Sunday is the traditional kids day at Comic-Con International in San Diego, and for DC Comics, that meant shining a spotlight on its young superheroes in their “Young Justice” panel. SVP of Marketing John Cunningham took the mic to introduce “Teen Titans” writer Scott Lobdell, “Blue Beetle” writer Tony Bedard, “Supergirl” co-writer Mike Johnson as well as Editors Bob Harras, Bobbie Chase and Brian Cunningham.
Lobdell talked about September’s “Teen Titans” #0, saying the issue was “Almost exclusively about Tim Drake, but we get some secret info about Skitter and Bunker…as near as I recall, as it is now Tim goes straight from being Tim Drake to being Red Robin in that there was no official period of time where he was Robin. We keep most of the origin in tact in that he was one of the few people who could get very close to learning who Bruce is…but it will be a much updated version of his origin.”
Lobdell also spoke to “Superboy,” the title he’s passed along to friend Tom DeFalco. In the #0 issue, the ethical issues of being a clone. Josaline Moore -Â a NYPD police officer with superpowered law enforcement equipment -Â appears in #13. The character will present the first of many more physical threats to the Boy of Steel, and she will have a connection to Bat Allen AKA Kid Flash. Moore is the case worker for Allen as he was brought into the past from the 31st Century as part of a witness protection program. “There’s going to be a lot of mystery surrounding this character, but at the same time, she’ll give us a lot of information on Bart and his origin,” Lobdell said, calling her a lynchpin character.
The #0 issue of “Red Hood & The Outlaws” is an origin for Red Hood Jason Todd which Lobdell called the saddest issue he’s ever written. After that, Red Hood himself becomes embroiled in the Joker storyline set for “Batman,” so this series will see its other leads (Arsenal and Starfire) team up with the New 52 version of former JLI character the Crimson Fox for a while.
Lobdell turned to the return of Starfire’s sister Blackfire, noting as he did earlier in the weekend that he’s changing the nature of the villain to a woman with an extreme amount of guilt over her role in selling Starfire off of their planet. “She’s not the nihilistic, Machiavellian, evil role but a caring sister who betrayed Kory,” he said, joking soon after that he didn’t know why he was writing so many depressing stories these days.
Mike Johnson spoke to “Supergirl” #0 saying that the whole issue takes place on Krypton. “It really focuses on her relationship with her parents…it ends with her leaving, and the circumstances of her trip to earth are very different than her cousin’s,” Johnson said, adding “We find out who shot her father.” #13 introduces Supergirl’s “Fort of Solitude” which is build upon a piece of Kryptonian tech she finds on earth.
“Blue Beetle” #0 will be the secret origin of the BB armor before Jaime Reyes got it as Tony Bedard said, “We’ll have a new cosmic villain coming in who you know well.” Most of the story, thought, will focus on the hundreds of years the scarab armor was on earth – particularly the first ever Blue Beetle, a Mayan warrior the writer called “a Golum-type character who just wants his precious armor back.”
Issue #13 of that series take Blue Beetle into space to the Reach world where the armor come from. Again, Bedard promised a “New 52ed” version of a classic cosmic character debuting here, though he wanted to keep their identity a secret despite pleas from Lobdell to spill the beans.
Brian Cunningham spoke to a desire to get more cosmic stories into the New 52 DCU, particularly with where “Legion Lost” will land after the #0 origin of Timber Wolf. “Ravagers” #0 focuses on the history of Beast Boy and Terra’s relationship, Harras explained, saying they’d be important pivot point for the whole line going forward. Superboy lands in “Ravagers” after that looking for answers on his past from Caitlin Fairchild, whom the panel called his “mentor/jailer.”
In the fan question potion of the panel, Lobdell said he’d love to see Blue Beetle in the Titans, though it would be contingent on him surviving the plans Bedard has for him in space.
“The impression I get from Superboy is that he’s not a t-shirt and jeans kind of guy,” Lobdell said about whether the teen hero would ever go back to his more recent clothing choice. He said one thing he loves about the New 52 Superman is how it’s broken the mold on whether a hero can have multiple costuming options, and so Superboy’s look would evolve moving forward. He echoed those sentiments for an upcoming redesign for Red Hood’s standard costume.
Back on the guest-star/new member topic, Lobdell said, “In my fantasy world…I would love to see them hang out with Kamandi, the last boy on earth and all corners of the DCU.” He polled the audience about getting Supergirl in “Teen Titans” to a tepid response, but Raven’s upcoming appearance earned some hoots.
The idea of Red Robin’s new origin and how it impacts Damian Wayne’s desire to kill all former Robins. Lobdell said, “He hates them all…Robin Williams…Robin Leach…”
The issue of how the classic Nightwing/Starfire/Cyborg Titans could exist if Red Robin’s team is the first, Lobdell said that in his mind, those young teens hung out but never formally formed a Teen Titans team. He admitted this slightly contradicts what he said at the panel last year in San Diego, but plans for the series and how its mythology worked changed in the past year.
When a fan asked after the possibility of a Tim Drake solo comic, Lobdell said he’d be up for it and gently chided Harras about green lighting such a project, but it didn’t seem like that discussion would be picking up in any meaningful way in the near future.
Lobdell said he doesn’t watch the “Young Justice” TV show, not from any bias against the show but because he doesn’t watch animation often and felt like watching something so close to his work may muddy the waters for what he wants to do.