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Sunday, February 12, 2006


SAN FRANCISCO -- Grant Morrison is the new writer of Batman, it was announced Saturday at DC Comics' panel at WonderCon.

Morrison will take over Batman following James Robinson's eight-issue run through Batman and Detective Comics.

"I've already plotted 15 issues," said Morrison, who added that the first story is called "Batman and Son" and features Talia.

"Batman coming out of 52, he's a more fun guy to write," Morrison said.

DC did not announce the artist.

Following is a rundown of other highlights:

* Geoff Johns said the art for Infinite Crisis #5 (shown above), featuring Blue Beetle, is not the final cover to the issue and that more will be added.

* Dan DiDio described the weekly 52 series as "one of the most ambitious books ever done in comics." He said the idea is for the book to be a must-buy ever week.

The first month of art for 52 will be by Joe Bennett. Starting with #2, Dan Jurgens writes and pencils "The History of the DC Universe," a 10-part backup tale that takes readers on a tour through the legendary past of the DCU.

* Justice League of America, by Brad Meltzer and Ed Benes, kicks off with a #0 issue (featuring guest artists) in July and then a #1 in August.

* Checkmate, by Greg Rucka and Jesus Saiz with covers by Lee Bermejo, launches in April.

Rucka describes the book as "a little bit like a really good Mission Impossible movie, a little bit like Tom Clancy but well written and a little like James Bond, but more realistic."

Rucka pointed out the characters from the cover of the first issue (above), includg Sasha Bordeaux as the Black Queen, Amanda Waller as the White Queen, Fire as the Black Queen¹s knight, and Alan Scott as the White King.

After consulting Johns, Rucka also revealed the Suicide Squad is in the book.

* Shadowpact, written and drawn by Bill Willingham, launches in May. The ragtag team of mystic heroes includes Nightmaster, Ragman, Nightshade, Blue Devil, Enchantress and Detective Chimp.

* Secret Six, by Gail Simone, Brad Walker and Jimmy Palmiotti with cover by Karl Kerschl, is a six-issue mini-series that begins in May. Repercussions from Villains United ripple through the DCU as this mysterious team walk the line between good and evil.

* DC previewed the second cover to Blue Beetle.

* Crisis Aftermath: The Spectre is a three-issue mini-series by Will Pfeifer and Cliff Chiang that begins in May. The spirit of vengeance has been joined with a human host once more: Detective Crispus Allen, murdered in the pages of Gotham Central. But Allen wants nothing to do with the Spectre or his mission.

* In the wake of the disaster seen in Infinite Crisis #3, the government has outlawed meta-human activity and installed a group of dangerous new heroes to keep the peace in Crisis: Aftermath: The Battle for Bludhaven. The six-issue mini-series is by written Jimmy Palmiotti and Justin Gray, with art by Dan Jurgens and Palmiotti and covers by Daniel Acuña. The book ships twice monthly beginning in April.

* Firestorm writer Stuart Moore said that since the book had a twist right before One Year Later, he had to "up the ante" with another big twist.

* Paul Levitz's run on JSA will be six issues. Following that, editor Steve Wacker said "the future of JSA is strong" and later added Johns hasn't left the characters.

* Hawkgirl artist Howard Chaykin said that he and writer Walt Simonson are trying to make the city of St. Roch a character in the book and that horror and the supernatural will be big elements.

Chaykin said that Kendra has "serious commitment and romantic issues" and will be dating "most of the DCU."

"She's so disappointed by every man she's met, she decides that maybe she needs a superhero," Chaykin said.

Chaykin also noted that midway through his third issue, he finally got a grasp on how to draw Hawkgirl's wings.

* Johns and Tony Daniel unveil a team called Titans East in Teen Titans #34, coming in March. And in May's Teen Titans #36, the Titans are forced to make a trip across the world to the bizarre Dayton Manor, headquarters of the Doom Patrol, and the Brotherhood of Evil isn't far behind.

Johns said that Robin and Wonder Girl will be members of Teen Titans OYL and that he and Daniel are taking a character-driven approach to the series.

* Even though, according to DC, "the team is no more," Outsiders continues.

* The new direction of the retitled Aquaman: Sword of Atlantis begins with the story "Once and Future," in which Aquaman's search for his father takes him to the surface world, where he meets new allies and ends up in a pitched battle. Kurt Busiek and Butch Guice are the new creative team.

* According to Johns, Hal Jordan will discover the Green Lanterns who were thought dead are POWs of the Manhunters and the Cyborg Superman. "He goes to rescue them, and they're not happy at all to see him," Johns said.

* Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes writer Mark Waid said the Legion doesn't know what to think of her.

"She shows up in the 31st Century and half of them think she's some kind of myth. Others think she's a comic-book character and others think she's a lunatic."

Waid said her answer to whom she is even shocked his editor.

* Meanwhile, new Supergirl writer Greg Rucka said that the cover to Supergirl #7, showing the character ripping off a costume to reveal her Supergirl threads "might be an indication of identity issues."

* DC confirmed that Ion, by Ron Marz and Greg Tocchini, is being targeted as a 12-issue series. A distraught Kyle Rayner has emerged one year later, with abilities that might surpass those of any Green Lantern before. But Kyle will have to survive the Thanagarian bounty hunter sent to hunt him down.

* Green Arrow and Deathstroke pick up where they left off in Idenity Crisis in May's Green Arrow #62.

* In May's Superman #652, a legion of villains including Silver Banshee and Hellgrammite, are pursuing Clark, and Lex Luthor might hold the key to seizing control of Metropolis once and for all.

* Kevin Maguire draws Superman/Batman #27 in which Power Girl and the Huntress must save Superman and Batman from the final act of vengeance by an old foe. Ethan Van Sciver then joins writer Mark Verheiden as the new creative team with #28.

* Paul Dini, new writer of Detective Comics, said he is taking a "back-to-basics" approach, with self-contained Batman stories, emphasizing solving mysteries. "We'll be introducing some new villains, and some old ones will also be showing up," he said.

Dini said he'll be on the book for a year or so. Rags Morales in the artist.

* The Batman/Spirit one-shot by Jeph Loeb and Darwyn Cooke is now targeted for this summer, with Cooke's ongoing Spirit following.

* DC previewed Sam Kieth's cover to Batman: Secrets #3 and Mike Huddleston's cover to Man-Bat #2.

* Frank Miller is providing a variant cover to All Star Batman and Robin, the Boy Wonder #4.

* Morrison said All Star Superman #4 is the "Jimmy Olsen vs. Superman" issue. In the issue, Jimmy gets the opportunity of a lifetime as he becomes director of a covert agency called P.R.O.J.E.C.T., and Morrison said Jimmy will be turning into Doomsday at one point.

* Johns said that Wally West does not die during Infinite Crisis.

* Morrison said he wrote 100 pages for the 32-page Seven Soldiers of Victory #1. "There will be some squeezing and crushing to fit it all in," he said. "I don't know who is going to survive, but the juice will taste wonderful."

* Asked about the state of Barbara Gordon and the possiblity of her getting back full use of her legs, DiDio said, "We don't really need to see a change there," emphasizing that she's remained a heroic character.

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