Two of DC Comics biggest franchises teamed up this year for Comic-Con International in San Diego with Friday afternoon's "Justice League and Green Lantern" panel. Steward for both franchises, DC CCO Geoff Johns, was joined by his "Justice League" art partner/Co-Publisher Jim Lee as well as GL universe writer Tony Bedard, editor Brian Cunningham, "Flash" team of Brian Buccellato and Francis Manapul, "Justice League Dark's" Jeff Lemire, and "Earth-2" creative team James Robinson and Nicola Scott.
"Justice League" #12 was shown off and wraps the current "Graves" arc. "The cover there show, obviously, a pretty angry Aquaman, and it symbolizes what he brings to the team," Johns said, adding that the arc "Changes relationships – it changes one relationship in a particular way, so some people leave the team."
The #0 of the book will focus on co-feature "Shazam!" "This is the issue where Billy Batson meets the wizard...and they don't like each other very much," Johns said, noting that the superhero would join the League next year after a Tony Daniel-drawn arc focusing on Cheetah. Lee said, "This is a great issue leading in to 'Trinity War' next year with some of the big changes coming up for the team.
Johns called the incoming "Justice League International" Annual which wraps that series run mostly a Booster Gold story at the hands of himself and co-writer Dan DiDio.
Shifting to "Green Lantern," Johns promised a reason behind all the visual quirks of the still unnamed gun-toting GL in issue #0 before the world expands around him through the "Green Lantern" Annual drawn by Ethan Van Sciver. In conjunction with that, the "Third Army" created by the Guardians of the Galaxy after they feel they've failed with the emotionless Manhunters and the fearless GLs.
"Green Lantern Corps" #0 will tell the new origin of the New 52 Guy Gardner. Johns said writer Pete Tomasi gets the old school Guy because he himself is an old school writer. "He doesn't even know how to use a computer," Johns deadpanned. Bedard then talked about bring in some more "first string" people into "Green Lantern: New Guardians" with his issue #0 including Larfleeze and Carol Ferris, noting that the story will complete Kyle Rayner's journey to master his emotions – a skill set that will serve him well when the Third Army arrives.
Johns then said that the rise of the Third Army is a prologue to an even bigger story he's planning for down the road.
On the "Earth Two" front, Robinson and Scott talked about their #0 issue and how it takes place ahead of the death of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. "This is an adventure of the trinity," the writer said, noting it would flesh out the world before October's issue focused on Alan Scott fighting Solomon Grundy. He said they had to expand the first arc from five to six issues to really give the fight its time on the page and firmly establish why Scott is the great hero of Earth Two. He also said the new Earth Two version of the Sandman is on tap, which gained much applause.
Lee praised Scott's designs for the "Earth Two" characters, saying he only contributed a slight tweak to her ideas and that she has joined the likes of Cully Hamner and JG Jones in helping to redesign the DCU of today.
As for "Justice League Dark" #0, the book will continue the cross between traditional DC and Vertigo building blocks. "This is Constantine coming to America for the first time and falling in love with somebody who's already in love with a man who is, for lack of a better term, Constantine's Moriarty," Lemire said. He added that the likes of Frankenstein and Amethyst will be joining the team in the future.
Fan questions started with the issue of whether Wildcat would enter into "Earth Two." Robinson said, "Because these are new characters, I'm trying to pace out how they're introduced." He added that in the second arc the "metaphysical feel" of this earth would be explored as the forces of science (via the government) and magic (via the still forming JSA) would clash and that Wildcat would be a part of that adventure.
Johns said that the "Shazam kids" from "Flashpoint" are characters he thinks about often and discusses with Gary Frank as they continue to develop the "Justice League" backup. Meanwhile, "Batman Earth One" Volume 2 is already being worked on.