The DC Comics crew was greeted by a jam-packed panel room for its New 52 panel, which featured DC Editor in Chief Bob Harras, Chief Creative Officer Geoff Johns, Editorial Director Bobbie Chase, Executive Editor Eddie Berganza, Senior Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne and fan-favorite DC creators Scott Snyder, Chris Burnham, Jimmy Palmiotti, Brian Azzarello, Cliff Chiang, Tony Daniel and Kyle Higgins who were there to discuss all the latest developments and announcements for the New 52.
After panelist introductions, the panel hit the ground running with a look at the return of “Batman, Inc.” for the New 52 “Second Wave.”
“Grant’s like my favorite writer and to be the second guy in the world to see what Batman’s up to is crazy,” said series artist Burnham, who said they would be throwing in some “’80s pop art” style.
Harras continued the “Second Wave” talk with “Earth 2.” “It’s a different world, a different destiny,” said Harras, “but they’re facing something you’ve seen before. We’re taking it in a lot of exciting places. I can’t wait for you to see the first issue because it’s awesome.”
Harras also spoke about the “Earth 2” companion book, “World’s Finest.” “What we’re doing in the Second Wave of the New 52 is world building,” said Harras. “This is a part of the big plan we have coming up. Kevin Maguire and George Perez are sharing art duties and they’re working very closely with James Robinson who is writing Earth 2.”
The conversation moved to “Dial H,” written by China Mieville. “His pitch for this series was incredible,” said Harras. “It is in the spirit of ‘Animal Man,’ in the spirit of ‘Swamp Thing.’ It’s wild, fantastic ideas that are going to lead into the DCU as well.”
The next Second Wave book Harras spoke about was “G.I. Combat” containing a backup feature of “Unknown Soldier” by Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray. “It’s a nice variety,” said Palmiotti. “The book has dinosaurs in the beginning and a lot of hardcore gore in the back.”
The final Second Wave title, “The Ravagers” will be spinning out of the events of “Teen Titans.” “Some of the characters you might recognize,” said Harras, mentioning Caitlin Fairchild and Beast Boy by name, but emphasizing there was a reason the traditionally green hero is now red.
With the “Second Wave” discussion wrapped up, Johns spoke a bit about the Free Comic Book Day issue. “There’s a lot of new characters in here,” said Johns. “It sets the stage for everything we’re working on for quite a while.” Johns also invited a young fan up to the stage to read the Free Comic Book Day issue under oath of secrecy.
Johns also gave a few details on “The Villain’s Journey” arc of “Justice League,” again mentioning after the story the team would be “radically different” and that the villain is the man who wrote the book “Justice League: Gods Among Men” that showed up at the end of the first arc.
Another of Johns’ books, “Aquaman,” the chief creative officer said will continue to be “a force to be reckoned with” at DC, with the current “The Others” arc reintroducing Black Manta. In “Green Lantern,” Ethan Van Sciver will be coming back to the book for the upcoming Black Hand storyarc.
Azzarello and Chiang were up next to talk about “Wonder Woman” and their plans for the future. “She goes to hell,” Azzarello simply said, as the entire room applauded. “I’m not sure how I can elaborate on that,” said Chiang. “You’ll see in the next issue — Tony Akins is drawing issues #9 and #10 — it’s a really detailed issue. I actually kind of lucked out that I didn’t have to do it. 9 and 10 are in Hell and I’m working on issue 11 right now.”
“Which gets worse,” said Azzarello.
Snyder took the stage next to speak about “Swamp Thing” and Abby’s transformation into the Avatar of Rot and the reintroduction of Arcane later on. As for the crossover between “Swamp Thing” and “Animal Man” later this year, “It’s going to be the biggest most crazy thing either of [the creative teams] could draw or even write.”
“Night of the Owls” begins in Batman this week, and Snyder spoke a bit about the opening issue. “We’ve been beating up Batman pretty bad,” said Snyder. “These are the issues where they invade Bruce’s home and this is the issue where it all turns. All the heavy artillery comes out — a new Batmobile, new gadgets — and he really brings it to the court.” Snyder also noted there would be big surprises in the conclusion of the arc and went on to describe “Batman Annual” #1 that releases later this year during “Night of the Owls.”
“It’s going to be a blast and we hope you like it. The annual is going to play a little bit into it as well,” said Snyder. “The annual is really about establishing Mr. Freeze in the New 52. We wanted to do something along the lines of hard vice. … There will be some big revelations about him that we’re really excited about and proud of.”
Daniel’s “Detective Comics” was next, where the creator spoke about his contribution to “Night of the Owls.” “This one, I really had a blast doing,” he said. “You can see a little bit of the cover there, it takes place in Arkham Asylum. My part of the big event takes place in Jeremiah Arkham’s domain. We get to see in his head and a large part of the book is from his point of view. … I had a lot of fun doing it.”
Simone took the microphone to talk about “Batgirl” and “Night of the Owls.” “It was really fun to work with Scott and we’ve got a pretty formidable foe for Batgirl to deal with in issue #9,” she said, saying after the event Batgirl would be trying to move forward with her life as an independent individual and would encounter a new villain called Nightfall, who would become Batgirl’s “arch-nemesis.”
Higgins spoke about “Nightwing” and the many reveals coming up bringing the connection between Dick Grayson’s ancestors to the forefront. “He’s the prince of Gotham in my eyes,” said Higgins. “It’s about him coming to embrace that. He starts asking the question, ‘Is there a place for hope here?'”
Exploring the long history of the Court of the Owls is an “All-Star Western” tie-in issue. “There a lot of stuff that we lay the groundwork and you guys will see the seeds that we laid in the past are there in the present-day books,” said Palmiotti. “There’s all this crazy stuff going on and we get to throw the nastiest cowboy on Earth into the middle of it.”
Higgins quickly addressed the possibility of Nightwing getting his own city to protect a la Bludhaven. “The accusation that he was supposed to be a killer for the Owl Society really shook him,” Higgins said, noting Nightwing would continue to be in Gotham.
Johns also teased some news for Orange Lantern fans in the audience. “If you like Larfleeze, there’s actually a lot more Larfleeze coming up later this year,” he said.
The writer also fielded a question about when readers will see Billy Batson turn into Captain Marvel. “You’ll see Black Adam before you see him,” said Johns. “You’ll see Freddy, Mary — you’ll see the tiger. You’ll see the bunny.”
Snyder noted the writers were trying to find ways to incorporate more strong female characters into the Bat-books. “We talk about where in the stories they’re going to show up,” said Snyder of Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown. The writer also mentioned there would be a new female character showing up soon in “Batman.”
One of the most appropriate answers came when Johns answered a young fan’s question about whether one of their favorite characters was still dead. “It’s the New 52, man! Anything can happen!”
Chiang fielded a question about the redesign of the deities in “Wonder Woman” starting with the New 52. “Brian and I are pretty much just trying to figure out what the biggest personality traits for these guys are and blowing that out,” said Chiang. “We want to highlight the fact that the gods are not human.”
“We’re just physically manifesting their personalities,” said Azzarello. “They’re not just meant to be worshipped, they’re meant to be feared.”
Johns mentioned the future plans for Cyborg. “Something we want to do with Cyborg is build him up,” he said. “Everyone talks about when the Cyborg book comes. We’ll definitely do one. It’s like Aquaman, we tried to build the groundwork. We want to do it with the best talent we can.”
After the questions wrapped, DC showed a video for its We Can Be Heroes campaign to benefit relief in the Horn of Africa. With that, the panel ended. Stay tuned to CBR for more coverage of C2E2 2012.