A while back, Alan Moore proposed a story titled Twilight of the Superheroes. It tells the story of the end of superheroes in the DC Universe. The proposal was rejected for obvious reasons: it would mean the end of the DC Universe.
Although never published, the proposal was leaked online. I’ve read through the incredibly long proposal . . . and I have serious doubts about its quality.
In my opinion, Alan Moore is at his strongest when working in his own universe with his own characters, such as in V for Vendetta and Watchmen. With no continuity or previous history to tie him down, he is free to tell his own stories and he excels at it. Can you imagine Watchmen with DC Comics characters? Well, that’s what the original proposal had, but by using his own characters, the story became much greater than it would have been otherwise. (It also prevented the characters from being horribly out-of-character.)
Many of the characters that would have appeared in Twilight of the Superheroes are barely recognizable. Wonder Woman has married Superman and is now Superwoman. (What is it with comics writers pairing Superman and Wonder Woman, anyway? They have zero chemistry.) Mary Marvel is married to Captain Marvel, but she is having an affair with Captain Marvel, Jr. (Also, Captain Marvel has sexual problems due to not aging in his Billy Batson form.) Plastic Man is now a male prostitute. Martian Manhunter is a murderer. Pretty much all the superheroes have begun leaning towards ruling portions of the US rather than protecting it.
At the center of the story is John Constantine. I never really got Constantine’s appeal. I’ve only read a few of his appearances, but never was interested enough to read more. If Twilight of the Superheroes is anything to go by, I would hate the character. Constantine is the focal character for the story, and somehow is capable of not only outsmarting all the superheroes, but also several alien races. I like smart characters, but the idea that one man could outsmart that many intelligent people (some of them mind readers) completely destroys any suspension of disbelief I have.
“The story of Twilight ends with a delighted John Constantine standing at the verge of a new utopia, free from the interferences of power, all superfolk banished from Earth for ever.”
Without superheroes, the world is suddenly a utopia? I would consider banishing superheroes who have saved millions (if not billions) of lives as a step in the wrong direction, but what do I know?
While some of the ideas have potential, it just doesn’t work with DC’s characters. Unfortunately, the plot of the story demands that it use the DC characters. It’s a catch-22. As much as I respect Moore’s work, I think that whoever rejected the proposal is right. It just wasn’t up to Moore’s normally high standards.