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WW PHILADELPHIA: DCU PANEL

Moderated by DC's VP - Sales, Bob Wayne, the DCU panel was made up of Executive Editor Dan Didio, Shane Davis, Rags Morales, Jimmy Palmiotti, Justin Gray, Andy Kubert and Adam Kubert. Wayne began the panel by showing the third trailer for Superman Returns, which was met by applause from the audience.

Moving into the slide show, Wayne started off talking about 52, showing the cover to issue #18, featuring Dr. Fate. When asked for a comment about the series, Didio advised the audience that issues #5 and #6 are where the story really takes off and starts running. Issue #5 deals with the direct ramifications of the return of some of the space heroes, as shown on the last page of #4.

Newsarama Note: The bulk of the slides and information featured in DC's slide show focused on August-shipping issues of their titles, and as such, information can be found in DC's August Solicitations. As always, if you don't see your favorite series or character mentioned here, it doesn't mean that they weren't or that the series is cancelled - just that what was mentioned in the panel repeats information Newsarama readers already know..

Moving to Justice League of America, the upcoming #0 issue was described as a "bridge" between Infinite Crisis #7 and JLA #1. Written by Brad Meltzer, Didio called the issue one of the most interested JLA stories he's ever read. The story examines the relationship between the "big three" - Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, as seen through the eyes of various artists, and takes place in the past, present, and future. In many ways, Didio explained, the issue answers the question of whether or not there should be a Justice League in the DCU, as, in his eyes, the Justice League is what the DC Universe is all about.

The first few issues of the series are a recruitment drive, so DC isn't about to be giving out the membership list soon, and Wayne, with his typical dry wit, added that the first issue did something he never thought was possible - made him care about Red Tornado.

The October relaunch of Justice Society was mentioned, with a slide of the first issue's cover, an homage to the cover of All-Star Squadron #1. The series will feature new characters, Didio said.

Click here for Newsarama's conversation with Alex Ross and Dan Didio about the return of Justice Society of America.

Asked who the new Flash will be when the new issue #1 hits later this month, Didio said, "Barry is not coming back, move on" in a joking manner.

Thought not mentioned in connection to any specific project, Batwoman was mentioned several times throughout the panel, with Wayne joking that Didio had been confused when he spoke with the press, and meant to say that the new Kate Kane character is Lebanese. Later, when the character came up again, Didio reiterated his earlier statements that Batwoman's sexuality is part of the character, but her stories will not be all about her sexual orientation. "She's a super-hero that's lesbian," Didio said, "She's not a lesbian super-hero."

Wayne noted, as an aside, Palmiotti's quote in the New York Daily News that the character doesn't have super lesbian powers. After riffing on the joke, Palmiotti added that maybe she does, and she can "turn your girlfriend into a lesbian."

Showing a slide of OMAC, and talking about the upcoming eight issue miniseries written by Bruce Jones and drawn by Renato Guedes, Didio said that Jones will be taking OMAC back to the original concept, that is of "One Man Army Corps," and as such, the series features the last OMAC.

In speaking about Jonah Hex, Palmiotti and Gray mentioned that David Michael Beck will illustrate issue #11, and El Diablo will appear in the issue as well. An upcoming three-part arc will be illustrated by Jordi Bernet, which will tell the origin of Jonah Hex, and explain how he got his distinctive (and mildly stomach upsetting) scar.

Reiterating yesterday's announcement, Jim Starlin will write, with Shane Davis illustrating, an eight issue Mystery in Space miniseries, featuring a new Captain Comet, and the Starlin creation, The Weird, in backup stories. Didio said that the mini spins out of 52. Davis added that it's a "crime-noir space mystery." The lead Captain Comet story will tie in to The Weird backup story.

October will see the return of Omega Men as a six issue miniseries by Anderson Gabrych and Henry Flint. The storyline will follow events from Rann-Thanagar War and 52, as the team of losers fights the Spider Guild from capturing a new source of powers that has the potential to destroy entire universes.

Reconfirming what has been said earlier, Andy Kubert said that his and Grant Morrison's upcoming "Batman and Son" in Batman will be tied to the Mike Barr/Jerry Bingham Son of the Demon graphic novel.

It was also reiterated that "Titans East" will be a backup in the regular Teen Titans series, not its own series or miniseries. If fans demand it, Didio added, they will get their own title.

Didio also mentioned that in comics developments, J'onn J'onzz learns that he may not be the only surviving green Martian.

There is a plan in regards to the future of Superboy Prime, Didio said.

Details of Bruce Wayne, Dick Grayson and Tim Drake's journey will be shown in 52 as well as be touched upon in their own titles.

It was again explained that Nightwing was originally intended to die in Infinite Crisis, and that you can see the arc that was supposed to end with his death in the series. After long discussions, the death edict was reversed, but the decision was made that, if they're keeping him, he would have to be changed. The next arc of the ongoing series will further explain the changes, it was said.

Asked about the legacy of Earth-2 as the characters may have gotten the short shrift thanks to Infinite Crisis, Didio said that the legacy of those characters lives through Power Girl now, which makes her a unique character, and not a clone of Supergirl.

Plans regarding Static making an entry into the DCU have been discussed, but there's nothing to be announced at this time, given discussions were only initial, and there are legal issues surrounding the character moving into the DCU. Didio added that there are many characters from the Milestone Universe that he liked.

There definite plans for more All-Star titles, it was said, playing to one of Didio's recent "DC Nation" column wherein he commented that Geoff Johns and Phil Jiminez had an idea that they were working on.

Asked about the status of Hawk and Dove, Didio said that the two are characters he hasn't gotten to yet.

And finally, Didio said that he has spoken with James Robinson about the future of Starman, but nothing is definite.

Newsarama.com�s WizardWorld Philadelphia coverage:

DC�s Vertigo Panel

Marvel�s Civil War Panel

The DCU Panel

Cup �O Joe

Peter David: Telling Tales of the Fantastick

DC Nation

Bullet Dodged, Manhunter Saved

Mondo Marvel

Hellstorm Returns as MAX Mini

Guggenheim on Blade Ongoing

Marvel�s X-Men Panel

Greg Pak on X-Men: Phoenix � Warsong

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