I don’t know about anyone else, but my jaw dropped the other day when Dan DiDio announced that Starman would be getting an issue 81 as part of Blackest Night. First things first: James Robinson is writing, and I have to assume he’s on-board with anything DC has planned; that’s the most important thing. But the whole topic got me thinking about endings, and the strange relationship fans have with them.
Robinson has said in the past that he’s always being asked about bringing Starman — Jack Knight, specifically — back. While that’s somewhat reassuring, because it never felt like that title had a particularly strong fanbase while it was being published, why would anyone want to destroy the life of a character they love?
To jump back a bit, in 2001 Starman ended with issue 80, when Jack Knight gave up the hero game and moved to San Francisco to be with his girlfriend and son. He received what too few of our favorite characters get: a happy ending.
Spider-Man has been continuously published since 1962 and can’t stop getting dumped on. It’s even worse when you think that all of those bad times have happened in the span of roughly 10-15 “comic” years. He needs a BREAK! I’m sure all of us have a favorite series that was canceled before its time. Those usually end with our hero embracing the future and the unknown, which is almost certain to include more heartache and villainy. But Jack? Jack got a graceful, beautiful exit. He got the rare chance to put that life behind him. Since he was a reluctant hero even at the beginning, I can’t imagine anything that would bring him out of retirement other than evil, and I can’t wish that on him.
Which brings us to Blackest Night. Robinson, at least for the time being, has wisely decided to let Jack stay happily out of continuity. This seems to indicate that we’re going to see a Black Lantern Ted or David Knight, and I’m not afraid to say that while so far none of the other Black Lanterns have disturbed me, I will be absolutely horrified to see those two characters desecrated and zombified.
We all have a tenuous relationship with endings. Spoiler alerts are necessary on the Internet and DC had to do some spin control after Previews revealed the villain behind Blackest Night, yet in every interview or convention panel, without fail there is someone who wants the ending told to some ongoing story. Our love/hate relationship with finales apparently holds true even if a series has been over for 8 years.
Perhaps it’s the serial nature of comics that sends us on the incessant quest to learn what’s next. Is anything ruined when there’s always another event or issue to look forward to? Maybe it’s just bragging rights to guess the ending first or trick an Editor into revealing more than he intended. But if there’s anything I’ve learned from superheroes it’s that sometimes a person MUST do the selfless thing for the greater good. Let’s let Jack Knight live in peace. It’s the heroic thing to do.