Following the announcement of two additional Justice League titles and several panels, DC Comics kicked off another panel Saturday afternoon at WonderCon 2018 with DC UNIVERSE. The panel included DC Sales and Marketing Manager, Blake Kobashigawa as the moderator with talent including Joshua Williamson (The Flash), Mitch Gerads (Mister Miracle), Shawna & Julie Benson (Batgirl and the Birds of Prey).
Joshua Williamson kicked off the panel by introducing the upcoming Justice League: No Justice mini-series with a sincere thank you to the fans who have been reading Dark Nights: Metal on behalf of series writer Scott Snyder. Williamson explained that in No Justice, Batman tries to break up the teams within the DC Universe to battle an intergalactic threat on many fronts. The team also showed off Jorge Jimenez drawn art from the upcoming DC Nation #0. Kobashigawa asked Williamson about how the writing team came up with the pairings of different heroes in the story. “What’s interesting is that when these characters are with each other, you don’t think they are going to work,” said Williamson who elaborated the different teams would begin to see eye-to-eye after spending more time with each other. “At first, we were trying to think about how he could go crazy and do something visually fun”. Williamson talked about his collaboration with Francis Manapaul and Scott Snyder on the mini-series.
Kobashigawa asked about Justice League: Odyssey, as Williamson teased something happening at the end of Metal would cause the core Justice League team to begin to realize they need to open up their ranks and include a Justice League team in space. Williamson confirmed the team includes Azreal, Jessica Cruz, Darkseid, and Cyborg. “Originally (when) we were pitching this book, we started calling it Justice League: WTF” joked Williamson. The author called the book an “epic, space-western” teasing Cyborg is the Will Graham to Darkseid’s Hannibal Lector. Kobashigawa and Williamson also praised Stjepan Sejic’s artwork and referenced Darkseid’s presence on the team, stating they wanted “to do something different” with the villain.
Julie and Shawna Benson began to talk about their work on Green Arrow: Annual #2 which is a tie-in issue to Justice League: No Justice. The writing duo gave a special mention to artist Carmen Carnero. Kobashigawa asked the Benson’s about how they planned to follow-up author Benjamin Percy’s run on the series with Otto Schmidt and Juan Ferreyra. The sisters’ teased that similarly to the Percy run, Black Canary still has a strong presence in the series and is the “driving force” of the upcoming annual. The duo confirmed during the panel they are both taking over the writing duties for the Green Arrow ongoing series going forward in August with issue #43.
Kobashigawa asked Mister Miracle artist Mitch Gerads about his work on the series and if he knew how impactful the comics was. “We’ve taken the superhero story and done it almost as a biopic of me and Tom,” said Gerads. The Benson’s jokingly asked the creator if he was Big Barda following the statement and Gerads jokingly acknowledged he was. Kobashigawa made a few stray observations about the hidden imagery in the most recent issue included stray Wonder Woman emblems hidden in the hospital room with a pregnant Barda. Gerads analyze how Barda and Scott Free are more relatable than other New Gods because they aren’t interested in being New Gods. Gerads showed off images of issue #8 which he had just finished in his hotel room and teased the Funky Flashman is their new child, Jacob’s babysitter. Gerads explained in upcoming issues, Barda and Scott are alternating watching the baby and going to Apokolips to help the rest of the New Gods.
Julie and Shawna Benson began talking about the end of Batgirl and the Birds of Prey #21 teasing Selina Kyle and Poison Ivy are set to return along with classic DC villain; The Calculator.
Kobashigawa’s shifted the attention back to Williamson to ask him about Flash War!, the upcoming Flash storyline teased in The Flash #43. Williamson revealed he pitched the story to Dan Didio and talked about the rivalry about the different Flash heroes including Barry Allen and Wally West. “I have written more Barry than any other character I have ever written,” said Williamson who identified he had an affinity for both heroes. The writer continued to explain Iris West’s murder of the Reverse-Flash will have large consequences in upcoming issues of the series and Hunter Zolomon has been alive and is working on manipulating the DC Universe. Zolomon is trying to learn who the better Flash is, between Barry Allen and Wally West, by putting each character through a great tragedy and pushing them both to the limit. “I don’t know if many people know this but Howard (Porter) many years ago had an injury to his drawing hand,” said Kobashigawa. “He injured his hand and he had to relearn how to draw” said Williamson.
Finally, Kobashigawa introduced a clip from SyFy’s Krypton and handed out the Essential Graphic Novels Catalogue for DC 2018 for panelists in attendance. Kobashigawa opened the door to questions among the panel when the Benson sister’s revealed Javi Fernandez (Nightwing) is the new artist for their upcoming Green Arrow run and the panel wrapped up shortly which seemed to be the next step in a phase of an extremely busy WonderCon for DC.