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Friday, July 23, 2004


SAN DIEGO -- Judd Winick taking over Batman, Matt Wagner working on a new Batman maxi-series and a shuffle of writers were among the highlights of DC Comics' Batman: War Games panel on Thursday at Comic-Con International.

Winick will be joining artist Doug Mahnke on Batman as they pick up the pieces after the War Games event.

"The entire world has been turned upside down and we'll deal with the ramifications of that," Winick said. "One of things that I can tell you is that the first arc is called 'Under the Hood.' And it's about the return of The Red Hood, a newly formatted Red Hood, so he's not going to be in the bow tie and cape and the fish bowl and all that.

"The Red Hood has been several characters over the years, including way back when, The Joker was The Red Hood for a while. And it's been multiple characters.

"So, The Red Hood will be returning to Gotham City, creating tons of trouble. But I promise you, after the first four-issue arc, you will find out who it is. And it will be a wonderful, mind-blowing experience."

Wagner's maxi-series is called Batman: Dark Moon Rising.

"In an effort to give us all a chance to have some synergy with the movie (Batman Begins), which is basically the movie's version of Batman: Year One, this is going to be set during early in Batman's career," Wagner said. "In fact, I jokingly called it Batman: Year 1.5.

"The jist of the story is the fact that Bruce has created this alter ego, this disguise, to instill fear into his criminal opponent and give him a necessary edge over their ruthlessness. And it's worked really well. They're scared of him.

"As a result, he's starting to geta little bit cocky, as should be expect. But this story will basically tell his first interractions with what will eventually be called supervillains. What happens when he runs into characters who are twisted or insane or feral enough, that they're not scared of the costume at all? How does he deal with that when he's come to rely upon this as such an aspect of what he does?"

Wagner will write and draw and said that Dave Stewart will color.

In other notes from the panel:

* David Lapham will be writing and doing covers for Detective Comics with a 12-issue arc called "City of Crime." Ramon Bachs, artist of Batman: The 12 Cent Adventure, will be artist.

* Writer Andersen Gabrych will move from Detective to Batgirl.

* Schreck said a lot of Batman's Rogue's gallery will be appearing in War Games, which will run through 25 issues and conclude with Batman #633 and then an epilogue in #634.

"A lot them will not be looking very good at the end of this," he said. "There's going to be a lot of blood."

* Schreck said, after consulting pros and fans, he decided to make Detective Comics #800 "a slightly longer story" by the regular team. "It's a really solid story, but it's reflective of the future the way Gotham looks after War Games."

Detective artist Pete Woods said that Detective #800 is Gabrych's "best story yet."

* Schreck said it won't be immediately clear why the event is called War Games, but the title does have a meaning.

* Editor Matt Idelson said that, unlike previous Bat-events, this one won't have any fat. "Every issue, they all count," he said. "They move the story forward."

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