Comic-Con: DC’s Young Justice Comics Panel

Scott Lobdell's Teen Titans #0 reveals Tim Drake was never an official Robin. Fandom brains break.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Teen Titans

Among the revelations at DC's Young Justice panel this morning was Scott Lobdell's assertion that in Teen Titans #0, we learn the origin of Tim Drake, and that he was never an official Robin. Fans then proceed to make him tap dance around his own continuity glitches.


Sunday morning, it is. The madness of yesterday has died down here at San Diego Comic-Con, and the Hollywood crowd is mostly on its way home, save for the big TV stuff happening today. However, we're still here, because there is comic book talk to be had. The first panel of the day is DC Comics and their "Young Justice" group of titles – all the teen-centric stuff. So we'll be liveblogging it as it happens. Too legit to quit, yo.

Good ol' John Cunningham moderates again, opening the We Can Be Heroes solicitation once again. Text HEROES to 80888 to give ten bucks, and DC will match it.

The panelists are Scott Lobdell of Teen Titans and Superboy, an entertaining goofball, then Tony Bedard of Blue Beetle, Mike Johnson of Supergirl, and editors Bob Harras and Bobbie Chase. Also Brian Cunningham. Everybody in the room gets a copy of the first printing of last year's Justice League.

Teen Titans #0 is up first. It's almost exclusively about Tim Drake, although a lot of secret info comes out about Skitter and Bunker. Lobdell is in favor of spoilers at panels, so he announces Tim goes straight from being Tim Drake to being Red Robin. He was never an official Robin. He was able to get really close to tracking down who Bruce Wayne is. It's a new, updated version of the origin. Scott Snyder says he thought it was awesome, so that must mean something.

Teen Titans cover is shown with Superboy and Tim Drake in the background and Wonder Girl is in the foreground (they both think she's hot) and she has a boyfriend she never got around to breaking up with, and part of his remains are on the cover, stabbed with a spear. The battle went badly for Cassie. They didn't want to go right to the Wonder Girl/Superboy place we've seen before. The second year will be all about the relationships between them.

Superboy #0 – Lobdell is heading to Superman, but as he's said before, we're talking about Kon-El as an abomination to Kryptonians because he's a clone. There's a War of the Clones coming in Kryptonian history. Kara believes Superboy is going to go the way of all other clones – a terrible history of clones on Krypton.

Superboy cover with Jocelyn Lore as a detective in the NYPD, but she also can arrest Superboy at 30,000 feet. Most people can't do that. Anyone following Ravagers knows that Caitlin and Rose are major players, and that's left space in Superboy's supporting cast, so we'll find out more about Jocelyn and Superboy will battle much more physical, powerful threats than he had in the first 11 issues when "some guy" was concentrating on character stuff. Jocelyn does have a connection to Kid Flash as well – ANOTHER SPOILER – Bart is from the 30th century, and he was sent here as part of a witness protection program for things that happened in the future, and his case worker is Jocelyn, who is also from the future. She thinks Bart is not in the right place – he shouldn't be here. She'll give a lot of information about Bart's origins.

Red Hood and the Outlaws #0 – it's now officially a "Young Justice" title, apparently as a surprise to Lobdell. This issue is the saddest thing he's ever written, the origin of the Red Hood. The book is usually lighthearted and frothy, but #0 is a complete about-face. So sad Lobdell wanted to stop writing it. In about three or four months, Red Hood is involved in Death of the Family – the Joker crossover in the Batbooks – and that will force Roy and Kory to have their own separate adventures for a while in Outlaws. Starfire and Arsenal will be teaming up with the New 52 version of Crimson Fox. She'll cause serious complications between Kory and Roy, because she's fun and gorgeous with a history with Roy.

The shot of Blackfire from yesterday's panel – in the past, Blackfire has been the evil dark sister who wants pain and suffering for Kory, but here, when she made the decision to give Kory over to slavery to save her planet, it devastated her. She has been trying to deal with her betrayal for the past 20 years, and we'll see Komand'r in the New 52 is not the nihilistic Machiavellian evil girl, but rather a loving sister who had to betray Koriand'r and it's made her sad.

Supergirl #0 – Johnson jokes that it's the "saddest issue," but it actually is sad. It's entirely on Krypton, focusing on Kara's parents and her relationship with them. We find out the circumstances around her departure from Krypton, very different from her cousin's. Someone had attacked her father just as he was preparing to send her away, and we'll find out that truth. Also, she has a power to explode with solar energy, and that's tied to how she was so strong when she first arrived she could go toe to toe with her cousin.

Supergirl #13 again. #0 is stand-alone, but it does flow with the story, too. This is the first glimpse of the Fort of Solitude – a little piece of Krypton on Earth that becomes her sanctuary – Simon Tyco, billionaire who has now become a supervillain with funky arms.

Blue Beetle #0 – Bedard says he has just met Scott Lobdell and his mind is officially blown – it's like being on a panel with Andy Kaufman.  This issue is the secret origin of the Blue Beetle armor before Jaime got it – the prototype for the Scarab Warriors of the Reach. A high-profile cosmic villain is introduced that is reworked from the past. The armor arrived on earth several hundred years ago and landed near a Mayan pyramid, and the guy on teh cover is Earth's first Blue Beetle – a Mayan high priest. He wore it for decades and he's still around in future issues – a Gollum-type character who wants his precious armor back.

Blue Beetle #13 shows the guy. We'll get to see the Reach world where all the technology comes from. It's been fun to design – a classic DC cosmic character is getting New 52ed, but Bedard is not allowed to say his name.

Legion Lost #0 – Brian Cunningham jokes it's the "saddest." The origin of Timberwolf, modernizing and updating the origin. It's the never-ending cycle of revenge that he needs to try and overcome. The answer might surprise you. It dovetails into Legion Lost #13, bringing back some of the cosmic stuff to the Legion. The ripple effects will be felt in Superboy, Ravagers. In The Culling, a villain named Harvest will show up and we'll learn about his agenda and it might not be as bad as we thought.

Ravagers #0 features Beast Boy and Terra. Harras says Beast Boy is becoming increasingly important to characters in the book. This gives a backstory to their relationship, gives hints as to what Beast Boy is. This is an important issue to see how they'll be the pivot characters for the next year or so.

Ravagers #5 has Superboy looming over an unconscious Caitlin. These books are all connected. Superboy still wants to know more about his past and hunts down Caitlin, his former mentor/jailor. The background figure cannot be revealed, but it's his first appearance in the New 52 – pivotal in the Ravagers and in Beast Boy's life. He will have a point of view different from Caitlin's.


Q: The cloning scenario of Superboy – a guy is working on a disseration on how American culture looks at cloning, and it all centers on the Frankenstein myth – mankind tries to create life for a benign purpose and that attempt always harms the creator and cause more problems. Can Scott speak to that?  Lobdell asks if a cloning ever had a happy ending? – Dolly the sheep died radically early. Total Recall's clone goes off on his own to start a new life. Lobdell says 'man isn't supposed to play God.' Cloning is on the horizon and we'll have to start looking at it. Many years from now, your disseration will probably seem ahead of its time. Hopefully it'll turn out better than what happens on Krypton. Generally, Lobdell finds it a bad idea, at least in the story.

Q: Will Blue Beetle have a future with the Teen Titans? Lobdell says he'd love that. Static's cameo in issue 4 is a precedent. If Blue Beetle survives his time in space, Lobdell would be happy to get him in Teen Titans, and Bedard agrees.

Q: Can Superboy be in the Action Comics version of Superman's costume – t-shirt and jeans? Lobdell's Superboy is not that t-shirt kind of guy. One of Lobdell's favorite thing about the New 52 has broken the idea that a character can only wear one costume. So he'll vary them more throughout the Teen Titans, and would like to see it throughout the DCU. Lobdell says Brett Booth turned in some pages and randomly changed Superboy's costume a bit.

Q: Given Red Robin's mission with founding the Titans, will we see this vehicle returning in the future – leftover Ravagers, Batgirl, etc.?  Lobdell thinks the Justice League has Aquaman, Flash and everybody, and it's where people tend to congretate in the DCU. He would like to see the Titans touch all corners of the DCU where there are teenagers. In his fantasy world, he would love to see them hang out with Kamandi. Johnson jokes that he wants a comic called Scott's Fantasy World.

Lobdell polls the crowd about Blue Beetle and Supergirl on Teen Titans, good responses. Then Raven to great response, and he says "you'll get your wish."

Q: Will Kid Flash meet Flash, Wonder Girl meets Wonder Woman? Harras says it'll probably happen sometime in the next year or so.

Q: Red Robin has never been a Robin – In Detective, Damian is hunting down ex-Robins, why does Damian care about him? Lobdell jokes "he's mad at Robin Williams, Robin Leach…" He is still Red Robin, but yeah, that does blow a hole through what he was saying. Perhaps they're figuring out continuity issues already.

The panel gives out a 25 dollar gift certificate for that question screwing up Lobdell's theories, and Lobdell is impressed "we're giving out money! Marvel never gives you money!" Bedard quietly jokes"I know, you can't even get a lunch out of them."

Q: A flashback Titans team had Nightwing and Starfire on it? It shows people who used to be on Teen Titans hanging out. Yes, they've crossed paths before, but there was no previous version of Teen Titans – the group in flashback was there, but weren't official Teen Titans.

Q: Any chance of a Tim Drake solo book?  Tim Drake gets a huge response, Kid Flash and Wonder Girl solo books don't get as much of a response. Lobdell is pushing for one.

Q: Since Starfire forgot Nightwing but still has his clothes, will they meet? And didn't Drake say 'shortest-lived incarnation of the Titans ever?' in the first issue, meaning that there have been Titans before? – Yes on the first one, eventually, and secondly, that was written when there was going to be a history to the Titans, and that's changed now… Lobdell is dancing around his own continuity glitches, and Cunningham loves watching him twist in the wind.

Q: Beast Boy had a Brother Blood dream recently – and in #0, he was red. Harras explains the Beast Boy connection to The Red in Animal Man – a long term story.

Q: A guy who can't speak very well tries to ask about Court of Owls hunting Robins and the Joker coming back in Detective Comics, and his questions don't make sense. It's kind of painful. It's Bat-questions at the wrong panel.

Q: Miss Martian showing up anytime soon? Lobdell says they want a new take on Miss Martian significantly different from the previous version – essentially the same character, but different enough that she's not the same. He can't promise she'll show, but he has every intention of working something out for her.

Q: Any chance of Kid Quantum anytime soon?  Not in Legion Lost – can't speak to Legion of Super-Heroes.

Q: Did the writers have any ideas for a character that were shut down? Johnson says they've actually had great support with Kara in coming up with new villains, like doing different things with Silver Banshee – a fun open playground. Bedard says the response is usually that they're not outlandish and different enough – but he still can't get G'nort back into the Green Lantern Corps.

Q: Do they watch the Young Justice cartoon? Lobdell has never seen the show, but he doesn't watch any animation in general. He wanted to make sure he wasn't taking ideas from that. He wants to be separate. Johnson has a bunch of episodes on his DVR waiting. Bedard says movies and animation are whole different animals, so they're not precious about how they reflect the characters. They are separate things.

Q: Any chance of Geoff Johns working on any issues? Lobdell says no.

Q: The #0 chapters- what's the Green Lantern New Guardians story? Not the right panel, but Bedard does write it. It's setting up stuff rolling into the Rise of the Third Army event – it'll kick things up a notch with the lineup of the team, and Kyle will start learning to master the emotional spectrum – a One Man Skittle Corps. He'll be a secret weapon in the war against the Guardians coming up.