It's unclear exactly where he ranks in terms of the world's smartest people, but Daniel H. Wilson certainly doesn't seem out of place writing Michael Holt in "Earth 2: Futures End" #1.
Considered the world's third smartest person, Mister Terrific is heavily featured in Wilson's superhero debut, "Earth 2: Futures End" #1, which is a tie-in to DC Comics' ongoing weekly series, "Futures End." The one-shot also serves a lead-in to "Earth 2: World's End," a new weekly series set to launch October 8 with Wilson at the helm.
Wilson, a 36 year-old robotics engineer, wrote the New York Times best-selling novel, "Robopocalypse," which Steven Spielberg has been circling for the past few years as a potential directing project. Earlier this year, Wilson released its sequel "Robogenesis," and is currently writing the upcoming weekly series "Earth 2: World's End" for DC Comics with Marguerite Bennett and Mike Johnson.
Wilson recently shared with CBR News that Michael Holt and the original Mister Terrific, Terry Sloan, will definitely team up in the weekly series, which is welcome news considering the highly intense interactions the two endured in the climatic pages of "Earth 2: Futures End" #1.
Wilson also shared his thoughts on weaponry, technology, xenophobia and genocide in the New 52 and lighter fare as well, including boom spheres, doppelgangers and the highly unusual quadruple cross.
CBR News: I know this is a heady way to start doesn't sit entirely in your wheelhouse as a robotics engineer, but how does a boom sphere work?
Daniel H. Wilson: It's a sustained boom tube the size of a T-sphere. Each boom sphere teleports whatever it touches to the next one, and together they can chew through just about anything. But don't ask me how a boom tube works.
Okay. There is an awesome line in "Earth 2: Futures End" #1, which I assume was tongue-in-cheek, right at the beginning of the issue when Sonia Sato asks Michael Holt, "Who doesn't want a weapon capable of killing a god?" I don't want to get into a debate about gun control, but do you think we have arrived at a time in our collective history when, yes, most members of the general populace wouldn't mind having a little extra "boom" at their fingertips?
I think boom spheres might be overkill for the general human populace. But there is a difference between writing mortal human characters and nearly invincible New God characters. In "Earth 2: World's End," we take some time to explore the boundary between humans and gods -- including considering whether a regular person with enough technology could be elevated to the level of a god.
Along that same line, at the close of the one-shot, Sonia reminds Michael that he said technology changes us. Do you agree? And do you agree with the response that Michael gives that in this timeline -- yes, it could change ordinary, everyday citizens into heroes?
At the most basic level, technology amplifies our ability to do good or evil. Our decisions mean more when we have the power to destroy the planet or save it. And so, yes, I do believe that technology could turn regular people into heroes... or villains.
We see Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen in "Earth 2: Futures End" #1, but for readers who might be unfamiliar with current DCU continuity, they might not recognize the long-time Daily Planet characters as they are featured here. What can you share about their updated status and will see more of them in "Earth 2: World's End?"
You're right. There have been some significant changes to those two characters. During the "Earth 2" series, Lois Lane's mind was transferred into the body of a robot called Red Tornado. Meanwhile, Jimmy Olsen was a boy genius and part of a quasi-criminal hacking syndicate called Accountable. Both have major roles to play in "Earth 2: World's End," and both have undergone serious transformations.
I was also looking ahead to the solicitations for the first eight issues of your upcoming weekly series and didn't read any mentions of Michael Holt. Does he play a role in the series? If this one-shot is any indication, he's a character you certainly have an affinity for writing.
Michael Holt shows up in most issues of "Earth 2: World's End." As one of the smartest people on the planet, he is captured and put to work by Bedlam along with Terry Sloan and Mister Miracle. After Bedlam is dealt with, this motley crew of brainiacs ends up as a team -- and they put their minds to use saving the world.
While "Earth 2: Future's End" is set squarely in the New 52, you didn't really get a crack at writing any traditional superhero action in your first full issue as comic book writer. What does having a character like Michael Holt -- long-regarded as the third smartest person in the DC Universe -- allow you to do in terms of storytelling as opposed to the ZAP! BOOM! POW! of most mainstream superhero comics?
I love writing both sides: real people with real-sized problems -- like getting punched in the face -- or superheroes who have the kind of family drama that can shatter worlds. In the upcoming weekly series, there is more than enough superhero action to go around. I mean, planets will literally be shattered. And the contrast between the levels of action is stark. One of my favorite moments is when Mister Terrific and Sandman just give each other a holy mackerel look when they see real gods fighting.
In "Earth 2: Futures End" #1, Michael faces off against not one but two Terry Sloans? I don't want to spoil the ending but what could possibly go wrong when two versions of the same morally deficient character strike a deal?
What comes after a double cross? A triple cross? Quadruple? I wouldn't put anything past multiple Terry Sloans.
As you highlighted in the story, a mass exodus from one war-ravaged planet to another creates a very real-world dynamic of xenophobia and genocide. In preparation for this issue and the weekly "Earth 2: World's End," did you investigate any current events or historical conflicts for inspiration?
There have been immigration debates occurring worldwide, constantly, since forever. So unfortunately, there was plenty of real-world precedent to draw inspiration from. The fascinating twist, however, is that in many cases the immigrants are near exact duplicates of people already on Earth. How do you turn away or discriminate against yourself?
We are less than a month away from the launch of "Earth 2: World's End" but you have no doubt been working on the story for some time. How have you been enjoying the process and collaboration and how different is it to working on a novel, which I would guess is a more solitary exercise?
Writing comics involves actually interacting with other human beings, which is a nice change from writing novels. Marguerite Bennett and Mike Johnson have been great to write with, and we've gotten a lot of help from editors Mike Cotton, Eddie Berganza and Rickey Purdin on a weekly basis. And one of the best parts is getting a daily blitz of e-mails with amazing artwork from Scott McDaniels, Phil Jimenez, Eddy Barrows and all the artists working on the weekly. It's instant gratification, watching the scripts go to art.
Like the Fresh Prince, the world of Earth 2 was flipped-turned upside down by the forces of Apokolips. What can you tell us about how the story in "Earth 2: World's End" opens and what is the status of the iconic characters like Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and The Flash of Earth 2?
"Earth 2: World's End" starts with a double issue, for the regular price, that provides a recap of everything that's already happened in the "Earth 2" monthly. In #1, we catch up and then jump right into "World's End" with our familiar characters and some great new faces like Power Girl and Huntress. It was especially exciting to see how Kara and Helena changed the group dynamic with Val, Lois, and Thomas Wayne. It is a family reunion, but with more punches thrown -- depending on your family, I guess.
"Earth 2: Futures End" #1 is on sale now; "Earth 2: World's End" begins October 8.