WONDERCON 2018 [Panel Reviews]: Batman & Mr. Freeze / DC Universe.
SUBZERO & THE EVOLUTION OF MR. FREEZE (Friday) – Way back in 1998, Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero dropped on VHS. I was eight years old at the time. Along with the animated series, this flick helped cement Mr. Freeze as a more tragic villain, compelled to villainy in the hopes of rescuing his ailing wife, Nora. This bit always stuck with me. Relatively for the first time in my little life I was exposed to a villain who wasn’t stereotypically a villain. Sure enough, I wore down my copy of the movie through repeat viewings (I don’t think I had seen The Mask of the Phantasm at the time, the obviously superior movie).
Fast forward 20-years later and Warner is finally releasing an HD remaster, similar to the beautiful remaster that was done for The Mask of the Phantasm last year. We were treated to a bit of it and it looks just as great as you’d expect. Shortly after this footage the panel, consisting of SubZero screenwriter Randy Rogel, Voice of Robin Loren Lester, Warner Archive podcast hosts D.W. Ferranti, Matthew Patterson, and psychologist Dr. Andrea Letamendi broke into a discussion about the personal motivations of Mr. Freeze’s character. They mainly focused on his human, love driven goals that makes him infinitely more sympathetic as not only a villain but a character. At the very end, Ferranti hinted towards new projects coming that should be appealing to Batman: The Animated Series fans. 3.5/5 Bibles.
Batman & Mr. Freeze: SubZero drops today, March 27th.
DC UNIVERSE (Saturday) – Having only been to WonderCon 2018 for a day and a morning (you can blame 2 local wrestling events and an Elite Eight college basketball game for that), I was only able to attend one comic panel all weekend. Crazy, I know. But at least it was this one–DC Universe. While a smaller ensemble for a DC Comics panel than usual, the four panelists Joshua Williamson (The Flash), Mitch Gerads (Mister Miracle), and Julie and Shawna Benson (Batgirl & The Birds of Prey) were informative, outgoing and personal. Williamson, in particular, was real spunky when talking about the trio of new JL titles releases, referring to Justice League: No Justice, as “all of the grumpiest people in the DCU–and Beast Boy.” He particularly enjoyed how the weekly miniseries would focus on relationships spawned from surprising new team-ups, courtesy of Brainiac. Spawning from No Justice and Dark Nights Metal, Williamson is also tackling Justice League: Odyssey. “Yeah, Darkseid is on the Justice League. Surprise!”, joked Joshua who refers to the team as Justice League WTF, a space team with a crazy-looking Azrael and a Darkseid who needs the Justice League as much as they need him. I mean, who isn’t pumped for that madness?
The Benson sisters are taking over the Green Arrow ongoing with Green Arrow Annual #2 and issue #43. The enthusiastic pair seem like suitable follow-up scribes, considering their familiarity with Dinah and Ollie on Birds of Prey. The Bensons promise to have lots of fallout from No Justice in addition to keeping Kate Spencer on the book. Gerads gets props for being very candid about his own personal family life in reference to his work on the critically lauded Mister Miracle and the following of a legend. The artist saw plenty of himself — and his own baby — on the title and agreed with pundists that one could never out-Kirby Kirby. “We took Kirby’s ideas, and the legacy and creativity, and spun that into [writer Tom King and Gerads] filer.” The panel closed with some fan Q&A, which elicit a huge pop for Wally West as the crowd favorite Flash; while Williamson, whose forthcoming Flash War will hit Flash #47, praised both Barry Allen (the Flash he has the closest bond with) and artist Howard Porter, and touched upon forthcoming ramifications for Iris killing Eobard Thawne. Twas a very solid panel. 3.75/5 Bibles.