Dan DiDio, Senior VP—Executive Editor DCU and Ian Sattler, Senior Story Editor—DCU, were joined by Art Baltazar & Franco Aureliani (Tiny Titans), Jim Calafiore (Batgirl), Shane Davis (Superman/Batman), Tom Derenick (Trinity), Jimmy Palmiotti (Jonah Hex) and Ethan Van Sciver, for Saturday’s DCU: Crisis Now! Panel at WizardWorld Philadelphia.
The panel kicked off with Senior VP Dan DiDio asking the fans to recap some of the big events in that recently transpired in the DCU. The Final Crisis recap brought up the death of Martian Manhunter in Final Crisis #1, which was met with a round of boos. DiDio understood the fans’ reaction, but re-enforced that the Final Crisis: Requiem will give Martian Manhunter his due. When the death of New God Orion was brought up DiDio quipped “What is that, like the third time he’s died?”
From there the panel went into a rundown of the books on DC’s horizon. DiDio wanted to stress that the rule for Final Crisis is that everything will be handled in Minis and one-shots. The events of Final Crisis will not spill in to the regular monthly books, with the exception being the books bearing the “Sightings” headers, which will be relevant tie-in stories, but not disrupt the current story arcs.
DiDio also reaffirmed that “This really is the Final Crisis. The idea is to have a cohesive direction for the DC universe after this story is done.”
Final Crisis tie-in “Superman Beyond was described by Didio as “The book Grant Morrison’s most excited about. The book is in 3-D, and it’s even in 3-D for Superman. He dies one of his eyes blue, and the other one red, so he can see everything in 3-D. You think I’m kidding? Just wait and see.”
A slide was brought up showing the cover to Final Crisis: Revelations, which features villain Libra. Revelations will introduce the Specter to the Final Crisis story. Tom Derenick mentioned seeing a few pages that featured Batwoman fighting Killer Croc.
Didio then showed a slide of the upcoming weekly series Trinity, which focuses on Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. DiDio polled the audience on what they thought of weekly books, which was met with much applause. Didio then said “We believe the weekly format works. To me, if there’s a weekly book you like then there’s no wasted trips comic store. Even if there’s nothing else out that week that you read, at least you have that next part of the story.”
Trinity also brought up the question of the core DC character aging. DiDio said that “That’s one of the challenges we face, this generational storytelling. Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman will never age, but as some supporting characters age around them we have to make sure the core three stay relevant. It’s our job to make sure it all fits.”
DiDio also mentioned that the issues of Trinity will be split between what is essentially A and B storylines, as opposed to the back up and origin stories seen in 52 and Countdown.
Next up was Superman/Batman. Shane Davis teased that the last issue of the current arc will surprise some fans. “I’ve read the message boards, and there are things that no one has picked up on,” he said.
A new Batgirl solo book was up next with Jim Calafiore stating that “Batgirl will be living in Wayne Manor, with strict rules that she is not to go out as a super hero. That will put her at odds with Batman. We will also be dealing with death in the book, specifically with her mentor Cain. We will also introduce another relative of Cassandra’s who has training similar to Batgirl’s”
Next was Jonah Hex which Jimmy Palmiotti described as “Out the first week of every month, always on time, always beautiful.” He also said Darwyn Cooke will be writing the July issue. “Jonah crosses the border and starts killing Mounties. You think I’m joking, but that’s Darwyn’s story. He called me up giggling about it.” Jimmy went on to say that Jonah Hex “Will be ‘stand alone’ issues until something big happens that’s on the horizon”
The upcoming Green Lantern event, Blackest Night was met with huge response. Ethan Van Sciver teased “You can’t miss a single issue, or you won’t know what’s going on. Atrocious is just the tip of the iceberg!”
Action Comics will have a Brainiac storyline up next. DiDio mentioned that “We will meet Brainiac for the first time, and see where all the Brainiacs come from.” He also said these will be “Sightings” issues.
Power Girl was next, to which Jimmy Palmiotti said “Everything about this book is big… (Laughs) Seriously, there are two things you will really enjoy! (Laughs) I could do this all day!” Dan DiDio responded with “Are we done?” as Ian Sattler took away Palmiotti’s mic. After things settled down, Palmiotti hinted that there could be some cosmetic changes in Power Girl’s future. “Amanda Connor and I were talking, and she mentioned that girls don’t wear the same outfit every day…Sometimes they dye their hair, or get a new cut…”
Art Baltazar & Franco Aureliani brought some insight in to future Tiny Titans issues. “Trigon makes pancakes for the Titans, and they have a space adventure to help Starfire clean her room.” They were also quick to mention that any Titan that dies in the regular DCU will pop up alive and well in Tiny Titans.
The Titans slide brought questions about the change from artist Ian Churchill to Joe Benitez in the second issue. DiDio- “Unfortunately Ian hurt his hand, and is recovering, so Joe Benitez will take over the art for the foreseeable future.”
The panel then moved to audience questions, and the famous lighting round.
Any truth to the rumor that Tony Daniel designing new Batman and Robin costumes? “I Can’t answer that,” DiDio replied
Is Jim Shooter definitely the writer on Legion? “Yes, he has a minimum of a year’s worth of stories.”
Was the return of the Spoiler always planned, or a Chuck Dixon invention? “Whatever makes you sleep at night (Laughs), but there’s a lot more intrigue coming. Her return is not all that simple.”
The conclusion of Batman R.I.P.? “ Batman dies, Batman dies, Batman dies…Not really, but he will wish he was dead.”
Is the All new atom, Ryan Choi, safe with Ray Palmer back? “ Absolutely.”
Are there future plans for Doctor Fate? “Yes, but we’re letting him sit for awhile.”
What’s up with Batwoman? “You will see her in a lot in a couple months. We’re taking an old school approach to her. She will have some guest appearances, and we’ll find out what works before we go full on with the character.”
Any chance of OMAC or Kamandi books in the future? Ian Sattler teased with a noncommittal answer, but Dan DiDio gave the fan a Thumbs up under the podium.
Was Death of the New Gods essentially, immediately retconned in that many of the gods were shown alive, albeit in a different form, in Final Crisis #1? “Death of the New Gods was a celebration of Kirby. A chance to say goodbye, and give them a proper send off. But it all makes sense as Final Crisis unfolds. Both the New Gods and Seven Soldiers will factor in to the events of Final Crisis.”
Is Barry Allen returning? Ethan Van Sciver-“ Don’t ask me!” DiDio added “A Perfect place for Flash is a crisis, but not just one Flash, all Flashes…”
Is Superboy coming back? “Can’t hear you…” The fan repeats the question, and DiDio responds again “Sorry, I can’t hear you…”
Will Selena Kyle be back in Bruce Wayne’s life? “Yes.”
Will we see Harvey Dent soon? “Yes.”
Is Damian really Bruce Wayne’s son? The question stopped DiDio cold. He smiled for a moment under the pressure then quickly moved on.
Is Martian Manhunter really dead? “Yes! Sorry!”
For the umpteenth time a fan asked “Is Barry Allen coming back?” DiDio looked over to Ian Sattler, who gave him a “Why not” shrug. DiDio looked at the crowd for a moment, and then said “Yes.”