One of the greatest strengths of the DC Universe is its ever-evolving ability to factor in new characters and concepts from elsewhere and make them fit within its own tone and style. It’s easy to forget that characters such as Blue Beetle, Plastic Man and Shazam were once the property of rival publishers, while in recent years DC has integrated WildStorm characters like Midnighter and Apollo into its universe.
When it was announced that the characters from Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons and John Higgins’ Watchmen would be crossing over to the DC Universe, it was met with no small amount of skepticism. But so far, Doomsday Clock has been an intriguing look at the clash of styles between the two styles of storytelling. With the news that another Moore creation -- Tom Strong -- is going to appear in the pages of The Terrifics, it begs the question, which other characters and franchises could make their way into the DC Universe? And does Marvel have its own suitable, yet unexpected, crossover potential with which to challenge DC's?
It’s A Strange World
The nature of the WildStorm characters and their involvement in the DCU has been reduced over the course of the past year, and since the launch of Warren Ellis and Jon Davis-Hunt’s The Wild Storm, their significance in the larger DCU has been even further downplayed. However, there are a number of WildStorm characters yet to appear in either universe that would really shake-up the status-quo. Of course, the biggest ones in terms of impact and notoriety would be Ellis and John Cassaday’s Planetary, specifically the core team of Elijah Snow, Jakita Wagner, Ambrose Chase and The Drummer.
Towards its end, Planetary was plagued by delays, with three years between its penultimate and final issues. And while it was sometimes easy to forget, its involvement with the WildStorm Universe is essential to how it works. It plays with the concept of Century Babies — people born at midnight on January 1, 1900 — which Ellis explored elsewhere in his WildStorm work, and references characters such as Jenny Sparks and The High throughout the run. Now that it’s 2018, the 21st Century Babies will be turning eighteen years old, and are also Millennium Babies, which could put a new spin on the familiar concept. It’d be the perfect time for Ellis to bring back his most optimistic and hopeful WildStorm work for a fresh spin in a new time, and to catch up with characters we haven’t seen in nearly a decade.
Even if DC didn’t bring back the core Planetary team, the twenty-seven issue series is packed full of ideas and characters that would be right at home in the DC Universe. Planetary is a love-letter to superhero comics and the mediums that preceded them, and it wouldn’t be too jarring to see Jim Wilder and his Shiftship appear in a Superman book, or for Batman to tussle with the Dead Cop of Hong Kong. Planetary is a series with so much more potential than it ever reached over the course of ten years and twenty-seven issues. With Ellis and Cassaday's blessing, the DC Universe could become a much stranger, and cooler place.