Nicola Scott has been spending a lot of time on another planet.
That’s because the DC Comics artist has spent the past two years as the primary penciler for the publisher’s “Earth 2” monthly. The New 52 title that lays claim to heroes like Green Lantern Alan Scott, Hawkgirl and Flash Jay Garrick has been put through its paces thanks to the earth-shattering influence of Darkseid’s hordes, but Scott sees a light at the end of the tunnel even as the world expands this October with the weekly “Earth 2: World’s End” series.
CBR News spoke with Scott about her work on the book, and the artist revealed that her run with writer Tom Taylor will continue on its own path when the weekly series arrives with a stronger focus on the heroic qualities of the broken world. But first, the pair have to deal with a murderous Superman, a missing Fury and an expansive cast of characters slowly realizing how horrible their lot really is.
Nicola Scott: I was on “Birds of Prey” for over two years, and I think that was the longest. This might end up rivaling it, but usually you’re on something for about a year and a half. But “Earth 2” never gets boring because there are so many people in the book and crazy things are happening all the time. It’s always interesting and never gets dull.
In the early phases, the series was so much about redesigning the classic Justice Society characters and establishing a look for the world. Lately, the book has shifted into being about that whole world going to hell. Has that changed your approach at all?
Yeah. We knew from the very beginning that the whole nature of Earth 2 was that it was going to be worse off than the regular universe just because it didn’t have the hero account. It won the first war, but that was at the expense of the primary superheroes. It was always going to be a bit scarred, and it was never going to fully recover. So that’s kind of been the point of the book ever since. It’s a world that’s under occupation, and it doesn’t quite know it yet. They’re just coming to terms with that fact and realizing they’re a little bit screwed. They’re asking, “What are we going to do about it?” which is why you see more and more superheroes popping up here and there.
So it’s always had that in the undercurrent, and from the very beginning there was a plan for a spinoff book that was about all that underground stuff. But as the book has developed and the ideas have come — well, you can have a lot of great ideas, but it takes time for things to really play out. Once that’s happened, you may find you like something in particular so other ideas get shelved for a while. The spinoff book has kind of been pushed back and pushed back, and now it’s going to be a weekly. Once the weekly is there, I think it’ll allow the primary book to feel a little more heroic. But then, I don’t actually know everything that’s happening with the weekly because they’re just about to nut it all out, and it’s not the book I’m working on either, so there’s only so much I have to know at any given stage.
The past few issues have been interesting because even though we lost the trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman at the very beginning, their presence is reasserting itself on the book in a major way.
Oh yeah. Absolutely.
And as we’ve seen a new Superman in a big way and a new Batman, has the conversation come back around to a Wonder Woman role?
Fury is on the planet somewhere and is Wonder Woman’s daughter. We’ve talked about a number of different ways she can be relevant. Because now that Steppenwolf is gone, who was essentially her master — she was corrupted by him — it frees her up some. But because the book has become so populated, the extra cast that’s come up in Tom’s run was originally meant for this spinoff book which has been pushed back a few months. So there are already a few too many people in there, but Fury is in there somewhere. And we really want at some point for our new Superman, our new Batman and she who will be our new Wonder Woman to find each other. Of course, they’re not all going to be on the same page. It’s going to blow up in their faces in some ways. It’s one of those things where the idea is there, but it’s going to take a moment to get to just because the story in front of us is going to take so long to do. And then there’s the next story and the next story. You don’t want to shoehorn her in as a side moment. You have to wait for it to happen, and it’ll be great when it does.
This has to be the first time two Australian creators have been working on an American superhero book at the same time. Do you meet up in person to discuss your plans?
It is! Tom and I met just over five years ago at a convention in Australia, and we bonded over the fact that we both loved classic DC heroes and said, “Wouldn’t it be great if we could work together one day?” It was completely serendipitous when it happened. James Robinson told me, “I’m going to be leaving the book soon, and it’s probably going to be this guy called Tom Taylor who’s taking over.” And I just thought, “Oh, that’s awesome!” [Laughs] I was really sad to see James go because he and I found ourselves working really well together, but when my editor told me, “We’ve got this guy taking over the book who’s also from Australia,” I said, “I know and I’m really excited!”
I had to e-mail Tom straightway and say, “They told me, and so now I’m officially allowed to know.” What Tom said was it was amazing because not only did we get to work together, but we were given our own planet. Now we just get to screw it up one devastation at a time.
We’ve seen the world of Earth 2 crossover with the main DCU a few times now in the New 52, but it’s been confined so far to books like “World’s Finest” and “Batman/Superman.” Have you two talked at all about bringing some of that over to “Earth 2?”
I have the vaguest idea of what’s coming during the weekly run. Dan [DiDio] discussed it with me back in October in its early stages. I know it’s evolved since then. There’s this writer’s summit that’s about to happen with the book where they’ll get down to the nitty gritty. I think there is a possibility that somewhere along the line, there will be not so much a crossover but some connections made that are looming. People feel that there are obvious connections there, and you’ll see some of that kicking in.
What’s in the immediate future for you, then? As you work on the regular series, do you think you’ll contribute anything to the weekly either in terms of pages or designs?
I don’t know about the weekly. I guess we’ll see when we get there! [Laughs] At the moment I’m drawing issue #25, which is our penultimate issue for this arc. It’s 30 pages, extra-sized, and it’s the lead up to the battle royale. I’m about halfway through that issue, and as we lead up to it, there’s a moment where you feel like maybe there’s something in this evil Superman that will redeem him. And then we’ll crush your dreams. [Laughter]
“Earth 2” #23 arrives this week from DC Comics. The weekly “Earth 2: World’s End” follows in October.