CCI: DC's The New Wave

Sat, July 14th, 2012 at 10:14am PDT | Updated: July 14th, 2012 at 10:59am

Comic Books
Kiel Phegley, Staff Writer

The New 52 is still the driving force behind DC Comics superhero line from top to bottom, but Saturday at Comic-Con International in San Diego, the publisher shined a special spotlight on the next phase of books for the rebranded line. In their "DC: The New Wave" panel, reps from the company gathered to talk the four new series debuting with September's slate of zero issues: "Talon," "Phantom Stranger," "Sword of Sorcery" and "Team Seven."

Leading the panel was DC SVP of Sales Bob Wayne, joined by Co-Publisher and "Phantom Stranger" writer Dan DiDio, "Phantom Stranger" artist Brent Anderson, "Talon" co-writers Scott Snyder and James Tynion IV, "Sword of Sorcery" co-feature writer Tony Bedard and editors Rachel Gluckstern, Mike Marts and Bobbie Chase.

The panel started with "Talon" #0 as Tynion explained, "Last year I was out in the audience with you guys, and now I'm up here, which is pretty crazy." He laughed that he thought the panel would be his first, but a surprise appearance at the Batman Panel earlier helped him get over his nerves. The "Talon" series will "delve into a little more of Gotham's history...and not just Gotham, the dark, secret history of the world. We want to build this character so he can last for years, not just a few storylines."

Snyder recounted the origin of the new Talon as Tynion pitched the idea of an escaped circus performer who fights against the villainous Court of Owls rather than become a hired killer. Snyder added, "We talk a lot about recruiting new writers and getting new blood into the books, and I hope you guys come out and support this as [James has] a new voice. I get it because that was me on 'Detective.'"

"Phantom Stranger" was up next, and DiDio said that fans who followed "The New 52 Free Comic Book Day Edition" will know where the story starts. "One of the two characters you saw is going to be the Phantom Stranger, and I'm glad that Brent Anderson here, because he brings so much to the book...what we've done in the first issue of 'Phantom Stranger' is rewind to that 'Free Comic Book Day' issue and see the events through his eyes...more importantly, he comes into contact with one character familiar to readers who were with DC prior to the New 52...we introduce a very familiar, very popular character...and you'll see Phantom Stranger as he's supposed to be." He added that in the first issue, the strange hero makes a pact with Trigon while mystery character Pandora reappears in the second.

"There are two things artists hate drawing oddly, and it's hats and horses...if you're an artist who can draw both, you're hired!" DiDio joked, noting that Anderson could not only do both but bring a sharp, distinctive style to the series.

DiDio went on to talk up "Team Seven" as a lynchpin book that will flesh out why characters from Deathstroke to Grifter became who they are in the modern DCU.

"Sword of Sorcery" editor Gluckstern said, "Pretty much since I've been working at DC, I've been begging Dan to let me revive Amethyst...it fills a niche we don't have going with high fantasy," the editor said. "If you're going to bring back a character you haven't done in a long time, you have to do it right...it's also great in 'Sword and Sorcery' having two features so you can get a different flavor of fantasy in there."

Bedard then explained that his Beowulf character was a post-apocalyptic hero and the kind of story he's been wanting to do since he was in high school and did a talent show performance as Conan complete with loin cloth for which he was called "Tonan The Barbarian." After the laughter subsided at that anecdote, Bedard reinforced the idea that he's actually more excited for his work here than his "Green Lantern" scripts right now.

Asked whether Superboy Prime would make a return in the New 52, DiDio said that there were no plans as there is no Earth Prime planned in the new construction of the DC Multiverse per Grant Morrison's incoming "Multiversity" project. "We're only one year into a new universe, and we want things to build naturally," he said of throwing out all the old school big ideas of the DC cosmology.

DiDio shared an anecdote of how he and Keith Giffen created the "OMAC" series where the artist would often turn in pages that veered off the writer's initial plots with tons and tons of fights. When DiDio would ask why the battling characters were mad at each other, Giffen would say, "I don't know. That's your job."

He also noted that for "Phantom Stranger," he did look to some past versions of the character's origins, but he only took bits and pieces of each to help create a mostly new origin. Fans of the character's classic series can expect appearances from the supporting cast there like Doctor 13 when DiDio crosses "Stranger" over with "All-Star Western" in the near future.

The outspoken fan who dresses as Batgirl and has often been critical of DC's policies towards female creators took the mic to thank the panel for making an effort to expand their roster of creators by inviting the likes of Anne Nocenti and Christy Marx as well as putting Becky Cloonan on "Batman" for an issue. She said there's still more work to be done, but she was very heartened by the way DC spoke out the policy and worked to make a change.

She then asked about the conflicting talk of whether Stephanie Brown would be replaced in the "Smallville" series by Barbara Gordon after the former idea was announced online. "That is true, and there's a reason for it," DiDio said, saying that he supported a switch from the original plan to stay in line with "Smallville's" practice of introducing iconic versions of the DC heroes into the world of Tom Welling's Clark Kent. "If we're going to introduce a character into the 'Smallville' world, I want them to be the most iconic versions like Barbara Gordon or Dick Grayson, and maybe down the road we can do more."

DiDio told a fan that he thought the greatest success of the New 52 have been "Swamp Thing" and "Animal Man" since they've reinvigorated characters DC has been trying to relaunch for years to diminishing returns. He joked that his biggest regret about the line was that he didn't call his book "OMAC and Batman."

The question of The Question came up again and whether he'd appear in "Phantom Stranger." DiDio said, "Well, we've got Phantom Stranger and Pandora in there..." but didn't commit to anything more.

Since all of the Talon's from the Court of Owls come from Haley's Circus, Tynion said it's a good bet that within the first year Batman and Nightwing will probably find their way into the new character's story.

DiDio joked about his story for the "Justice League International" annual throws some wrenches into the character's lives, recalling what the fate of characters are without naming most of them by saying things like "Batwing's okay....He leaves...He's in the hospital...He's a mess" as he counted characters off on his fingers.

A fan asked about whether "Team Seven" will explain "skinny Amanda Waller." DiDio took the question in stride, saying that they discussed making that idea part of the story in "Team Seven," but he said ultimately they decided that the point of the New 52 was to make the characters feel new and commit to who they are now.

James Gordon, Jr. came up and the idea of whether or not he'll continue to exist after Snyder's pre-New 52 "Detective Comics" run made him a villain. The writer pointed the fan asking to Gail Simone's "Batgirl" book where his history will be fleshed out.

A fan wanted to know if Captain Atom would make his way to the Justice League. Gluckstern said that how he deals with the continued fallout from gaining his powers in his own series is something to keep an eye on in the future and that the JL would hopefully get involved.

A fan wanted to know if Captain Atom would make his way to the Justice League. Gluckstern said that how he deals with the continued fallout from gaining his powers in his own series is something to keep an eye on in the future and that the JL would hopefully get involved.

The panel wrapped with a Chicago retailer asking if they could give his customers a pitch on each new title to make them want to buy. DiDio spotlighted "Phantom Stranger's" deep ties to the New 52. Snyder said "Talon" builds on things fan liked about the "Night of Owls" event. Chase said "Team Seven" has "an amazing origin for Black Canary" coming. Gluckstern said "Sword of Sorcery" was like "'Games of Thrones' meets 'The Hunger Games.'" And Wayne added that the first issues would be returnable to DC as the early New 52 titles were.

TAGS:  dc comics, cci2012, new 52, talon, dan didio, sword of sorcery, phantom stranger, scott snyder, team seven, amethyst, james tynion iv

 
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