The New 52 continues to evolve for DC Comics. With some series ending or being cancelled, and others coming on line in the coming months, DC was more than ready to talk up the publishing initiative and universe changer at C2E2 in Chicago.
Bob Harras, Editor in Chief; Bobbie Chase, Editorial Director; Brian Azzarello; Chris Burnham; Cliff Chiang; Tony Daniel; Kyle Higgins; Jimmy Palmiotti; Scott Snyder; Geoff Johns, Chief Creative Officer; and Gail Simone
The loudest applause came for Scott Snyder and Geoff Johns, though the late-arriving Gail Simone got nearly the same level when she showed up. Gail’s husband, Scott, sat next to myself and my friend Steve during the panel while my wife took pictures.
Here’s a book-by-book rundown of the panel, which focused on the world-building that the Second Wave is bringing:
Chris Burnham, artist on Batman Inc., spoke up pretty quickly on working with Grant Morrison, saying “If you think it’s hard understanding [Morrison's] comics, think how hard it is for me! All I get are words on white paper!” He went on to describe the first issue as honoring a wide range of Batman’s history, going from the grim and gritty modern material to the pop-art and Adam West Batman (when he mentioned Adam West, he got a slight look from the editorial staff, but no direct reprimand, so perhaps DC has lightened up on their tendency to not acknowledge that era)
As no creators were present, Bob Harras spoke for the comic and emphasized some facts from yesterday’s All-Access panel–the main points were that this has been planned since day one of the relaunch, and that DC is really focused on world-building. He also mentioned that this would have a big and lasting impact on the DCU.
Again no major details were given, mostly just talk about the emphasis on world-building.
Dial H for Hero
No creators were present, so Bob Harras was again speaking for the title, describing it as “a core DC concept brought back in a new way,” and that it would be sort of in the same vein as Animal Man and Swamp Thing.
Bob Harras seemed very excited about the fact that there are going to be dinosaurs in this book, as the first featured story in the title will be a revival of “The War that Time Forgot” by J.T. Krul. Harras asked Palmiotti, who is doing a backup story with Unknown Soldier in the book, if he would consider putting dinosaurs in that story as well, but Palmiotti wasn’t particularly receptive to the idea, good-naturedly putting it to a vote with the audience then immediately declaring the number of hands put up “not enough” to change his mind. He also mentioned that the Unknown Soldier story would have some “hardcore gore in it.”
Harras revealed that the plans for Ravagers have been built into the continuity of Teen Titans and Superboy from the start, which it’s obvious that the book ties in with those, but it’s interesting that so many of the Second Wave books seem to have had their framework developed at the same time as the first wave of The New 52. In fact, when a fan asked what titles the panel would’ve liked to have seen in the first wave of The New 52, the immediate response was that we’re seeing them now. An aspect of the Ravagers that Harras emphasized was the fact that Beast Boy is now red in color, rather than the typical green, citing this as tying in with what’s going on now with Animal Man and Swamp Thing. He didn’t reveal whether Beast Boy was going to be an avatar of the red, but this could be an interesting twist on his origins.
Jim Lee is back on art by issue 9, and the next arc will be issues 9-12, so it’s nice seeing that after the first arc being the traditional six issues that Geoff Johns won’t be forcing every story into the six issue template.
The current arc is leading to “The Revenge of Black Hand” which will conclude in a one-shot featuring the return of Ethan van Sciver to Green Lantern, and according to Geoff Johns will “change the game completely.” I took the opportunity to ask Gail’s husband Scott if this would tie in to Gail’s upcoming project with Ethan that will be Green Lantern-related, but he said it would not.
Brian Azzarello was characteristically brief in his responses to prompts about his work, succintly saying “She goes to hell” as his description of the near future of the title. When asked what happens after that, he responded with: “it gets worse.” During the Q&A Azzarello was a little more eloquent, explaining one thing that is important about his take on the Greek gods is that “they’re not just to be worshiped, they’re to be feared.”
Issue 9 will be the big finale of the first major arc, and then the next storyline will feature the reintroduction of Anton Arcane. The crossover with Animal Man will start with issue 11, and then kick into gear with issue 12
Nothing was revealed for the main series that hadn’t been mentioned in yesterday’s panel, other than the fact that Bruce will be getting a new Batmobile in Night of the Owls. There was also some talk of the annual, which as DC has released will feature Mr. Freeze, but Snyder revealed that Freeze will actually appear in one of the nine major Bat-family titles before that. He also mentioned that his take on the New 52′s Mr. Freeze would be elaborating on the “Heart of Ice” story from Batman: The Animated Series.
Tony Daniel described his tie-in for the Night of the Owls as being “like a one-shot” and revealed it will take place at Arkham and be largely told from the perspective of Jeremiah Arkham. After that issue he’ll be taking a break on the art with Ed Benes taking over, but will be continuing to write the title.
Gail briefly discussed her tie-in for Night of the Owls where Barbara will fight against a female Talon, then went on to discuss the future of the series in which Barbara will begin to put her past behind her and move forward. She’ll soon be encountering a new villain, “Nightfall” who will have an entire army to bring to bear against Barbara, and according to Simone will become Babs’ archnemesis.
Kyle Higgins discussed Night of the Owls as well, since Nightwing #8 will be kicking off the event. He also revealed that the event had been planned as far back as his work with Scott Snyder on Gates of Gotham. He described Dick Grayson as being “The prince of Gotham” in his eyes, and the tone of the comic after Night of the Owls would be trying to answer the question of whether there can be a place for hope in Gotham City.
Jimmy Palmiotti discussed his enjoyment of playing with the history of Gotham, and how his tie-in with Night of the Owls will be primarily aimed at answering the question of “how can we plant the seeds before the turn of the century, and have Jonah involved,” mentioning that “as you read the other books you’ll see how seeds in the past show up in the present day.” Apparently being put in the crossover was unexpected but as he thought about it, it made perfect sense.
From the Q&A:
One fan asked Johns to tell him the Orange Lantern oath; Johns’ response was “ask me next year,” explaining further that there’s a big Larfleeze story planned in the coming year.
On the subject of Azrael: he’s a character the Bat-writers ARE talking about using, but there are no current plans. They also mentioned that Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown are characters that get talked about a lot, but that they want to bring them back in a way that really matters instead of just bringing them back to have them back–but that they ARE on the desk to be brought back when the time is right.
A fan asked when Billy Batson would become Captain Marvel–Johns replied that we would see Black Adam before we’d see Captain Marvel, and that we would also get Mary and Freddie Freeman and (perhaps spoken in jest) Talky Tawny and the rabbit.
Superboy Prime: Nothing is currently planned for the character according to Geoff Johns, but mentiond that “The multiverse exists, so he’s probably out there some where complaining about something.”
Johns described Black Manta as “Boba Fett underwater” explaining that he will be a central figure for upcoming issues of Aquaman.
Johns also said “there will definitely be one” when asked about a potential Cyborg solo book, hinting that it would come in the third wave of The New 52. This is big news, as it essentially confirmed plans for a Third Wave which in my understanding DC had been shying away from discussing.