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NYCC ’22: Is the Devil Nehza the big bad of the LAZARUS PLANET event?

Signs at DC's Explore the Multiverse panel point to yes.

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Today at New York Comic Con, DC Comics announced a new event for 2023 dubbed Lazarus Planet (which you can read all about here!), doing so Thursday during the publisher’s Explore the Multiverse panel.

And while new or extra details about the event beyond what was in their official announcement online were in relatively short supply, a lineup of creators who are currently telling stories in several different corners of the DCU were on hand to talk about their work. One thing that did emerge, however, was that the Devil Nehza — a character that recently debuted in Mark Waid and Dan Mora’s run of Batman/Superman: World’s Finest, may be involved with (or even central to!) the Lazarus Planet event.

In fact, DC Executive Editor Ben Abernathy paused on a forthcoming cover of Monkey Prince that featured the villain.

“Oh, there’s Nehza again,” Abernathy said. “Interesting. We’ve seen him in a few titles now. Very interesting.”

Nehza has already gone from reappearing in Batman/Superman: World’s Finest, to being in Batman Vs. Robin #1 (part of an epic last page reveal)…and now to being in Monkey Prince. With Waid writing both of the first two comics and also showrunning the Lazarus Planet event (which also involves Monkey Prince), the overall impression is that the Devil Nehza is the big bad here, and also that the work in those two Waid-penned comics is rapidly pushing its way to the center of DC Comics’ shared superhero universe.

Abernathy also added, “This is going to be a very impactful series for 2023 in the DC core line and beyond. This is a must-read for DC fans, I guarantee that.”

Ben Abernathy (left, in red) says the Devil Nehza may be a villain to watch out for in Lazarus Planet.

So yeah, that’s my big takeaway from being in the room at the panel — watch out for the Devil Nehza (if only your intrepid reporter at the panel had grabbed a snapshot of the Monkey Prince #11 cover that was shown, in which the character is battling the Devil Nehza…but alas).

Other than that, the panel also featured writers Stephanie Williams and Matthew Rosenberg, as well as artists Dan Mora, Bernard Chang, and Mahmud Asrar, all of whom had some interesting things to add about their current slate of DC work.

Here are some choice quotes I jotted down…

Williams had a lot of interesting thoughts to share about Nubia, a character she has been writing for a year now and will be writing for a while to come. This was the quote I underlined though…

“I hope when you pick this up you say there Nubia is looking like she could rip the runway…or could rip someone’s throat. Either or.”

Very cool. Artist Dan Mora also weighed in on the work he’s been doing. Mora is one of DC’s top artists (in my humble opinion) both for his excellent sequential storytelling as well as for his character designs, many of which appeared in DC’s Future State. Of those character designs, Mora had this to say…

“Character designs are one of my passions. They’re something I do just for fun. I really like the classic feel of the old costumes and I just change some little things to feel more modern, but I don’t do that much. I just change little stuff.”

Finally, I thought one of the most interesting segments of the panel was artist Bernard Chang talking about his work on Monkey Prince with writer Gene Luen Yang. Monkey Prince is the duo’s new invention, which is essentially an extrapolation of lore from the classic Chinese story, Journey to the West.

Chang said when he was a child, he used to go to the drugstore with his mother, and read entire rows of American superhero comics. When his father become aware of this interest, he wanted to introduce him to an original Chinese superhero, and that superhero was the Monkey King from Journey to the West, father of the Monkey Prince character Chang would grow up to create for DC Comics.

Just a very cool story. Chang added…

“When Jessica Chen, my editor, approached me about working on aN adaptation of Monkey King — it was an immediate yes…it’s cool to finally have an opportunity to not only draw stuff I was extremely passionate about and used to dream about as a kid, but to tell new stories, too.”

Miss any of our other NYCC ’22 coverage? Find it all here!

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