU, and became a threat looming in the future of the current-day Prime Earth. And it seems to be an important part of what happens in Earth 2 World's End — whether that series is a precursor to the "possible" war, or depicts the war itself.
We'd be remiss if we didn't point out that Prime Earth is currently involved in a war with a few superpowered villains from Earth 3. The end of that battle will be depicted in Forever Evil #7, set to ship later this month.
So what would lead to a war with Earth 2? Or at the very least, a war involving Earth 2 and Prime Earth?
Newsarama takes a look at the key players involved in what might lead to a war between worlds:
Huntress and Power Girl
Although they are originally from Earth 2, Huntress and Power Girl are now on Prime Earth, trapped there for several years, ever since they were mysteriously transported to the alternate earth during a battle with Darkseid's forces on their home world.
In the last few months, during the "First Contact" crossover between Worlds' Finest and Batman/Superman, the two women teamed up with the Batman and Superman from Prime Earth, and the group discovered a portal between Prime Earth and Earth 2.
Although they didn't use the portal while it was open, Huntress and Power Girl now seem determined to recreate the devise and go back to their home world.
But perhaps even more important to the future of the DCU was a scene where Power Girl actually talked across the portal to Earth 2 Superman. And it was revealed that Earth 2 Superman wants Power Girl back on Earth 2.
As readers of Earth 2 know, the Superman of that alternate Earth is evil now, working for Darkseid to kill and enslave the people of that planet.
Why would evil Earth 2 Superman want Power Girl back on Earth 2? Why would he want it badly enough to devise a plan and talk to her through the portal?
She would surely oppose his efforts to rule. What would he gain by bringing her home? The answer to that question may be important to the plotline in World's End.
We already know that Huntress and Power Girl are part of the Earth 2: World's End weekly series. Not only is Worlds' Finest writer Paul Levitz part of the weekly's writing team, but the two characters are featured prominently in the Ben Oliver image that DC released as a teaser when they announced the weekly series.
The teaser image shows Earth 2's New Batman (Thomas Wayne) holding the limp body of Huntress (his granddaughter). Power Girl is being held by Earth-2's New Superman (the recently introduced lost Kryptonian Val-Zod).
So whatever is coming in Earth 2: World's End relies heavily on these two characters, and if evil Superman wants Power Girl back, could these two characters' return hold the key to the war between worlds that looms on the horizon of the DCU?
While there are no clear signs that Superman and Wonder Woman's relationship might caught the end of the world (or Earth 2) as we know it, their relationship began with a warning from the future — that their union would have disastrous results.
The last time Booster Gold appeared — in 2012's Justice League International Annual #1 — the hero was visited by an older version of himself, who had time-traveled from the future. He warned the younger, then-current version of Booster that the relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman would have dire consequences.
But seconds later, as Wonder Woman and Superman kissed for the first time, young Booster and old Booster both faded from existence — implying their future had somehow been erased by the superhero romance.
DC readers haven't seen the hero since that disappearance — except a brief, guest appearance in All-Star Western that was unclear about where he'd come from.
However, according to the Futures End teaser image, Booster Gold is making a comeback in the weekly — and is also getting his own title in September, which ties into the "Five Years Later" theme of Futures End. The issue is written by Booster creator and Futures End co-writer Dan Jurgens.
The fact that Booster disappeared when the super-couple kissed, ad he reappears after the war between worlds leads to the question: Could the two things be related? Could the relationship between Superman and Wonder Woman have something to do with the war between worlds?
It's clear that Earth 2's new Superman (Val-Zod) and new Batman (Thomas Wayne) are playing lead roles in the World's End weekly series, since they're pictured on the teaser image that DC released.
But if there's a war that involves both Earth 2 and Prime Earth, it's important to note that the Batman and Superman of the Prime Earth would be leading candidates for the conflict. Not only have they traveled between Earth 2 and their own earth (depicted in the first New 52 storyline in Batman/Superman), but the pair now remember that travel (as we just saw in recent issues).
Their awareness of the other earth — and their memories of having visited — may not directly cause a battle, but it would most certainly be important to any conflict that might arise. We would expect that, after their interaction with Earth 2 Huntress and Power Girl, the Prime Earth versions of Superman and Batman would take part in either a "possible" war, or the timeline-altering peace that might result.
Ever since Mister Terrific's solo title ended, the hero has been appearing in the Earth 2 monthly series. And currently in that book, he's in dire straights — he and other heroes are under mind control, helping those devoted to Darkseid to create a boom tube big enough to transport Earth to Apokolips.
But in Futures End, which takes place five years in the future, Mister Terrific is alive and well on Prime Earth. However, he's also being blamed in that weekly series for something bad that happens a full 35 years in the future — the takeover of Prime Earth by a machine called Brother Eye.
According to Futures End, Mister Terrific helped Batman invent Brother Eye (two years ago, because five years in the future, it's "seven years too late"). And then 35 years in the future, Brother Eye is going to try to bring order to the world by turning everyone into machines.
It all seems tied to the "TerrifiTech" slogan shown in Futures End #1: "The Future is Now. The Future is U."
But the main thing to take away from all these crazy plotlines is… Genius Mister Terrific is creating scary stuff on both Prime Earth and Earth 2. And while we're at it, genius Mister Terrific is one of very few people who have traveled back and forth from Prime Earth to Earth 2.
While it's not clear what role he might play in a war between the two Earths, it's likely that he's involved. And the fact that he's on Prime Earth in the future, after having been on Earth 2 in the current-day, doesn't bode well for the folks on Earth 2.
It's also worth noting that, if Brother Eye is yet to be invented, it's possible that Batman and Mister Terrific create the machine in an effort to stop the war between worlds, or assist one side or another. And that seems to tie into the war in a big way.
Brother Eye's "New" Programmer
It's clear that Brother Eye plays a role in the dystopian, 35-year-from-now, distant future of the DCU. But is it Batman and Mister Terrific's fault that the villainous satellite turns evil?
And is it possible the satellite is already mucking around with the DCU?
A couple years ago, Newsarama pointed out that a mysterious — and boisterous — threat had apparently taken over the programming of Brother Eye in Justice League #12 and JLI Annual #1.
In the JLI Annual, we got confirmation that Brother Eye was originally programmed by Batman (although now it seems that Mister Terrific was also involved). But Brother Eye's "new" programmer was clearly targeting Batman and the Justice League in those stories. By voicing himself through O.M.A.C., this new "programmer" called himself the "future," and he implied that the Justice League was fighting with each other (which they were, as depicted in "Trinity War").
At the time, it seemed like Brother Eye was being set up as a major threat for the future of the Justice League. But who is the "new programmer?" Max Lord, who was a villain in the O.M.A.C. story? Or could it be A.R.G.U.S. (since Booster Gold was wearing an A.R.G.U.S. patch when he came back from the future)? Or could it be someone else?
And could the war between worlds be the first thing that Brother Eye manipulates to take over the world?
The teaser image for Earth 2: World's End also shows Apokolips in the background. There've been a slew of hints about Darkseid and Apokolips being important to the future of both Prime Earth and Earth 2.
On Prime Earth, we've been told that Darkseid plays a role in the Robin Rising: Omega one-shot in July, and its follow-up story in Batman and Robin. According to the writer of those comics, Peter Tomasi, the Robin-centric story will tie-in to Apokolips in a way that "will most definitely reverberate within the DCU."
And on Earth 2, Parademons have already killed countless heroes, and Darkseid's attack five years ago is credited with killing Earth 2's Wonder Woman and Batman. Currently, Darkseid is wreaking havoc across the planet, by sending Earth 2's brainwashed, now-turned-evil Superman to kill and subjugate the population.
We know that Darkseid is aware of the multiverse. He's been shown attacking various alternate Earths throughout the multiverse, supposedly looking for different versions of Superman that he can enslave (and we know he succeeded, so far, in brainwashing Superman of Earth 2 to do his bidding).
As DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio told Newsarama, Darkseid and the New Gods "are what we call a singularity — a single form within all of the multiverse. So while you have multiple interpretations of every other character in these other dimensions and other worlds, the New Gods — there's only one version of the New Gods, and they exist across all planes."
Since Apokolips exists apart from any one universe, it would presumably not be damaged by a war between two alternate earths — meaning such a war would be child's play for Darkseid.
From all these clues, we find ourselves speculating that the inclusion of Apokolips on the teaser image for World's End means Apokolips — and most likely, Darkseid himself — will be involved in the "battle with another Earth" that looms in DC's "possible" future.