This week saw the release of Batman Incorporated: Leviathan Strikes, a $6.99 one-shot that ended the “first season” of Grant Morrison’s latest (and possibly last) Batman epic. The art (by Cameron Stewart and Chris Burnham) was quite good, and the story was surreal on multiple levels, which is pretty much par for the course with Grant Morrison. I was reading Batman Incorporated back before the DCU was rebooted in September, and I’m thrilled that the editorial higher-ups allowed this story to be completed, albeit very late. This tale is set before Flashpoint, opening up a huge opportunity for Morrison, and potentially other writers as well.
Just imagine, what if there were periodic books, one-shots or even mini-series, set in the old DCU? These stories, written and drawn by the top creators in the industry, could tell tales set before Flashpoint that could continue the old universe right where it was left off. Stephanie Brown would still be Batgirl and Barbara Gordon would still be Oracle. But since this would no longer be the main DCU, the writers wouldn’t be limited by the golden shackles that keep hitting the reset button every ten years. In the DCnU, Dick Grayson is Nightwing, but in the old universe, he might remain as Batman. Superman is single in the DCnU, but he and Lois could have kids back in the old universe. There are so many possibilities, and these would essentially be Elseworlds stories set in the world that we all grew up loving.
There’s an historical president here as well. When the DCU shifted from Earth-2 over to Earth-1 back in the day, the Earth-2 characters were allowed to grow old, marry, have families, and in some cases die. Many fans came to love the Justice Society from these stories where Robin grew up and the Huntress was Bruce Wayne’s daughter. If DC Editorial is smart, they won’t cut off total access to the old universe, but allow the stories to continue as I’ve described above. That way they would draw in older fans (some of whom have been alienated by the New 52) without diminishing what they’re doing in the new universe. To draw a comparison to Marvel, the main universe would be the new versions of the characters, and the Ultimate universe would be the familiar classics.
Or, I could just be grasping at straws. I liked the old universe, and I know that I will be there whenever they decide to revisit it.
I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and gets at least one good comic-related present under the tree.