With two issues of Final Crisis released thus far and five to go, Friday afternoon at Comic-Con International was a good time for DC’s “DCU: Final Crisis Management” panel - enough is out to have an idea of the story, and enough left to be revealed for questions. Many questions.
Dan DiDio, executive editor of the DC Universe titles, presided over the panel and introduced Final Crisis editor Eddie Berganza, Nightwing and Green Lantern Corps writer Peter Tomasi, Final Crisis: Resist and Final Crisis: Revelations writer Greg Rucka, Final Crisis: Last Will and Testament writer Brad Meltzer, Final Crisis: Revelations artist Philip Tan (“his art is a revelation,” said DiDio), Final Crisis writer Grant Morrison, Final Crisis artist J.G. Jones, Final Crisis colorist Alex Sinclair and Final Crisis: Legion of Three Worlds and Final Crisis: Rogues’ Revenge writer Geoff Johns.
DiDio started the panel by asking if the crowd has been enjoying Final Crisis (cheers), then asked the crowd, somewhat cheekily, what happened in the first two issues (“more than what happened in four issues of Secret Invasion,” cracked a Marvel detractor). DiDio transitioned into a “slight apology” for Final Crisis #3 being late, saying it was hampered by production problems but should be out next week or the week after. In order to make up for the delay, DiDio let two fans onto the dais to read photocopied pages from Final Crisis #3 during the panel.
DiDio turned to Morrison to ask about the origins of Final Crisis, with Morrison answering, with a laugh, “It was your idea, be responsible for god’s sake.” He then continued, saying, “We actually come up with something that I think is the biggest idea ever in a superhero comic. It’s really (expletive deleted) cool,” before noting that he was told not to swear during the panel.
The break in the shipping schedule of Final Crisis was again explained (and the two specials, Final Crisis: Submit and Final Crisis: Resist), with Rucka discussing Final Crisis: Resist.
“The losers are trying not to die, desperately,” Rucka said. He was interrupted by loud noises - presumably from the nearby “Venture Bros.” panel.
“It’s next door? I gotta go,” joked Rucka about the competing panel.
“Imagine you’re living on occupied France in the Second World War,” Rucka continued. “Imagine France is the planet, imagine the Nazis are the New God, and imagine you are you. You’re screwed!” The writer praised his co-writer Eric Chapman, and said the comic has “some very sad parts.”
Rucka also discussed Revelation, describing it, pithily, as “The Spectre. The Question. Payback.” It was noted as being Philip Tan’s first work for DC Comics. Rucka said it’ll center in Gotham City and focus on the effects of Final Crisis on Gotham, and “kinda” feature Donna Troy and “kinda” have a lot of other characters.
Meltzer talked about Last Will and Testament, saying the one-shot was intended to show the emotional side of things, given that, as the writer said, “Grant is going to blow it all up, and destroy everything.” It’s meant to be what the heroes think might be their last night on Earth, and what they’d do in that position.
Speaking more about the themes, Meltzer said it’s a “story is about what it is to be a hero in the DC Universe. We always need the hero to win. I don’t think that’s why you’re a hero. You’re a hero because you try.”
Moving on to Legion of Three Worlds, Johns said “Superboy Prime goes to the future and messes stuff up pretty bad.” He also repeated the promise that George Perez will draw every Legionnaire - ever.
Johns also talked about Rogues’ Revenge, saying that “some of the stuff spills over to Flash: Rebirth.”
Turning to questions, a fan asked if there was a possibility of The Endless appearing in Final Crisis. DiDio answered that the DC Universe/Vertigo embargo is still in effect.
Morrison talked about the new interpretations of the Fourth World characters, saying that it’s the “First time Darkseid energy has hit reality,” and that everything else has just been a projection of Darkseid. He also said they’ve made Desaad “much creepier, much sweatier, and more of a comb-over.”
Riffing on that concept, Morrison joked that Desaad made “Darkseid porn,” where he “
“puts Darkseid’s head on sexy bodies. He hopes Darkseid doesn’t find out but he secretly wants to be caught.”
As far as the New Gods post-Final Crisis, “Yeah, we got plans for them,” said Morrison.
“Nothing’s cooler than Jack Kirby, but it’s pretty cool.”
Jones talked about his role in Final Crisis, but humbly played things down, saying “I just do what I’m told. Grant’s a mad genius.”
A fan who said he wasn’t even alive when Barry Allen died in Crisis on Infinite Earths asked Johns why he should care about the character.
“Trust me. If you like what I did with Green Lantern, just let me work on Flash. There are a lot of thematic ideas tied to Barry Allen,” said Johns. “Barry Allen himself is like, ‘Why am I back?’”
DiDio added, “I think this brings things back full circle. This is the final Crisis story. We wanted to bring it a sense of closure. I would argue that Barry Allen, like Hal Jordan, was never really gone. The writers always found a way to tell stories using Barry Allen.”
A rather convoluted question involving whether or not Morrison’s use of the Fourth World characters, which were created in the ‘60s, were a response to modern times and this being “the new 60s,” was asked of Morrison. He responded well to the question, explaining that “every 11 years the sun switches its magnetic field polarity. The latest solar reversal happened in January of this year and everything’s started to change, culturally. you can see that in bands, shows on TV.” So, um, yes?
Morrison was asked if he has any more plans for Seven Soldiers, and he responded, “that would be nice. There are a couple of them in Final Crisis, but I don’t know if I’ll get back to them anytime soon. I could write those books forever, but I don’t know if anyone would buy them.”
Chuck Dixon’s mysteriously abrupt departure from DC Comics was mentioned by a fan that said “I have a statement and not a question: I think I’m going to really miss Chuck Dixon’s writing.” DiDio simply responded, “that was a statement and not a question.”
An amusing moment occurred when a fan in an Orion costume growled, “I’d like a minute alone with Mr. Morrison.” “I’ll give you 30 seconds,” joked Morrison.
Other questions covered included what comics the writers would want to return to at some point (Johns: Teen Titans, Rucka: Wonder Woman, Meltzer: Justice League), a male fan in a Power Girl costume (“That must be the Earth-2 Power Girl,” quipped DiDio) asking if Power Girl would play a role in Final Crisis (she will), how the tie-ins will be collected (“put them in the order that makes the most sense to everybody,” said DiDio), if Morrison knew the anti-life equation (“come up and I’ll whisper it to you”), if Earth is the new Apokolips given that New Genesis has been destroyed (“If Darkseid gets his way,” said Morrison), and any chance of a Batman Beyond comic (no).
The two guys that read Final Crisis #3 were brought back up, answering some questions from the fans, like any Batman (no), the Superyoung team (a little bit), any deaths (unclear), Barry Allen appearance (yes). A female fan that was brought up late in the panel to read the comic gave only one teaser - Wonder Woman is in it. Eddie Berganza told the fans not to ignore the “amazing fight” J.G. Jones drew.