WC12: DC All Access

DC Comics kicks off WonderCon 2012 with its DC All Access panel, covering all things DC with some of the industry's top talent. The panel, hosted by John Cunningham, included Bob Harras, Eddie Berganza, Scott Snyder, Dustin Nguyen, Brian Q. Miller and Scott Lobdell gathered together to cover upcoming developments in the New 52 and discuss fan questions.

After the introduction of the panel, things took off running with an overview of "Batman: Earth One."

"I don't know if you're familiar with Geoff Johns and Gary Frank," said Berganza, who noted the challenge Johns had in taking Batman back to Year One. "It's a Batman who's learning the ropes and making mistakes. It's really centering on how Batman is human. You're also going to be introduced the coolest Alfred ever. Think Liam Neeson from 'Taken.'"

The panel then showed off some of Gary Frank's pages for "Batman: Earth One."

Next up was "Superman: Earth One" Volume 2 by J. Michael Straczynski and Shane Davis releasing in November.

"It's still an exploration of Clark Kent, but now he has to figure out where Superman fits into this," said Berganza, who said it really explored what it was like to have a super-man on Earth. The book will also introduce the Parasite to "Earth One." "He's not a nice guy."

Moving to the New 52, Scott Snyder spoke to upcoming plans in "Batman," showing Greg Capullo's cover to "Batman" #9. "This is the issue where Batman really begins to kick ass," Snyder said. "This is where Batman is up off his knees and he's ready to punish the court. I can't wait for it to come out." Snyder also thanked the fans for their support of the "Court of Owls" storyline.

Snyder spoke to "Swamp Thing" next, saying how excited he was about the upcoming stories. "I actually bought a page from the upcoming issue because I love it so much," the writer said, referencing series artist Yanick Paquette. "We're bringing Arcane back in a very big way ... he's going to be much more powerful than he has been in the past, but he's the same guy," he said. "It's going to lead directly in to 'Dead World' with 'Animal Man.'" The crossover will begin in earnest in "Swamp Thing" #13.

Bob Harras and Eddie Berganza spoke to Rob Liefeld's expanded New 52 role, taking on "Deathstroke," "Savage Hawkman" and "Grifter." "He'll be creating a very dynamic story for these characters," said Harras. "One of the things we like about Rob is his world-building." Harras also noted the plot thread of Deathstroke's armor containing Nth Metal.

"You can also see there's another return," said Berganza, referencing Lobo.

"Rob is elevating the exitement in all three books," said Harris.

Lobdell was next up to bat to speak to his slice of the New 52. "This is really fun," Lobdell said of "Teen Titans" #10. "After the harrowing experience of the crossover and the annual, we decided it was time to give the kids a break and absorb what happened to them during the NOWHERE crossovers," he said. "We'll be doing one of those classic rooftop issues where the characters take a breath, realize where they were and what they're facing." Lobdell also noted Kid Flash's relationship will continue to grow with one of the team members and Red Robin would explore his role as leader. The issue will also have dinosaurs!

"Superboy" also contains dinosaurs in issue #10 ("It's the Court of the Dinosaurs," Lobdell joked.) Wonder Girl and Superboy feature in the issue, but Lobdell told fans to expect a different dynamic between the two. "We're really going to slow down and explore the relationship between Kon-El and Cassie," he said.

"Red Hood and the Outlaws," which Lobdell characterized as his favorite, will send Starfire into space as "Roy and Jason are stung to learn she's this very feared, respected commander of a space ship and her reputation is such that entire armadas will turn in another direction when she shows up," he said. "She's that awesome."

Bryan Q. Miller then spoke to "Smallville Season 11," the comic book continuation of the television series. Miller couldn't say much but he did tease a few details. "At the end of the finale, we did a time jump where Clark became Superman ... and pushed Apocalypse out of orbit," he said. "Season 11 takes place six months after he pushed Apocalypse out of orbit. It's essentially a 'Smallville' Year One story. ... It's terribly exciting."

The cover of issue #2 features Lex Luthor, who is back and doesn't have his memories. "He knows there's something about Superman that he vehemently just hates and doesn't trust," said Miller. "As for Clark, he's riding the highest high he's ever ridden. ... He's perpetually engaged to Lois Lane. It's everybody from the show taking that next mid-twenties step in their lives. They're trying to figure out their place in the world." The series will start with a digital only format, then transitioning to print.

Dustin Nguyen is a creator who has also taken advantage of DC's "Digital First" program for "Batman Beyond Unlimited." "I think by chapter two or three, we're in space and doing full-on Justice League Beyond stuff," he said.

Miller praised the Digital First program, saying how easy it was to snap up the issues.

Nguyen also noted "Justice League Beyond" was one of the first stories reworked specifically for reading on a tablet. "When it came out as a normal book, it looked just like a real book," he said. Nguyen has finished his first arc with content ready all the way through December.

Harras and Berganza then spoke to new talent on the New 52, including Gregg Hurwitz joining David Finch on "Batman: The Dark Knight."

"Gregg was so excited about coming onto this book, he has already written his first six or seven issues," said Harras. "It's going to just make people more excited. The plans both writers have got, I think they have a whole lot of exciting plans. ... I think this is just another exciting chapter in the Batman family."

"In the Bat-books, I think we have some of the best talent out there," said Berganza.

"I've read Gregg's first issue because I loved what he was doing with 'Penguin,'" said Snyder. "I'm really excited he's coming to Gotham with us."

Next up was a discussion of Ann Nocenti's arc of "Green Arrow." "One of the exciting things about Ann coming over and doing 'Green Arrow' is bringing her unique voice and unique vision to this character," said Harras. "She's taking Green Arrow to places you wouldn't expect this character to go."

"For Green Arrow fans, he's also going to be doing a little cameo in 'Justice League,'" said Berganza.

"Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E." was up next, with Matt Kindt coming on as writer. "He's actually been working with Jeff [Lemire] on the book," said Harras.

The discussion then shifted to the "Second Wave" of the New 52, beginning with "The Ravagers."

"It's actually been a developing story since 'Teen Titans' and 'Superboy' #1," said Harras. "The stuff coming in from Ian, you sense an energy and excitement. We're feeling that sense of something new. It's part of our world-building of the New 52."

"The lizard guy is called Ridge," said Berganza. "Beast Boy is red, because of the stuff you've been reading in 'Animal Man' about the Red." Other characters include a new Thunder and Lightning and a new Terra.

China Mieville's "Dial H" was up next and Harras spoke to Mieville's initial pitch for the book. "He's the sweetest guy on the Earth and the biggest DC fan," he said. "Jim Lee and I sat for an hour and just listened to his plans. What China's going to do is really astounding. He has the first three years mapped out. It really was an astonishing meeting. It's taking it to unexpected places. It's a writer with a vision, part of the New 52 and we're really excited about it."

"Can I start writing three years in advance?" asked Lobdell.

"No, you cannot," replied Harris.

Shazam also made an appearance during the panel. Berganza teased there would be a few tidbits in DC's Free Comic Book Day issue.

Cunningham showcased some of the bonus material available in the upcoming collections of the New 52 titles, including character sketches and designs.

With that, the panel opened up to audience questions. One fan asked a multi-part question involving the Canterbury Cricket about characters from "Flashpoint" and pre-New 52 characters making an appearance. "You may see some interesting characters coming up," said Harras.

For his trouble, the fan got an autographed "We Can Be Heroes" poster by Jim Lee and Geoff Johns.

A question was asked about about Amanda Waller's changed appearance, which Harras said would be addressed in the form of a semi-origin story.

One enterprising fan asked toward the status of Mister Majestic from WildStorm. "I have a request of something I want to do with Mister Majestic," said Lobdell, as Harras and Berganza remained silent.

Bryan Q. Miller offered a brief quote about the upcoming CW "Green Arrow" series. "'Arrow' is really cool, actually," said Miller. "When it comes out, watch it. It's really cool."

One question asked to the further exploration of the Superman/Batman relationship. "There are plans to explore the early relationship between Batman and Superman as well," said Harras.

"I would love to write Superman," said Snyder. "Batman's relationship with Clark is something that's been in the background," he said characterizing the relationship between Bruce and Clark as "one of the most fascinating relationships of all time."

A young woman dressed at Batgirl asked about Cassandra Cain and Stephanie Brown, and while none of the panel could offer a definitive answer, Snyder offered a quick response. "We have characters coming up, there's going to be a young woman who plays a very big part in some things soon," said Snyder.

"Look for 'Batman, Inc' to answer from stuff," said Berganza.

With that, the panel wrapped. Stay tuned to CBR News for more LIVE coverage of WonderCon 2012.

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