This recap of the DC Metal & The New Age of DC Heroes panel at New York City Comic Con features a lot of information regarding the future of Metal and several its tie-ins and one-shots. You’ve been warned…
Dan DiDio, along with the all-star creative line-up of Scott Snyder, Greg Capullo, Steve Orlando, Justin Jordan, Josh Williamson, James Tynion IV, Robert Venditti and Frank Tieri treated several thousand lucky fans to a look behind the curtain of what’s coming in the DC Universe.
Snyder was quick to start to explain he never expected Metal to do so well. The main storyline and all the one-shots sold out immediately. He made sure the audience knew how pivotal their support has been in allowing this project to flourish and grow into new and unexpected places (more to come on that).
As Snyder was preparing to pitch the idea of an evil Batman from a dark universe determined to destroy the Justice League, he knew he wanted to work with Capullo.
“I told Greg I wanted to do a dark, spooky universe and immediately, ‘I’m in!’ is being yelled into the phone,” Snyder said.
At this point Capullo actually did scream into his microphone “I’M IN!”
After seeing how fans responded to Rebirth and the characters there, Snyder and Capullo felt like they had the launch pad to do something totally new. Snyder’s passion for the project was blaring while he discussed how Metal celebrates bonky, over-the-top, Kirby-esque characters and stories.“At this moment and time, there’s a way to get at things that are relevant by telling really over-the-top stories,” said Snyder.
A highlight of this discussion was Snyder and Capullo discussing their communication style. Snyder explained, “I wanted to do something in this dark multiverse, dark spooky universe beneath the DCU. I’ll text Greg my ideas and he’ll respond with emojis.” Greg chimed in, “I’m an artist, I tell stories with pictures!” To which Snyder dryly replied, “It’s the poo. I’ll say ‘I’m really worried about this!’ and he’ll send the poo emoji.”
Tynion IV is one of Snyder’s closest friends and will be writing The Batman Who Laughs and co-writing Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt. Recently, he spent a few days at Snyder’s house planning the future of DC Comics.
Tynion IV touched on the large number of one-shots and tie-ins: “We didn’t want any of the one-shots to feel like cash grabs or filler. We wanted them to stand alone on the shelf and have moments in each and every one that are important to the readers. We want to create an entire ecosystem of freaking awesome comics.”
Tynion IV treated the panel to some serious spoilers concerning his upcoming book, The Batman Who Laughs. One of his favorite scenes is after Batman kills the Joker. Bruce brings the entire Bat family to the cave and explains to them that something in the Joker was released when he died and has infected Bruce and is changing his brain, emotions, convictions and morals. Those assembled tell Bruce not to worry, they’re here to help him and he responds with “I’m telling you this because I don’t want anyone to stop me.” And then he takes down the entire Bat family in cold blood.
DiDio swung it back to the artist side of the coin by asking the always entertaining Capullo how he manages to put a unique spin on whatever he may be working on.
“Feelings guide me,”Capullo passionately remarked. “Like the Flash, how do you define that character? What’s fast? A bolt of lightening, so that’s why he’s got the logo, but that’s already been done. What can I do different that looks nasty and gnarly? So I start adding the fins and the spoilers because those are on cars and jets and are equated with being fast. I unzip my soul and let that guide me. The pencil takes over and I let my mind go.”
Williamson has several new projects to come from Metal. The first being discussed is Bats Out of Hell. For Williamson, this book is about having as much fun as possible while lining up the Justice League against the terrifying Dark Knights. Williamson laughingly remarked, “The Dark Knights are here to test the Justice League and run em’ through Hell.” Each member of the Knights has their own unique Bat Cave, uniquely designed to kill a specific member of the Justice League. The most noteworthy piece I took was the revelation that each Dark Knight, each evil Batman, represents a different part of Batman’s personality, such as his weaknesses and fears.
There’s change on the horizon for Cyborg in a crazy big way. Cyborg is going to find himself plugged into the multiverse. No longer just a boom tube man, he’s now able to tap into the multiverse itself. (This was one of many “holy shit” moments for me during this panel.)
Wherever Williamson goes he’s always been asked the same question, who is the best Flash, Barry or Wally? Well folks, the answer to the ultimate Flash question is arriving within yet another new event to come from Metal: “Flash War.” Starting with issue 46 we’re finally going to find out who the better Flash is.
At this point in the panel, I was asking myself, “what more can they possibly share with us?” and DiDio then proceeds to blow the roof off the place.
The New Age of DC Heroes. Yet another project to come out of Metal, will be seven new books with all new characters. The entire run will be priced at $2.99, every issue will have the same cover (within their respective titles) and for the first time ever, three-fold vertically folding covers.
Tynion IV will be on The Immortal Men. A secret history of heroes and villains in the DC Universe. From the shadows a council of five immortals works to prevent humanity’s extinction. Tynion IV’s excitement in sharing this news was clearly marked, “I’m fairly new to comics. I feel like I joined at a time where they stopped adding new characters to the universe. I felt like I had missed my chance to add something new. So Jim and I just took over the entire secret history of the DC universe and now that’s changed.”
Next up is Robert Venditti’s Damage. A story about an average joe who wants to make a difference so he joins the military with the desire to come out a hero, only to instead come out a monster. For one hour a day, he can turn into a monster with incredible powers.
The Silencer is the world’s greatest assassin. But she’s now retired, living a quiet life with her husband and child. That’s until Talia al Ghul shows up on her doorstep with a job to take down Leviathan, a new villain coming to the DC Universe. For movie fans, it’s The Long Kiss Goodnight meets John Wick.
Sideways brings together DiDio and Jordan. “We wanted to do something with youthful energy and a lot of fun.” said DiDio. We’ll follow a young kid who falls through a crack in reality and comes out on the other side of Gotham City. He finds he’s gained the ability to open rifts in the world and step through to anywhere. But the more rifts he creates the more damage he causes to the world. “He tries to emulate being a good superhero and it turns out it’s a lot harder than it looks,” Jordan added with a laugh.
Grant Morrison will be involved in several Sideways issues. Some characters Morrison has created will show up. Here’s a hint, they’re seven soldiers.
Jeff Lemire wasn’t in attendance so Snyder outlined the book’s origins. Lemire pitched an idea to Snyder to address how expansive the DC Universe is and deal with the science of it. Lemire’s book is in the spirit of exploring the unknown and testing the limits of the boundaries of the DC known Universe.
Jordan’s The Curse of Brimstone is a horror book built around a young man living in one of the forgotten towns of America that he’s had to watch die in his lifetime. One day a stranger makes an offer that’s too good to be true, the ability to save his town. The fallout of this deal is acquiring massive powers that transform the character into a monster named Brimstone. With a wicked smile on his face Jordan remarked “You can kind of fight forest fires by burning part of the forest down and that’s sort of what Brimstone does.”
Dark Knights Rising: The Wild Hunt is a result of Snyder having more story than he could use after creating the insanity that is Metal. After all the crossovers and tie-ins there was still so much left over and this story rose from that. Snyder was visibly excited as he shared, “The Dark Knights is one of my favorite things I’ve ever worked on. I think this is one of those issues you’ll read and say ‘This is a special thing.’ I’m really proud of it.”
Last but not least regarding new book announcements is The Unexpected, which, unfortunately, someone misplaced the artwork for. Orlando weighed in “The Unexpected is a team of enemies that just happen to hate each other slightly less than anything else in the DC Universe.”
The first member of the team is Neon the Unknown, a blind magician. Followed by Ascendent, ruler of the world but no one actually knows his throne exists. Orlando said, “He’s like the Jane Goodall of Orcs.” Firebrand is the story’s main connection to Metal, a first responder who was injured during the event. If she doesn’t get into a fight once every 24 hours, her heart will stop and she’ll die. Viking Judge is one of Orlando’s favorite members, “Viking Judge to me is the continuation of Viking Prince.”
Snyder revealed one last spoiler to wrap up the panel, “We’re going to moneyball all the teams, crazy-ass version of all the teams together against a new villain. Starro, Sinestro, Superman.”