DC Comics has a lot going on this year. Not only did its Second Wave of six new titles launch earlier this year, but the publisher also plans to launch a new wave of books in conjunction with its #0 issues in September. Today at Comic-Con International, DC brought a group of its top architects of the New 52 DC Universe, including Chris Burnham, David Finch, Adam Glass, Geoff Johns, Paul Levitz, Rob Liefeld, Scott Lobdell, Jimmy Palmiotti, Gail Simone, Scott Snyder and more to explain upcoming plans and plots for DC's top titles.
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The panel began with moderator Bob Wayne introducing the panelists and kicked things right off with a look at the upcoming #0 issues. Gail Simone talked briefly about "Batgirl" #0.
"This is an issue about transformation," said Simone. "She walked into a building as Barbara Gordon and when she walks out, she's Batgirl. … It's really fun, it's not what you think at all." "Batgirl" #0 will be Ed Benes' first issue of "Batgirl" for the New 52.
Scott Snyder talked about "Batman" #0. "Batman #0 is one of the issues that I'm most excited about," he said. "You're going to see Gotham in a completely different way. … Where Bruce is, what his mission is … the villains he's up against, Wayne Industries, all of it. … Every part of it will hopefully be a surprise that you love as much as we do."
Snyder also spoke briefly about "Talon" #0. "It's kind of like 'The Da Vinci Code' in Gotham," he said, mentioning that series writer James Tynion was a former student of his and that he was blown away by Tynion's pitch.
David Finch had nothing but good things to say about "Batman: The Dark Knight" #0 writer Gregg Hurwitz, and mentioned how proud he was about the story and the series moving forward.
Rob Liefeld gave a brief overview of "The Savage Hawkman" #0, saying "when he finds out the whole truth at the end of 0 and through 13, he's a wanted felon throughout the galaxy, where Green Arrow, Deathstroke and Red Hood and some of the heavy hitters in the DC Universe" come across Hawkman's path.
Liefeld said "Deathstroke" #0 will focus on Slade and his past with his wife. "Team 7" will also have a brief tie-in with "Deathstroke" #0 according to Liefeld, a team that also contains the character Grifter.
"You're going to see how many others like him there are," said Liefeld of "Grifter" #0. "We've introduced a whole Mr. Miyagi/Yoda character."
Dan Jurgens was up next, saying that "Fury of Firestorm" #13 is getting back to some of the original parameters that "Firestorm" was back when it started.
Scott Lobdell began explaining his series of #0 issues with "Superboy" #0. "We're going to see how horrifying the cloning turned out for the Kryptonians," said Lobdell, mentioning Superboy will get his "S" tattoo in an upcoming issue on a night on the town with Bunker and as a spoiler, Bunker will get a pink brick tattoo.
Moving on to "Superman," Lobdell mentioned it was mostly going to focus on Kal-El's parents. "We're really going to get a look at Jor-El and the horror he finds in that moment," said Lobdell. "This is a story about a couple and what happens when you have to face the end of the world together."
"We're focusing on Tim Drake [for 'Teen Titans' #0]," said Lobdell.
"I read it and I thought it was great," said Snyder.
Lobdell further revealed that readers will get to see Bunker's boyfriend, who ran away to Mexico and returns to discover his boyfriend has gone off to be a superhero in America.
Jimmy Palmiotti spoke about both the "All Star Western" zero issue, which focuses on Jonah Hex's origin and the upcoming story arc that takes place in conjunction with a circus. "The Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde formula has made its way to Gotham," Palmiotti said. "We've got a lot of stuff coming up. … We're having a lot of fun with it and we're just having a great time."
Adam Glass gave a brief description of "Suicide Squad" #0, which will explain why Amanda Waller is such a hard case. "We're going to get a little bit into why she is who she is and why she's become the person that she has," Glass said. "This will all turn into why she forms the Suicide Squad and what her purpose was. … We're catching up with her a few months after a [Team 7] mission. She's very lost, we take her on another mission and it changes her and who she is at her core."
Geoff Johns joined the panel for his two zero issues, "Justice League" and "Aquaman." "We'll get new members like Shazam in the second year. The first year was about who the team is," and the second year is about the team becoming who they should be. Johns also praised artist Gary Frank's work on the issue and that "Shazam gets his powers in ['Justice League' #0] and joins the team next year."
Johns also spoke about "Aquaman" #0, which is the "story of his search for Atlantis. … It follows the year after leaving the lighthouse, coming back and explores who Aquaman is."
The panel opened things up for questions from the audience after the slides were finished.
The first fan asked about the roster for "Justice League." "Martian Manhunter was a major omission for people," Johns said, mentioning he hinted at the hero's appearance as part of the team in "Justice League" #8 and that readers will see more of him in year two. Johns also said Cyborg and Shazam will become good friends and may have a little fun with their powers, perhaps irresponsibly. "I want to create a friendship like Hal and Barry had and Ted and Booster had."
A fan asked about Stephanie Brown in "Smallville Season 11," and Bob Wayne said that was the purview of the digital department after a brief pause with no real answer. The questioner then gave the panelists vodka.
One fan asked about the hole left by Oracle's disappearance when the New 52 started, to which Simone said more information would be available on that subject in "Batgirl" #13 and she has a huge story coming up tying into Scott Snyder's "Death in the Family." "We have a huge Batgirl story where the Joker comes after her. … You don't know why he does what he does, so you don't know what he's going to do. … With Batgirl, shooting her was just the start."
Johns confirmed that there's only one Darkseid in the New 52. "It's the same exact Darkseid [in 'Earth 2' as in 'Justice League']. There's only one Darkseid."
A reader described the last year of the New 52 to be "incredibly frustrating," saying she missed the history of the DC Universe and the connection of that history.
"I agree with you on a certain level," said Johns, mentioning that rebuilding that tapestry is something all the writers are working on and "there will be a depth again" in the DC Universe.
After another question, the frustrated fan made a comment that "the reality is that not everybody is happy."
"We like having passion and love for these characters, that's why we're all here," said Wayne.
A gentleman asked about the possibility of Stephanie Brown showing up in the New 52. Simone said there was no plans for that in "Batgirl" and Snyder said he was a fan of Stephanie Brown and Cassandra Cain. "We're looking for the right place to introduce them," said Snyder, who went on to mention he hoped readers were also enjoying the new characters. "The girl Harper has her story told in #12, drawn by Becky Cloonan."
After a few more questions, the panel wrapped. Stay tuned to CBR for more coverage of CCI 2012.