Comic-Con: DC’s Justice League & Green Lantern Panel

The bigwigs bring some revelations about the future of the big-time DCnU, including Shazam and JSA action.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Justice League #7

DC's combined the Justice League panel with the Green Lantern panel to form one JLGL Super Panel. Justice League creators Geoff Johns and Jim Lee are on hand, as are Francis Manapul, Brian Buccellato of The Flash, GL writer Tony Bedard, James Robinson, Nicola Scott of Earth 2. Editor Brian Cunningham is here. Word up! Let's hear what they've got to say in our liveblog of the panel here at San Diego Comic-Con.

A lot of Shazam talk now that Billy Batson's new take has been revealed – and when Shazam will join the Justice League, too. Also, a big crossover between JL and JL Dark, and a lot of "Rise of the Third Army" tidbits, and "Earth 2" reveals that Wildcat is coming!

John Cunningham moderates again, opening with a plug for We Can Be Heroes providing relief for people in the Horn of Africa. Any 10 dollars will be matched by DC.  

Johns says the Justice League vibe will change in the second year, as they try to grow up from what they are toward who they should be. They're just not a good team right now. They get together every month or two to stop something, but they don't really know each other or care that much about each other yet. Aquaman is on the cover, holding the Superman and Batman capes like he beat them up or something.

Justice League #0 has Shazam on the cover – this is where Billy Batson meets the Wizard. They don't like each other. But Shazam is born there, and he'll join the team next year.

Tony Daniel comes on for two parts to reintroduce Cheetah, following up on Justice League #12 events. It'll plant the seeds for Trinity War. Cheetah is connected to something much bigger that leads into Trinity war.

Justice League International Annual #1 – it's Booster Gold's story from Dan Jurgens. It's the last issue of JLI, and it also ties into JL #12.

Green Lantern #0 features a black GL with a gun and a big mask. Why does he have a gun? Backup for when his ring runs out of juice – he thinks the others are dumb for not having backup. Ethan Van Sciver is drawing the annual. The Guardians are total dicks and are going to try to destroy the universe for real this time. "The Rise of the Third Army" is about the Guardians deciding the GLs have failed like the Manhunters. Emotion was a weakness, so Manhunters. Fear was a weakness, so Green Lanterns. And now with all the other Corps and their emotional chaos, they think GLs have failed. The new army is to fight the problem of free will. They want to eradicate free will now, and the Third Army will kick off in GL Annual #1.

Jeff Lemire from Justice League Dark arrives late.

Green Lantern Corps #0 is a big story of Guy Gardner's origin, Johns calls it one of the best scripts from Peter Tomasi ever. It's the "Fall of Guy Gardner," Johns says, then immediately regrets saying that, believing Tomasi will kill him. Bedard jokes that Tomasi is the "perfect big brother" that he has to live up to all the time.

GLC #13 has John Steweart and Guy on the cover.

GL: New Guardians #0 is shown. Bedard is enjoying spotlighting the Lanterns, but by #12, we find out why all those rings came to Kyle Rayner in the first place to wrap things up, then #0 kicks things up a notch. Larfleeze and Atrocitus are on #0. Kyle starts accessing the other colors beyond the green ring – he may possibly become the secret weapon in the Third Army struggle once he masters an emotional spectrum. Carol Ferris, Star Sapphire, is going to kick his butt along the way and get him ready. Johns says Bedard came up with one of the coolest things ever for Carol – and he's officially lived up to Tomasi now.

GL:NG #13 is being compared to a kung-fu movie, as Kyle has to learn different styles. Hope and compassion come easy, but rage, avarice and the darker ones, he can't unleash as well, and he gets schooled by Atrocitus and the darker Lanterns. The Guardians will try to wipe out all the main players – Hal Jordan, John, Kyle, Guy and more.

Red Lanterns #0 is shown. The Guardians are also working on taking apart the other Corps, but taking out Atrocitus isn't easy. Johns won't spoil for Peter Milligan, but it also factors into Third Army heavily – Atrocitus is out for Guardian blood.

Massive promo image for Rise of the Third Army – all the covers of the GL world #13 issues. Rise of the Third Army is actually only a prologue for something much bigger, which we learn in the GL Annual.

Flash #0 is shown. Buccellato says they're not redoing the Barry Allen origin, but giving it a slightly different spin. Manapul says they fill in gaps in his childhood and who raised him and how did he become who he was. Why is he so concerned with justice and evidence? Why does he always do the right thing?

Flash #13 has Gorilla City once again. Manapul says Gorilla Grodd and his army invade Central City. The Rogues are also shown – and they might help Flash in the fight. Yes. Flash teams up with the Rogues.

Earth 2 #0 is shown – Supes/Bats/WW and a red guy with a gun. Robinson says the JSA heroes aren't going to be in it, because this is a backstory. They were actually Eight wonders – including the gun guy named Mr. 8 – Terry Sloan, fought alongside the Trinity, and this is him turning into a villain – with noble reasons. We'll see the giant firepit formations as well.

Earth 2 4 is Alan Scott fighting Grundy. It's going to be a six issue story instead of five because every moment is the first moment for these guys, and so many things happen that they needed to give it the proper time. Alan Scott as GL will be the Superman of Earth 2. The first appearance of Wesley Dodds, the Canadian Sandman, will be happening soon. Scott (who has lost her voice so is croaky) likes this book because they don't tie into anything else, they have their own world to play in. The issue she's working on now, #5, is the best they've done yet. The leader of the world army, Amir Khan, is like Captain Nemo meets Nick Fury. Jim Lee gives credit to all the designs for Earth 2 to Scott, saying all he did were tiny tweaks.

Justice League Dark #0 is shown, all Constantine-style. Lemire talks about how the Dark books are disconnected from Justice League stuff, but he wants it to be the bridge between the two universes. Steve Trevor and ARGUS are involved with the JLD. The #0 will boil it down to the core of Constantine and Zatanna's relationship – and her love of the guy who will become Constantine's Moriarty. Johns talks about an impending crossover where Billy Batson meets Constantine for the first time. Tawky Tawny is involved as well. New members of the JLD are Frankenstein, Amethyst and Timothy Hunter.

JLD #13: An interior splash shows Black Orchid, Deadman, Zatanna, Dr. Mist and Constantine.


Q: A huge JSA fan asks about Wildcat? Robinson says he's trying to roll them out slowly so we get to know them. There's a mystical, metaphysical feel to Earth 2. The next arc is the government vs. the Justice Society – they're not the Justice Society yet. It's magic vs. science, and we'll meet Dr. Fate and Wildcat – and familiar names of government heroes. Scott says we've met one of our characters already and nobody's noticed.

Q: A new GL fan asks about GL: Rebirth #4 specifics, doing fun voice acting of Sinestro saying things about Parallax. Was Parallax alone able to create constructs or did the Guardians help? Johns calls him astute for noticing it might lead into Third Army.

Q: A guy loves the new Shazam twist where Billy is a brat. The kids in Batson's family are "the Little Rascals with magic powers."

Q: Will there be a Batman: Earth One sequel? Yes, Johns and Gary Frank are working on it already.

Q: What happened with Carol Ferris? Tony Bedard will explore that she abandoned her post for Star Sapphire stuff.

Q: The history between Kyle and Soranik involved Jade, who doesn't exist anymore. Will that be addressed?  Jade doesn't exist anymore. Bedard says they still need to fill all that in. Robinson notes that the reason he made Alan Scott gay was because Jade's brother Obsidian, who was gay, also doesn't exist anymore.

Q: Will Green Lantern Animated Series be tied in? No, it's its own thing, doing their own version – but Guy Gardner is in Season 2 and he's hilarious.

Q: A starstruck fan dressed as Nightwing is all about Geoff Johns and Jim Lee, and asks about the Free Comic Book Day thing about the Phantom Stranger, Pandora and Question becoming relevant?  Johns and Lemire are doing a story with all of that crossing over between Justice League and Justice League Dark.

Q: Another guy dressed as Nightwing asks about what they aren't quite happy with about the New 52 that they'd like to change? Lee says it's an ongoing project with no end point, so it's a continual involvement of the spirit. They look at what's underperforming and reassess the storyline and find out what's right and what's wrong for it. They try to come up with the best ideas, and then fit within their needs. In the past, books would just run on intertia, and now they have a document that explained how many superhero books to have, other genres to explore. The Phantom Stranger, for example, isn't expected to perform Top Ten numbers, but it really fills a niche in the DCnU to explain many things. We don't focus on the negatives, but they continually try to refine.

Robinson mentioned talking to Dan DiDio about Phantom Stranger and says we'll be very thrilled with it.

Q: Another Shazam fan loves the new take, and loves Flash. The pantheon of magical characters, he likes, and mentions the Oblivion Bar where magic people hang out. It's in Justice League Dark #0, says Lemire.

Q: A guy dressed as Deadpool asks about Starman, who is in Legion now, so there you go.

Q: A guy asks who the Green Lantern of Krypton's sector when it exploded, and is Superman pissed at them?  Johns says "that's a good story to tell."

Q: A guy likes what Johns' biggest challenge with Aquaman making it a great book now? He says he wanted to address all the jokes about him and then move on to make it a fun and different book. He doesn't think there's another superhero that has to deal with that perception – a king underwater and a joke on land.

Q: A guy asks about Flashpoint going off the map. Will anything from that come back?  Johns says no plans right now, but you never know.

Q: When's J'onn Jonzz coming back to the Justice League? Johns says he'll be in it next year.

Q: Sodam Yat – the most powerful being has fallen off the map. Will he come back?  Johns says he will be in it next year as well.

Q: Is Barry going to retake his role as a Blue Lantern, and will Blue Beetle be on Teen Titans?  There is no blue in Barry's future, sorry. There are interesting Blue Beetle plans, but not Titans. The JLI annual will have Blue Beetle action.

Q:  A Flash fan asks about whether he'll find Bart or Jay anytime soon?  Manapul says "it's been discussed." It'll happen at some point, but not today.

Q: A guy dressed as Picard who speaks with an Australian accent, saying "Hail to the king, baby" to Jim Lee. It seems to Americans that Australians are popular, but he doesn't know any mainstream Australian heroes at all – if it's at all possible for a JL-Oz, can they please make it so?  Johns says "we'll do it!"

Q: Any other heroes getting War of Light style powers? Batman with a green or yellow ring?  "Maybe" is the only response.

Q: Earth 2 fan asks about the green energy talking to Alan Scott – will there be a connection between Earth 2 and Gem World? Robinson says it's a separate dimension. He does love Amethyst, though, and it's a good idea. He intends to be on this book for as long as they will let him be on it, so maybe down the line.

Q: A Shazam fan asks about his place in the DCU, as he used to be a "poor man's Superman." He's changed an awful lot. Johns wanted to really play up the magical look, so they added the hood, but he looks classic with the hood down. They started with Billy Batson, and that attitude makes the character very different. There's a scene with Shazam fighting Superman back to back, and Shazam's all excited about making trucks explode and stuff, but Superman doesn't like it. But Cyborg goes "sweet." Cyborg has the teenage 'that's awesome' joy about super powers and explosions. He hopes fans will see the iconic Shazam will still be there.

Q: Any Ma Hunkel plans?  Robinson says "a nice challenge, it's possible."

Q: This guy thinks the new Billy Batson is so cool, and he's a guy at his 32nd Comic-Con. (maybe I should try to enjoy this new Billy Batson. It's been very hard for me – Ed.)

Q: A guy wants Kyle and Carol Ferris to become a couple, and he guesses the mystery GL is Mal Duncan. Any other new character they really want to bring back?  Johns is reintroducing the Metal Men at some point.

Q: Is Sodam Yat's GL corps going to come back with him?  Top secret, sorry.

Q: Any old Guardian of Aliapsa? (sp?) Yes, that will come back.  Lobo with the Red ring? Bedard says it's a big dangling plot thread that will never get addressed.

Q: Where is the Dex-Starr valentine's Day special?  As soon as Krypto's back, it will come so they can hang out.

Q: When will Raven appear? She'll show up in September.

Q: The Green and the Grey in Earth 2 – is that like Green and Red in main U?  Robinson says it all ties together – it won't be called The Red, but it ties into the creation of Wildcat.

Q: Will the Green and the Red come into the main DCu?  Lemire's crossover with Snyder called Rotworld will be a huge crossover and affect characters you wouldn't expect.

Q: Any Plastic Man plans?  "Future cloudy, check back later."

Q: Where's wally West? Does he exist?  Buccellato says "it's not really a panel until somebody asks that. He's somewhere." "Probably hanging out with Ted Kord somewhere," says another I didn't catch, and then a fan yells "Why must you hurt me so?!" to laughs from the panel.

Q: A veteran fan is struck by the difference between classic books he loved and the current state of comic books, encouraging the comparison and compliments on the forming the thoughts in the minds of the people. Any discussion of their impact? Johns was often talking about philosophy of self-awareness in emotions in the GL stuff. Johns likes Billy Batson flawed, because he finds it much more interesting to find the good in him rather than the boring perfect kid who isn't like any other kid he knows.  Lee says the main goal is entertainment first, but there are always social lessons to impart. But there's a real charm and joy from classic books that's hard to recapture.