Geoff Johns, Judd Winick, and James Robinson talked to a packed room at WonderCon Saturday to discusses the goings on in the furthest reaches of the DC Universe as the Blackest Night gives way to the Brightest Day. CBR News was there as they, along with “Titans” writer Eric Wallace, “Birds of Prey” writer Gail Simone, “Brightest Day” cover artist David Finch, and writer J.T. Krul, talked about life, death, and Starman Mikaal’s upcoming relationship.
Moderator Eddie Berganza began by showing off a slide of the center-fold in “Blackest Night” #8. The image reveals the heroes resurrected at the end of that series. “These guys have been resurrected for a reason,” he said.
“Twelve characters have been resurrected,” added Johns. In that number is Boston Brand, better known as Deadman, “who we’re calling ‘Aliveman'” said Johns. “I didn’t want [Brightest Day] to be a banner, I wanted it to mean something,” he explained. “Every character means something. They were all resurrected for a reason; some good, some bad.”
Bergaza then asked, “How bad is Aquaman now?” to which the panel laughed.
Johns then mentioned, “In ‘Green Lantern’ coming up, we’re going to be exploring the new guardians and the characters we introduced in ‘Green Lantern’ # 52.”
Creative changes are coming to “Green Lantern Corps,” Berganza said. “Ivan Reis takes over art, Bedard takes over [writing].” The editor than took a look at Krul. “J.T is up here. Why?” he asked.
“I don’t want to spoil it,” Krul responded. “I’d love to say more, but it’s a big spoiler.” Krul is taking over writing duties on “Green Arrow,” but declined to offer much more. “I wanted to call back to the [Mike] Grell stuff,” he admitted. “It gets back to the iconic roll that [Star City] plays.”
Interestingly, Johns added, “‘Brightest Day #0’ sets it up.”
Berganza also offered, “Star City will be the most important city.”
Berganza then asked Winick to talk about the return of the Justice League International. “Geoff and I were talking about the Justice League. There’s the big three and bits ‘n’ pieces that come out of that. When you take a poll of the room, what stands out is JLI. So Keith [Giffen] and I are harkening back to the old and bringing back JLI.
Johns explained the premise, saying, “Maxwell Lord is back and he makes the world forget he existed except for these four character: Fire, Ice, Booster, and Captain Atom.”
“Our bi-weekly promise is superheroes beating up other superheroes, robots and lasers,” Winick added. “It’s serialized: one foot in front of the other. Laughs. Tragedy. Something for everybody.”
The spotlight turned to James Robinson’s upcoming JLA/JSA crossover. “The Justice League and the Justices Society are facing Jade, who will be the Green Lantern element,” the writer explained. “It will re-establish Jade in the DCU and show how the Starheart makes her, Alan Scott, and Obsidian different from the Corps.”
Hawk and Dove are joining the “Birds of Prey.” Berganza asked writer Gail Simone to talk about her upcoming return to the series. “Oracle’s not too sure about Hawk,” she revealed with a laugh. “The girls are back in Gotham. Oracle’s the 900 operator for the whole DCU. We have a past threat coming back who is a hundred times worse than the first time. ”
Johns added, “I love that Hawk’s the only guy on the team and he’s a total dick.”
Attention turned to a picture of Barry Allen in his Flash costume. “He started all this,” said Berganza.
Johns — intending a much longer statement — opened with “I love the Flash,” when someone shouted about the fate of Wally West. “Wally’s fine. He’s got kids,” responded the writer. “Barry’s got a job. He works at the crime lab … issue 1 will give you a hint of some of the storylines we have planned.”
Wallace will be adding the resurrected Osiris into the “Titans” mix. “Osiris has been reborn and he only says one thing, ‘I want to go back home.’ And you can’t, but you can bring home back to you,” he said. “He wants Black Adam and Isis back and it’s going to be extremely painful for Osiris.”
As Berganza opened the floor to questions, Johns said, “I wanted to thank everybody who supported ‘Blackest Night.’ I couldn’t be more proud to be part of that team.”
During the Q& A, someone asked about the role of Guy Gardner going forward. Johns said, “Guy’s getting his own book called ‘Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors’ that ships in summer.”
A child asked if Sinestro is a White Lantern, who is the leader of the Sinestro Corps? Johns offered this interesting response: “He was only a White Lantern for ten minutes, so … there’s a scene between Lex and Larfleeeze in the next ‘Green Lantern.'” Continuing on the theme of the other Corps, John added, “There will be a Larfleeze Christmas special this year. He goes to look for this guy on earth who gives stuff to everybody.”
On the theme of death, Johns explained they chose the characters entirely based on the stories their lives or deaths could offer him as a writer. “Deadman is the anomaly,” he said. “He doesn’t like being back. There’s something about him that’s different from everyone else.” That something different is already out in the world and in the pages of “Blackest Night.” Asked if closing the doorway between life and death was an organic thing, John explained, “It happened organically. We did away with that tool for awhile and give meaning to death in the DC Universe.”
Asked if the resurrected Jade and Kyle will meet up, Robinson responded, “‘JLA’ #47.”
Winick, who has a reputation for writing homosexual characters based on one of his early “Green Lantern” story arcs and his “Pedro and Me” biography, was asked which member of the JLI would be coming out. The writer responded, “Who isn’t gay in the JLI?” At that point, Starman Mikaal Tomas was mentioned, whom Robinson had established as homosexual during the “Starman” series.
“He’s going to have a gay relationship in the future with another superhero,” said Robinson.
“Then I’ll have to write about him because he’s gay,” joked Winick.
With all these heroes returning, someone asked, “Where’s Ted Kord?” Johns responded, “Sorry, he’s not coming back.”
“Ted Kord died a true hero’s death,” offered Robinson.
Finally, someone asked if the “something different” Johns mentioned about Deadman was his White Lantern ring, Johns replied, “very perceptive.”
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