WWP: Building the DCU Panel

The DC Comics editorial staff continued their unveiling of the new and improved DC Universe today after their "Countdown" panel the day before. On the panel was Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne, editors Mike Carlin, Eddie Berganza and Janine Schafer and writer Jimmy Palmiotti. The group had a cavalcade of announcements about new DC titles, story lines and developments.

Proceedings began with the biggest news DC had to drop: Dwayne McDuffie will take over as writer on Brad Meltzer's Justice League re-launch starting with issue #13. He will be rejoined by regular series artist Ed Benes beginning with issue #14 and the panel hinted a line-up change might also be in order for the team with McDuffie's first issue as well.

The panel then mentioned that it was editor Janine Schafer's first panel and that she was in charge of DC's "Scooby-Doo" and "Countdown" titles. Schafer mentioned her newest title as well: a new "Legion of Super-Heroes" ongoing to tie-in to the animated series. Schafer was excited about the new Legion title, which she said are some of her favorite characters.

Wayne then re-iterated the new titles he announced the day before, showing slides of "Infinity Inc.," "Suicide Squad," "Countdown to Mystery" and "Countdown to Adventure."

Also announced were new "Uncle Sam and The Freedom Fighters" and "Metal Men" mini-series. The first of the two is written by long-time creative partners Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray and edited by Eddy Berganza. The art for the teaser image of Uncle Sam was drawn by Dave Johnson.

A slide was shown for a cover of "Superman" #666 drawn by Walt Simonson. The plot of the issue was revealed to be "Superman goes to Hell" according to Wayne. The panel likewise mentioned another title soon to reach issue #666 - Batman. The issue is by Grant Morrison and Adam Kubert and the cover depicted Gotham burning in the background. Wayne told the audience to expect "a nice, sedate issue hanging out in the Bat-cave."

Images were also shown from "Amazons Attack," "The Sinestro Corp" and "Justice League/Hitman." Of the latter, a two issue mini-series by Garth Ennis, Carlin said "for those of you who read the 'Hitman' ongoing, its just as irreverent and fun…a place where the Justice League probably should not be."

The panel also reminded fans that a new writer and new storyline for "Superman/Batman" is coming by "Heroes" co-executive producer Mike Green, involves the New Gods, Scarecrow, Killer Croc, Apokolips, Darkside and the seeming abundance of kryptonite in the DCU since Jeph Loeb's early issues on the same title. "And Batman hooks up with Orion's wife…and Orion gets pissed about it. Seriously," Berganza teased.

Wayne ended the presentation by dropping two major bombshells: Mark Waid would be the new writer on The Flash and #13 would indeed be the last issue of the current series as he earlier joked. In September, Wayne said to expect a new special issue "All-Flash" #1 written by Mark Waid" and then the following month the series will return to its original numbers with "Flash" #231 by Waid.

During the Q&A that followed, one fan asked if the "All-Star Batgirl" series by series by Geoff Johns would ever come out. "Why should 'All-Star Batgirl' come out?" Carlin joked. "None of the rest of them do."

Another fan expressed outrage that DC killed The Question. Schafer just smiled, showing remarkable poise for her first panel. "We didn't. She is alive and well," she answered.

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