After introducing the panelists, DiDio narrated a slideshow which covered the highlights of DC’s current lineup. [...] Following the Red Lantern slide was a cover of the Superman: New Krypton cover, with DiDio pointing out that as October has five Wednesdays, there will be an important Superman book coming out each week, with the New Krypton special being chief among them. As Johns explained the larger story, when Kandor is expanded on Earth and 100,000 super-powered Kryptonians are released, every superhero thinks they are out of a job – as does every supervillain.
Moving on to Justice Society, Johns said that after the “Thy Kingdom Come” story wraps up, Black Adam and Isis will take center stage, and while Felix Faust will pay for hiding Isis from Adam, the main thrust of the storyline will be Black Adam and Isis taking over the Rock of Eternity.
Asked by DiDio what was special about Terror Titans #4, McKeever said that the issue will guest-star Static, from the Milestone Universe, which will be his first official DCU appearance.
Before opening to questions...DiDio spoke about the “Faces of Evil” theme that will run through January’s titles, as previously reported on by Newsarama. While the villains of the DC Universe will be given a chance to shine with spotlight stories in the mainstream hero titles shipping that month, four associated Specials shipping in January were also announced:
Solomon Grundy co-written by Geoff Johns and Scot Kolins, with art by Kolins, which will, according to Sattler, lead into more Grundy in the future, with Johns hinting that Grundy will play a role in the coming Blackest Night storyline.
“Everybody’s a Black Lantern,” DiDio teased Johns.
“That’s why I want Sean to kill more characters,” Johns answered, “So I can bring them all back as Black Lanterns.”
Prometheus written by Gates. “It’s really, really fun and really, really violent,” Gates said. “Almost as violent as a Sean McKeever book.”
Robinson added that Prometheus will next appear in his new Justice League series
Kobra - which will establish a new status quo for the DC Universe’s leading global terrorist organization.
Deathstroke - set after the events of DC Universe: Last Will and Testament.
All characters in the respective specials will play large roles in the stories of 2009, DiDio said.
DiDio then opened the panel to questions – the highlights of the questions included:
Q: When will we see Aquaman?
A: Johns: “He’s a Black Lantern.”
DiDio added that he’s writing an eight page Aquaman story in the coming DC Holiday Special with art by Ian Churchill.
Q: Will DC publish trades of the original Milestone material?
A: DiDio: “Yes.”
Q: Are Ralph Dibney and Ted Kord ever coming back – and not as Black Lanterns?
A: Johns: “They’re Black Lanterns.”
Q: What will come out of “Batman R.I.P.?”
A: DiDio said that the point of the story is to take everything away from Bruce Wayne, and see if, once he has nothing, he would still become Batman. In the tie-ins, the storyline is looking at what the DCU is like without Batman, and what his absence does to his support system and the lives of those who know and love him.
“The final ‘Batman R.I.P.’ issue ties in to Final Crisis, and Final Crisis leads us in to ‘The Battle for the Cowl,’” DiDio said
Q: What’s going on with Hawkman? The latest special felt as if Jim Starlin didn’t even read what Johns had done with the character.
“Yeah!” Johns said, to emphasize the question.
A: DiDio said that they wanted to raise some questions about Hawkman’s origin, and many of those issues will be addressed in JLA and Blackest Night.
Q: What is Paul Dini’s future with Batman?
A: DiDio said that DC is hoping to have Dini writing two monthly books throughout 2009: Zatanna and “one of the Batman books.”
Q: How does Black Hand play into Blackest Night?
A: Johns said that the villain is the main Black Lantern of the story.
Q: What will the weekly be after Trinity?
A: DiDio, whose answer was preceded by loud coughing from Wayne, said that there is a weekly after Trinity which will not run a full year, and also a weekly which has the potential to be open-ended.
Q: When will JMS’ Brave and the Bold run with the Archie characters kick off?
A: February or March, with the first character to appear being The Shield, followed by the Black Hood and The Fly.
Q: Will there be another science-fiction based miniseries coming, and are they leading to an event?
A: DiDio said that the next miniseries will be called Strange Adventures, but the storylines are not building to an event, rather DC prefers to let the stories drive the miniseries and the characters be the stars.
Q: What about Martian Manhunter?
A: Johns: “Oh yeah – Martian Manhunter’s a Black Lantern.”
Q: Will Bart Allen be a Black Lantern?
A: Johns: “No.”