The DC Comics Batman: Beyond the Night of Owls panel at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con had a few surreal moments and a lot of information on DC’s most popular character, and fans we’re treated to a good discussion with the creators, as well as some other gifts.
The panel started off with a look at Talon #0. The series revolves around Calvin Rose, the one Talon who got away from his masters in the Court of Owls. The series, co-written by Scott Snyder but mostly written by James Tynion, takes the reader through the entire DCU and is built off material that Snyder did not get to use in the Court of Owls story. Tynion was excited during the panel since he was in the SDCC crowd as little as a year ago and now he was on the other side. Art for the series is by Guillem March.
While everyone was discussing the series John Cunningham, DC’s Vice President of Marketing, interrupted the panel with a question. He didn’t actually have a question, but he was there to give everyone attending a free owl mask as worn by the Court of Owls in Snyder’s Batman series. Adding to the fun was everyone pointing out a group of fans who were already wearing their own homemade masks. The crowd was asked to wear the masks throughout the weekend, especially at any Marvel comics panels. Once all the masks were handed out, the whole crowd put on the masks, creating a very eerie moment, especially if you’ve read the story.
Snyder addressed the crowd and told them how much he and Greg Capullo appreciate the fan support for the Court of Owls story. Batman #0 is one of Snyder’s favorite stories, and he said the Gotham you see in the issue will be different that any you’ve seen before and ties into the Year One stories. Then he went into the next major story, featuring the Joker. He’s said he has been working on the story for a year and it is his love letter to the Joker. According to Snyder, The Joker sees himself as the court jester to Batman’s king. Snyder described the story as his ‘Killing Joke’ and revealed that the Joker will face off against the whole Batman family.
Nightwing writer Kyle Higgins was next and he suggested DC make Nightwing masks but DC said no. Nightwing’s 0 issue will tie into the characters past in the circus. Higgin’s describes Nightwing as a character who always looks to the future as opposed to Bruce who looks to the past. The issue looks at Dick’s decision to become Robin and what that means to him. Issues 13 and 14 of Nightwing will be written by Tom Defalco while Higgins works on Joker tie in issues for 15 and 16.
Gail Simone discussed the 0 issue for Batgirl, saying that it shows why Batgirl becomes a hero. With the Batgirl annual, Simone was excited because she gets a chance to write Catwoman, and describes the issue as the dark side of the mirror of Birds of Prey. Ed Benes joins as the regular artist with issue 13, reuniting the old Birds of Prey team. Simone said she is excited to be back working with him. Nothing was mentioned about how she will tie the Batgirl series into Snyder’s Joker story, but you have to assume it will happen given the two characters past. We may finally see how DC can reconcile The Killing Joke while still having Barbara walking around.
On the Dark Knight, new writer Gregg Hurwitz had his choice of villains to use in his first story arc, and he decided to explore the Scarecrow in the same way he did with his Penguin: Pain & Prejudice. He will be showing the Scarecrow’s background and childhood, and also giving Dark Knight artist David Finch plenty of action to draw. The 0 issue of Dark Knight will focus on Joe Chill and the Wayne’s murder. Hurwitz said he is excited to explore different pieces of that event that have not been entirely explored before.
On Batwoman, JH Williams III said he didn’t want to explore her origin so soon after the Batwoman: Elegy arc, so he is approaching the 0 issue differently. He said that 0 will show more of what was happening in those early days from inside the characters head, which will give those events a different perspective. According to Williams, this perspective will be reflected through the art. He said he was also excited to go into her father’s past and his motivations. Williams said he had to fit the story in a weird place in the series, since issue 12 is the first part of the third arc of the series. The 0 issue will unfortunately break up the flow of that story. Wonder Woman will feature in a big way throughout the next arc and Williams said the story is the culmination of the whole run to this date.
Red Hood and the Outlaws writer Scott Lobdell had some fun by turning his owl mask into a Spider-Man mask and pitched it as a new series to Batman editor Mike Marts. He described the 0 issue of Red Hood as very sad and serious, especially as opposed to the tone of the rest of the series. He said to forget your expectations for when he reintroduces Starfire’s sister, Blackfire, in issue 13.
Mike Marts was on hand to talk about Batman Inc, since writer Grant Morrison was not there. The 0 issue tells the origin of the Batman team. The issue stands apart from the other Batman 0 issues, since it doesn’t go specifically into Bruce’s past. Issue 0 is co-plotted by regular Batman Inc. artist Chris Burnham, and is drawn by Frazier Irving.
Detective Comics #0 will look into Bruce’s early training days as he traveled the world. Hurwitz described the issue as a thriller that explains Batman’s intimacy issues. New Detective writer John Layman then came on to talk about his plans for the series, starting with issue 13. Layman said he was nervous for his first DC work to be a big series like Detective. He said his plan is for fast paced stories that will be largely self-contained issues with plenty of mystery. The first arc will be called Emperor Penguin, which Layman says will only be half a Penguin story.
It was an exciting panel with lots of info given out. If you ever get to see Scott Snyder talking about Batman, you can tell how much he loves the character. Say what you will about the books, but listening to the writers always leaves you excited to see what happens next. I especially look forward to seeing what Layman will be doing with Detective.