WW Chicago: DCU: Crisis is Here!

Editor's Note: We regret not being able to present the DCU: Crisis is Here panel live, however the wireless access in the convention center was too unreliable.

Dan DiDio once again took over the podium to deliver the gospel to eager fans about "Final Crisis." Joining him was editors Jann Jones and Ian Sattler as well as Sean McKeever, Gail Simone, Greg Rucka, Aaron Lopresti, Jai Nitz, Shane Davis, Ethan Van Sciver and Jim Calafiore.

Before starting DiDio told a story about working with Michael Turner. "He's one of the nicest guys I ever met," DiDio said. "We worked on Superman/Batman, and he wanted to make it a special thing. I told him that we wanted to bring Supergirl back, and he hadn't been a big fan at the time. He asked me 'Why would anybody care that Supergirl is coming back?' We spent a month working with him. The last time I saw him was Wizard World LA, and he was in a wheelchair. But he sat at his booth, and signed for two hours." Geoff Johns went back to LA to help Michael Turner's family.

Flanked by ladies dressed as Mary Marvel (the naughty version) and Catwoman (complete with pilfered pearls), they showed a Wonder Woman cover of "Final Crisis" with some unusual things happening on her face. Issue #3 shows how "evil won," and Carlos Pacheco joins in issue #4.

"Final Crisis: Requiem" deals with the death of J'onn J'onnz more thoroughly. The delay was chosen to let the death have some resonance, and "hopefully we feel the momentum's building," DiDio said.

"Final Crisis: Rogues' Revenge" is next up, looking at the fall out from "Salvation Run," and then "Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds," (Superboy Prime on the cover) written by Geoff Johns with George Perez on art. "Final Crisis: Revelations" has a Libra-centric cover, "It's the Spectre, it's the Question, it's the spear of destiny, it executes something Grant threw out in '52' about the Religion of Crime ... it's very sweet."

"That's gonna be a crossover with Tiny Titans, right?" DiDio quipped.

"Final Crisis: Superman Beyond" is Grant Morrison's "favorite work," and DiDio said it's "similar to the ride of Yellow Submarine," with art by Doug Mahnke.

"Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns" had Shane Davis speaking about Sinestro restrained with a Green Lantern device on his head. There will also be "Final Crisis: Resist" by Greg Rucka and "Final Crisis: Submit" by Grant Morrison.

"Trinity" covers were shown, and a fan said weekly comics were "too expensive." "Stop buying Marvel," Rucka joked. "I have a curmudgeonly reputation to live up to," he followed up.

"Wonder Woman" was shown in front of a billboard for her movie (in the comics universe), and Gail Simone said that "Manazons" is not a good idea, despite the fact that she came up with it. "It's worse than when at Heroes Con, Dan kept calling them 'Mammazons,'" Jann Jones said.

"I was looking at a Power Girl poster," DiDio responded.

"Wonder Woman's Doomsday" comes in after the barbarian story arc, a new villain called "Genocide," created from the soil of all the genocides of the last 100 years, borne from the mad scientists of Oolong Island.

Simone then noted the return of "Secret Six," with Nicola Scott on art. "This series probably pushes the limits of DC ... we will have nude Catman!"

"Because you asked for it!" DiDio said.

"We've gotta have a certain amount of beefcake," Simone protested. "When you see the way Nicola draws Ragdoll, it is so evil and so disturbing."

Ian Sattler spoke briefly on the new "true Braniac" storyline in "Action Comics," urging fans to read all the Super-related books.

Three "Kingdom Come" one-shot specials are due this year alongside "Justice Society of America," looking at characters from this story.

A "Batman" cover was shown with the character amidst flames and demons. "Who thinks that he's gonna make it through okay?" DiDio asked.

"Because he's the goddamned Batman!" a fan shouted.

"Can't argue with that," DiDio agreed.

"Batgirl" is back in a mini-series with Jim Calafiore on art. Calafiore said, "She's living at the mansion, and Batman is kind of keeping his foot on her neck, and she has an agenda which goes up against Batman's no killing rule. We introduce a character who's a relative, who got the same training and who has a grudge against Cain."

Jai Nitz was on hand to discuss "El Diablo," and talked about working on animated series books first, but walked in a pitch for a Latino character to Jann Jones which got a meeting with DiDio almost immediately. Nitz said, "My comic's really violent. If your read the kiddie stuff I did and then this, you'd think I was very strange. Art is from Phil Hester and Ande Parks, and they're like my mentors in life. It's an writer nobody's heard of on a character nobody's ever heard of with an art team that has a cult following. Unless everybody who's here buys it, I'm screwed."

Van Sciver quickly dodged questions about "The Flash" before Shane Davis talked about being intimidated by working on "Superman/Batman" after some of the names that have worked there. Davis said, "I was a chunky kid," after noting that he ate Superman Peanut Butter. "It's a landmark for me," Davis said, because he "lost someone really close to me" while working on it.

The believed-dead "Bombshell" was shown on a cover with the Titans (Miss Martian and Robin are down, and Kid Devil, Wonder Girl and Blue Beetle are having a hard time). Kid Devil and Blue Beetle team up in the next issue, drawn by Carlos Rodriguez, with Eddie Barrow returning after that and bringing in Wonder Dog to the Titans Tower.

"Blame it on me," DiDio said.

McKeever teased new members on the team, a "white Martian" version of Miss Martian and more, which was apparently seen on the DC Nation web presence. Joe Bennett joins McKeever in October with "Terror Titans." "Joe Bennett said, 'I'll draw it if it's got lots of blood!'"

"He's about six four, built like a linebacker," DiDio explained. "If he asks you to put blood in a book, you do it."

Jim Shooter and Francis Manapul are still working on "Legion of Superheroes," and when they moved on to Titans, DiDio carefully said "an old member makes contact with the team and brings along somebody who's a match for the rest of the team."

Jann Jones exhorted the comedy of "Tiny Titans," and noted that Jai Nitz reads it every night to his son before bed. Trades are coming out at the end of the year. "Supergirl: Cosmic Adventures in the 8th Grade" is also coming soon, "and we have a big commitment to kids comics," DiDio said.

Questions came next, and it was noted that Kid Eternity's return from death will be a part of a new story. DiDio didn't want to comment on a rumor that Peyer and Williams would leave "The Flash" and a the series would be restarted with a new #1...

"Pig Iron sacrificed himself so others would live," DiDio said of the popular character. "We have a chart of how many pigs are on each of the 52 planets," Sattler said. Green Arrow and Black Canary are sticking together on the stands, despite a fan's request for Ollie to fly solo. Catwoman and Mary Marvel got sicced on a fan who was confused about Libra and "Final Crisis." "Simon Dark" will cross over with more of the DCU. "The spirits live on and they move into different avatars," DiDio said of the new New Gods in the Fifth World and "Final Crisis." The "good" Mary Marvel's back in "Final Crisis" #3. Huntress "might" pop up in "Secret Six."

The last question was from a child, who asked "Are you guys ever gonna kill off Superboy Prime?" "Never!" DiDio proclaimed. "He's one of the best baddies in the DCU.

Now discuss this story in CBR's Final Crisis forum.

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