How do you rebuild a world without causing a World War?
That’s the question writer Daniel Wilson will be posing to readers when DC’s Earth 2 and the weekly series Earth 2: World’s End begat the new monthly series Earth 2: Society in June. Drawn by Jorge Jimenez Society will be one of the 24 new #1 issues, joining 25 continuing comics in the DC Universe.
Wilson sat down with Newsarama to tell us more about the new journey the surviving characters of World’s End will embark on, as they try to rebuild a new world, following the war with Apokolips that left so much of their world in ruins.
If the Robopocalypse writer knows anything, it’s how to destroy a world. But will rebuilding one be any different? How well can people - or in this case superheroes - work together to build something new? After you read the solicitation copy to June’s debut issue, Wilson tries to answer those questions.
"The survivors of Earth-2’s war with Apokolips find themselves on a new world, but can Green Lantern, Power Girl, a new Batman and the other heroes of Earth-2 create a new world that’s better than the last, or will their interference and good intentions doom this world, just like the old one?"
Newsarama: So Daniel, what should DC readers expect in Earth 2: Society?
Daniel Wilson: Earth 2: Society, well you know its going to be a change of tone from Earth 2: World’s End, that’s for sure, cause this is all about rebuilding – it’s about a new world and all of our heroes kind of deciding how they want to restart the society, and the theme that I’m letting pervade the whole series is, “Do you want to move forward or go back?” Are they going to try to recreate the world that they lost or are they going to adapt into a new world and forge a different world out of that? So, you to me it’s going to be a really cool theme that’s going to speak to all the characters throughout the entire series.
Nrama: Are there any specific characters that are going to go through major changes compared to other characters?
Wilson: All the characters are going to undergo changes, which I think is fundamental to writing characters; I don’t think it’s interesting unless they have an emotional arch. They’re all dealing with different issues, and all the issues they’re dealing with are related to this underlined theme, but I would say that Power Girl and Huntress are definitely going to have different perspectives on how to deal with this new world especially because in Earth 2: World’s End … actually, maybe I better not talk about that.
Nrama: Do you have a favorite character that you’re really looking forward to diving into?
Wilson: Yeah, so I’m going to be carrying over all these characters that I’ve explored in World’s End and a lot of them have evolved. In particular I’ve loved doing Mister Terrific, he’s one of my favorites but also Jimmy Olsen. He’s going to make some pretty serious changes and he’s already has. I’ve also had a lot of fun exploring the mythology behind Mother Boxes; what they mean, what they want and what it means for one to choose you, and they even procreate in World’s End!
I guess that sounds gross, no one wants to think of procreation as mother. Yeah but Jimmy Olsen has kind of made a transformation into something new, he’s been elevated into maybe god. Nobody is sure really, and he’s going to continue transforming so I’m really looking forward to seeing who he becomes in Society, because in a way he’s kind of a character that I feel more ownership over because he has changed so much.
Nrama: So did you come to DC with this idea, or did DC come to you?
Wilson: So originally DC approached me for World’s End, and I think that’s because I wrote Robopocalypse where I destroyed the world, which left me well suited to destroy it again, but this was very organic.
I pitched Earth 2: Society and wanted to stick to the same characters, having come into the comic book world writing 26-issue weekly series that was pretty intense, I was looking forward to one artist, one issue a month, and really being able to think everything out and really have a lot more control over what’s going on. And so it was a conversation between DC and me, where to take those characters and what to do next
Nrama: Yeah, so a monthly gig is definitely going to be easier on you.
Wilson: Yeah, it’ll slow everything down a little bit.
Nrama: That would definitely allow you more time, freedom and more space to explore the characters more.
Wilson: Yeah, absolutely, but at the end of the day it’s going to be an ensemble cast.
I’m not dealing with a title that has only one main character, I’m kind of like a kid at the candy store a bit, cause I have a lot of different players I can play with so what I’m going to try to do this time is I really want this theme to move forward or move back to being about the identity of the series, and this way I can explore different characters each month. So yeah I want to cover a lot of ground; things got very complicated in World’s End but it was weekly, but in this case, I’m going to go a bit deeper and explore the characters a bit more detailed.
Nrama: Do you get any inspiration from comics or TV series that have the ensemble cast and the power to get into characters a lot more?
Wilson: You know Lost has come up a lot, we’ve been talking a lot about Lost with my editor Mike Cotton and so Lost is really interesting because it shows you something in present and then it jumps back and then shows you all that backstory. It’s really character driven and you learn a lot about specific characters and it will kind of explain what’s going on, so we’re going to do a version of that. I think that’s going to be the structure of the issue; there’s going to be some jumping - we jump to the future and then we’re going to explain how we got there. It’s fun because it sets up an implicit mystery the first few pages and then you really get into it and get to know these characters, and really see what they went through to make them change.
Nrama: How excited are you to do this and be a part of DC’s conversion, also being able to start fresh?
Wilson: Well yeah my characters are alive and they’re continuing they’re adventures in another series, so I’m super excited to continue their stories. I have a lot invested with the 26 issues, 20 pages an issue, double issues - it’s a lot of pages, and a lot of thinking of these characters and their interactions and technology they use and the schemes they’re making to survive. I’m super excited to continue that because they are alive in my head and its also super exciting to put them in a situation that has more of a hopeful tone in terms of rebuilding instead of trying not to go extinct. They’re not backed up against a wall; now they have an open field, they can do anything they want. It’s an equally hard problem they have to solve, how to rebuild a society without failing into war, but there will be more room for fun.
Obviously there’s got to be some grieving and there’s got to be some lessons learned. They’ve lost their planet, vast majority of the population is gone, so from a nerdy science perspective it’s actually pretty interesting to think about how they rebuild a civilization, especially if you have really advanced technology and meta humans, a huge advantage for these people because they’re really strong and smart. What would we do if we had Power Girl build a skyscraper for a day? How would it change society? It’s really fun to consider that kind of stuff from a nerdy armchair anthropology perspective.
Nrama: Do you believe this is a trending theme? Lately, it seems there have been more spin-offs shows exploring the subject of rebuilding from new.
Wilson: I think right now there’s a never-before-seen amount of content that’s coming out, so every new piece of content, every new world has to have world-building, whether it’s literally the theme of building something new or whether it’s the introduction of a new show, you have an unprecedented amount of world-building occurring. It’s something I love to do; it’s a balancing act cause world-building in a way, in its worst expression can be exposition and it could be someone telling you and that could be really boring. You want to see people go through it physically. What does it mean to try to rebuild a city, and emotionally what kind of toll does it take on people? Everyone has different ideas, it’s kind of a miracle that human beings formed together into civilization and we help each other, and our natural instinct is to come together protect ourselves from the environment and build cities.
If you look at history there’s a natural order of how this happens and there’s a lot of world fare, and so now we’re looking at an unnatural version of that. I love science fiction, I love reading science fiction novels and short stories and a large part of sci-fi is the colonizing of the stars, and there is an element of that here. Colonizing a new planet.
Nrama: Will there be a lot of warfare in Society?
Wilson: That’s all going to be wrapped up in the themes I want to cover. Part of my history and part of my experience is I’m a Cherokee citizen and I grew up in Oklahoma in the Cherokee nation, and I really was interested in the colonization theme. What it means to show up to a planet that may already have indigenous life, and how are you any different from apocalypse if you show up to this place and you try to remake the world you came from cause you’re not on the world you came from. So are you going to burn it down, pave it over and turn it into something you want it to be and ignore what is, or are you going to adapt to the place and work together with what’s already there in order to build something new and strong? I think that’s the ideological spilt our characters are going to face and that is going to cause conflict.
Nrama: June: 49 books. As a reader what are you most looking forward to reading?
Wilson: I’m really looking forward to Cyborg, I’m a robot guy. I love the sci-fi elements of Sinestro and the Green Lantern series also.