Dan DiDio led what he announced was the “Final Crisis Counseling Panel.” He responded to the audiences groans by saying, “We’ve beat these jokes to death.” When he asked who had been to the “Crisis Counseling” panels before, at least a third of the room raised their hands.
DiDio assured the crowd that DC will be transferring from “Crisis Counseling” panels to a format for “52.” “It looks like we got people interested in buying something on a weekly basis. The idea was to put something out there that started with letters of the alphabet lower than X.” Everyone was amused.
Also at the panel were VP of Sales Bob Wayne, Keith Giffen, Phil Jimenez, J.G. Jones, and late arrivals Ivan Cohen and Geoff Johns.
DiDio announced there would be “a couple of rules on Crisis [since] in the past [he’d] lied…nothing [he] said came true.” DiDio concluded, “Now that we’re at the end, I feel the need to be honest. Okay, I’m lying about that too.”
DiDio then asked the room if we could have a “patient/doctor privilege” requesting that nobody record or transmit the session. An obvious cameraman at the front of the room drew audible cheers.
DiDio pledged that “No questions [would be] answered about Blue Beetle, Max Lord, or ‘what’s happening one year later,'” stating that “It’s all about the characters again. It’s about building a new direction for the universe.” He followed that by confirming “Brave New World” in June.
After a rapid-fire opening, and quick barrage of DiDio humor, the session turned to the fans for questions.
When asked what DiDio thought of Golden Age characters in present day, he responded, “Do you want to have 80 year olds running around in costumes?” The question was followed with whether he thinks “there is room for period pieces with some of these characters.” He responded, “No…seriously, there is room, and there is one in the works.”
When asked if we should not expect Darkseid to show up during the Crisis, Giffen said, “Darkseid was being passed around the DC office like a bomb.”
Will there be big twists for Wonder Woman? Phil Jimenez fielded the question: “Is it safe to say? Yes.”
When a fan addressed a general impression that the DCU had gone “wrong” or “dark,” and that the books had turned away from being acceptable to a younger audience, DiDio countered, “These are the comics you enjoy, that this room likes. We create [other] comics for kids. Not every comic is made for kids. We can’t do that.” He went on to say that the general comic reading age group is 8-11 and then college age. “We’re trying to say that you need to buy all 60 books and then pick out what you give to your kids.”
The fan then asked if there would be any lightening of the tone. DiDio continued, “What you call a dark tone, we call drama. If we don’t increase the level of risk…challenge, then the hero seems weaker. You want to see a threat greater than the hero. Did anybody ever read Hamlet? Everybody friggin’ dies!”
Regarding Wonder Woman killing Max Lord, DiDio said, “It’s not just a throwaway. There are long term ramifications for that character.”
When asked about the continuity issues created by Earth2, Earth1, etc., DiDio said reboots of the universe kept happening because different writers kept coming in and doing different things to the point that it just unraveled, and they “saw that happening.” Giffen added, “Infinite Crisis is like the last days of winter. 52 is like the first days of Spring. It will reintroduce you to the DC Universe.”
DiDio followed by mentioning 52 is “more about direction, tone,” as opposed to all the different worlds that have existed.
How will DC deal with heroes coming back to life? Giffen said, “Green Lantern, Green Arrow, maybe not so much. We’ll be dealing with the revolving door of life-death-life-death. Enough’s enough.” DiDio added that such things happen “from bad writing.”
Regarding the issue of Eclipso in which several characters died, Jimenez clarified it was “6 or 7,” and DiDio noted “They killed them all in one panel. You lost the impact of the value of [those characters’] death[s]. We need to create stories that matter for us so they matter for you.” Giffen quipped, “How many Hawkmen do you need?”
When asked if there would be a funeral for the Freedom Fighters, DiDio said that “Battle for Bludhaven [would be] coming up,” and will address the Freedom Fighters.
A fan asked if things would calm down after the June release of “Brave New World.” DiDio responded incredulously, “What does calm down mean? Why do we need it to calm down?” The fan said, “I’m running out of money!” Giffen’s only consolation was “Two words, second job!”
When an audience member admitted he hasn’t been salivating over the recent stories, the panel chose to single him out, but then pledged to “find something for [him].”
On speedsters, DiDio offered: “We can’t talk about the brand new Flash, and who the guy is in the costume.”
When a mother of two boys inquired about subscriptions, DiDio directed her to the DC website, but then added that there will be a subscription plan for 52: “All 52 issues for a special price of $100.00!” He added there would be no guarantee that you’ll get the books prior to Wednesday comic day.
Will there be an Absolute version of “Infinite Crisis”? Didio said, “I don’t know,” and then directed the question to Ivan Cohen: “Show of hands, who would want it?” DiDio added, “If the demand is there, we’ll be looking at it.”
How will DC keep the readers interested for 52 issues? DiDio enthused, “Six reasons! Grant Morrison, Greg Rucka, Mark Waid, J.G. Jones, Keith Giffen, Geoff Johns. We’re doing everything we can. The entire DC Universe is at the disposal of the writers of 52.”
At this point, latecomer Geoff Johns entered, and DiDio made him answer the question again: “We’re never going to have an issue where a guy wakes up and breaks out of a building for an entire issue. I’m really confident with everything we have.” Giffen noted, “It’s not decompressed comics.”
Will fans see an oversized book of covers? DiDio assured “That is one of the things that is at the top of my list. We want to tell a story with the  covers. I think it’s the most incredible genesis of ideas you’ve ever seen. We have a bunch of brand new characters being introduced in the DC universe.”
DiDio’s one word prediction for Nightwing and Dick Grayson was “Monthly!” followed by “$2.99!” and a laughing audience.
Will Ion’s character have a bigger role in “Crisis”? Johns: “He’s in Crisis for the rest of Crisis, but I can’t really say anything else.” The Joker will also return.
Was Captain Marvel just “swept under the rug?” Johns responded, “I just did a scene with Captain Marvel and Black Adam in 52.”
The Lightning Round followed, which was, of course, as fast as lightning….or at least Wally West. Not much “news” was offered there.
CBR’s coverage of the New York Comic-Con is Sponsored by Comics Unlimited.