MindHut at Comic-Con: DC Talks Superman, Justice League, and More
We already covered the Batman and Dark/Edge panels, but DC Comics had a lot more to say at the San Diego Comic-Con than would fit into those two hours. Here's the rest of the DC announcements we were privy to at this year's convention!
Justice League: In issue #12, the team will change... somehow. According to writer Geoff Johns, the first year of the comic focused on who the team is, while the second year will be concerned with who they're supposed to be. Johns also teased the upcoming "Trinity War" story, of which little is known, by letting on that Wonder Woman villain Cheetah will play a bigger role than she has in previous Justice League stories.
Speaking of delving into underutilized characters, in January Justice League will finally fill in the gaps alluded to in issue #8 involving Martian Manhunter. Why is it dangerous for this character, now a member of Stormwatch, to be on the team? We'll find out.
Johns also said how thrilled he was with the response to the Shazam feature running in the back of every issue of Justice League, and he promised a big future for the character, even noting that if fans want an ongoing seris for the character, they'll get one. In the meantime, Shazam will be joining the Justice League, and will actually form a really strong bond with Cyborg; they'll be "the Barry and Hal of magic and science." Johns summed up his take on the Shazam character, which has put a pretty different spin on the Billy Batson tale, as "Little Rascals with superpowers."
Johns also had praise for Shazam artist Gary Frank, saying that he's the best emotional storyteller in the business. Johns has such faith in his partner that he even cuts back on his scripts. "Whenever I work with Gary I completely remove the narration."
Green Lantern: The #0 issue of this title will introduce a new ring-wielder, who strangely carries a gun in addition to his Lantern ring ("It gives him energy," Johns explained.) Issue #13 will begin a new arc, "Rise of the Third Army," in which the Guardians of the Universe will attempt to eradicate what they see as the galaxy's ultimate problem: free will.
Aquaman: This title's #0 issue will spotlight the first time the character ever lays eyes on Atlantis. Johns thanked the crowd for their support of this title and had nothing but praise for penciler Ivan Reis, who, he said, is one of the most underrated artists in the business.
Swamp Thing: Writer Scott Snyder talked a lot about the title's upcoming #0 issue, which, he said, will focus on a pre-Swamp Thing Alec Holland and tell the "secret story" behind the explosion that was meant to turn the scientist into the protector of the Green in the first place. Oddly, this issue will be told from the perspective of Swamp Thing's nemesis Anton Arcane, suggesting that the villain has a good deal more to do with our hero's origins than were ever suspected. Snyder called this the creepiest issue in a long time, which is really surprising; did you guys read #9?
Snyder also talked about an upcoming oversized Swamp Thing annual, which details the first time Alec Holland met his lover Abby Arcane. Again, Anton Arcane (Abby's uncle) will play a major role here, and the annual will also peer into just what powers Abby herself may possess.
Finally, Snyder also let on that the wooden horns that adorn Swamp Thing's new design are a tribute to fellow writer Jeff Lemire's character Sweet Tooth.
Hawkman: Writer Rob Liefeld referred to the upcoming Hawkman #0 as a giant space opera that will explain the rise and fall of the Thanagarian Empire to which Hawkman belongs. After that, the book will move into a story entitled "Hawkman Wanted," which will be a crossover with Green Arrow.
Grifter: Liefeld also talked about one of his other books, starring mercenary killer Cole Cash. In Grifter #0, we'll see just how many other individuals like Cole there are in the world, and we'll learn why they exist. Grifter will also, according to Liefeld, "meet his Yoda." Issue #13, meanwhile, will start to introduce other former WildCAT characters to DC's New 52.
Superman: Writer Scott Lobdell takes over this title with artist Kenneth Rocafort as of issue #0, which will jump back in time to focus on the destruction of Krypton, taking a particular interest in the mental state of Jor-El, Superman's dad. Lobdell said that this story will be more emotional and show us Krypton in a way it's never been seen before. From there, Lobdell jumps back to the present with a careful analysis of the Superman character: what does it mean to be the most powerful man on the planet when you can't act that way? Lobdell mentioned how excited he was to take on this project; he even wrote a 25-page proposal to the Superman editors and treated it like his first-ever job.
Teen Titans: Lobdell also spoke about another of his projects, Teen Titans, promising that Raven would be coming to the book soon, and possibly Supergirl as well. Again Lobdell's exuberance for his titles is clear; he said of Teen Titans "This is going to be the team book to beat in the next year."
Flash: Flash co-writer Brian Buccalleto explained that the #0 issue of his series would retell the Flash's origin with subtle shifts, especially focusing on his role as a forensic detective and his love of justice. Why does the Flash do what he does? After that, a Flash annual will provide a giant showdown between the Scarlet Speedster and his Rogues Gallery, but they may not get to finish their battle. Flash #13 spins right out of the annual and begins an arc titled "Gorilla City," which presumably features the return of classic Flash villain Gorilla Grodd. Buccalleto hinted that Flash and his enemies would have to team up to ward off this latest threat.
Batgirl: Artist Ed Benes joins Gail Simone as of this title's #0 issue, which will finally explain Barbara Gordon's transformation to Batgirl in the New 52. "She walks into a building as Gordon and walks out as Batgirl," Simone ominously hinted. After that, Scott Snyder's Joker story in Batman will cross in to this title; Simone said of it that Joker's plans for Barbara in The Killing Joke were far from the end. "Shooting her was just the start."
Firestorm: As of Firestorm #13, Dan Jurgens will be taking over the book as both writer and artist. Jurgens said that the book will get back to having only one character as Firestorm, but also that it will focus on the problem of two people having to share one body. In the end, he pitched it as something of a nuclear Spider-Man: "it's fun, bouncy, and full of teenage high-school angst."
Batman: Earth One: For fans of DC's out-of-continuity original graphic novels starring Superman and Batman, more are on the way! Geoff Johns stated that the follow-up to Batman: Earth One is already underway and should be released by the end of next year. The volume will feature a new version of the Riddler remade as a kind of Zodiac Killer; Johns said it'll be the Riddler's Killing Joke. To deal with this threat, Bruce Wayne will have to really buff up his detective skills. Johns referred to this project, which is untethered to any existing continuity, as the most liberating thing he's ever done.
Superman: Earth One: Meanwhile, the follow-up volume to Superman: Earth One is even closer to completion. Writer J. Michael Straczynski said that the second story in the series will feature Clark Kent learning to live in an adult world, including dealing with apartments, jobs, and relationships with the opposite sex. Superman will also have to contend with the Parasite, who comes to Metropolis looking to steal the powers of the strongest man in the universe. Of particular interest, the book will include a scene where Clark Kent's date takes him to a midnight showing of the Rocky Horror Picture Show, which should go off with no problems at all, right? Straczynski thinks that it's so important to do this original graphic novel stories because they have a chance to make the characters more appealing to a new age of fans. Superman should be relevant to everybody, he said.
Cool Trivia: During Q&A, a fan asked whether there were multiple versions of Darkseid, the evil god who's threatened our heroes both in Justice League (which takes place on Earth Prime) and Earth 2 (which, well, takes place on Earth 2). Geoff Johns stated definitely that there is only one version of Darkseid across all realities. Interesting.