NYCC: DC Universe

CBR's coverage of New York Comic Con enters its second day, as we report live from the DC Universe panel. On hand for the panel were DC Comics Senior Story Editor Ian Sattler, Joe Michael Straczynski, Paul Levitz, James Robinson, J.T. Krul, Shane Davis, Gail Simone, Peter Tomasi, Tony Bedard, and Kevin Maguire.

Sattler began by having the panelists discuss their current series. JMS said there's a new element to Superman's walking tour-there will be New Kryptonite from the exploded New Krypton, and it affects humans. The person following Wonder Woman will be revealed in the next issue, and "there's a lot of cool stuff going on," especially relating to Hades.

Showing a slide with a cross through the $3.99 price, Sattler joked that, "they'll now be $5.99."

Tomasi said upcoming issues of "Brightest Day" will have many revelations, and issue #12 will focus on J'onn J'onzz. He added that, in taking over "Batman and Robin," he and artist Patrick Gleason will continue from the framework Grant Morrison had established. "Grant's a hard act to follow."

Speaking on Scott Snyder and Jock's "Detective Comics," Sattler said the book would live up to its name.

The next slide was Batman standing over Oracle's tombstone. Simone said that after the current arc of "Birds of Play" will be "Death of Oracle." "It's a game changer, you guys," she said, adding that it would have repercussions throughout the DCU. After that will be a Catman/Huntress date and a crossover with "Gotham City Sirens."

New characters will be introduced in the final issues of "First Wave," and there will be more of this universe from Brian Azzarello.

Levitz said that "Legion of Super-Heroes" #6 will introduce Legion Academy in a backup feature illustrated by Phil Jimenez. This group will then move over into "Adventure," and later get its own series. "Legion" #6 will also include a URL for fans to vote for Legion leader. "Then I get to write myself out of whatever ridiculous situation you put us in," he joked. "I think we'll be able to have results integrated very quickly into the book with how it's set up."

Next was a slide reiterating yesterday's announcement that Nick Spencer and Bernard Chang take over "Supergirl" with issue #60. Spencer, speaking from the audience, said that there will be many teenage guest stars and a new villain in the first arc.

Krul said "Green Arrow" would soon see the resolution of the Queen storyarc, then move into "Who is Black Arrow?" "Green Arrow's needed a nemesis for a while, and this will set that up," Krul said.

A David Mack variant cover to "Justice League" showed Dark Supergirl with Batman, which relates to the story arc beginning in #50 against the Crime Syndicate. "Out of all that we get a new villain, but one of the ramifications for that is that Supergirl in the Justice League will be Dark Supergirl." Following that arc is "Shadow War," which focuses on Eclipso, playing out images from the "Brightest Day" teaser. "You'll see Obsidian become a really cool hero in a way he's never done before." Robinson added that "One of the first things [Eclipso] does i murder the Spectre."

Also coming up is a 12-issue "Shade" miniseries which will feature three three-part stories plus "Times Past" issues with different artists.

Sattler mentioned that DiDio had made an announcement, to which Robinson began "My favorite character is Hawkman-" 'Not that!" Sattler cut him off, laughing. "The one shot!"

"So, I'm doing a Congorilla one-shot..." But Sattler, still laughing, said "No one cares, James..." after the accidental announcement.

Tony Bedard then spoke about a "REBELS" image. "I've actually never seen that piece of art," he said. "I guess I need to come up with a story about that." The series will continue to deal with Starro, and "try hooking up Vril Dox with Blackstar, Captain Comet with Starfire...." "Is it just a bunch of sex in the comic?" Robinson asked. "Good sex, bad sex..." Bedard joked.

"Green Lantern Corps" will feature Tyler Kirkham on art and a new villain called the Weaponer, who forged Sinestro's original yellow ring. "He thought this was going to make him a rock star, but it turned out to be the worst thing ever to happen to Qward."

Shane Davis spoke a bit about his covers, including the seven-foot long image that was divided into "Bruce Wayne: The Road Home" covers. "It's nice when you're assigned something that's bigger than you are."

Davis continued by saying he's enjoyed working with JMS on "Superman: Earth One" and that Straczynski's a writer Davis has always looked up to. "I want to thank DC for letting me draw Superman when he's 21," Davis said, adding he thought there was no way this particular design would be approved.

"He can either become the best scientist in the world, the best athlete, and become rich and take care of his mother, or he can give all that up and be Superman," Straczynski said of issues Clark Kent faces early in the book. "Something happens that kind of forces the decision on him." He added that the destruction of Krypton "may have been a hit job." Further, he said Jimmy Olsen would be a bit more intense, like the "batshit" photojournalists he knows. Davis added that the dynamic between Kent and Olson was a highlight.

Kevin Maguire will be debuting a character in "Weird Worlds" called Tonga. "She has the power of Silver Surfer, and the personality of Sarah Silverman," he said. Also, "I just found out 'tonga' in Spanish means 'thong.'"

Krul said that "Teen Titans" will explore why the characters need each other, and that there would be a new female character joining the team.

Sattler then opened the floor to questions. Which, predictably, began with one about Hawkman. No further information was forthcoming.

"Brave and the Bold" will feature Lois Lane and Adam Strange, and Supergirl and Phantom Stranger "set near the end of her life" and dealing with the evacuation of Earth, Straczynski said of the series.

Asked about changing storytelling related to the reduction from 22 to 20 pages, Simone said that the writers know the format and doesn't significantly affect them. "Artists will get weekends," Davis added.

A fan asked when Nightwing would be coming back. "He's not," Sattler said.

Tomasi's first arc of "Batman and Robin" will be four issues rather than three, deviating from Morrison's format. "It'll be dictated by the story," he said.

A fan asked about Plastic Man. "I can't tell you that, but there is something going on with Plastic Man, in continuity," Sattler said.

Asked about speedsters in the future, Levitz said, "XS is running around, but we're trying to keep Legion down to four billion characters, so we're giving her a little time before she shows up."

"Legion Academy" will feature ties to 21st-century DC, but at present there are no plans for Superman and Batman's descendants to appear, Levitz said when asked.

Simone spoke briefly about "Secret Six," which currently features two rival teams. "Not everyone will come back" from this fight, Simone added. Deadshot "may come back from Skartaris, he may not."

A fan who said he had just recovered from heart surgery said he'd like to see more characters with disabilities in the DCU. Sattler lead a round of applause and indicated Bryan Q. Miller was dealing with some of this in "Batgirl."

Robinson was taken to task for a line about Obsidian being "incurably gay," which was actually written by Bill Willingham. "I actually had a line from Alan Scott, who says how happy he is that Todd's found love with his boyfriend. So if you thought that [other line] was harsh, it wasn't me."

Straczynski said that Wonder Woman would begin to be re-integrated into the DCU, including a crossover with Superman, both of which he writes.

The new Green Lantern for the Earth sector in "Legion" will debut soon, "someone who will stick around, unlike Earthman, who had the attention span of about two minutes." Who this character is will "hopefully surprise you," Levitz said. Bedard added that Sodam Yat will be appearing in "Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors."

A question about Cassandra Cain's return was greeted by long silence before Simone said, "Maybe." Sattler joked that she would become Nightwing.

Robinson said that "Justice League of America" #50 will be 46 pages of story, without what Robinson described as "the filler that usually comes with anniversary issues."

A fan asked about the return of Space Cabbie. "The Congorilla Special features Rex the Wonder Dog," Robinson said.

Another joked that Arsenal should fight Dex-Starr, referring to a much-maligned scene in "Rise of Arsenal" in which Roy Harper appears to fight a dead cat. After a lot of laughter, including from the writer of that scene J.T. Krul, Sattler said that the original scene was badly misinterpreted. "But just because of that, we're going to do a whole 12-issue miniseries where people fight cats," he joked.

In response to a question, Simone said Junior "is not going to come back back any time soon," adding that "one character will try to use the get-out-of-hell free card, and it doesn't go well."

Asked about the possibility of Speedy returning in "Green Arrow," Krul said right now the focus is on Ollie but that Dinah, Mia, and others would eventually appear.

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