DC Comics brought a presentation to Baltimore Comic-Con that teased what's ahead in the DC Universe. Moderated by Bobbie Chase (Editorial Director, DC Comics), the panel showcased several covers and pages from future comic book issues with commentary from artists Aaron Kuder ("Action Comics"), Cliff Chiang ("Wonder Woman"), David Finch ("Wonder Woman"), Greg Capullo ("Batman"), Joe Prado ("The Multiversity"), and Ivan Reis ("The Multiversity") as well as longtime DC writer Paul Levitz ("Worlds' Finest: Futures End") and writer/artist Dan Jurgens ("Futures End").
It's the 75th anniversary of the creation of Batman, and Chase touched on that before starting the slide presentation. Chase said the celebration is ongoing: "We're not done yet; we've got a couple more announcements to make -- things that will be out before the end of the year." That led into the slides which started with "Batman" #33. Capullo stressed he didn't want to give too much away about the issue but said we can expect wall-to-wall action in that issue and going forward in the story. "We'll be taking Batman on one hell of a roller coaster ride. All I can tell you is you're in for a bombastic ride and probably one of the biggest most spectacular splashes yet."
The cover for "Wonder Woman" #33 was shown next, and Chase asked Chiang about the story's endpoint as the title is about to transition to another creative time. Chiang said they (he and writer Brian Azzarello) originally thought they'd hit the end of the arc at about 30 issues, but they're going past that by a few. He said, "It's been really great to tell this complete story." As far as specifics about "Wonder Woman" #33, Chiang said, "Wonder Woman has been captured by the First Born, and things are about to get really bad for her. He's invaded. We kind of wanted it to feel like World War II." When discussion moved to the cover of "Wonder Woman" #34, Azzarello and Chiang's last issue on the series, Chiang didn't divulge specifics but said they had two possible endings for the run: "It [the ending] has probably expanded beyond what we thought it was going to be. We recently had a pretty lively debate over whether we should have a happy or sad ending, but Brian wrote both so we could test it out."
It's time for a new era for Wonder Woman, and Chase turned to Finch -- the next artist on the book -- to discuss "Wonder Woman" #35 and beyond. Finch said he's super excited and that he's "two issues in already so this actually stands to be the first book I've ever done where it won't be late for the first six issues." He said he appreciated what Azzarello and Chiang have been doing and continued, "While we're going in a different direction -- you'll see the Justice League appear, you'll see more Superman -- at the same time, what they're [Azzarello and Chiang] doing now is very very important for us to continue." His wife, Meredith Finch, is writing the series and David says he's trying to stay out of her way as much as he can, but that she is accommodating about working with him on the pacing and including the big "cool shots" that he likes to draw.
Discussion then flowed from "Wonder Woman" to "Action Comics." Kuder shared some thoughts on "Action Comics" #34: "We'll see that Superman goes on vacation. Superman has got the Doomsday device and he's been fighting this virus and having this thing take over his personality. He has it under control, but it's still in him." Taking a look at a page from "Action Comics" #34, Kuder says, "You can see Martian Manhunter at the bottom there -- he's just a personal favorite of mine. If I can draw a shape-shifter or if I draw somebody that morphs, he's going to do it in every panel. If you could morph, if you could change shape, why would you stay the same shape?" Kuder also mentioned he and Greg Pak are working on another storyline post-Doom that he's extremely excited about.
Then Jurgens discussed "Futures End" #18 said, "If you've been reading the book, we've kind of been plotting things for a lot of the characters and bringing them to a couple points where we build up the story and we can let a couple secrets out of the bag. And in the end of 'Futures End" # 17, we saw the Superman character was actually revealed to be Billy Batson and at the end of the issue we finally saw where Kal-El had been hiding out for the past five years." They moved to a page from that issue and Jurgens said, "It's where we start to see a little more about what's happened in the past and some of the things that are happening to Superman." Jumping to the cover of "Futures End" #19, Jurgens said, "We start seeing more of the Earth 2 characters that have been part of this story because we've been building that up."
Jurgens also discussed "Aquaman: Future's End" #1. He said, "I think what's fun about a stunt like this is you get to read a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end and then you can play with the question of, 'Is this the future, is this a potential future, what does that mean?'" He said that in Aquaman, the world is a very different place five years from now: "There was an invasion on Earth. Essentially an apocalypse happened." It affects Atlantis and a slide from the issue showed Aquaman in a new costume. Jurgens said, "Atlantis suffered greatly as a result of the war. The apocalypse had fires that raged across the ocean and turned Atlantis into a very native type place. Basically, Atlantis has become a city of refugees and what they're trying to do is reestablish themselves by having greater contact with Earth world."
Jurgens briefly touched on "Booster Gold: Futures End" #1 and said the title will have a lot of surprises that people won't see coming. Finally, he commented on "Superman: Futures End" #1 and said it gets into the background of the story: what is happening between Billy and Kal-El, why they do what they now, and where they've been the last five years.
Paul Levitz then talked about "Worlds' Finest: Futures End" #1 with Huntress and Power Girl. Slides featuring art from the issue showed a "frustrated and angry Power Girl breaking into prison to try to be helpful." Levitz said "Breaking into prison doesn't necessarily mean you can break out of it."
Levitz continued and said in the next six issues of "Worlds' Finest: Futures End," they get to explore what happened during Batman and Superman's lives on the Earth that was, and even though certain events have come about in other ways, he said. "Like any sort of Elseworld or alternate world or Multiversity world, some things have to be the same."