Comic-Con: DC’s New Wave Panel

DC talks on the new books Team 7, Talon, Sword of Sorcery and Phantom Stranger.

Andy Hunsakerby Andy Hunsaker

Sword of Sorcery

DC's Third Wave, or "New Wave" as they're calling it here, focuses on the four new series coming in the New 52 – Team 7, Talon, Sword of Sorcery (featuring Amethyst) and The Phantom Stranger.  Here's the liveblog of the first panel of the day. The question of Stephanie Brown being replaced with Barbara Gordon in Smallville comics is finally answered by DiDio.


On the panel are Dan DiDio, Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Rachel Gluckman, Bobbie Chase, Tony Bedard.

First up is Talon #0, from Snyder and Tynion. Tynion says he was out here in the audience with us last year, and now he's up on the panel.  His nerves are down a bit since it's his second panel. He loves Snyder's Court of Owls mythology and he can't wait to dive into it. They want to build a character in Calvin Rose who can last in DC for years, not just for one story. Snyder mentions Tynion is one of his former students and that Snyder would run ideas by him for years. They had plenty of ideas about the Court, but not for a character, so Tynion came up with Calvin Rose, escape artist in the circus and the one Talon who got away from the Court. It's bigger and bombastic. Snyder says "It's one of those ideas that when I heard it, I thought 'I'd read that if I could.'" DC is great about looking for new blood, and this guy deserves a shot. Snyder on Detective Comics was in the same boat. Tynion says he was sending in unsolicited pitches for years, and then he built the right relationship and do your own work and things might happen.

Phantom Stranger is next. DiDio talks about "The Trinity of Sin" from the FCBD book – DiDio and Brent Anderson talk about that moment in FCBD and see it from the Phantom Stranger's point of view, before flashing forward to present day. He comes in contact with a very familiar character in the first issue. Stranger does what he thinks is best for mankind but not necessarily for the people he works with. He strikes a bargain with Trigon in the first issue, then Pandora returns in the second. DiDio jokes about how Anderson likes to draw hats, and that's why he's on the book (from yesterday's panel, Anderson joked about that).

Team 7 is next. DiDio speaks on this as well. It's crucial because it blends the current DCU and former WildStorm characters and puts them in new situations. Steve Trevor, Deathstroke, Grifter, Black Canary, Amanda Waller. It takes place before the current DCU, of course. It requires a lot of coordination with people working on all the books involving these folks. Team 7 will be more fun than Phantom Stranger, which will be really dark.

Sword of Sorcery revives Amethyst.  Rachel is working on this one, and she's been begging DiDio to let her revive Amethyst and goal achieved. She's super-excited because it fills a niche for high fantasy that they currently don't fill. Christy Marx and Aaron Lopresti makes it a top quality revival all the way. When you bring back a character who hasn't had a title in a long time, you want to do it right. It's an anthology, so different fantasy flavors are happening – Tony Bedard comes in there. He's doing the backup Beowulf feature, doing a post-apocalyptic take. He's more excited about this than GL or Blue Beetle or anything else at the moment. Bedard tells a story about going on a talent show in a loincloth brandishing a sword to Billy Idol's "Dancing WIth Myself" and earned himself the nickname "To-nan the Barbarian," so he's been dying to do a story like this. Rachel jokes that that pose will be the new variant cover. Bedard says "don't tell Geoff Johns I'm more excited for this than for GL."

DiDio mentions Christy Marx, who he worked with on Reboot and other animated series, and called her the best action writer working in animation at the time. Marx also created Jem and the Holograms and worked on a lot of those 80s cartoon series.


Q: He's happy for Amethyst to come back, but not that it will be darker. Why does everything have to be dark?  Rachel says the original series is pretty dark – it opens with enemies trying to sexually assault her. She doesn't think it will upset fans of the original series. It's got intrigue with all the Gem Houses, the coming of age element. It's very action driven and dramatic. Darker is just sort of an easy way to explain that, but it's not going to be a big gore fest or anything.

Q: A Superboy Prime fan asks about where he is?  DiDio says they've changed how the multiverse works now. Grant Morrison is working on a 'multiversity' storyline that could introduce that down the line. Everybody has their favorite character they want to come back, but DiDio says if they brought everybody back all at once, they'd be just where they were before the New 52, so they have to roll them out slowly.

Q: A guy thanks DiDio for bringing OMAC back.  DiDio says Keith Giffen is one of the most fun and annoying people to work with. They would talk through plots, he'd break them down, and DiDio would script over the breakdowns. Giffen once offered a small change – "I added a five page fight scene with Superman at the beginning."  "Why are they fighting?"  "That's your job, you figure it out."

Q: Phantom Stranger's ambiguous origin isn't ambiguous anymore?  DiDio says you like being a fan of the mystery, but when writing, you have to give at least 75 percent of his origin to make the character take hold. He used chunks of that Secret Origins multiple possible origins for Stranger. Dr. 13 appears in the second issue, but it's a completely different one which ties into All-Star Western, of all things.

Q: How did the New 52 impact the We Can Be Heroes program?  DiDio thinks it helps it with all the attention brought to the New 52 and thus the awareness of DC's supercharacters. The plight of hunger is not going away, so they're trying to create a lasting image that people will continue to remember, as it's a long-term problem. The guy donates to the cause right on the spot.

Q: Batgirl is back, asking about more female creators coming back, and she gives credit to them for bringing in Ann Nocenti for Catwoman and Green Arrow, Becky Cloonan, Nicola Scott etc. She thinks there's much more headway to make, but she thanks the panel for what they've done. Then she asks again about Stephanie Brown is being replaced with Barbara Gordon in Smallville comics?  DiDio says they had to reverse it because it's an extension of the TV series, and the way that guests appeared in there, they want to go to the Most Iconic versions. Starting with Stephanie Brown would not be the strongest way to go, but they're trying to keep it strong – it's their best selling digital comic, and they have a lot of faith in it growing, and hopefully as it does, they can add more people.

Q: The Green, The Red and The Rot – are they connected to the White Lanterns?  Snyder says he talked with Geoff Johns about it, but they wanted to do something that was their own, but there are some connections between them and other forces – not necessarily to Brightest Day, but there will be surprising things about which characters are linked to the Green, The Red and the Rot. In the "Rotworld" crossover, we'll learn a lot about that.

Q: A New 52 skeptic is happy with stuff now – what is the greatest success within the entire movement, and how will this new wave capture that?  DiDio's personal opinion is that the greatest success is Swamp Thing and Animal Man. These are the books they couldn't get traction with before, but now they're really working. His greatest regret was not doing Batman & OMAC as a series – and he thought about changing the O in OMAC to "Owls" so it wouldn't have gotten canceled. Talon is also cited as a great thing, because it's a brand new character that people are actually asking for. Snyder says long-time fans have responded well, new fans and lapsed fans as well, saying things like "I didn't know Bruce Wayne had a dinosaur in his cave." It's a huge thrill to see the audience being much more diverse now and inclusive.

Q: A Batman fan asks about the FCBD issue, and what's the deal with the Question? DiDio says "that's a good question." That's about as far as he's going today.

Q: Will there be a crossover between Nightwing and Talon, and if so, how does Bruce respond?  Tynion says nothing is set in stone right now, but all of the Talons have roots in Haly's Circus, and Calvin Rose is a recent addition. There is a shared past he wants to explore, but nothing plotted at the moment. It's a safe bet that within the first year, we'll find out what Batman thinks.

Q: What's up with the JLI members?  DiDio plugs the Justice League International annual to polish it up. He says "Batwing's okay," and then is vaguely non specific about which characters will be messed up. "He's in the hosptial, he's a mess, he leaves…" etc. DiDio is involved due to the OMAC connection – and the origin will be revealed in DCU Presents. A lot is coming down the pipeline with Justice League – JL #12 will be hugely important to the DCU.

Q: Another Batman fan asks if there will be connections between Talon and all the Bat-titles?  Tynion says it will be stand alone at first, trying to build him as a distinct character first. Down the line, sure.

Q: A lapsed fan who has come back in the New 52 asks about Team 7 – will it tell the origins of Skinny Amanda Waller?  DiDio says it takes place 3 to 5 years earlier than Suicide Squad, and it is an action team, so realistically speaking… "it's an interesting question. We actually talked about it a bit."  Right now, "Skinny Amanda Waller" is who she is rather than who she becomes. They're trying to start fresh and essentially say she was never fat or The Wall in the New 52 – this is the version of the character.

Q: A guy asks about the Stranger's religious implications of the new origin (essentially being Judas)?  DiDio says there are religious connections – citing Zauriel, the Spectre as previous examples of that.

Q: A question about James Gordon Jr. as a compelling villain – how does the new condensed canon fit him in? Gail Simone is working with him in Batgirl right now, and the history will come from that.

Q: Any other villain-centric titles in the work, asks a Secret Six fan?  There is Suicide Squad right now, but nothing new on the docket yet. Catwoman and Talon are also kinda like that. Deathstroke.

Q: A guy who wasn't interested in Talon is now. How will it be different from Azrael? Any chance of a Mr. Miracle escape artis tie-in? Snyder says they want it to be very independent of Azrael and any similarities – James came up with something much different – his mission is to get his life back, and he gets a chance to fight back thanks to Night of the Owls. Tynion sees the connection, but it will be very separate. It will be a very different tone, a character-driven series with cool Gotham things.  No talk of New Gods yet.

Q: Is Captain Atom going to come back to the Justice League? Rachel, editor of Captain Atom, says it's been very high concept and interesting, exploring how badly he's handling his huge powers. He will be a part of the DCU, but after it wraps, he might need a break. She hopes he'll join the Justice League.

Q: A Tim Drake fan hopes he'll be in more than Teen Titans? Snyder says you'll see him a lot in Gotham – Scott Lobdell's Teen TItans #0 goes into Tim Drake's background, and he'll play a big part in the Joker story coming up. "As long as he doesn't die" the fan asks. "I can't promise that," Snyder responds.

Q: A fan thanks them for Earth 2 and bringing the JSA back, then asks for a hook to help sell the books.  "Phantom Stranger has deep ties to the DCU, and stars a character who will betray his friends for the greater good." says DiDio.  Snyder says "The DaVinci Code in Gotham."  Rachel says Sword of Sorcery is "The Hunger Games" kind of feel. Team 7 will get an amazing origin for Black Canary.