Writer Dan Abnett hopes that his and artist Bruno Redondo's revamp of the Earth 2: Society title gives readers the best of both worlds - the same characters they know and love, but without all the negative baggage, as they're placed instead in a fresh, new world with the potential for what Abnett calls the "sense of wonder and hope that we associate with Earth 2."
In October's Earth 2: Society #17, the old Earth 2 has been what Abnett calls "erased," and in its place is something new. But the main characters of Earth 2 - Flash, Fury, Red Tornado, Dick Grayson Batman and his son Jon, Huntress, Supergirl, Val-Zod, and Hawkgirl - all have their memories and appear to be starting over on the new world.
Abnett, who's also writing Aquaman and Titans for DC, has been on the Earth 2: Society title since before the "Rebirth" initiative began in June, but he said he's been working toward this revamp so it took place in a way that would resolve all the former stories for these characters.
Now they can start fresh in November with Earth 2: Society #18, although there are a few mysteries already arising on the new world. Newsarama talked to Abnett to find out more about the restart for Earth 2 and what readers can expect next.
Newsarama: Dan, in the last issue of Earth 2: Society, you basically destroyed the whole world. Is this a restart for the book?
Dan Abnett: Yes, it's a major new departure from the way things have been in the past.
Nrama: So this is a new start?
Abnett: It's a very new start.
Nrama: But only for the world. Not for the characters. Right?
Abnett: Yes, the key Earth 2 characters that we love carry over, but the world has changed. And that's where we're starting from. And it's a very dramatic start to the next chapter.
Nrama: Dan, you've been on the title for a while, so it's unique to do a revamp several issues into your run. Did you want to kind of work your way toward this in the story?
Abnett: Yes, exactly. I was asked to take on Earth 2: Society around, I believe, issue #8. And Earth 2 obviously has had some tremendously good stories over the years, but there had come a point where, even though the stories were good, they were becoming too apocalyptic. Everything was the end of the world.
I think there was sort of a pattern of fatigue, because every Earth 2 story ended with something catastrophic happening, and there wasn't that sense of wonder and hope that we associate with Earth 2 and those characters.
I was asked to come onto the book to almost kind of save the book - they had been put into such a state, essentially cast away on this imperfect world with very low resources and everything was terrible.
And really, it's taken this number of issues - it's taken two story arcs - to turn that around, by doing stuff that addressed that head on.
Nrama: So the Ultra-Humanite storyline was all meant to lead up to this revamp of the book?
Abnett: Yes. It gave us this wild and crazy opportunity to remake the world using this Pandora Casket, which contains the memories of the worlds that they've lost. The Ultra-Humanite wanted to get ahold of that, because it would give him control of the world. And at the end of Earth 2: Society #16, in very shocking fashion and in a desperate attempt to stop him, Fury opened the Casket herself, without any sort of guidance or control. And the entire comic went white.
But the whole issue blacked out.
So issue #17 is, "What the hell's happened?" And we're starting again.
Nrama: So you've erased the world, but it looks like the world is going to sort of reboot to become something else - something that's just an outline right now. Is that a correct interpretation? Has the world been erased?
Abnett: Well, we don't know exactly what's happening yet, but it's true that we've erased the world - not in a "destroyed the world" sense, but this mystical thing has happened.
Nrama: And all the core heroes have survived this?
Abnett: Yeah, it's the core ones. It's Dick Grayson Batman, it's Huntress, Supergirl, Red Tornado, Flash, Val-Zod Superman, Fury, Hawkgirl - and also, Dick Grayson's son Jon, who appeared in the last story arc, who has finally found him again and is now with him. So he's sort of got a "boy wonder" with him, although he's not called Robin. But he's got his son as a sort of teenage sidekick.
So we've got almost all the key characters there.
And you saw in issue #17 that there's something very creepy going on.
Nrama: With the Sandman attack.
Abnett: Yes, in this ghostly world, they realized in issue #17 that they're being watched. And these strange figures who are sort of watching them from the misty shadows all appear to be Sandmen. They all appear to be Dodds - the classic gas mask Sandman.
They have no idea why their former friend and ally should be a sinister presence. At once point, Power Girl is grabbed by one of the Sandmen and pulled in through one of these sort of windows, and on the other side of the window, she's in a fully colored, finished room, as if the world on the inside of the room is completely finished and the world on the outside isn't.
And she fights them off and is thrown back outside, and then when they go and try to find it, they can't get back into it. They can walk around the wall, like it's a stage set, but there's nothing on the other side of it.
So all these very creep mysteries are to be solved as the story goes on.
Nrama: Can you tease what happens next?
Abnett: Well, our heroes have got to figure that mystery out, and they've got to figure out what is happening, and they've got to work together.
It's almost like we've thrown the comic away and we've opened a new comic that is simply full of empty panels. And we've taken the heroes and put them in it and said "make a world out of this."
There's a sort of meta thing going on with this, as they figure out what state this world is in, even if it's a finished world.
But if it is a finished world, it's going to be closer to the ones they've lost - the genuine Earth 2, rather than the makeshift Earth 2s they've seen.
Nrama: That should make fans happy, I think. Have you heard chatter about this? Have you thought about what the Earth 2 fanbase wants?
Abnett: The Earth 2 fanbase reminds me of the Legion fanbase, actually, in as much as they're particularly loyal and determined and - what's the word? - Earth 2 fans really want Earth 2 to be right.
Nrama: They're rooting for you.
Abnett: They're rooting for it, yes. I couldn't just simply come on board on issue #7 and say, "All right, I'm throwing all that out and starting again." I think that would have done a huge disservice to the storylines that were building. So I had to see those storylines through and find dramatic and interesting ways of dealing with them.
But all the way through, I was looking at the message boards and the forums and the things people were saying, and yes, I noticed the sort of things they wanted to see and the sort of things they hated seeing, and the sort of things they wanted to see resolved.
But I haven't simply pandered to that, because I've taken that as fodder and found a way of telling a story that I think will please them - not that it will please everybody. But I think a lot of the key things people have said, like, "I wish Earth 2 had more of X in it now," I think they're going to see that. So hopefully I've listened to what the readership said.