The Seaport World Trade Center was jam-packed with fans Friday evening at Boston Comic Con, but one of the highlights was the "DC Metal: Dark Matter" panel. Greg Capullo was originally scheduled to appear, but was unable to make it, so in his stead was The Flash writer Joshua Williamson, along with John Romita Jr. and moderator/DC editor Brian Cunningham.
“This is something we’ve been working on for a very long time,” Williamson said to kick off the panel. “It’s big, bombastic, it’s something I think you guys are gonna be really excited about.”
Cunningham went on to show some of Capullo’s sample art from upcoming issues of Dark Nights: Metal, to which Williamson said, “there’s gonna be some really fun stuff, but there’s also gonna be some really scary stuff in these issues.”
The discussion then turned to the upcoming one-shots featuring the evil iterations of Batman.
“We spent a lot of time developing these characters and talking about what we wanted to be representative of things from his worst nightmares,” said Williamson.
Williamson then proceeded to pull out his cell phone to call one of the masterminds behind Metal, Scott Snyder, to see if he had any words to share with those in attendance.
“It’s been, what, three years in a row that I’ve been going there? I’m very sorry [I couldn’t make it there this year] but thank you all so, so much for supporting Metal,” said Snyder while on speaker phone. “Metal is a story we’ve been working on for over two years, me, and Josh and James Tynion, and a bunch of us at DC.
Snyder went on about the impending attack on the DCU from the Dark Multiverse.
“The first wave of the invasion with the evil Batmen will explore things like, 'What if Batman went too far and killed the Joker?' Or 'What if he went too far and tried to get speed powers?' It’s super bonkers, and it’s a thank you to you, it’s supposed to be like, ‘life is stressful, you know?’ This is meant to be personal. When you see Batman fighting dinosaur or a robot, we want it to be a thank you to you guys. You are all officially in the band, we love you. We couldn’t thank you guys enough, we’ve had a genuine blast making it, and go Red Sox!”
Williamson briefly touched upon Batman: The Red Death #1, confirming that Snyder’s remarks about Bruce getting speed powers was a spoiler for his upcoming one-shot. Williamson also discussed the speed of his frequent collaborator on The Flash, Carmine Di Giandomenico, and the irony of the fast artist drawing the fastest man alive.
“I knew if we were going to do a story about Bruce getting speed powers, we had to get Carmine,” said Williamson. “He holds the Guinness World Record for fastest artist. He did a 48-page graphic novel on a weekend.”
Cunningham then asked Williamson if he could speak to Batman: The Murder Machine #1.
“I don’t know if I can go into too much detail without giving away any spoilers,” said Williamson. “Each one of these stories represents one of [Batman’s] fears, something he’s always worried about happening. That’s part of it, there’s cool stuff with Cyborg, there’s cool stuff with Alfred in it. I just want to make sure that it’s known that each of these books, they impact things that are happening in the DC Universe right now.”
Williamson then discussed Batman: The Dawnbreaker #1.
“I was actually looking at pages from it a couple of days ago and it has much more of a horror element to it,” Williamson remarked. “It’s pretty twisted. It’s a good, dark Batman story.”
Cunningham then moved on to the upcoming "Dark Matter" line, introducing each of the characters that will make up the framework of the imprint. However, the focus quickly shifted to The Silencer, which Romita will be drawing.
“Dan Abnett was trying to come up with names, literally just running through a list of names, and he came up with 'Silencer,' and we said ‘that’s a great name,’” said Romita. “This is about as different as you can get for an assassin. She’s different in that, she’s retired, she’s just become a mother, and she’s done with her time as an assassin, and Talia al Ghul comes and drags her back in. I’ll give you a little microcosm of the character. She’s at Wal-Mart and some big animal comes after her and attacks her. She has to keep her son separate, so she keeps it silent because she has the ability to silent moments. She kills this animal, or this robot, but during the fight, she gets her hair pulled. So she buzzes her hair, ‘cause she’s not gonna let that happen to her again, that’s the kind of character she is. She’s badder than everyone else, and we’re gonna prove it. It’s as violent [as Kick-Ass], just with no blood. This fight with the robot is as good as it gets. It’s about as different of a female assassin as you can get.”
Cunningham noted that they were short on time, but opened the floor to any questions. One fan asked if the impact from Metal leading into Doomsday Clock will lead to Batman not being sure from himself anymore.
“We’re definitely gonna put him through the ringer. I mean, Scott showed me his scripts and I was like, ‘damn, dude, this is some dark stuff.’ But Doomsday Clock actually takes place a year from now, it takes place later on, so they’re not as connected, but they definitely work with each other. But we really are trying to run Batman through a hard time right now. He’s the best superhero in the world, so you know he’s gonna fight back, but you gotta put him through some dark stuff first.”