Friday afternoon at New York Comic Con sees the DC panel on their currently running event, Dark Nights: Metal and the New Age of Heroes to follow. Coming into the room, the huge line of eager attendees were handed a small pack of cards seen in the event, wielded by the Man Who Laughs.
Dan DiDio also worked the room before the panel started, checking that everyone was okay. This whole personal touch thing that DiDio has been doing with panels at cons is really a breath of fresh air.
DiDio hosted the panel too, mentioning how the event has been better received than anything they could have expected before bringing out the panelists: Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Josh Williamson, James Tynion IV, Steve Orlando, Justin Jordan, Robert Venditti, and Frank Tieri.
DiDio talks about how Rebirth started by bringing back the core values to the DCU and then they knew they had to push forward and had to one up themselves.
Snyder talks about running the story of Metal by Capullo, and Capullo announces that it was what made him declare he was in. Snyder explained to DiDio, Grant Morrison, and more about wanting to create the Dark Multiverse, and how nerve-racking it was to create something new with those characters, and how it’s been great to see how people have received it.
Snyder talks about how it’s about telling a personal story about seeing aspects of yourself you hate but in the biggest, wildest, craziest way possible, and it was important for him to take advantage of the possibilities of the medium in that way.
Snyder promises we haven’t seen anything yet, and briefly mentions a Joker dragon. And how issue three will contain Shazam stuff, the ‘original Thanagar’, and so much stuff, to which Capullo jokingly painfully interjects “So. Much. Stuff.”
Snyder praises all the other creators and editors involved, and how it’s been such a wonderful collaborative effort between friends and colleagues. He promises every one of the one-shots gets crazier and crazier, and name drops Detective Chimp being involved somewhere, too. Snyder then reveals that he asked DiDio for the panel if they could talk about what comes next.
Snyder promises all the stuff afterwards, which they’ll talk about more after the release of Metal issues 3 and 4, has all been planned.
DiDio talks about his involvement behind the scenes helping bring Metal together, and Tynion IV shares how he and Snyder are close friends, and this project has been like a dream come true. They didn’t want any of the one-shots to feel like filler or cash grabs, they’re something different and fun and readers can find something they’ll love in them. Tynion IV says he is really proud of the work they are doing. Snyder says wait until we see the Batman Who Laughs, it is really dark and twisted.
Tynion IV says one of his favourite scenes in the Batman Who Laughs is how after Bruce kills the Joker, everyone checks in to see if he’s okay, and he says he is but then he starts laughing at the wrong times and wrong things. He brings the Bat Family together to tell them he’s been infected by the Joker, and the Family says they will help him get better…only for Bruce to reveal that is not why he brought them together.
Tieri talks about the whole thing is really over the top, and a lot of fun, and promises everyone will enjoy it.
Capullo talked about the design process of the Dark Knights, and how sometimes he landed spot on to what Snyder was describing, wanting. With others it was more of a refinement process. Snyder gives him a jumping off point, and then he just runs with it.
Didio talks about how they wanted to make it an affordable event for fans, knowing they are on a budget, so they try to limit it to two releases per week, so may be a crossover or one shot, and of course the main series. This got a bit of applause of appreciation.
Williamson talks about the next crossover, Bats Out of Hell, Williamson promises that the characters will be changed. In fact, one such change is Cyborg will get an upgrade, finding himself plugged in directly to the Multiverse. It sees the League going to war with the Dark Knights, and he promises shocks and surprises.
Moving onto the Flash, Williamson asks who in the room is a Barry fan? Big applause. Who’s a Wally West fan? More applause. Who is the best Flash? Is it Barry or is it Wally? Flash War, a new story coming in Flash next year, will seek to find an answer to that.
Didio talks about adding more diversity and context to the DCU, and moved on to discuss the New Age of DC Heroes coming out of Metal. He talks about the New Age of Heroes is like a crystallization of the Dark Matter of the ideas coming out of Metal.
DiDio shows a bit more of the multi-fold, three-fold covers, and promises about there being only one cover for each new book, which got applause. Seems people are a little tired of variants. Also, DiDio promises the books will stay at $2.99, which led to big applause.
Tynion IV talks about Immortal Men, the secret history of heroes and villains in the DC Universe. Contains the House of Action and House of Conquest, the former secret superheroes and the latter secret super villains, or really antagonists. He runs through names (very quickly) and talks a bit about the crazy new characters and ideas that they are. The House of Conquest believe the only way to improve humanity is to beat them down. That by defeating the people, it brings new technology and steps forward. Immortal Men starts with the House of Conquest winning the war. Tynion IV talks about how it’s all very exciting for him, how he’s still very new in the comics industry so to be working on this and with Jim Lee, and being a part of this strife to make the DCU feel fresh and new excites him.
Tynion IV also points out we may see the Batman Who Laughs in Immortal Men #1.
Re: Damage, Venditti talks about how the main character wants to help in a world filled with powerful beings, so he goes through an experience to that gives him incredible power for an hour a day and then he has to deal with the damage caused for the next 23 hours. Venditti talks about creating a new version of Task Force X called Task Force XL, containing the heavy hitters like Solomon Grundy, Giganta, and more. The second arc will be drawn by Cary Nord, and will contain Poison Ivy.
Moving onto The Silencer, DiDio talks about taking inspiration from Marvel some time ago, the early days of Image Comics and the things where things were fresh and wild and working to be different. Talking about the plot, the Silencer is a retired assassin, who is forced out of retirement by Talia Al Ghul, forcing her to balance her everyday life and being the world’s top assassin.
Sideways, DiDio says they really wanted something with a youthful energy on the book, and that during Metal, this one young kid falls through a crack in reality and winds up getting powers. DiDio joked that that’s why Jordan is on the book, to bring in that youthful feel. Jordan talks about the central hero being like us, looking at heroes and when he gets powers wanting to emulate those heroes, and finding it way more hard than he thought, as his abilities also damage the world. They praise the book’s artist, Kenneth Rocaforte, and his stunning artwork. DiDio then says about how Grant Morrison will also be helping on the book as they are involving the Dark Multiverse, from issues seven to ten, which will involve characters he created before….which he seems to tease may be the Seven Soldiers.
On to The Terrifics. DiDio says: “So, we came up with this fantastic concept…” and gets laughs from the panel. Snyder talks about talking to Jeff Lemire and wanting to do this book that is about exploration and discovery, and how there’s so much more to the DCU than most people realize. Snyder talks about them wanting to make the DCU feel full of wild crazy things we can’t expect. DiDio reiterates how the Tom Strong universe will be brought in, and says it’s great to see these wonderful characters back to enrich the world.
The Curse of Brimstone, a new horror book written by Jordan, describes it as the opposite of Sideways. It follows a kid who comes from one of those ‘forgotten towns’, like an industrial town that has been left by the wayside, so upon meeting a man who offers him the power to make his town great again, and he takes it, but it’s more of a curse than a blessing. It kind of looks at the idea of making a bargain in a moment of desperation and having to live with it. Taking a look at the horror aspect of the DCU.
Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt is shown written by Snyder, Tynion IV, and Williamson, and with art by Doug Mahnke and Ivan Reis. Snyder talks about it being about how they had more story than they had room for in the main story, and so they created a new one shot allowing them to show those elements, as the Dark Knights hunt the heroes through the Multiverse.
DiDio then moves onto Steve Orlando, who’s been pretty quiet in the panel, a brand new series called The Unexpected, which is about a team of enemies, and described it like The Dark Tower meets Seven Samurai. All new characters who have made huge mistakes, and only by working together can they right those problems in their life. The mysterious images Orlando had been tweeting a month back were in regards to this project. Orlando runs through a list of characters quickly who sound wild and crazy, the Unknown, Viking Judge, Firebrand and more. This project is so new, there was no art to be shown as yet.
The villain is like the Randall Flag of the DC Universe, and someone we have not seen before.
One big spoiler in last minute of the panel? Snyder says after Metal there’ll be a crazy, moneyballed superteam of all kinds of characters you’d never expect together.