NYCC: DC's New 52 Panel - "Wally [West] Will Return..."

Two years in to the New 52, DC Comics has established its new universe but fans still have questions about their favorite heroes, whether they appear every month or have yet to make their debut in the new continuity. Saturday evening at New York Comic Con, several of DC's creators came together to chat with fans about major events and what's coming next in the New 52. On the stage were Brian Buccellato, James Tynion IV, Paul Levitz, Nicola Scott, Cliff Chiang, and Charles Soule, along with moderator John Cunningham, DC Entertainment's VP-Marketing.

Buccellato spoke about Reverse Flash Daniel West's quest to go back in time to kill his father, but this twists time, causing him to become more monstrous. "I don't know how Flash is going to get out of this-actually, I do, because I wrote it," Buccellato said. After #24, Buccellato and co-writer/artist Francis Manapul are moving on to "Detective Comics," drawing a close to their "Flash" era.

Levitz said the next "World's Finest" arc "takes place very assertively in New York." "We don't burn down Javitz, but after today, I might go back and revisit that," he said, referring to the convention center's deficiencies. He added that the annual would see Power Girl and Huntress in their Earth-2 days as Supergirl and Huntress in a story involving Kara "going out with a fake ID." "Kal-El gets upset about it, but she points out that he's kind of been carrying around fake IDs all his life."

On the subject of "Earth 2," Scott said, "unlike the premiere universe, the good guys don't always win." "It's considerably more corrupt and damaged than the premiere universe," she said. "James [Robinson] and I have from the beginning been revealing the state of the planet, and the fact that the heroes are overwhelmed." Issue #17 will be a short arc bridging Robinson's era with new writer Tom Taylor's. "It takes place in the immediate aftermath and takes place over the course of about an hour." Scott also noted that she and Taylor are the only Big 2 creators working out of Australia.

Soule was up next to talk about "Swamp Thing," which he has written since issue #19. Issue #24 reveals Seeder, whom Soule described as a character who "has some of Swamp Thing's powers but kind of isn't as good at using them," revealed as Jason Woodrue. Though Swamp Thing defeats him, the Parliament of Trees "says we like the cut of this Seeder guy's jib" and gives him the chance to become the Avatar of the Green.

Tynion said "Red Hood and the Outlaws" would be the culmination of his run to date, seeing "the person who's been orchestrating the events from the shadows come to light." Jason Todd's command of the League of the Shadows has isolated him from his allies, but "he'll be fighting for his life" over the next several issues.

The zero year issue of "Red Hood" will "focus exclusively on Jason Todd as a young teenager in Gotham," Tynion added.

Moving on to "Talon," Tynion said again that all the pieces are coming together soon. "We're going to see the legend of the Gotham Butcher and why that title is given to him," the writer said. And, though Calvin Rose seeks Batman's help, "Batman is not happy there are Talons operating in Gotham, regardless of their intentions."

The floor was then opened to fan questions.

Asked about the return of Wally West, Buccellato said, "When the time is right, Wally will return. Don't applaud--I don't know when that will be."

The next question addressed diversity in the DCU, though Cunningham took objection to the fan's use of the term "token." "Keep your eyes peeled to 'Earth 2'" for diverse characters, Scott said.

Asked about continuity between Robinson's and Taylor's runs on "Earth 2," Scott said that because of what they've already built, "a lot of that will have to continue. But the way it continues is Tom's." She added that "some story threads will be tied up very quickly," but the broad strokes of the "Earth 2's" epic would continue.

As to how Francis Manapul's kinetic art would transition to "Detective Comics," Buccellato said that "there are a lot of sides to Francis' art." "The colors will be more muted, because Gotham is not Central City," he added, noting that Manapul's Batman commissions should give a preview of what he can do with the Dark Knight.

A fan asking about hiring more female creators drew a round of applause. "I think it's an excellent point," Cunningham said. "I can tell you it's something that is much under discussion."

"I can tell you as a female working in the comic book industry, that I've never found being female held against me," Scott said.

Asked about Red Robin, Tynion said, "Tim Drake will be a major character in 'Batman: Eternal.'"

One fan said he felt that Cyborg "felt like an aftertought," but Cunningham said, "I can assure you from many many discussions with Geoff Johns that Cyborg is anything but an afterthought." He will play a huge role in "Forever Evil," Cunningham said.

Asked about the changes to the hero's skillset from the earliest issues of "Talon," Tynion said that Calvin Rose's death and rebirth was part of the concept, not something that was developed after the fact. "I like to set things up where readers think we're going one way, then shock them by going another," he said.

Chang spoke about Wonder Woman's pants, which were seen on early New 52 designs but were not in the finished designs. "I drew a couple covers with the pants on," he said, but felt the design worked better "when you can break the figure up." The blacks and greys were too heavy, he said.

"I love her original outfit, and thought it was a shame when they were going to cover her up," Scott said.

The final question asked whether the Question would get his own series, a question Cunningham dodged by wrapping up the panel-but heavily suggested that may be the case.

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