DC's New 52 has been a huge deal, and how is it faring a year in? Some reviews are in and not all of them are positive. But people are talking, and here's a whole panel hyping what's on the docket for DC's big books – mostly the #0s.
On the panel here are Bob Harras, Bobbie Chase, David Finch, Scott Lobdell, Adam Glass, Dan Jurgens, Rob Liefeld, Jimmy Palmiotti, Gail Simone, and Scott Snyder. Geoff Johns joins later.
First up is Gail talking about Batgirl #0. A great Ed Benes cover, an issue about transformation. She walks into a building as Barbara Gordon and when she walks out, she's Batgirl. We find out why she does what she does, and it's not what you think at all.
Batman #0, Snyder says it's mixing in Year One stuff without treading on it. A lot of surprises.
Talon #0, written by James Tynion, a former student of Snyder's who they've stayed in touch with. Snyder didn't have ideas for it, but Tynion did – the Talon who got away, an escape artist from the circus. It's kinda like "The Da Vinci Code" in Gotham. Snyder is always excited about bringing in new blood, and if you're into it, support this guy's shot.
Swamp Thing #0 – the horns are his homage to Jeff Lemire. The new Rotworld crossover is going to be nightmarish and gross with horrible, rotten versions of favorite characters. It starts in Animal Man #12. Swamp Thing #0 gives us the history of Alec Holland, how he died the first time, through the eyes of Arcane. It'll be scary. It's a seminal building block for what's to come.
Batman: The Dark Knight – Finch says he's not great at talking about story, but he just says it's Gregg Hurwitz, so you should be pumped. It's a Scarecrow story getting good reviews (Finch says it's a first for his book, and he seems very self deprecating about his writing skills).
Savage Hawkman #0 – it's the culimination of what they're doing all spring and summer. He'll find out who he is and where he comes from – he finds out in a giant space opera involving Thanagar and the hawk people. He's a wanted felon throughout the galaxy, which starts "Hawkman: Wanted" – Green Arrow, Deathstroke, Red Hood and the Outlaws all come in contact with Hawkman while he tries to clear his name.
Deathstroke #0 – we find out what makes Slade Wilson want to get up every morning and kill everybody. It's a love story about him and his wife and how he lost her and why he can't fill the whole in his heart. A new family matter is introduced. Liefeld is tying this past into the new Team 7 book. Check out yesterday's Dark and The Edge panel for more on that.
Grifter #0 – Liefeld's ramped up what Grifter's been doing, and you'll see what made Cole Cash into Grifter and show us how many more there are like him. There's also a "Mr. Miyagi meets Yoda sensei badass" for him.
Fury of Firestorm #13 – Dan Jurgens is the new writer and artist. The first thing is making him one character again, fusing Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond into one again, with their original parameters full of fun, bouncy book full of high school angst. A big change from the nuclear arms race stuff that's defined it so far.
Superboy #0 – As said in the Superman panel earlier (check out our liveblog of that!), Lobdell says this will explain why cloning is anathema to Kryptonians, and why Supergirl wanted to squash Superboy like a roach. Superboy goes out with Bunker to get his tattoo, while Bunker gets a pink brick tattoo as well (spoiler!).
Superman #0 – Lobdell is working with Kenneth Rocafort, and they're telling the story of Jor-El and Lara beyond the weeping parents. Again, check out the Superman panel report. It's a couple facing the end of the world together. It's very sad.
Teen Titans #0 – Lobdell focuses on Tim Drake in a way they haven't before. He pitches to Snyder, and Snyder just read it and loved it, saying it really reveals new things about Tim Drake. We'll meet Bunker's boyfriend in Mexico, who has been in a coma and just found out his boyfriend ran off to become a superhero.
All-Star Western #0 – Palmiotti says it will retell the origin of Jonah Hex, while ending storylines and beginning the new story where Hex goes to the circus and starts shooting clowns. The Jekyll and Hyde formula has made its way to Gotham – and it affects maniac clowns and citizens all throughout the city going apeshit, and Hex and Tallulah Black and Amadeus Arkham have to deal with that. Back up story from Phil Winslade about Tomahawk coming up. Palmiotti thanks Snyder for helping out with the Court of Owls stuff.
Suicide Squad #0 – Glass shouts out to his cover artist making Amanda Waller look great. People ask why Waller's such a b—-, and this will tell us why she is the way she is. Things happen that change who she is at her core. Glass says "she's a bad, bad girl." (ED: Ugh. You don't talk about THE WALL like she's a naughty kitty.)
GEOFF JOHNS ARRIVES.
Justice League #12 – ends the second arc with the team torn apart, and new members join and old members leave. More on the Justice League/GL panel we reported on earlier today. The League is trying to be the team they should be.
Justice League #0 has Shazam on the cover. A lot of good feedback from Shazam for Johns. The whole point is about finding the good inside you. The old Billy Batson is great, but too perfect, and striving to be good is more interesting to him. Shazam will join the Justice League next year.
Aquaman #0 – starts with him leaving the lighthouse and diving into the water after his father dies. This is his search for Atlantis and his mother. Explores the year between leaving the lighthouse and coming back.
Q: First question for Johns – were there any other characters you wanted to elevate like Cyborg? Johns says Martian Manhunter was a major omission for a lot of people, but they have a story about that that will start in January about why he couldn't be in the Justice League.
Q: Why settle on Cyborg? Johns has loved him since Teen Titans, and it was time for him to graduate. He also represents technology, he's a human boom tube now. He was a good fit for the team. He can't unplug, he has all this information he can't share. But Cyborg is the youngest on the team, and he and Shazam will become buddies and will have fun with super powers. He wants to forge a Hal/Barry, Ted Kord/Booster Gold relationship with Shazam and Cyborg, magic and technology. Billy won't even know what his powers are.
Q: Is there a Robin in Batman or Batman: Dark Knight #0? It takes place before Robin.
Q: Girl dressed as Batgirl returns – is Stephanie Brown going to be replaced with Barbara Gordon in the Smallville comics? They are digital only and nobody's there to answer that. Geoff Johns doesn't know and has nothing to do with digital.
Q: A guy really appreciates the 99 cent digital price point, and loves the current direction. What character in the future is coming that we don't know that we miss yet, like Danny the Street? Johns says 'Metal Men.' Snyder says 'Riddler.' Harras says there are a lot of surprises and worldbuilding coming up.
Q: A malcontent only likes Demon Knights and doesn't like the rest of the DCU – are comics and major media franchises built to perpetuate themselves and good stories just byproducts? Johns was offended by the idea that they don't try really hard for good stories. This guy's just gotten cynical these days.
Q: Will Shazam get a solo book? Johns says "if you guys want it, I'm sure it will happen."
Q: A Barbara Gordon as Batgirl fan asks about the hole where Oracle used to be. Any plans to fill that? Can Barbara do two jobs? Simone has something planned in Batgirl #13 where that question will be somewhat answered as a shocker ending. There's also a huge Batgirl story with the Joker. The thing that makes Joker interesting is that you don't know WHY he does things, so you can't predict WHAT he's going to do, tying into Snyder's "Death of the Family" return of the Joker.
Q: The guy dressed as starro is back, loving Snyder's Gotham City exploration – anyone else on the panel able to make inanimate objects like characters? It falls to Simone to say Gotham is full of cool objects – doesn't seem like the panel understood the question.
Q: Darkseid? The one Darkseid from the main Earth is the same as Earth 2.
Q: Are folks still writing for trades all the time? It's story mandated – the story dictates how many issues it will have to be to tell it. They don't try to chop out pieces of it for marketing purposes. Johns says there was a mandate on the #0s to be one issue jumping on points. Mostly, you want to give good service to the story. Simone likes it liquid, citing Court of Owls as an expansive thing that grew and grew.
Q: All year, this woman has been frustrated by the New 52. She misses the history and the relaunch seems to have severed the connection to a lot of them, so she's guessing that's what the #0 issues are meant to establish again. Johns sort of agrees about losing the tapesry of the DCU, but they're working on establishing the depth of the DCU.
Q: Batgirl seems to be a compassionate vigilante – is that conscious? Simone says yes. She has a degree in psychology. She was raised in the midst of Gotham, and she's brilliant and is able to be flexible in her perspective, while other Gothamites can be excessively rigid. It might trip her up in dealing with the Joker.
Q: A guy talks about Bruce in the Batcave and you can see a sliver of the letter from his father that the Flash gave him from Flashpoint – it's tucked in with Justice League #9, and Batman will have to investigate where the heck he got it.
Q: Any chance for Stephanie Brown again? No immediate Batgirl plans. Snyder loves Cass and Steph too, but right now, they're looking for the right place to reintroduce them, but he hopes you like some new characters coming in #12 – including Becky Cloonan telling the story of Harper.
Q: Happy to see Hispanic characters, but takes issue with some of the forced Hispanic dialog – Blue Beetle calling all girls chica and calling people super vatos – can you tone that down? It happens too much in the Young Justice cartoon. They share a good laugh.
Q: Back with the original Crisis, the goal was to consolidate the DCU, but by reopening Earth 2, is that reopening a problem fixed in the 70s? Johns says "It took them 25 years to get confusing, so they're all right for now." James Robinson is doing a great job on Earth 2. He's doing it with a lot of care. We're not going to do a lot of multiple earths – it will not go out of control.