A moment of silence, please, for the “old” DC Universe, which breathes its last today. This is, of course, the… fifth DCU that has come and gone, by my reckoning (The various DCUs are: Golden Age, Silver Age, Post-Crisis, Post-Zero Hour, Post-Infinite Crisis – Am I missing any reboots? Basically, if it involved a full-scale visit to the Big Bang and/or had a line-in-the-sand Superman origin do-over, then I’m counting it)? But it’s possibly the first time that the final stories themselves have been so aware of their finality. Grant Morrison would be proud of the metatext on show in Justice League of America, Batgirl, Superman and even Green Lantern, despite that book continuing its continuity come next month (“This isn’t how it’s supposed to end” is a great last line of a series, come on).
It’s been interesting to watch how the various books have come to an end – Of the various approaches taken, I think that I’ve preferred the JLA and Batgirl takes, wherein the creators essentially try to show what would have happened on the books had they continued; it’s a trick I remember from the last issue of Green Lantern: Mosaic, way back when (John Stewart even addressed the reader, essentially saying “Oh, what stories you’d have seen!”), and I loved it now just as much as I did then, even if it feels like a cruel trick (Just as enjoyable was Chris Roberson’s attempt to create a new status quo for the Man of Steel in Superman, which employed a similar “What if?” technique, in many ways). But what’s been somewhat surprising is the lack of scorched earth finales – Justice Society aside, I can’t really think of any title that’s really ended on a massive downer (That said, I’ve not read all of the final issues, so there’s that). Is this some signal that the DCU is inherently an optimistic place, or just a sign that no-one wanted to create a final issue so final that readers wouldn’t want to come back for a new beginning in September?