DC Comics kept their eyes on the future during their "DC Comics: The New 52" panel Saturday afternoon at Emerald City Comic Con. The Seattle gathering included "Earth 2" writer James Robinson, "Constantine" scribes Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes, "Justice League of America" artist David Finch, "Nightwing" writer Kyle Higgins, incoming "Action Comics" artist Tony Daniel, "Talon" writer James Tynion IV, "Batgirl" writer Gail Simone, "Batman" writer Scott Snyder, "Batman: The Dark Knight" artist Ethan Van Sciver, "Flash" writer Brian Buccellato, "World's Finest" artist KEvin Maguire, "Martian Manhunter" writer Matt Kindt.
The panel started with the announcement of a new "Trinity of Sin: Pandora" series written by Fawkes. The writer explained, "Pandora is the woman who has unjustly shouldered the blame for every bad thing that has happened in the universe or many universes." He promised that while the character has spent many Millennia walking around lamenting her fate, the book picks up where she'll take control of her situation "And kill and kill and kill." For more on the book, read CBR's exclusive interview with Fawkes right now.
The new "Action Comics" run was discussed briefly. "It's good to just spend some time drawing," Daniels said of the gig, noting that working with writer Andy Diggle was "a breath of fresh air" for the artist after working on his own for many years.
"Justice League of America" came up including the incoming backup in the series focusing on Martian Manhunter. "I always throught Superman would be the hardest character to write, but Martian Manhunter is like Superman with mind powers which is even harder," Kindt said. He explained that the backups will not only play off the main feature by Finch and Geoff Johns. It will also tell the Manhunter's origin in the New 52.
Snyder called "Batman" #19 and 20 "my ode to 'Batman: The Animated Series'" promising a fun adventure story before moving on to the next epic arc. He described the incoming 11-part story starting in #21 will be completely stand alone with no event launching from it. Snyder is looking forward to telling a stand alone tale akin to his "Black Mirror" serial.
Tynion talked about the future of Talon as in the wake of issue #5 the full cast has been set into place including regular villains. "This is where things really start ramping up...we're going to get more information on how the Court of Owls operates now, and we're going to meet the current grandmaster of the Court of Owls and understand that a bit more...there's a very major figure coming up that nobody is expecting, and it's going to be really cool," he said,
As for his upcoming run on "Red Hood & The Outlaws," Tynion said, "I wanted to tell a big story that uses all the potential of the series to go in these crazy directions." The writer promised that Starfire's space sci-fi, Arsenal's tech-based action and the tragic character of Jason Todd will let him "really tell the epic quest style story that is going to pull apart the relationships between the Outlaws so you can see who they are and why these characters fight together." Tynion announced that the book will soon introduce Cheshire to the New 52 – the woman who in previous continuity married Arsenal and had a child with him.
Higgins spoke on the incoming move to Chicago for Nighting, saying, "This is kind of our huge opus Nightwing story." He and artist Brett Booth "are looking to world build" making the Windy City its own history and mysteries as it relates to the superheroes of the DCU.
Lemire spoke about a number of his upcoming plans including what's next for "Green Arrow." He said that the popularity of The CW's "Arrow" allowed him to give the book a brand-new start to draw in new readers. The writer will be developing the world of the island that Oliver Queen lived on when he became Green Arrow, using it to introduce new villains like Komodo, but he'll also soon bring back many classic GA villains into the fold.
Van Sciver started his time on the mic by thanking Finch for setting up "The Dark Knight" as a book for him to take on. "I promise you we're going to do you proud," the artist said of his plans with writer Gregg Hurwitz. "We're having a really, really good time. He chose my least favorite Batman villain in the whole minagere...that meant I was able to do something with him that excited me." Van Sciver worked hard to put as much visual flair into the off-kilter character as possible so he'd enjoy working with him. Moving forward, he promised, "Bruce Wayne is going to make a huge, life-changing decision in #18 that I didn't see coming. DC almost didn't let us do it."
"Batgirl" #20's new version of the Ventriloquist was shown off, and Simone said, "For those of you who think we were going to lighten up after 'Death of the Family'...wrong!" The writer said that the new story picks up in #19 to pay off some long simmering plot threads before the villain gets introduced to be a horrific foe for Barbara Gordon. "She's terrifying, though...trust me."
May's "The Movement" were up next, of which Simone said will be a very different book than people had seen from her or comics before. She compared it just in terms of staking new territory to "The Authority" and "Secret Six." The series focuses on a band of teenagers fed up with a corrupt system. "It's in the DCU, but it's a very global book. It's got as much diversity as you can squeeze into a comic of any kind," she said, praising Freddie E. Williams II's art on the book. The artist designed the all-new cast and said the process felt more like a creator-owned book than a traditional DC gig.
Upcoming issues of "Earth 2" will continue the origin of the new Dr. Fate in the "Tower of Fate" arc. "All of it is drawn by Nicola Scott, the entire arc," Robinson explained. "If you've enjoyed her work on 'Earth 2' so far, she's certainly raised the bar even further." With issue #13, the story of Captain Steel will be told in full after the hero is introduced in the upcoming Annual. "It's one of the pieces of what DC and I are planning...little pieces building and building into what will be a major event for DC in 2014." The Annual issue will also introduce the new Batman of Earth 2. "Who this character is will be a secret for a while," the writer said, noting that the character will be a huge part of "Earth 2" and the entire DCU moving forward for a long time to come. The book will be drawn by Robinson's former "Captain Atom" artist Cafu.
"The Flash" will focus on the Reverse Flash for a long arc that will take most of the next year, but he's not the only character who will be showing up. Trickster will be involved in a two-part story before that. When the Reverse Flash appears, he'll be different in both secret identity and power set than any version of the character to appear before. Buccellato joked that "Wally West questions are off the table" for the rest of the panel.
Maguire said that he's quit "World's Finest" with #12 being his last issue.
When the floor opened up to questions, a fan who was hoping to see more stories with the characters of Robinson's "Starman" work was told by the writer that "The Shade" didn't sell well enough to warrant more just yet, but he's formulating an idea that would team the shadowy Victorian villain with a character like Batman who would bring some more name recognition to a possible five-issue mini series. He expressed hope that when he has time to develop the idea fully, DC will publish it.
Robinson also said that in "Earth 2" #11, the foldout cover for DC's "WTF Certified" promotion would introduce two characters "you'll never expect in a million years" to the series.
A frequent joke within the room was when the panel would respond with a purposeful "Stay tuned" to fan questions as if to indicate that, yes, their picks for more revivals were on the way. Queries that earned a "stay tuned" included the possibility of an "Earth 2" spinoff series, a return of Booster Gold and a series for the Atom.
One fan who wondered why DC didn't just relaunch all its titles with new #1s ever fall to be more like TV seasons was told that while DC will keep numbering the titles month-after-month, every September will feature a special publishing event of some sort to celebrate the anniversary of the New 52 akin to the #0 issues released last year.