C2E2: DC's New 52 Panel

CBR's live coverage of C2E2 enters it second day with DC Comics' New 52 panel. SVP-Sales Bob Wayne, Editor-in-Chief Bob Harras and Editorial Director Bobbie Chase host a panel of writers Charles Soule, Peter Tomasi, Sterling Gates, and Kyle Higgins and artists Aaron Kuder, Doug Mahnke, and Patrick Gleason to let fans in on upcoming story arcs and events in the "Green Lantern" line, "Wonder Woman," and more throughout the DC Universe.

The panel began with Peter Tomasi discussing his "Batman and Robin" series, which now features a different co-star each issue after Damian Wayne's passing. A cover showing Catwoman appeared on screen, and Tomasi joked that "nothing would help Batman get over the death of Damian than a visit from Catwoman." She'll appear in #22, with Nightwing in #23. The series will also show how Carrie Kelly "entered Damian's life earlier, before he died." He said there are surprises in store, but would not comment on whether Carrie would become the next Robin.

Tomasi also said that, though Batman "has been through some stuff before," he hoped the series would show him in a new light as Bruce goes through the five stages of grief.

"Green Lantern Corps" #20 is, of course, Tomasi's finale on the series and he noted that he has been involved with the line for 20 years, including his editorial work. "This issue is really the end of an era, and all the #20s are a tip of to the fans, to thank you," he said. "I feel like I'm Guy Gardner; he's my favorite GL, it's going to be hard to leave him behind."

A slide for "Superman Unchained" by Scott Snyder and Jim Lee came up next, with Harras called on to talk about the series. "I can say that Scott and Jim both bring their A-game to this series. The first issue is absolutely amazing, it's some of Jim's best work," Harras said. The issue includes "a four-page, open up" image to show the scale of Superman's adventure.

"Trinity War" begins in July, running through "Justice League," "JLA," and "Justice League Dark," as well as the "Trinity of Sin" series "Pandora" and "Phantom Stranger." "When you see all these characters together, you know it's going to be great," Harras said.

Higgins was up next to talk about "Nightwing," a hero who has recently moved to Chicago. "You guys like Nightwing moving to Chicago?" Higgins asked, to loud applause. Wayne joked that in June Nightwing would move to San Diego, to please fans at that convention in July. The move to Chicago, Higgins said, is prompted by the revelation that Tony Zucco, the Graysons' murder, is "alive and living under an alias in Chicago." Higgins said that he didn't want the move to simply be "running with his tail between his legs" after "Death of the Family," and instead it should be "something intensely personal."

Nightwing's Chicago will feature a new version of the Superman villain The Prankster, and Nightwing will discover "what happened to all the masks in Chicago."

Sterling Gates spoke next about "Vibe," which he described as "very much a fish out of water story." "He's at once trying to learn to be a hero and use his powers effectively," Gates said.

"Batwing" came next, with Harras mentioning that the newest version of the character, Luke Fox, has "a more organic connection to Bruce Wayne," as the hero is Lucious Fox's son. "It's part of the ongoing effort of the New 52 to bring the Batman family together, to create ripple effects" through the several titles, Harras said.

"All Star Western" now finds Jonah Hex in 21st Century Gotham City. "We're going to see Jonah reacting to, number one, being in the 21st Century, and two, finding out about people he knew [like the Arkham family" is at the heart of the next arc, Harras said, along with Hex's efforts to get back to the past or stay in the present.

Soule spoke then about "Swamp Thing," which he recently took over from Scott Snyder. The cover to #22 features John Constantine, who Soule said was a goal for him to work in. "I thought I wouldn't wait too long," he said. The arc beginning in #22 takes place in Scotland, and he said that future arcs would be set in India "and can take place anywhere" thanks to travel through the Green. The Scotland arc would see "a whiskey tree" showing up in the middle of a town, but it's "not what it seems--oooh!"

Soule also talked about "Red Lanterns," which is taking over with #21. "Guy Gardner is also one of my favorites of the Corps, and he'll be taking a more central character in 'Red Lanterns' moving forward." He added that "it will be a slight change of pace" but still feature "all the rage and napalm blood and stuff you love."

Geoff Johns' final issue of "Green Lantern" will be 88 pages. Harras noted that Johns has "created a whole new mythology for Green Lantern and made the character a mainstay of the DC Universe." His final issue will "tie everything together," Harras added.

After slides promoting the convention exclusives, Wayne opened the floor to questions.

The first question was about the Crime Syndicate in Villain's Month and whether it would be set on the main Earth or an alternate universe. Wayne and Harras bantered about not knowing what Villain's Month is, as it has not yet been announced or confirmed. In what became a refrain, it was suggested that all the answers are in "Wonder Woman" #25--take that with a grain of salt.

Next, on Shazam, Harras said "there are events in the coming months that should make everyone who loves Shazam very happy." A collection of his "Justice League" backups is also forthcoming.

A fan asked next about whether there would be "an answer as to Renee Montoya's status in the New 52" and whether "Batwoman" will be drawn closer to the other Bat-books. "Yes and yes," Harras said.

Nightwing will still interact with the rest of the Bat-family, Higgins said. "He's in Chicago for a very specific purpose," the writer said. "And it's not like he's not talking to anybody." But the move was intended to allow Dick Grayson "to build his own world" rather than "defining his character by his relationship to Batman."

Even with Guy Gardner turning up in "Red Lanterns," human Lantern Rankorr will not be going away, Soule said.

With Johns leaving the series, a fan asked whether the Orange Lantern oath--something Johns has long hinted at--will be revealed. "Read 'Green Lantern' #20," Tomasi said.

Harras said there are no plans for "Freedom Fighters" at present. "That would have to be a little further down the line," he said.

A fan asked about more "fun, carefree books" like the upcoming "Green Team" and "The Movement." Harras said there will be "a variety, and that's what we've been trying to do since we launched the New 52."

"I've been trying to get Pete to make Batman smile," Higgins said. Tomasi then spoke about February's "Batman and Robin" Annual, which he said was meant to be a fun book he could give to his kids. "If everything's all dark, it can seem overwhelming, if it's not set off by something more light," Tomasi said.

Asked what would become of the "Batman and Robin" series after the Nightwing issue in #23, Tomasi said "we have lots of cool stuff planned," but that "there won't suddenly be a new Robin in #24."

A fan asked whether Cyborg might get his own series, and Harras asked who else would like to see that. No applause. A chorus of "Wonder Woman" #25, came up again, with Wayne saying "it's big old comic like Mom used to make."

Asked whether Nightwing would be a Sox fan or a Cubs fan, Higgins said, "As long as I'm writing it, Nightwing will not attend a Cubs game."

A fan suggested that DC bring Damian Wayne back. "Damian's dead," Bob Wayne said, "Pete Tomasi is helping you work through your grief--he's taking that burden so you don't have to!"

Asked about "Batman Begins," Higgins said about a year will have passed when he takes over the titles, so "all the dynamics will be a little different." "Something happened in that missing time," Higgins said, and the series would reveal that gradually.

"Static won't be joining the Titans anytime soon," Harras said, "but something might be happening with Static relatively soon." He also said that the Titans team itself would undergo changes in the coming months.

Asked about a new Superman-esque character for "Earth 2," Harras said there are plans for that series that "may have ripple effects for other worlds, as well."

Responding to a fan who was disappointed in the resolution of "Death of the Family," Higgins and Tomasi noted that fans had been expecting a death of major character, but that was never something promised. "The goal was to fracture the family," Tomasi said.

With that, the panel wrapped up.

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