With “Justice League,” “Justice League Dark” and “Justice League of America” all embroiled in DC Comics’ “Trinity War” story arc, the publisher brought the collaborative team behind the event to Comic-Con International 2013 to discuss upcoming developments for each team. The panel included DC senior editor Brian Cunningham, “Justice League” and “Justice League of America” scribe Geoff Johns, “Justice League Dark” writer Jeff Lemire and “Trinity of Sin: Pandora” writer Ray Fawkes.
Following panelist introductions, moderator John Cunningham played the “Trinity War” trailer that the publisher debuted last week. After the trailer’s conclusion, Johns briefly discussed the idea behind the first big event of the New 52.
“We knew we were coming to some story points with Pandora, but it’s really when Jeff Lemire and I had the chance to talk about making this a big Justice League story,” said Johns. “Each of these teams has a guide. The heroes have never really come together as a team and we talked about how the villains could exploit the Justice League.” How do the villains do that? By getting them together and making them lose faith in Superman. In one of the more recent issues, Superman killed the New 52 version of Doctor Light. “The three teams set out to find out who killed Dr. Light, who killed Superman.”
Fawkes was up next to discuss his “Trinity of Sin: Pandora” series. “Pandora has a totally unique perspective on the New 52,” said Fawkes. “Pandora is this woman who is essentially blamed for unleashing all the evil on the Earth. She’s 10,000 years old and she’s been walking the world since the day of her curse, forced to witness everything that has gone wrong. She’s been presented with an opportunity to get rid of all the evil in the world. That puts her at odds with the Justice League and the Secret Society as well. She’s kind of a wildcard.”
Cunningham showed pages from “Trinity of Sin: Pandora” #2 that depict a battle between Pandora and Giganta. Fawkes’ other book, “Constantine” was up next, and the writer said in the fifth issue, John Constantine tries to take Shazam out of play. “Readers will get to see Constantine take on Billy Batson and try to steal his power,” said Fawkes. Constantine will wield some — maybe all — Shazam’s powers. “There’s really no dirty tactic that John won’t stoop to. If he needs to take away the power of a hero, he’ll do it with a smile on his face.”
“Trinity War” leads into “Forever Evil” in September, which takes all the DC Comics villains and see them take over the DCU. “When the villains get a chance to take over the world, they don’t agree on what that means,” he said. “Some of them like the Justice League at the top of the food chain because it keeps things simple. ‘Forever Evil’ really focuses on the villains as the heroes are wiped off the board.” Johns said Sinestro and Black Adam has “a bromance.” “It’s probably one of the most surprising things about this series.”
Johns also gave overviews of “Arkham War,” a “Forever Evil” tie-in that sees the Blackgate prisoners go up against the Arkham inmates. “A.R.G.U.S.” is the second tie-in and “Rogues Rebellion,” which focuses on the Flash’s Rogues gallery, who are primary in the villains that go up against their own kind.
Lemire stated one of the most interesting aspects of the three leagues coming together is seeing the combinations of characters that arise.
“I think the fun thing is seeing the three Justice Leagues forming three new Justice Leagues over the course of the series,” said Lemire.
“It’s almost like the ones that share philosophies band together,” said Fawkes.
Lemire has been co-writing the “Justice League of America” issues with Johns, which Lemire said was “a blast.” “It’s like looking at a chessboard to see who goes where,” he said. Johns said Lemire flew out to Los Angeles and had a giant whiteboard where they plotted out all the ideas. Doctor Fate, Swamp Thing and Animal Man all briefly appear in “Trinity War.”
An image of Wonder Woman hit the massive screen and Johns teased the relationship between the Amazon and Steve Trevor. “Steve Trevor and Diana obviously have a lot of tension,” said Johns. “He’s like, ‘Why didn’t you tell me about your relationship with Superman?’ and she’s like, ‘You built an entire Justice League.'”
Lemire’s favorite part of the story as the writer of “Justice League Dark” is that he’s finally able to let loose with Zatanna. “She gets her due,” he said. “Constantine and Wonder Woman are fun to play off of as well. Don’t try to con Wonder Woman.”
“Constantine ironically plays a huge role,” said Johns.
“His superpower is that he’s so corrupted that he can’t actually be more corrupted,” Lemire said.
In terms of the tension between Zatanna and Constantine, Lemire stated it would “really come to a head” during “Trinity War.” “I think by the end of ‘Trinity War,’ every thread we’ve had in the New 52 since we started will be tied up as we go into ‘Forever Evil,'” said Johns. “We’re really going to take it to the next phase of the New 52.”
The Trinity of Sin was a topic of query during the panel, and Johns briefly discussed The Question, who still doesn’t currently know his identity. “Questions will pop in his head and he has to solve them,” said Johns. “The most powerful question is what happened with Superman, and if he answers that question, he’ll find out his identity. So there are plans for The Question.” Superman and The Question have an interaction in “Justice League” #22.
A question about Nightwing came up, and Johns couldn’t say anything about it. “Wally West becomes the new Nightwing,” joked Kindt.
“Have faith,” said Johns.
One of the fans asked a question about characters from cancelled DC books having larger roles in the future. “A lot of characters in books that have been cancelled, there are plans for those characters across the DCU going into next year,” said Lemire.
A sharp-eyed fan noticed the Joker wasn’t in most of the promotional material, and Johns said the villain gets mentioned in the first issue of “Forever Evil,” and fans will have the opportunity to see where he’s at during the event.
Editor Brian Cunningham said readers will find out more about Doctor Fate if they pick up “Justice League Dark” #23. “He’s in there,” said Lemire.
“I will say this,” said Cunningham, “The artwork on the spreads he appears is awesome. I feel very blessed to work with the talent on this story.”
The August issues’ variant covers by Mikel Janin will also be interlocking, but will be vertical instead of horizontal.
A young fan that just read DC One Million, asked about the possibility of a future Justice League. Lemire noted that “Justice League 3000” might be up his alley. Johns stated there was a skin for Batman One Million in the upcoming “Batman: Arkham Origins” game. He was very enthusiastic about rebooting the One Million characters, and the panel gave him a signed “Trinity War” poster for his enthusiasm.
The comic that Lemire and Johns have brought up the most during the design phase of “Trinity War” has been “Infinite Crisis.”
“We wanted to have the veneer of this crazy superhero war, but underneath it all, it’s all about the mystery,” said Johns.
Lemire confirmed he has something in store for Martian Manhunter moving forward. “I have huge plans for Martian Manhunter next year,” said Lemire. “And it’s going to be great.”
Another fan favorite character, Hal Jordan, will be back in “Justice League” next year. “Much to Batman’s chagrin,” said Johns.