The creative teams behind DC's upcoming cross over event, Dark Nights: Metal and the recently announced spin-off line, Dark Matter, took the stage at Comic-Con International in San Diego to spill the secrets of the Dark Multiverse.
Metal masterminds Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo were joined by Steve Orlando, James Tynion IV, Philip Tan, and Robert Venditti to talk the future of their work in Rebirth.
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DC Co-Publisher Dan Didio opened the panel by hyping up the crowd: "This is going to be a loud, noisy, crazy panel!"
Didio then began introducing the panel, starting with "Greg Capullo" (who was actually Scott Snyder in a costume bald cap and a fake mustache.) The real Greg Capullo took the stage immediately after, never fear.
Despite the lack of costume, Capullo was quick to share his impression of Snyder with the crowd -- "That's his voice for both me, and his wife," Snyder interjected immediately.
Snyder then took the opportunity to explain the premise of Metal to the crowd. "The Dark Multiverse is coming to invade, and the only way to stop it is the Nth Metal. The first wave of attack is going to be these "dark" Batman, which are pulled from the darkest fears of Batman."
"There's clues all the way back to the start of [Capullo] and I's run..." Snyder teased, "If you're a deep dive fan, you'll find things all the way across the DC. It's Hawkman and Dr. Fate and Plastic Man and the Source Wall..."
Snyder was quick to add that fans who were not actually deep dive fans, or fans who had never read his Batman run, they'll still find a "big, zany comic event."
Capullo laughed, his fans have asked him to draw all sorts of DC characters over the years but with this, "I think I'm drawing every single DC character."
Capullo then spoke about his history with Marvel and how moving over to DC offered him a new creative freedom, a "virgin territory" for him to explore and design. He said that "Metal has it's serious elements but really it's wall-to-wall fun. We're making it as big and exciting as it can be."
Didio then took over to talk about how Metal is all about "newness" and teases the new villains before showing the line up of the "Dark Knights" roster for the first time out of the silhouettes they were solicited in.
Snyder took over from there and explained that the Dark Knights are the representation of Bruce's darkest fears -- alternate possibilities to the Batman stories. "They all have origins that we're really excited about [...] they're the total nightmare Bruce Wayne Batmans."
"What if Batman experimented with the Doomsday Virus to prevent Superman's death? And what if that infected all of Metropolis?" Snyder teased, presumably about the Superman-analogue "Nightmare Batman."
The one shots will focus on the character origins as well as some of the secret plans they're seeding through the universe right now.
The story will be called Justice League: Bats out of Hell.
Snyder continued to explain that Batman is "a hero of discovery, he's a detective. And Hawkman is too -- But for the first time, he's going to discover that maybe all of these things he's done, going back to Death of the Family and Endgame were possibly leading to opening this door."
"All of this story is trying to treat the DC universe with irreverence, but also show it in a new way," Snyder was excited to say, "It's crazy. It's just what I know that I would want to pick up and read right now."
Didio then took over to pivot the panel away from Metal toward the Dark Matter line.
The Dark Matter line then took the stage, confirming new books and teams like Brimstone with Philip Tan and Justin Jordan, and The Terrifics with Jeff Lemire.
The Terrifics will be a team that includes Mr. Terrific, Metamorpho, Phantom Girl, and Plastic Man.
The floor was then given to Jim Lee, who will be working with James Tynion on Dark Matter's Immortal Men.
"Out of a jam session with some of our key artists, Romita Jr, Andy Kubert...This idea was born," Lee explained, highlighting the importance of artists in the Dark Matter line.
"This is a team book and I haven't done one of those in a while!" Lee laughed.
James Tynion IV took the floor there to explain the way Lee pitched the book to him. "Jim said he was interested in an old character called Immortal Man and like, 20 minutes into the conversation I had to ask "are you doing a book with me?"
Jeff Lemire then took over, to say he's so excited to be back at DC and then announce that he'll be doing Hawkman: Found with Bryan Hitch and Kevin Nowlan.
Lemire also spoked about The Terrifics and how it's a book that's aiming to capture the same feel of Fantastic Four from the Kirby era. "It's all about family," Lemire says, "And Ivan Reis will be working with me on art."
The panel then focused on Philip Tan, the artist of Brimstone to talk about his own return to DC. "Dan asked if I wanted to do something fun and special, and he knew I like horror, so..." Tan joked. It sounds like the tone of Brimstone will be pretty dark. Tan joked about his love of drawing "people getting their heads cut off."
"Justin Jordan has been amazing," Tan said for Brimstone's writer, "A great writer, very, very scary."
Snyder was put back in focus to talk about his upcoming book with Andy Kubert, Challengers of the Unknown, "For us, this is a combination of Kirby and Lost. They have these tattoos that look like hourglasses, and they'll be given a mission and the hourglass sand will start to run out. If they don't do these missions they'll die, and they don't know why."
Venditti then took over to talk about Damage the huge blue monster of the Dark Matter line up. "This'll be the first time you've seen Damage, but you'll know based on the relationships he has to other characters that he's always been there...he's just on the loose now."
"Damage is unlike anything we have in the DCU right now," Venditti said, "He's just a giant wrecking ball. We're three scripts in already and Tony Daniel is doing a great job."
Didio then added that a big element of Dark Matter is a sensibility that includes "support casts, personal lives, villains that really complicate things," and continued "we're looking a lot at artists to help plot these things out."
Jeff Lemire then spoke highly of the art drive, "it allows me to write faster than I already do," he joked, talking about how the Dark Matter books are written almost with a storyboard sensibility rather than full scripts.
Scott Snyder then explained that every part of Dark Matter has been seeded through the one shots leading up to Dark Nights: Metal through The Forge and The Casting, "They're in there -- they're hidden, but they're all there."
Didio then turned to Capullo and his designs for the new Dark Knights and their very unique looks. "It's one of my favorite parts of the job," Capullo said, "It's a joyous exploration [like something from childhood], that's what designing characters is for me."
"I've gotta make seven evil Batman? I guess I'll just go back to my childhood...I mean, that was pretty awful," Capullo joked.
Snyder then spoke about the Red Death's (the evil Batman flash analogue) design, and how he's got "spoilers" and "vents" on his face to emulate race cars.
Didio then turned his attention to James Tynion, asking how he's been working behind the scenes for Immortal Men "Getting to sit down while working on The Forge and The Casting and having the whole DCU at our disposal, and being able to decide the coolest way to make anything."
"When Silencer was teased in The Casting it's with Talia Al Ghul, who will play a part in Silencer," Tynion teased by way of explaining what it's like to have an "open toybox" to work from.
Tynion is then teased that the seventh evil Batman, "The Batman Who Laughs" is the "scariest design he's ever seen."
Robert Venditti then teased his Hal Jordan and the GLC tie-in for Metal which will occur in issue #32 -- but teased that "those characters will play a much larger role." So it sounds like the GLC will be playing a major role in the future of the DCU somewhere.
Dark Matter books will be rolled out twice a month. "Every comic will only have one cover," Didio says, "and every book will be $2.99."
"But!" Didio quickly amended, before turning to Jim Lee, who "loves variant covers" he teased. Jim then went on to explain -- with the help of some torn up name cards as props, that the Dark Matter covers will have a variation on the "gatefold" style of covers that will fold out and down.
"There are cool reveals," Lee said, "and cool ways to foreshadow stuff -- But it's still going to be $2.99."
The floor then was turned over to fans for questions.
The first question was for the whole panel, "What are you most excited in Dark Matter or Metal that you're excited for fans to see?"
Capullo was first to answer, laughing, "I drew Swamp Thing and it was one of the best experiences of my life!"
The next question went to Scott Snyder, about what it's like using Batman in the scope of the larger DCU but still keep him familiar and moody.
Snyder explained, "Well, he's still moody..." but went on to say that his favorite part of writing Batman in a group setting is the relationships. He went on to tease that the dynamics between the League members will be funny, and full of that familial "love/hate" rapport.
The next question came from a boy named Christopher who wanted to know if Mr. Terrific and Damage could potentially foreshadow the return of the JSA, picking out details that potentially foreshadow the return of the JSA era Damage and Plastic Man's son, Offspring. The panel, charmed, laughed and explained that Christopher might be on to some things here.
It sounds like, specifically, there might be some clues to be found in the black and white Plastic Man costume, might be some kind of clue.
The final question came in about Duke Thomas from a fan, and Snyder took the opportunity to announce that Batman: The Signal will be Duke's new book, written with a DC Talent Workshop alum named Tony Patrick. Duke's superhero name is, officially, "The Signal" and he will be, according to Snyder, "Gotham's hero by day."