DC Comics launched full force into their DC Nation panel series at Comic-Con International in San Diego Friday night, with a full house of fans ready to hear what news Executive Dan DiDio and his fellow panelists were ready to unleash upon an unsuspecting multiverse.
Assembled at the panel were VP of Sales Bob Wayne, Editor Jann Jones, Paul Dini, Bill Willingham, Ethan Van Sciver, Geoff Johns, JG Jones and Grant Morrison.
As always, DiDio asked the crowd to not reveal anything said at the panel.
DiDio began by announcing that the creative team of "Final Crisis" is Grant Morrison and JG Jones.
Bill Willingham then discussed his new miniseries, "Salvation Row," which is based on the idea that the world is tired of villains always escaping from Arkham Asylum and various prisons.
"All these guys ripe to conquer a world are being shipped out, given a world of their own, no more villains at all. At least, that's the idea. There are a few catches, a few wrinkles."
"Batman's now met two different versions of the Legion of Super-Heroes, is he going to start putting the pieces together?" asked a fan. Geoff Johns confirmed that the World's Greatest Detective is, indeed, realizing that something's up.
A fan asked about the "Villains Teaser" poster for "Countdown" and was met with predictably vague results.
"Eventually," said Jann Jones.
DiDio then asked members of the audience dressed as the Justice League to stand up with a fan dressed as Will Magnus.
"You're not in the Justice League!" DiDio he admonished fans dressed as Mr. Terrific and Robin.
A fan then asked how integral all the various "Countdown" tie-ins would be to the overall story.
"How much money do you currently spend on other companies' comics?" Bob Wayne quipped.
A fan skeptical about the endless crossover expressed relief that Grant Morrison was writing "Final Crisis."
"I have no choice but to buy it now," the fan said.
"I can't top what Geoff did in Infinite Crisis," Morrison said before revealing that Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth, would be on the last page of "Final Crisis" and Anthro, the First Boy, would be on the first.
"Is Mary Marvel ever going to become Captain Marvel?" asked another fan.
"She should. Tomorrow!" Morrison answered.
Later, a fan expressed desire to bring Swamp Thing, the Sandman, Tim Hunter and Constantine back into the DCU.
"Let's storm the seventh floor!" DiDio said, referring to Karen Berger's Vertigo office.
"Sandman-Hawkman!" exclaimed Morrison.
"Geoff, why do you appear to be screwing Kyle over?" one fan asked.
"It's part of the story," Johns said. "That Parallax thing, I just couldn't wait. I love Kyle. That's all I'll say."
"When can we be expecting a memorial for Stephanie Brown?" asked another fan.
"We've been kind of delaying and pussyfooting around the whole issue," Willingham said. "The reason is that we've been planning something in 'Salvation Run.' One of the enclaves there has for some reason has been spitting out Stephanie Brown clones. I'm sorry for the Spoiler."
The crowd booed, mightily.
"I promise -- and I haven't got permission from Dan yet -- but any time one of the villains kills one of the Stephanie Brown clones, a memorial will appear in the Batcave. I promise this will happen."
In return, DiDio invited the fan to come up on stage and sit directly behind Willingham, who was noticeably shaken when Grant Morrison asked the fan if he would you like a weapon.
"What are you going to do to push the Jamie Blue Beetle character more in DC?" asked another fan.
"One of the fun things about Blue Beetle is that he's so much fun," DiDio said. "There's a lot of fun going on in that series and we're hoping that by putting him in Teen Titans and other places, there will be some crossover success." DiDio and Johns confirmed that Blue Beetle will also appear in "Sinestro Corps. Don't worry, he doesn't die."
"What's happened to you, Geoff Johns?" asked Morrison.
Paul Dini then announced that Harley Quinn's presence with the Athenians will be explained in an upcoming issue of "Detective Comics."
A fan then discussed Marvel's success with films based on their comics, and asked the panel why it's so difficult for DC fans to get films based on the Flash, Green Lantern and even Doom Patrol.
"We have nothing to do with that," DiDio said, before asking Grant Morrison what DC characters he'd like to see on screen.
"Doom Patrol!" Morrison said. "I'd like to write 'Doom Patrol!'"
"I'm producing the Metal Men movie right now," said Geoff Johns.
"Ambush Bug ..." whispered Jann Jones.
"Plastic Man," said Bob Wayne.
"Kamandi, Last Boy on Earth!" said JG Jones.
Later, Willingham announced that the Joker will be appearing in "Salvation Row," and in reference to Morrison's "extra evil" Joker, said that Scottish people are born with "37 percent more evil."
A fan asked about Terry Moore's desire to do a Supergirl project, and Jann Jones confirmed they've spoken about such a project. The fan applauded at the suggestion.
Geoff Johns prompted Ethan Van Sciver to discuss his process of designing the Sinestro Corps.
"We've got many more to go, and we've got Pat Gleason helping out. We have more than 7,000 members to draw, so stay tuned."
"Grant, are you happy that someone's actually doing something with Zauriel?" asked a fan.
"Yeah, it's cool! Usually I create things and then they disappear forever!" answered Morrison.
A fan asked if DC is worried that fans will get burned out on character deaths. DiDio asked for a show of hands, with many raised in favor of less death.
"Kill them all off and bring them all back!" one fan yelled out.
"You're not an editor at DC Comics," DiDio told the fan, before assuring the crowd that all character deaths play into a larger context.
"How finished is Bart's story?" asked a fan. DiDio turned the question to Geoff Johns, who said "Don't spoil it!"
Willingham assured the crowd that all DC writers research all their stories, and that "Geoff Johns goes out and kills a hooker every morning."
A fan said that while he loves "Sinestro Corps War," he felt that "Amazons Attack" is "really, really bad. It just doesn't make any sense."
"What's your question?" DiDio asked. "'Why does it suck?'"
"Yes! I'm a Wonder Woman fan, and I've been very disappointed since Heinberg came in. I'm praying Simone is good."
"Well, we're praying with you," said DiDio.
As to what Earths the panel would like to visit, Morrison said the Nazi planet. Johns said the planet with Batman's daughter the Huntress. Jann Jones said the Captain Carrot Earth.
As for "All-Star Batgirl," it's merely on hold while JG Jones draws "Final Crisis."
"Whatever happened to Super Chief?" asked a fan.
"He'll be back," Morrison said.
A fan then implored the panel to publish the New Gods story by Mark Millar and Steve Ditko. Bob Wayne promised he would see if it was completed, and if it was, he knows where to put it.
"Is Nightwing going to be on another team?" asked a fan.
"No, he's going to die -- oh, shit!" DiDio joked.
The panel then revealed that "Final Crisis" will be seven oversized monthly issues.
A fan then admonished the panel for the numerous delays on DC titles in the last couple of years.
"We are working really hard to get the schedules back on track to make sure your stories don't get interrupted," DiDio said. "I sit down with production and editorial administration every week. We make a lot of tough decisions that you don't know about behind the scenes.
"This is something we take real seriously, guys. We're making every effort to make sure everything ships on time."
As for the resurrection of Ras al Ghul, Morrison refused to say anything.
In a lightning round of facts:
The Kubert bros will be doing more work in DCU.
Morrison as written a sequel to "Seaguy."
Plans for the year 2010, DC's 75th anniversary? Yes.
When will we see Ambush Bug? "Not soon enough."
The Tangent Universe is coming back.
There will be more colors besides green and yellow in the Green Lantern stories.
When are we legally allowed to have Superboy back? Question ignored!
Is Green Arrow going to die in the Wedding Special? "Thank you for coming, bye!"