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So, I saw Aquaman Christmas day, one week ago. It was good, perhaps even better than Wonder Woman, though it feels like heresy to type that. The film is a desperately-needed shot in the arm to the beleaguered franchise.

I have really wanted to like the DCEU. I missed out on Man of Steel, but saw Batman Vs Superman, Suicide Squad, and Justice League. I thought there were enough good points to all three films that they might be salvaged through future recuts; including the possibility of a “Snyder Cut” of Justice League. Until Aquaman was released, Wonder Woman stood alone as the only “good” or even “complete” film of the franchise so far.

The point this makes of course is that the DCEU film execs put the cart before the horse. Perhaps hoping to duplicate the runaway success of the Marvel franchise, they released one standalone film – Man Of Steel – before jumping into what was basically three ensemble films.

By the time the first ensemble film for the MCU was released, there had already been two Iron Man films, a Captain America film, a Thor film, and a Hulk film. This gave us enough time to build a connection with the characters, and set up the universe in a way that by the time Avengers took place, we were ready for it.

By contrast, all of the worldbuilding in the DCEU had to take place within the ensemble films, where there really wasn’t time or space for it to grow and feel as organic and established as it has in the MCU films.

That real sense of the world that the story and the characters inhabit, which is so necessary for a franchise or shared storyline to really take off and work in a way that will grab audiences’ imaginations, hasn’t yet been achieved in any of the ensemble DCEU films – unless you count Watchmen as the first proper DCEU film, which I do. And this is largely because of the comic it was adapted from. Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons already did all of the heavy lifting in that respect.

Until Zack Snyder’s 2009 film adaption was made, the many previous attempts over the years to adapt Watchmen had failed due to its complexity and depth. The comic depicts a world almost like our own but ever so slightly different, where superheroes exist and have effected the world in the ways which are responsible for those differences.

Alan Moore wanted to write a deconstruction of the idea of superheroes in the “real world” which would, in the words of one writer “test that idea to destruction.” It is a self-contained storyline, and Alan Moore sets up its world very effectively within the narrative. It is not connected with anything else going on in the DC Universe, and does not rely upon it for a preexisting setup.

Zack Snyder was lauded for his ability to finally adapt the “unadaptable” comic – and if you look at the way that the DCEU, which came up under his creative control a lot of the time, has developed, it shares a lot of similarities. Like the way music is used; in Watchmen, which moves around a lot in time, it is a way of not only establishing the tone of the scene, but also what time period the characters are currently in.

However, if you look at the later films within the DCEU, you’ll find that popular music is used in much the same way, even though the effect of the presence of superheroes on the world over time is not necessarily an aspect of those storylines like it was in Watchmen.

It was noticeable in Aquaman, with a cover of Toto’s Africa being a prime example, and it was infamously overdone in Suicide Squad, to that movie’s detriment – which is, I guess, why you never want to let a film trailer company cut and edit the actual final film.

Which brings me around to my earlier statement – to me,
Watchmen feels like the first film in the current DCEU franchise, even if it isn’t connected to any of the other films – yet. Because earlier last year, this happened.

I haven’t read the crossover with Justice League, just like I haven’t read any of the Before Watchmen comics, because I felt like DC comics had done Alan Moore dirty over the rights to his own work, and felt he was justified in being angry about it and in not wanting his fans to read the new comics for it (even if JMS was one of the writers – and being a lifelong fan, I was tempted.)

Now I’m tempted to read the Justice League/Watchmen crossover. Because seeing Aquaman got the Fic Wheels turning in my head again, and reminded me that I never did finish Watchmen: Multiverse, after years of struggling with it.

Watchmen: Multiverse (Full title: Watchmen: Mutiverse – The Dark Spectre Saga) was a crossover with Michael Moorcock’s Multiverse that I started in the summer of 2008, on 4chan’s /PCO/ forum. It was inspired by an earlier fic by another writer, and the first chapter practically wrote itself, one of those situations where it felt like the Universe itself downloaded it directly into my brain as I was typing. Some of it got saved to my LiveJournal at the time, some of it ended up on

I never finished it because really, the part of it I “saw” ended with Silk Spectre II (re-dubbed the “Dark Spectre” as a result of a smear campaign spearheaded by a Future!Adrian Veidt) and Rorshach and Nite Owl II in an alternate 1982, struggling to hold New York together as it was teetering on the precipice of a rip in spacetime caused by Adrian Veidt resorting to time travel to prevent Rorschach’s journal from being discovered in 1986.

Somehow, it was going to end in a future!temporal adventurer!Laurie popping out in the DC Universe, Mournblade in tow, to warn other heroes that a corrupted, godlike version of Ozymandias was about to invade their world with his armies. But I had no idea how to get it there?

It would mean writing what happened when a timeline decays, when it collapses, when it collides with other timelines; and then I read Homestuck, and saw how much trouble Andrew Hussie had with it, and was just plain too intimidated by it to continue.

I could never make it work. I never had the “hook” I needed to make it work – until Aquaman.

Now I’m revisiting the DCEU films, and I really hope the Snyder Cut is a thing that happens. I haven’t been this psyched to work on a fic in a while, and it’s past time I finally finished this thing.

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