DC’s New 52 panel at Emerald City Comic Con was a great time with a ton of spectacular creators delving into their current works and what we have to look forward to in the near future. There was a lot of information to go around, so let’s dive right in! (Also please note there are many, many spoilers below the jump.)
Batman #18 will focus on Harper Rowe and more of the fallout of Damian’s death. #19 and #20 are Snyder’s “homage to the animated Series.” Issue #21 will kick off a very big storyline in which Snyder promises, “you’ve never seen Gotham the way you’ll see it in this book.”
Batman: The Dark Knight
In another issue dealing with the ramifications of his son’s death, B:TDK #18 will have Bruce making a huge life changing decision so big that “DC almost told us we couldn’t do it.”
Issue #19 is something Gail Simone says “do not miss,” as it’s the culmination of a story arc two years in the making. #20 will bring in the New 52’s Ventriloquist. This Ventriloquist is female and as you can see from the art, TERRIFYING. Simone said “she scares me just writing her.”
I loved what Kyle Higgins had to say about Nightwing. We knew Dick Grayson would be going to Chicago, that’ll happen after a “twist” at the end of #18. Whatever sends him to Chicago will be part of a “specific and personal story.”
When he gets there, Higgins describes Chicago as a city that doesn’t want Nightwing there. Higgins wants to build a mythos around Chicago as a mysterious city without a superhero of its own before Nightwing and is “looking to world build.” He called this the start of an “opus Nightwing story.”
Moving forward, we’ll see a lot more information about the way the Court of Owls operates, including a meeting with the Grandmaster.
Scott Snyder will be leaving Swamp Thing with a story that he describes as bringing back the story to where the current arc began, with recalls and references to events back to issue #1. He said the “status quo will be shifted in a huge way.”
With John Constantine brought into mainstream DC continuity (as opposed to Vertigo, which always played around on the sidelines and shadows) we get to see him fully inhabit a world of superheroes and “find out what it’s like being a magic user in the DCU,” which is apparently “extremely dangerous.”
Right now John is living in New York, not London where he’s traditionally been seated. In issue #3 he goes back to London for something he needs and we see why he can’t live in London any more – “the entire city of London wants him to die.”
After that, some big stuff will hit.
Justice League Dark
The JLD brings in some more well known characters as sort of ‘temp’ team members and the next two to help out for a bit will be Swamp Thing and …the Flash. Ray Fawkes said the “first meeting between Flash and Constantine was one of my favorite things to write.”
Trial of Sin: Pandora
A new series (to replace some of the cancellations) starring the mystery woman who’s been running around the New 52. Supposedly the lady who opened the Box, she’s pretty sure she’s been set up. Tired of walking around in “tears and lamentations,” she’s now angry and plans to “kill and kill and kill.”
Justice League of America
David Finch spent a little bit of time talking about how he didn’t really know these characters going in, which made it very interesting to write. He’s gotten to really feel “like a fan” writing these. He also said the hardest character by far to write was the Martian Manhunter. Writing back-ups for J’onn is pretty much looking at the first 20 pages of the book and figuring out what the Martian Manhunter REALLY did while everybody was being flashy.
#19 will be the second part of a big exploration of Buddy Baker’s character. Following this will be a short arc exploring our society’s obsession with celebrity as Buddy’s exposed to it.
Side note: Animal Man is apparently much cooler than I realized.
Issue #17 will be a great issue for new readers (touched on by conversation about new readers brought in by the TV show), it’s written nearly like a first issue. They want to build a real mythos around Ollie Queen’s backstory.
2014 will mark a major event involving Earth-2 that may spill over into normal continuity. Another thing that touched on both continuities was the new Batman of Earth-2. They confirmed that this Batman was not going to be here and gone in three issues. Instead he’s going to be a “huge part” of Earth-2 and even the main DCU.
The Reverse Flash is not Professor Zoom. His powers are not just going fast, as it was put “the Flash moves forward time and space,” Reverse Flash has “the opposite of the Flash’s power.” I’m not really sure what that means.
Red Hood and the Outlaws
Soon they’ll be kicking off a very epic quest-line on this title. A lot was talked about on the kind of story elements they’ll be bringing in, comparing it to a huge quest-style story. It was confirmed that Cheshire will be brought in for the first time in the New 52. Also, Hugo Strange will be a big player.
My favorite part of the panel was when panel moderator/leader Larry Gannon asked artist Kevin Maguire how he liked working on World’s Finest and Maguire’s answer was “…well, I quit it.”
So that’s confirmed. #12 will be Maguire’s last issue.
A few other things to note happened during the very short Q&A time.
The Q&A opened with a laughing ‘ask us your questions unless they’re about Wally West or Stephanie Brown.’ The last question of the panel was ‘I know I can’t ask about Stephanie Brown, but can I ask about Cassandra Cain?’ This question received huge applause. It led to Gannon asking the crowd who’d like to see Cassandra back again. Once again, HUGE applause. Gannon then laughed our response off and didn’t really give any type of substantial reply. This, coupled with his crack upon seeing the Ventriloquist cover of Batgirl (“Who says we don’t have female role models?”) made me feel like this representative of DC Comics doesn’t take the complaints about their female characters very seriously.
A fan from the TV industry suggested breaking down comic runs into ‘seasons,’ e.g., season one from September to September starting with issue #1, then restarting at issue #1 for season two. This ties into (Marvel writer) Kelly Sue DeConnick’s recent comments about current numbering practices making it very difficult for new readers to get into and follow comics. While no real feedback was given about the numbering suggestion, Gannon did make sure to say that every September for the New 52 will be “big.” Big stuff happens in September.
July/August will have a big Justice League story that will include Justice League Dark.
Will Booster Gold be coming back? No specifics but “stay tuned.”
All in all, it was a great panel with some very interesting information handed out, though I have a feeling any VERY large announcements will be made at SXSW this coming weekend. It was nice to see that a lot of the questions the crowd had garnered “stay tuned” answers, hinting that things the fans want are actually things DC is working on.
Also I got to sit like two rows away from Gail Simone!