Executive editor Dan Didio jumped the panel off enthusiastically, introducing editor Eddie Berganza, writers Peter Tomasi, Greg Rucka (who ran to hug Didio), Brad Meltzer, artist Phillip Tan (working with Meltzer on "Final Crisis: Revelation", which will feature the Spear of Destiny), colorist Alex Sinclair, and fan favorites Grant Morrison and Geoff Johns.
Again Didio asked fans what happened in "Final Crisis," getting a series of answers including a man dressed as Martian Manhunter saying "I died!"
"Let me open up with a slight apology," Didio said. "We were hoping 'Final Crisis' #3 would be in your hands right now, but production problems along the way, it's gonna come out next week or the week after. Didio then brought two fans on stage to read photocopied pages of the issue and then give the crowd a synopsis.
"Dan said, 'Do you want to do a story called Final Crisis? Have you got an ideas?' and I said, 'Yeah,'" Morrison said. "It was your idea," he said to Didio, "take responsibility!" He also noted that the fans reading the issue were crying.
"Asking him if he has ideas is like putting a match to gasoline," Rucka said.
Morrison indicated that he just finished the script to issue five.
"The losers are trying not to die," Rucka said of "Final Crisis: Resist. "They're failing miserably. It is 30 pages of ... well, imagine occupied France in the second World War. Imagine the Nazis are the New Gods. Imagine you're you. Enjoy! I'm writing it with Eric Trautmann." Rucka credited Trautmann with the brilliant issue of Checkmate where the Gideon 2 system was under constant attack while picking a new Castellan.
Tan didn't understand a lot of references. "He's never seen 'Raiders of the Lost Ark," Berganza said. Rucka said that the Question had to have a fedora, and Tan didn't know what that was. Rucka tried to point Tan to the film, but Tan remained unimpressed, saying, "I don't know what the big deal is about this movie."
J.G. Jones walked in just about then.
"If ever a title was true, this is it," Meltzer said of "Final Crisis: Last Will and Testament." "If Grant is gonna blow it all up, can I do the night before? What are you gonna do the day before you're gonna die?"
"I'd get really drunk," Johns said.
Meltzer continued. "We do the drunk, the sex, all the obvious ones, and one that's not obvious," Meltzer said. "While I was writing it, my mother died of breast cancer. While the artist was drawing it, his mother died of breast cancer. You put something of your personal life into it." Meltzer then showed a fan the last page on his Blackberry.
"Superboy Prime goes to the future and messes up stuff really bad," Johns said of "Legion of Three Worlds." "'Rogues' Revenge' with Scott Kolins, the Rogues are hunting down Inertia, and some of this stuff spills over to 'Flash: Rebirth.' 'Rage of the Red Lanterns' introduces the Red Lanterns, and the Guardians have decided to execute Sinesto, and the Red Lanterns wanna do it first."
Tomasi said, "I remember sitting at the laptop saying 'I gotta make somebody cry on this one,' and I realized I was choking up."
The distraction of loud rumbling bass from a panel next door drove Didio to open the floor up to questions.
A first time con visitor asked a question about the death of the New Gods, referencing Seven Soldiers, Birds of Prey, Teen Titans and other references, stymying Didio, who was flabbergasted.
"Darkseid falls backwards through time," Morrison said. "This is 'Final Crisis 4' I'm telling you. Once new earth collapses, the entire multiverse collapses. Darkseid, when he falls backwards through time, it's the first time he's ever physically been here. Every time you've seen him, he's been a projection. I wanted to do 'Mister Miracle' as everyone is all Black, I wanted to do Metron as Sun Ra. They shouldn't be white."
"Sometimes, artists just draw white guys," Meltzer said.
"It all makes sense when it starts in my head," Morrison said, "and then reality strikes."
The Endless will not be in "Final Crisis," staying in their Vertigo wheelhouse.
What writer would go back to books? Johns would go back to "Flash" (which he is) and "Teen Titans." Rucka would go back to "Wonder Woman." Meltzer would return to "Justice League of America." Peter Tomasi would like more "Black Adam."
DC sent Jones to Scotland to redesign the New Gods. He said, "I just do what I'm told, Grant's the mad genius. The only reason I did this job, you [Didio] came to me and said, 'Do you wanna work with Grant again? Do you want to do New Gods?' Sold."
Morrison said, "I wanted to go back to the basics, someone like Desaad, the torture god, it would be cool to make him much creepier, much sweatier. In high heels. He sits in his little room and makes Darkseid porn, puts his name on dead bodies."
A man dressed as Power Girl came up to the mic, confusing Didio. "Must be the Earth 2 version," he said. Johns noted the character's in the "JSA Annual" with Kara back on Earth 2 and meeting the old characters she knew.
What of the new Japanese heroes? Tomasi noted Mother of Champions in "Nightwing," and that Didio said, "We hope to see more of them."
"Just trust me," Johns said to a fan who hadn't been born when Barry Allen died. "If you liked what I did with 'Green Lantern,' just let me work on 'Flash.'"
"Darkseid has the Anti-Life equation," Morrison said. "He uses it in 'Final Crisis' #3. Come up here and I'll whisper it to you, but I'll be doing things to you while I do it."
In "Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3-D," Morrison created a lot of new Earths, and shows people in lots of multiverses, with art by Doug Mahnke. "I'm doing a bunch of 'em, but somebody might come along in two years with a good idea for Earth-15. I wanna leave it open for creative minds after me."
Berganza takes on all the continuity questions, reading all the scripts. "You cry a lot," Rucka said. "Sometimes they just draw white guys," Meltzer quipped.
Ghost Detectives? Posisbly "in the post Batman RIP world," Didio said.
The young woman whose first con it was asked who would die, which Didio rephrased as "Does anybody die?" "That's not what I meant to say!" she protested. "I thought about it!" She then asked if she could read it, which Didio allowed. But Rucka noted that she had a pen, and asked "is she editing it?" Berganza took the script from her, and she chased him for it. "This job is too tough, I don't need the competition!" Berganza said.
"The framework is from Grant," Berganza said. "I just have to keep track of everything. This is a dream cast to work with, we just have to make everything fit. Little bits of dialogue to scenes."
"It's hell," Morrison said of the gestalt. "It's really big, It's never been done before."
What's "Final Crisis" really about? Meltzer said, "Here's what the story's about. What it is to be a hero in the DC Universe. We always need the hero to win. I don't think that's why you're a hero. If you fail and you try, you're still a hero."
Why bring back Barry? "Barry Allen led the Silver Age," Johns said. "There's a lot of thematic ideas behind [his] return. It's in 'Flash: Rebirth,' Barry even asks 'why?'"
"... and it brings the story full circle," Didio continued. "This is the final crisis. As I said with Hal Jordan, these characters never really left. Writers found ways to tell stories with them. These characters are so strong."
A man dressed as Orion growled into the mic, to which Morrison growled back. "I'd like a moment alone with Mister Morrison," the man said.
"You can have it!" Morrison growled back. "I'll only need thirty seconds!"
"if Darkseid gets his way," Morrison said, Earth will be Apokolips. He also noted Batman will be chained up for three issues. "So we're not a Claremont levels of S&M," a fan said.
"Every eleven years the sun reverses its magnetic field," Morrison said. "It rewrites your brains. 1955 everyone wears tight clothes, short hair. Eleven years later, people wear long hair, baggy clothes ... the latest solar cycle happened in January. Things are going back to a psychedelic hippie feel. Everything's part of cultural change that happens. Cosmic things change things, that we have nothing to do with."
"Mister Morrison, you just made my con," the same fan said.
The new congoer finished the issue, and all she could say is "Wonder Woman's in it. Oh my gosh!"