It's the last "Flashpoint Friday" before the fifth and final issue of that series goes on sale this coming Wednesday, Aug. 31, and DC commemorated the occasion with the aptly titled "Final Flashpoint Friday" panel at Fan Expo.
Participating in the event were DC Universe executive editor Eddie Berganza, Flashpoint: Batman: Knight of Vengeance writer Brian Azzarello, Flashpoint main series artist Andy Kubert, Flashpoint: The Outsider writer James Robinson, The Flash artist Francis Manapul, and DC editor Brian Cunningham.
The panel didn't include much in the way of breaking news or announcements, but the assembled creators did share plenty of insight with the fans in the packed Metro Toronto Convention Centre room. One audience member got selected to read a copy of Flashpoint #5 five days early, and let the crowd know his thoughts.
"It's good," the reader said. "It counts. I'm a Crisis on Infinite Earths guy, [but] I thought this overall and all the miniseries worked well. Now reading #5, I didn't think it was cheap." Of the two-page spread in the issue previously announced by DC as to serve as a bridge between Flashpoint and The New 52, the writer said, "I loved the thing between Bruce and Barry."
Towards the beginning of the panel, Azzarello discussed Knight of Vengeance, one of the most talked-about Flashpoint tie-ins.
"I really don't do those crossover things often… or at all… then I said yes," said the 100 Bullets writer.
"We didn't really want to veer from Batman's 'look,' so it was tough," said Kubert of designing the Flashpoint version of the Caped Crusader, in this timeline Bruce Wayne's father, Thomas.
Kubert further explained that he got the Flashpoint gig after discussing with DC co-publisher Dan DiDio about working on a Flash story. The artist said that the process of designing the Flashpoint versions of recognizable DC characters was a "huge collaborative experience."
Cunningham also talked about some of the differences between characters the Flashpoint timeline from the ones fans have recognized for decades.
"What kind of person would Hal Jordan be if the Green Lantern never came to be?" Cunningham asked. "What would happen if he never got that ring? What kind of person would he be? What kind of character would he have? Turns out, it wouldn't be quite the same guy. The series took some turns that we really liked exploring. He starts off as kind of a selfish guy. In the normal universe the ring helped him turn around, but in Flashpoint he didn't really get that chance."
Discussing the character of Blackout, Robinson said, "I had a pretty blank canvas to work with, and I enjoyed the challenge that he was the one character where there was literally no perception of the character at all, making the series one you could read on its own if you wanted to, but didn't seem superfluous to the main storyline. That was a goal I had from day one.
"I'd like to work with him in the future if he exists in the post-Flashpoint world," Robinson added. "I think he has a lot of potential."
On the subject of Flash character Hot Pursuit, Manapul (a Canadian himself), said that his status as serving a bridge to Flashpoint " just worked out that way."
During the Q&A portion, a fan asked why DC didn't show the villain of the comic, the Reverse Flash, until the end of Flashpoint #4. Berganza said, "If you look closely, he's there," while the audience member reading issue #5 interjected, "Actually, he's not the major villain."
When asked about what still "counts" in The New 52, Berganza answered, "Some events have happened. "Killing Joke" happened, some parts of Blackest Night happened."
Given that it's a panel focused on an event, a fan asked about any future new big events that might be in the works. Berganza replied, "The New 52 is its own event. Maybe later on we'll do an event to gel some things in the new universe together."
Other tidbits from the Q&A session include Berganza asking the audience what they thought about the idea of an "Untold Tales of Flashpoint" project set in the timeline, the revelation that originally Cyborg was planned to have his own Flashpoint tie-in, Berganza saying that the decision to kill off characters is usually a "mixture" between creators and editorial, the promise from Berganza to a Spectre fan that Demon Knights will "deal with a lot of our mystical characters," Berganza's comment that the Flashpoint take on Superman was intended to "look at the human element of the character," and Azzarello telling the crowd, to a warm reception, "Shazam's coming, alright?"Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!