C2E2: Brightest Day Panel

DC Comics wrapped their big events of the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo (AKA C2E2) with a discussion of their latest big event "Brightest Day" with Executive Editor Eddie Berganza as joined by artists Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, and CBR News was on hand on Sunday afternoon for a full rundown of the news.

Berganza started out by saying that the question of "Who will be the protector of earth?" - AKA the person who will wield the White Lantern of the latest cover - will be a major concern of the end of the 24-part series and will catch fans totally by surprise. However, many of them tried to guess who it might be with cries ranging from Deadman to Charlie Sheen.

The editor then talked up Reis' contributions to making Aquaman a viable hero again. "I don't know what to say because I've always liked Aquaman since the Super Friends," Reis said noting that when he draws Aquaman using his powers, he always makes the "doot doot doot" sonar noise from the cartoon classic. "Now people see Aquaman as different from previous times...he's not more about joking. He's part of the big seven."

Prado asked the audience what they preferred for Aquaman now that he's lost another hand: hook or water hand? It appeared the hook supporters had a slight edge.

The artist also spoke to the joy the team had adding a new Aqualad to the series. "It's really cool to draw with the glowing tattoos and the water-bearer powers...it's a new reality," Prado said. "I know this has been done before, but we're trying to do something really different with him." He then asked the fans if they wanted the art team to cut Aqualad's hair to it better with the "Young Justice" animated version of the character, but the current comic style won out.

Showing an upcoming variant cover by Reis featuring "Deathstorm" - the Black Lantern version of Firestorm - Berganza said that the character was created by Geoff Johns to be a twist on the stereotypical Image superhero of the past complete with "groovy language."

The panelists then did a dramatic reading from the first page of "Brightest Day" #23, which ended with the ominous caption "Why me?" One fan who had been at every DC panel for the weekend was allowed to come on stage and read the advance copy of the issue. He said after a moment, "This reminds me of the tone of 'Infinite Crisis.'"

Berganza said that the ramifications of "Brightest Day" will be big and lasting. "It's not one of those things where you've invested a whole year but at the end there will be nothing to show for it." The editor showed the cover of the upcoming "Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search" cover and told the fans who were calling out "Swamp Thing" that they were on the wrong track of guesses for who the protector of earth would be still.

A fan asked if Black Lanterns would stick around beyond this story as their addition to the DCU was so potent. Berganza said, "One of my rules is that if you see a toy of a character in Wal-Mart, it's pretty likely they'll stick around." He noted that Deathstorm had appeared in a two-pack with Firestorm.

Another reader said that the only heroes who haven't completed their missions from the series start are Boston Brand, Captain Boomerang and Hawk. He wondered where those stories would wrap, and Berganza said all three would be completed in "Brightest Day" proper.

A cover for an upcoming "Flashpoint" tie-in features Wally West being chased by someone wearing a White Lantern ring. Berganza said that scene was not a flashback but a piece that ties the two events together. Furthermore, the editor said that the third blacked-out character on the cover of "The Search" is not the White Lantern but is the person who is searching for the White Lantern, and that they'd be a big reveal for the series.

Issue #24 of the series will be bigger than the regular issue so as to wrap up all the storylines and "to give our savior the proper amount of double-page spreads" Berganza said.

Plans for Aquaman, Martian Manhunter and Firestorm were asked after, and Berganza said "Two of them are going on...maybe" before Reis jokingly added "In a parallel universe" to which the editor said "where Martian Manhunter doesn't wear pants again.

Aside from "Flashpoint" connecting with the end of "Brightest Day," Berganza said that fans interested in Boston Brand's effect on the various Lantern Corps will have to first see how the Lanterns deal with the "War of the Green Lantern" story about to hit those monthly books. "I know it's frustrating as fans because you want to know stuff, but isn't it better to be surprised when you turn that page?" he said of how DC approaches responding to spoiler requests on panels.

A fan who asked "What was up" with Dove and Deadman hooking up in "Brightest Day" #16 got the response of "The guy was dead for like 40 years....come on!" from Reis. The reader then asked how Hal Jordan's allying himself with Sinestro and other color Lanterns would impact his relationship with the other heroes of earth, and Berganza said Jordan would have to live with his choices and their eventual consequences, particularly when it came to dealing with heroes like Batman.

Berganza promised that the end of "Brightest Day" would be a satisfying end to the ideas the team has build over the past two years of DC Comics even while it moves things forward into the next phase. Particularly, the idea of the White Lantern and how its origins on earth shape the universe. The panelist promised the protector of earth will stick around in the DC rather than stepping off stage.

Reis explained that there is in fact a "big bad" in "Brightest Day" and that fans should view this series and "Blackest Night" as one huge epic story.

The protector of earth who will wield the White Lantern HAS been seen on the page in "Brightest Day" according to Berganza, though the editor took a moment thinking about it before he committed to the answer.

Speaking on "War of The Green Lanterns," the editor promised that the story would dig into the history of the Corps beyond just how the Guardians captured the green energy but also into the political and personal conditions that existed back then to shape the mythology of the characters.

Speaking on "War of The Green Lanterns," the editor promised that the story would dig into the history of the Corps beyond just how the Guardians captured the green energy but also into the political and personal conditions that existed back then to shape the mythology of the characters.

A reader pushed hard with Berganza for confirmation of whether Swamp Thing would appear in the DC Universe again since the rumors that the line had taken the character back from Vertigo. A frequent topic over the panels on the weekend, the question prompted the editor to say, "We're hearing you. This weekend has been all about Swamp Thing [from the readers.]" He could not say if the character would show up.

When a very young fan asked whether DC was better than Marvel, Begranza said, "Let's put it this way...we lowered our prices and didn't lie about it."

A fan was hoping that Reis and Prado would move on to a "Justice League" comic with a major cast and written by an A-list arist, and he asked what their next project would be. Berganza said that he couldn't say, but it wasn't "Justice League" and readers would learn soon.

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