One of the bigger initiatives to come from the Big Two this year is the advent of the three weekly titles from DC Comics: Batman Eternal, Futures End, and Earth 2: Worlds End. With the latter on the verge of release, and Batman Eternal continuing to perform well in DC Sales Figures, members of the various creative teams for the titles gathered for DC’s Weeklies panel. Writers on hand included: Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Ray Fawkes, Kyle Higgins (Batman Eternal), Dan Jurgens, Jeff Lemire (Futures End), Marguerite Bennett and Daniel H. Wilson (Worlds End).
The panel, moderated by Bob Wayne, was neatly delineated with each title receiving its own focus time. With that, things were kicked off with Batman Eternal.
– Scott Snyder thanked the attendees for picking up Eternal and making it such a sales success: “We came up with an idea that we felt would be so big and infect that neighborhood in Gotham. I helped write the first few and I’ll come back and do the last, but it’s these guys that are just killing it on the series. The great thing about it is that it’s not happening in a small corner.” Snyder also stated that when Batman returns in Issue 34, it will deal with the fall-out of Eternal, flashing forward past the Weekly time-frame, with the consequences of the series reverberating through a number of books.
– Fawkes discussed the breakdown of writer tasks and interests within their team, stating that he specifically will be writing the sub-plot dealing with Jim Corrigan and Batwing through the duration of the series. Higgins also chimed in, mentioning that despite coming onto the series late (replacing outgoing writer John Layman), his arc would begin in the 30’s and he would be bringing back The Architect in those issues (a character he co-created with Snyder in the Pre-New 52 Gates of Gotham mini).
– In describing the break-down of the series’ acts Higgins added: “The way that we’re structuring this is three acts. The end of the first big act of the series will be right around issue 20. Section two tees up something new and different with different characters. That’s the stuff I’m doing; I’m working with Jason Fabok to tell the end of section two.” Snyder added in that each of the acts are designed to raise the stakes until the city is on the edge of destruction while reaching a giant crescendo in its finale.
– Moving on to Future’s End, the panelists were a little less verbose regarding future plans, with a big as of yet unannounced event on the horizon, but they discussed the dynamics of the “incredibly unlikely group of writers” that make up their team. With Lemire pointing out that the unusual mix of writers gave way to the eclectic cast that makes up the title’s roster.
– Jurgens and Lemire were especially quick to praise Ryan Sook as the unsung fifth member of their team, who sat in on their writing meetings and created character sketches based on the ideas being bounced around.
– Regarding writer specific favorites, Lemire mentioned that it was Brian Azzarello who was gravitating towards Terry McGinnis, and this in turn led to a discussion amongst the panelists as to whether Terry is called Batman or Batman Beyond in the book proper. (A: He’s not called anything as of yet, as he has few associates per Lemire).
– Lastly, the panel’s focus turned to Earth 2: Worlds End, with “show-runner” Wilson describing the series as: “We’re in a situation where we’re continuing what’s going on in Earth 2 and there are some catastrophic events on the way and we’re bridging into the future. On the ground level, we have characters like Dick Grayson who are surviving on the ground, then you bump up a bit and you have the World Army, then, to the top level. Having all of this play out at the same time is really interesting; figuring out who deals with what and what’s happening to the world.”
– Both Bennett and Wilson agreed that the series will be shifting its gaze less to the big picture and more to the people within it, with Bennett specifically citing Batman Eternal as a huge influence on her work here: “It’s not just a story of attrition or the death of the world, it’s a story about the people in that world. It’s a story of triumph, of love and hope that’s coming out of the ruins.”
– Both writers also wanted to stress the importance of the series having a sense of accessibility, and the first issue will provide an intro as to the happenings within the Earth 2 monthly title.
– Lastly, Wilson mentioned that readers should be on the look-out for them to address some unanswered questions, particularly in regards to the fate of Sam, Alan Scott’s partner.
– The panel then moved into the Q&A portion, which begun with an elaboration on who is tackling what character in Futures End; Lemire is writing Frankenstein and any space characters, Giffen has the Cadmus team and Grifter, Jurgens is writing Tim Drake and Superman, and Azzarello oversees Terry McGuiness.
– Regarding any restrictions on ideas that the Eternal crew might have proposed, they said there weren’t any, and that in issue 20 the status quo will shift tremendously. With Tynion adding in: “We’re marching closer and closer to the end with every single issue, and issues #21-23 is the real turning point to set up that next section and things are going to start changing rapidly. Gotham is going to become very dangerous very quickly.” Fawkes also added that characters like Killer Croc, Jim Gordon, and Batwing will come out of the events of Eternal with new lives.
– On what the writers of Eternal would remember from the series as a whole: Snyder answered that the title is key theme. With Fawkes emphasizing this point, stating that the team wanted readers to believe this is the story that would destroy Batman, but once they reach the conclusion they’ll get the meaning of the title in that context.
– Snyder closed the panel stating that the coordinated work amongst the writers on Eternal affected the narrative of his upcoming Batman arc “Endgame”: “When I seehow much they’re doing, it was like, ‘Let’s make Batman do that too.’ ‘Endgame’ is about taking Batman and giving readers a Gotham they’ve never seen before.