(CBR) DC Comics' New 52 panel at Fan Expo got off to a bit of a rocky start as over half the panelists were late in their attempt to make it from the talent area of the floor up to the conference room. John Cunningham, DC Comic Vice President of Marketing, reluctantly started the panel 10 minutes late with only writer Ray Fawkes and editors Eddie Berganza & Brian Cunningham at his side.
The big news of the weekend, of course, was the announcement that DC is overhauling its "Justice League of America" title under the guidance of Canadian writer and DC mainstay Jeff Lemire. "Coming out of 'Forever Evil,' we will have 'Justice League of Canada,'" Cunningham said. "Adam Strange will be introduced as a member. He will be a Toronto resident."
The shadowy hooded figure of Pandora has been at the center of the Justice League-centric "Trinity War" from the get go. Writer Ray Fawkes said he was terrified when he began sketching out the character in her own ongoing series, though the job has yielded plenty of rewards.
"Maybe I work well under pressure, but it's been really fun. It's been strange, being handed a character who has literally been in every title in the DC universe and yet nobody knows anything about her," Fawkes said. "It was really kind of cool to kind of piece together who this person is and what she's up to and why she would want to have a look at every superhero and villain in the DC universe before she gets to work."
What Pandora is actually doing, Fawkes explains, is sort of a meta-superhero mission.
"Other superheroes respond to evil acts, and they try and put away the criminals," he said. "Pandora is actually trying to kill the concept of evil. Erase it from the world completely. She thinks if she can do it successfully, she can return the world to a kind of paradise state which she believes the world was in before she accidentally unleashed evil.
"While the 'Trinity War' is unfolding and the heroes are all in combat with one another, Pandora can actually see the spirits of evil," Fawkes continued. "Caught in the middle of this battle she sees Superman and Wonder Woman and Batman fighting. She can see spirits feeding on them behind the whole thing and she's trying disconnect those spirits. It's going to be a pretty wild ride."
The artifact these teams are fighting over in "Trinity War" is Pandora's box, the original container of evil.
"Pandora, at this point, has realized that they have all been tricked, and something really terrible is about to happen, and she's desperately trying to stop it."
"Constantine" #8 arrives in November and continues its current plotline involving the daughter of Sargon the sorcerer. "She's inherited all his power, and she's literally stealing John's heart. I'm going to leave that up to the readers here as to how metaphorical they think that is," Berganza said sarcastically about the cover featuring her doing just that.
"John Constantine is either the worst good guy or the best bad guy in the DC universe," Berganza said. "He had to get involved especially because the story of the 'Trinity War' is about corruption. I don't think there is any hero in the DC universe who is more corrupt than John and then still gets to be called a hero."
"John, being the chess player that he is, understood something really, really bad was going to happen if Shazam was going to be part of the 'Trinity War' battle, maybe just because he's so powerful," Berganza continued. "In issue #5, John tried to take Shazam off the board, and issue #6 was the result."
"A lot of the ['Trinity War'] story leads into 'Forever Evil,' which is our massive villains event for the end of the year, starting in September and riding out through the spring," Cunningham said.
"I think it's going to be mind blowing how gleefully bad things get before the heroes, I hope, eventually get their chance to rise up and really show their stuff," Fawkes said. "When I first read the scripts for the last three parts of 'Trinity War,' it was, to me, mind blowing. I couldn't believe that they were willing to go in and go with some of this stuff."
Panelists assured the audience that "Trinity War" ends really badly and is going to get worse. David Finch, who joined the panel late, is the artist on the "Forever Evil" miniseries, and he said he's excited for it's upcoming release in September.
"It's Geoff Johns, who you all know, and it has a million characters in it. There's actually a spread coming up in issue #1 that has 95 percent of the characters, I think. There are just so many on there. I'm really looking forward to that coming out and hearing what people think about it," Finch said. "We really put a lot of work into it. We tried to make sure that every character was in there, that they were done properly, that they had the right costume. It was a big job, and there's just a lot of crazy still coming up. I am really reluctant to say much about it right now.
"You know, darker characters and villains, and it's starring Lex Luthor, who I love as a character," Finch continued. "Especially Geoff Johns' Lex Luthor. He's just a great, great character. He's just the ultimate opportunist, and it just makes him a lot of fun. I just want to be him. I already have the head -- I just need to be a genius."
Cunningham explained that there will be a lot of groundwork laid in the September "Villains Month" books for "Forever Evil", and not just a lot of back story. Cunningham acknowledged Finch's work on the title, saying he was a pleasure to work with.
"It's kind of ironic that one of the nicest guys I know in the business is doing this title," Cunningham said. "It's amazing when pages come in, because they come in in chunks, like five or six pages at a time. I've got to say, that it makes my day -- actually, it makes my week, when I see them because they are incredible."