FanExpo Canada 2011: DC’s LAST Flashpoint Panel Recap (Spoilers!)

This is it, folks, the FINAL “Flashpoint Friday,” the last FLASHPOINT Panel, the end of everything we hold dear. And a packed audience showed up to see DC Editor Eddie Berganza welcome artist Andy Kubert, writer Brian Azzarello (FLASHPOINT – BATMAN: KNIGHT OF VENGEANCE), writer James Robinson (FLASHPOINT -THE OUTSIDER), and artist Francis Manapul (THE FLASH) here at FanExpo, all raring to talk about the event that will change the DCU… In a Flash!

Oh, and we should mention, about halfway through? MASSIVE spoilers for FLASHPOINT #5. So reader beware…

Kicking it off with Manapul, the artist talked about the introduction of Hot Pursuit way back during his run on THE FLASH – which led directly into the “Flashpoint” event.

“Hot Pursuit was a vehicle to get us to Flashpoint,” said Manapul. “It feels so long ago, I don’t even remember that much about it. The way Hot Pursuit evolved, was a character, but we didn’t know who it was going to be. It would potentially be part of the supporting cast. Eventually we decided it would be pretty bad-ass if it was Barry Allen. We threw out another name, which was Patty Spivot. When the “Flashpoint” world came about, there was a chance to use her there.”

The Flashpoint panel at FanExpo

Asked about how Kubert came on board, he said, “I was giving Dan [DiDio] a ride home from the city. I said, ‘Next thing I’d like to do is a Flash project,’ and he said, ‘I have just the thing for you.’”

Moving to Azzarello, the writer refused to write for “Flashpoint” several times, because he doesn’t like getting involved in crossovers. But he kept thinking about the title, particularly the only piece of info he was told. “It was Thomas Wayne, so I started thinking about that,” said Azzarello. “And then I said, ‘Well, who’s the Joker/’ and then I said, ‘Yes.’”

Talking about the design of Batman, Kubert said that other than red eyes, he found the Batman costume was good as is… Dan DiDio threw out the idea of turning up his cape on the shoulders, but that was pretty much it.

Berganza asked why Martha Wayne was important to have as The Joker, “Cause it’s so obvious,” said Azzarello. “When we first started talking about this, you said Bruce was killed in Crime Alley. You assumed Martha was killed. I didn’t assume that… Everybody wants to see Batman and The Joker kiss anyway. This was the way to do it.”

Moving on to The Outsider, Kubert joked about how he was like Grant Morrison, before Robinson jumped in to talk about the character. “I had a pretty blank canvas to work with,” said Robinson. “There was literally no perception of that character at all. It was something you could read on its own if you wanted to, but it didn’t feel superfluous to the main storyline.”

Talking about the character Blackout, Robinson said, “Had I known how little you were going to use him, I would have featured him more in the book.” Berganza agreed, lamenting that they had plans for The Outsider’s arch-enemy, but they fell through.

Then Berganza announced that he had a copy of FLASHPOINT #5 on him, and welcomed one lucky fan up on stage to read the book. “Read it out loud!” shouted another audience member, to laughter from everybody else. “Watch him, make sure he doesn’t escape,” joked Berganza.

Moving to audience questions, a few quick hits:

– Berganza teased that we might see more of the Flashpoint Universe in the future. Clarifying later, he said he’d like to do an Untold Tales of Flashpoint.

– “When you read five, you’ll see he didn’t figure everything out,” Berganza said, regarding Reverse Flash’s master plan.

– On the subject of editorial decree versus the writer, particularly when it comes to character deaths, the death of Red Arrow’s daughter in JUSTICE LEAGUE: CRY FOR JUSTICE came up. “It’s not like James came to us, and said, “I want to kill some little girls today,” joked Berganza. “I actually saved Speedy, they wanted to kill her, and I said, no, it’s too much,” responded Robinson, to cheers from the audience.

The death of Billy Batson in Flashpoint #4

– On the death of Billy Batson in FLASHPOINT #4, Kubert said Geoff Johns called him before, and asked him to be very discrete and not gory with the page.

Turning back to the fan, who finished the book, he seemed reserved, saying, “It’s the best book I’ve read all day,” to laughs from the audience. More generously, he said, “It’s very clear, and it works well. I don’t think it’s cheap.”

Asked by an audience member whether FLASHPOINT #5 offers a finale to the DCU, the reader clarified that he definitely feels it provides a nice coda to the Universe. He particularly liked the scene between Thomas Wayne and Barry Allen towards the end of the issue, and mentioned there’s something else at the very end, particularly the last panel.

“That’s our next big thing,” said Berganza, teasing the reveal. Asking about Reverse Flash, the reader said, “He’s not the big villain. Is that a spoiler?” “Um, yeah,” said Berganza, to more laughs from the audience.

I should also mention that the issue then worked it’s way down the panel, with first Robinson reading the comic, then Azzarello.

Back to questions!

– Flashpoint #5 will answer how much Barry remembers of the old universe in the New 52.

– The Spectre may show up in either DEMON KNIGHTS or JLDARK, as they’ll be dealing with a lot of the mystical characters.

– Asked about why they killed Krypto in the Flashpoint U, Azzarello quipped, “Why not?”

– Berganza revealed that in JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL, we’ll find out that Booster Gold is Canadian. Nope, he wasn’t joking, and as you can imagine, the audience went a little nuts.

– There are no plans for another big event right now, the focus is on the New 52… But as long as fans keep buying them, they’ll keep making them.

– A fan asked whether Roscoe Dillon would show up in THE FLASH… A confused Manapul said, “Yes… I will… Take that under advisement?” The fan clarified that Dillon is the Flash villain called The Top, to which Manapul quipped, “Well, I’m clearly prepared for this job.”

– Grifter was made the leader of the resistance in FLASHPOINT because, according to Berganza, “He looked cool.”

– Asked why there was a Citizen Cold series, Berganza joked it was because Geoff Johns loves Captain Cold, and he wanted to make Johns happy. Azzarello jumped in to clarify: “He wanted to do a Joker book, and I said no, it wouldn’t be good for the story we were going to tell,” said Azzarello. “Geoff and I were talking about it, and we said this was a chance to take one of those smaller villains and make them into a world-beater.”

And that was it! Berganza said goodbye, and everybody got a Wayne Casino chip! We’ll see you back here fro plenty more from FanExpo Canada!

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