DC’s Justice League Panel: News On Captain Marvel, Darkseid And Wally West [NYCC 2011]
DC Comics kicked off Saturday at New York Comic Con with a discussion of all of the publisher's Justice League titles. Topics included the future of Captain Marvel, the new take on Darkseid, Ann Nocenti's status as a "token female" and Wonder Woman's new parentage. The panel featured Senior Vice President of Sales Bob Wayne, Chief Creative Officer and popular writer Geoff Johns (Justice League, Aquaman), Co-Publisher and popular artist Jim Lee (Justice League), writer/artist Dan Jurgens (Justice League International, Green Arrow), inker Joe Prado (Aquaman), penciler Ivan Reis (Aquaman), writer Brian Azzarello (Wonder Woman), artist Cliff Chiang (Wonder Woman), writer/artist Francis Manapul (The Flash), writer/artist Brian Buccellato (The Flash), writer/artist Tony Daniel (Savage Hawkman), writer Eric Wallace (Mister Terrific), artist Yildiray Cinar (Fury of Firestorm), writer J.T. Krul (Captain Atom) and writer Ann Nocenti (Green Arrow).JUSTICE LEAGUE
A sequence was shown from the second issue of this hugely successful title, in which Green Lantern calls the Flash on his cellphone and asks the speedster to bail him out of a fight with Superman. A slide of Darkseid was shown, and Johns stated that their take on the classic villain was different from what we've seen before, and that the Fourth World elements devised by creator Jack Kirby would be toned down. Johns added that the character's thigh-high boots and skirt were gone as well. A slide of Aquaman was shown as well, which Johns introduced as "the world's worst superhero" to much laughter.
JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL
Jurgens revealed that the villain of the current arc is named Miraxis; on Earth are four gigantic sentinel creatures under his control, and the team will have to split up to deal with them.
Jurgens and Johns confirmed that Booster Gold doesn't remember the pre-New 52 DC Universe.
The first year of Aquaman features Aquaman and Mera questing and attempting to find out who sunk Atlantis. The sixth issue will be a Mera-focused story drawn by the book's regular inker, Joe Prado.
"We didn't change it, we enhanced it," was Azzarello's first statement about Wonder Woman's new origin as Zeus's daughter. "I was kind of sick about the conversation about her being about her pants. I wanted to make it about her genes," he punned.
"It's not my first major writing gig, it's my first credited writing gig," said writer/artist Manapul. Co-writer and colorist Buccellato stated that a lot of the reason why the book contains so much energy is because the entire thing is created soup-to-nuts by two people, from conception to coloring. "How do you defeat the fastest man alive? You make him stand still" is how they described their first arc, inspired by a line from Geoff Johns' second issue of Justice League, in which The Flash says "nobody can touch me."
THE SAVAGE HAWKMAN
Writer Tony Daniel described the core essence of the title as "action, beatdowns and slaughters" combined with character work on Carter Hall. The first arc features a new villain named Morphicius, who Daniel is trying to position as Hawkman's archenemy.
Writer Eric Wallace revealed that Mister Terrific's adventures will be sending him to outer space, and that the new villain Brainstorm knows a secret about Mister Terrific that will send him to "a dark, dark place."
THE FURY OF FIRESTORM
Artist Yildiray Cinar explained that when Jason Rusch and Ronnie Raymond combine as Firestorms they become Fury, a "walking nuclear bomb."
Writer J.T. Krul explained that the rat creature from the end of the first issue will be headed on a collision course with Captain Atom. Art was shown depicting Captain Atom attempting to save a boy by shrinking and traveling into his brain. Doctors also attempting to save the child interpreted Captain Atom as part of the boy's sickness. The Flash will appear in the third issue, and Krul acknowledged the creative debt to Alan Moore's Dr. Manhattan character from Watchmen, who was based on Captain Atom.
Ann Nocenti started off by saying, "Obviously, when you look around the room, I'm the token female." She wants to introduce a new "Typhoid-class" girlfriend for Green Arrow and will be continuing much of the plot points from outgoing writer J.T. Krul's setup.
Later in the panel, Jim Lee made a point of stating that Ann Nocenti, as well as editor Bobbie Chase, were in the works to join the DC ranks even before this past summer's San Diego Comic-Con, and were hired because they are talented, not as a response to criticism over a lack of female creators.
The panel then opened to Q&A.
On Wally West: A question about Wally West's status was met with some degree of silence, and Johns told the questioner to keep reading.
On Captain Marvel: Geoff Johns revealed that starting with the fifth issue of Justice League, the title will carry a backup called "Curse of Shazam" by Johns and artist Gary Frank that will reboot Captain Marvel and the Shazam! franchise.
On the New 52: Jim Lee stated that they wanted to re-energize the line and that the reception to it has shown the New 52 to be a successful experiment. He related an anecdote about having dinner with his daughter and her friend, and her friend had never had any interest in comics but was now reading some of the New 52 books because she felt this was a starting point.
On the target readership: Bob Wayne stated that they partnered with Nielsen to find out exactly who was reading the New 52 titles and which ones they enjoyed. He said he believes they're reaching existing readers, lapsed readers and new readers with the initiative, but they were still waiting on the results of the market research.
On Starfire: Jim Lee stated that it's premature to judge Scott Lobdell's character arc for Starfire based on the controversial first issue of Red Hood and the Outlaws, but he also added that he was excited that people cared enough to blog and complain about the character's depiction, and that they were absolutely paying attention and considering those concerns for stories moving forward.
On Cyborg: When asked why Cyborg was promoted from the Titans to the Justice League in the New 52, Johns said he's a huge fan of the character and that he's always put the character in the books he's written, from The Flash to Teen Titans. Johns believes Cyborg's more relevant now than ever due to humanity's increasing reliance on technology.