Fan applause greeted representatives of DC Comcis at the start of the publisher's "Brightest Day" panel at the Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo. DCU Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler led the panel that included writers Geoff Johns, Peter Tomasi, JT Krul and James Robinson as well as artists David Finch and Pat Gleason along with editor Adam Schlagman. CBR is on site with LIVE updates from the panel, so keep refreshing your browser for all the talk on DC's new bi-weekly event and series branding initiative!
"We're going to be talking on this panel about life post-'Blackest Night' and we're assuming you've all read 'Brightest Day' #0," Sattler said as a spoiler warning to kick things off. He moved on to spotlight some fans in the audience who were wearing not the popular colored Lantern t-shirt, but shirts featuring Johns' face on a coin saying "In Johns We Trust" to which the writer joked, "DC will be releasing those coins soon."
Gail Simone, who's return to "Birds of Prey" falls under "Brightest Day" soon arrived.
Johns asked Tomasi to explain how they were working together on the bi-weekly series, to which the latter said, "We've had a lot of burning the midnight oil and yapping away." Johns replied "That's not how you pitch a book" to laughter before explaining that the comic will follow the 12 characters that came back to life at the end of "Blackest Night" while their lives also reach into other monthly books. For example, Jade takes the spotlight in Robinson's "Justice League of America" as the writer explained "She's going to be the Green Lantern element to my Justice League, and what I'm going to be doing is establishing where the starheart energy [fits into the Green Lantern mythos]...how it all makes sense within the world now. Clarifying it, making sure it's easy to understand." The new arc of the series also serves as the traditional crossover between the JLA and JSA, starting in issue #44 of "Justice League."
Simone spoke on how Hawk of Hawk and Dove fits into "Birds of Prey" saying "Hawk is still a jerk." The Birds will introduce a new feature to the Gotham Skyline while "Hawk brings an interesting dynamic to the Birds of Prey, and we're going to learn exactly why the Birds of Prey need to be there and why Batman absolutely needs them to do what they do."
Rather than a resurrected character, Krul's new "Green Arrow" series focuses on the star-shaped forest that grew in Star City thanks to Deadman's actions at the end of "Brightest Day" #0. "It's essentially going to be a lot of gardening," joked Krul of what happens in the book while Johns added "There's stuff going on in that forest."
The panel explained that Max Lord is the resurrected character who is featured in "Justice League: Generation Lost" where only Booster Gold, Fire, Ice and Captain Atom remember his past. Meanwhile, Osiris will be featured in "Titans."
Finch expressed that his favorite character to draw in the covers fo the series is Green Lantern thanks to him being inspired by the GL work of Kevin Nolan and Gil Kane.
Asked about the world-building behind some of the lantern corps and how they clash against each other, Johns said, "The storyline coming up right now is all about the enemies" in the regular "Green Lantern" title.
A fan who was quite upset that "Flash" #1 had a "Brightest Day" cover blurb and was on the event's Checklist because he felt the comic didn't tie to the series enough and the promotion was misleading. Johns said, "It was a good issue, wasn't is?" before explaining that the book would tie in to what happens in "Brightest Day" in some small ways, though "I didn't want to start Flash #1 with a white power battery. I wanted him to fight the Trickster." Sattler added "The bannering on the books is about a theme in the DCU...the stories are important to Brightest Day's central story."
Asked whether Hank Hall (AKA Hawk) remembers being the villain Monarch, Simone said, "See 'Birds of Prey.'"
On the Superman front, a fan wanted to know why Robinson "put Mon-El back in the Phantom Zone so soon" the writer said he wanted to help Paul Levitz and the Legion ongoing book by freeing up the character, but nothing ruled out more stories of a modern day Mon-El. "If there's demand, I can always bring him back out in the present."
In GL movie news, one fan asked about rumors of a "Sinestro Corps War" animated movie. "I haven't heard anything about that," said Johns. "But would you guys want to see the Sinestro Corps animated movie?" The audience cheered the idea with Robinson adding how much faith he has in actor Marc Strong to play Sinestro in the "Green Lantern" movie.
Later, an audience member asked for new teases that Johns could drop from the movie which he hadn't said on Twitter. The writer said he'd just recently seen the filming of the scene where Abin Sur dies and gives his ring to Hal Jordan.
A man in the crowd wanted to know when more information would be given on Indigo Tribe. "There's a lot more to learn about them and what happened with the Black Hand," Johns said adding he'd reveal "What they're about, where they come from, what they eat and what their favorite movie is."
A young fan of maybe 11 or 12 years asked why Hal Jordan's dad didn't come back from the dead in "Blackest Night" to which Johns explained the hero had already dealt with the emotional issues surrounding his father's death, so there was nothing for the Black Lanterns to gain by bringing his body back to haunt Hal.
The Spectre will in "Brightest Day."
Several fans asked after the status of the "new" Firestorm and Atom now that Ronnie Raymond and Ray Palmer had come back. The panel played coy on the issue of the Atoms and how many there would be, though Johns noted that in terms of "Brightest Day," "Jason and Ronnie don't like each other."
Fans jokingly asked about changes to characters including whether there'd be an explanation for why the Martian Manhunter now has pants (Tomasi teased an upcoming "Ralph Loren tie-in" issue as a joke) and where Captain Boomerang's fat went (Johns said, "The Black Lanterns kept it.")
Asked if he would soon write more episodes of "Smallville," Johns said, "Well...I'm pretty busy right now" to laughter. He added that he would return if he could maybe think of another DCU character to introduce into that world. Fans called for him to put Green Lantern in "Smallville" though he said, "I think I'll let the movie do Green Lantern."
Captain Boomerang will appear in "Flash" #2.
Asked which characters will end up in which Green Lantern books with a third monthly joining the franchise, the panel said that Ganthet and Boodikka would be in "Green Lantern Corps" while the new "Emerald Warriors" would include Guy Gardner along with Kilowag and Arisia with Tomasi adding, "There will be a Red Lantern in it too."
A fan confused as to whether there were two Zooms in the Flash franchise due to recent appearances by the classic villain across titles had Johns explain to him that "If you look at Reverse Flash, I try to do everything in reverse" so when he appeared in "Rebirth" from the future to prophesize his own return, it may be confusing but hopefully looking at the specific timeline will make sense.
The topic of characters NOT brought back to life in "Blackest Night" went across the panel and the crowd, and Sattler asked if there was anyone fans were hoping would be brought back "other than Ralph and Sue Dibny and Ted Kord." Several fans noted Damage and one asked for Aztek. When it came to the Blue Beetle, Robinson said that it was because he died a dramatic heroes death and because people liked Jaime Reyes so much, they decided it was best to leave it be. "I love Ted Kord too, but to resurrect that character would be a terrible thing."
Later, a fan asked what the reasoning was for not bringing the Dibny's back, even in the so-called "ghost detectives" concept introduced in "52." Sattler said the two died "deaths we felt were important to the DCU." Johns soon added "They're together" which was what was important the the "52" writers who wanted to "give those characters the happiest ending we could with the stories being told."
In upcoming story lines, Agent Orange moves into a junkyard to continue to collect as many things of earth as he can, with panelists noting his interactions with Lex Luthor in "Action Comics" by Paul Cornell would be a highlight for both characters. Johns fortold Luthor undergoing "An urge for more power" and that he'd ask "Is it the ring that did this or my personality?"
In dealing with the Shayera/Kendra issue where the memories of both Hawkgirl and Hawkwoman were in the resurrected body of the latter, Tomasi said, "That really opens the door into a lot of conflict. It has a lot of inherent drama, and we want to get into that at some point."
Krul explained that the new "Green Arrow" series would not feature the extended GA family like Speedy, Black Canary and Connor Hawke so he could "let Ollie take center stage." However, when it came to Hawke, the writer said "There's a story to be told there, and I'd like to tell it at some point, but I don't know where that would be."
A fan gave a very reasoned and passionate explanation for why he thought the death of Roy Harper's daughter in "Justice League: Cry For Justice" was a bad story, focusing mostly on how the little girl showed how a superhero could have a normal child in their life with all the story potential held in that idea. The man said that such relationships were too rare in comics. In response, Robinson said he very much felt what the fan has said and promised, "In the next two years, you'll see another hero or heroine have a normal child" and that those dynamics would be explored in full.
One last piece of Green Lantern movie news hit when a fan asked whether "Gossip Girl" actress Blake Lively would be a brunette as Carol Ferris. Johns confirmed she would, sayin, "She looks great. Trust me."
That's all for now! Check back to CBR for all the news out of C2E2!