Event Fever — Catch It!

Event fatigue.

Too many crossovers.

I’ve read those phrases on-line a lot. Hell, I’ve said them myself a few times. There is no question that Marvel and DC Comics are event happy right now and why shouldn’t they be? Events sell like hotcakes. They squeeze more money out of the readership and prop up the company coffers.

On the eve of Marvel’s Secret Invasion #1 (and mere weeks away from DC’s Final Crisis) I can hear the collective wheezing from the crowd. Too much. Too many. No mas!

It’s an understandable reaction. When a company has a really successful event, said event then spawns a myriad of sequels and follow-up events as the company tries to chase every dollar it can because that’s what businesses do –- make as much money as possible. Even businesses involved in the arts. But here’s the thing -– there’s a reason why companies like Marvel and DC keep pumping out these event books. When they’re good, the readership goes wild and they happily buy a ton of books. And then everybody wins. The companies make a lot of money and the people have a great story that most everyone can bond over. The problem is that the ratio of good events to bad is awful.

By now you might be asking yourself “why, then, is he looking forward to Secret Invasion and Final Crisis?” Well, friends, hope springs eternal.  Hope and faith. I have faith in Brian Michael Bendis and I have faith in Grant Morrison.

One of the things that we said during Civil War was that the mini-series might have been a lot more effective had Bendis written it. His Civil War: Confession one-shot better articulated Tony Stark’s position on superhero registration and was more emotionally impactful than the entire seven issue mini-series was. Bendis –- like his counterpart Geoff Johns at DC –- seems to have a savant-like knowledge of the Marvel Universe. His ability to put together an exciting story while utilizing all the relevant pieces on the chess board is unquestioned (by me). If there is anybody I trust to make Secret Invasion fun and exciting, it’s Bendis.

As for Grant Morrison… well, he’s a lot more polarizing but I love him. If there is anyone in DC’s stable of writers to be given the task of birthing a new age and The Fifth World, it’s him. Is there a potential for disaster? Sure. But there’s also the potential for All Star Superman-like transcendence. That’s a gamble I’m willing to take.

Yes, friends, I choose hope. I choose love over hate. I choose informed optimism over stubborn pessimism. Might it be a fool’s journey? Mayhap. The last time this happened I had World War Hulk on my hands, but I went into that one willfully ignorant. I allowed Ron’s enthusiasm (and it is powerfully infectious) to get the better of me.

Secret Invasion and Final Crisis — they just feel right, you know?  Sometimes you get that feeling in your gut and often it is hunger, but this time I don’t think it is.

I think it’s fun stories on the horizon!

Comments

  1. I think so too.

    Well said.

  2. i agree. They have a vibe to them that seems to be pushing the right buttons. These will definately not be a ‘genesis’ or a ‘WWH’ at least lets hope not.

    The Brit in a Hat

  3. I wish I had your optimism friend, I really do.

  4. im really stoked for both these events. I don’t mind events though, if they’re shite i stop buying them but when they are on, they rock. As much as everyone maligned Civil War, i had blast with it (except for the ending) and Infinite Crisis, while it had it’s problems, was fun as well. My question for you Conor is if you have such faith in Bendis and Morrison, what did you think of their other events? House of M and Seven Soldiers? I enjoyed House of M more than most but i don’t often hear good things. Seven Soldiers was pretty close to comic event perfection IMO

  5. Totally have the fever.  Just took some tylenol and that didnt help.  Currently finishing up my reread of crisis on infinite earths to prep myself for final crisis.  Secret invasion should be pretty fun, the books leading up to it have been entertaining.  I’m not buying 4 covers but maybe I’ll buy 2. 

  6. First off, I think events and crossovers, can be fun. I’ve enjoyed plenty of them and their associated spin-offs and whatnot. The problem I have with events in 2008, is they tend to play up the notion that some books are "IMPORTANT" to a shared universe and others are not. I mean, really, how many true surprises are there on the sales charts? Books that are hyped to death or books that people perceive as important to understanding what’s going on will sell and for the most part, the others will just continue their declines. Sometimes I wonder why the big two even bother with certain books – books I love, mind you, but books that are pretty much destined to teeter on the edge of cancellation from the get go, regardless of how great they may be.

    I don’t hold anything against the companies or the fans – if books are selling and people are happy, great – but personally, I would like to see some sort of shift back to the focus being on telling great monthly stories in the titles that already exist instead of flooding the market every 6 months with whatever is "hot". 

  7. Personally I stayed away from WWHulk and Countdown (They didn’t get my juices flowin’).  Because of my decision I’m pumped and ready to go for these two events!

     Great article Conor.

     

    the Tiki 

  8. I agree completely. If the creative teams bring their A games, these things can be spectacular (Identity Crisis, Crisis on Infinite Earths, Mutant Massacre). My only worry is how much of either of these is the creator bringing their best and how much is dictated by editorial higher-ups. If you want to believe rumors and speculation, it seems Final Crisis is being more driven by editorial than by Morrison – which can be a good thing, but more often than not, turns out bad. I’m going to be hoping for the best with both of these, but I’m going to keep my expectations low so I won’t be too disappointed if they flop.

  9.  I have faith in Grant Morrison.

    Oh, God, he’s been using the chaos magicks on you!

     

  10. Great article. Personally I love the big events…Crisis on Infinite Earths was my very first and it just changed the way i look at comics. I agree with the other posters…if it’s bad, I drop it. I’m more worried about Final Crisis, since i’m more of a DC kind-of-guy, and i do worry about editorial mandates. I’m even more excited about Blackest Night, because it seems to be a better, more plot-driven ‘event’ a la Sinestro Corps War. The only problem i see with ‘events’ is how to keep topping them? DC says this is the ‘Final Crisis’….we’ll see…..

  11. I’m pretty stoked about both as well, but I’ve been trying to read the last ten Countdown issues as they come out, and I really expected them to be better, since they’re leading up to the huge event…but man, they’re kinda boring.

    Same with the leadup to SI, the Echo story this week, and the Ms Marvel stuff, both lackluster.

    I’m hoping the events themselves are far better..

  12. I’m with you on the faith and hope thing, Conor. But let’s take a rational look at the other side, too. Bendis’ last event was House of M. Now, I’m willing to say that was a qualified success. But there were some pacing problems. In fact, I thought it needed another issue at least to finish up satisfyingly. It was a little rushed at the end. That tends to be Bendis’ thing. He likes to draw out a story, especially at the beginning (Ultimate Six) and then kind of rush to wrap it all up.

    And that’s another worry. Most of the events in the past have not really tied up many loose ends. In fact, things seem like they’re more out-of-whack when its over than when the event started. I know, this is because they want people to keep buying more comics to see where the story goes. But Secret Invasion has got to have  some kind of satisfying ending to it, doesn’t it? Please, tell me it will. Because if there’s any more loose ends in the Marvel universe, I think it might start to unravel.

    As for Final Crisis, I’ll be keeping an eye on this. Not sure if I’ll pick it up or not, but I’m very curious if this will be 90’s-JLA Morrison or skipping-through-the-Batman-universe Morrison. Either way it will be really interesting to watch.

  13. I’ve completely reversed my thinking on Events. I’ve noticed that by in large, the ‘events’ of the past year have produced good books, while the end of those events produces filler issues for those same titles (Xmen pulling a Rick Steves in Russia?zzzz) while they wait for the next event. I say screw it, bring me all events all the time.

  14. @patio: Bendis himself has admitted the pacing problems on House of M, and says he learned his lesson from it. Thats why the first issue of SI is doublesized, and judging from the early reviews starting to hit today it hits the ground running and only proceeds to speed up from there.

  15. Let’s hear it for optimism!!

  16. I miss the crossover-free, continuity-cavalier "Nu Marvel" of a few years ago, but Secret Invasion…? Son of a gun, we’re gonna have big fun! I was just reading Augie de Blieck’s review of #1 and literally just started laughing aloud with joy. I cannot wait until tomorrow.

    I was going to dispute that "good event to bad event ratio" comment, but upon reflection I guess you’re right; I guess I just tend to put the bad ones in my rearview mirror so quickly that I discount them. World War Hulk wasn’t great in the end, but I’d already put it out of my mind. House of M had its problems, but its problems were basically that its long term story repercussions were negligible… meaning, again, it is all too easy to forget about. Maybe I’m more positive than I realized.

    I think it’s easy to be positive about crossovers in this brave new era, because despite what some other folks have said I don’t think you need to buy every book to follow and enjoy the story. (Hell, if it says "Young Avengers" or "Runaways" in the title, not buying the tie-in is imperative to your enjoyment.) When I go through my X-Men collection from the eighties, and the issue ends and says, "This story is continued in a book you didn’t buy," I am grateful to be reading now. 

  17. I’m going to guess that most of the people who insist (and I see it all the time) that House of M had very little impact on the Marvel U don’t read X-books. Thats fine, and if so I understand where you are coming from, since the resurection of Hawkeye and the launch of a Ms. Marvel solo title are not groundshaking events.

    But House of M completley changed the X-men corner of the universe, and in fact has been the launching point for most of the last 2 1/2 years of X-Men stories.

  18. @conor "I choose hope.  I choose love over hate." – I kinda feel like I’ve heard that before somewhere, but can’t figure out where…

    Anyway, I’m with Conor on these two. I really trust those creators to deliver their A-game and I think that both events will be excellent. I’m biased on Morrison though, he’s one of the main reasons I read comics; he can’t do wrong in my book. His JLA brought me into this stuff..

  19. Well, I’m absolutely looking forward to Secret Invasion. I agree; it just *feels* right.

     

    I’ve very little interest in Final Crisis, though Didio told us at WWLA that Mary Marvel would play a big role in it, so I’m tempted to check it out anyway.

     

  20. here here! Totally agree with this, I usually love crossovers (WWH was the exception) simply because it’s a book where EVERYONE’S in it.

  21. I’m with deezer — the more heros you pack in, the more I love it.  What I like best about events is often what is criticized about them — I like when you can see the event reflected across the books in the rest of the titles.  They don’t need to be full crossovers and they shouldn’t give out essential information, but its cool to see that the event isn’t ocurring in a vacuum.  That has become harder and harder to do nowadays since the scheduling of the books has become a bit of a nightmare.

  22. I have a feeling secret invasion is going to be liked from the beginning, because the road to Secret Invasion has been very well executed, basically with new avengers and Avengers illuminatti.

    Final Crisis has to carry Countdown on it’s back so there may be a lot of prejudice when approaching this event. As much as I try to like countdown at this moment I have no feelings towards the fate of the characters of that series, were the prelude Sinestro corps everything would be different.

    I really hope DC lets Morrison do his thing like he does with all star superman or something like he did with seven soldiers (a tad less confusing maybe).

  23. I couldn’t agree more with this article!  Bring them both on!  I have the feeling that both will be good, and I’m willing to go with optimism.

  24. Love events. They are fun.

    If they suck, I can just drop ’em and hit the wiki for plot details.  

  25. I’ll continue to echo the event love!!

    Although I think I’m in the camp that gets all excited for an event and then is kinda let down.  Now that I think about it however, I really loved Identity Crisis and Civil War.  WWH and Infinite Crisis not so much, Guess I’m batting like .500 which gets me into the hall of fame someday.

  26. Total pessimism. It’s easier on the wallet.

  27. These two events I hope are the last ones from both companies for awhile.  Civil War failed for me on many aspects but I’m giving Secret Invasion a shot because of Bendis and how much I liked House of M.

    I didn’t mind Infinity Crisis but OYL failed for me on several aspects, even though 52 was good it didn’t show all the things DC said they wanted to show.  I’m hoping Final Crisis is good and final because I want to see the DC universe get stable again and have the characters start to grow again. 

  28. yeah… having one (or two) events a year really hurts my wallet. Maybe one event per company every other year? I could dig that. Saves my wallet some heartache and means that they’ll probably be better. 

  29. @adrian – I wouldn’t classify One Year Later or 52 as events. 

  30. One Year Later was absolutely an event.  They skipped all the books forward a year, and there was a label on each book.  If that’s not an event, I don’t know what is.  52, I could go either way on, since it was really a whole series.

  31. I don’t think it was an "event" it was a paradigm shift.  When DC rebooted after Crisis it wasn’t an event.  Crisis was the event, just like Infinite Crisis was the event before One Year Later.

  32. I’m looking forward to Secret Invasion.  Even if you don’t like events or whats going on in the Marvel U right now; aliens posing as people you know for god knows how long and possibly in the highest positions is just awesome.  Like the founders posing as Dr. Bashir and General Martok on DS9.

  33. now guys lets keep it civil, i can see the beads of sweat forming on your face conor, and josh you just behave yourself you know just how to push his buttons, don’t make me come across the pond and take away your comics

    woop woop

    The Brit in a hat

  34. I don’t know.  I’m kind of feeling the burn on the whole event thing.  I get the concept and why the companies do them.  And the pisser is that many times, the ideas are good and intrigue me.  So then I buy it, am usually not all that into it and I drop it, but because the issues sell a bagillion copies, Marvel/DC see this as the fans wanting more events. (When they should be catering to me, and me alone.) So, to me, events are doule edged swords.

    That said, I’m interested by Secret Invasion, but Morrison has been missing with me lately, which means Final Crisis may not speak to me.  We’ll see.  I’m weak and completely hypocritical, so I’ll probably buy the first issue of both.  Damn me.

  35. I’m more excited about Final Crisis than Secret Invastion, but am looking forward to both, more so than any other events that have occurred since I first got into superhero comics 2 years ago.

  36. @conor – In my eyes you also have to look at what results come out from the event to see if the event was worth it.  The shift to OYL was coupled with Infinite Crisis, making it hard not to factor it in.  52 was definitely just a series but came to exist because of Infinite Crisis & OYL specifically.

    Outside of Robin, you’d be hard-pressed to find a DC book that didn’t need at least 6 issues or so to find its way in OYL.  Whether it was through creator troubles or bad stories, most of the first OYL stories stumbled out of the gate.  With all the planning that goes into these events there shouldn’t be these problems.

  37. I loved Civil War as an event.  I still say, if not for the delays, people would have a much more positive view of the series.  That aside though, New Avengers was great, Spider-Man was great, Wolverine was great, Frontline was great (for a while)… every week for about three months I had something Civil War related that I enjoyed.  That was the only event I got really into but I have high hopes for Secret Invasion to top it.

  38. Remember when Ron picked "Civil War Tie In’s" as the POW? 

  39. I agree that something just "feels right" about these two events.

  40. I have great hopes for Secret Invasion, not so much for Final Crisis.

  41. PymSlap (@alaska_nebraska) says:

    What’s the premise for Final Crisis?

  42. I look forward to everyone posting spoiler laiden reviews of Secret Invasion so I don’t have to buy it.  And yet I love the premise and am tempted by the fact the first issue is double-sized and Bendis’s description of the full movie vs director’s cut.

  43. @PymSlap That it’s the last one! 😀

    But seriously: What is the premise? I’m excited as hell and don’t know what it’s about… 

  44. Let me preface by saying that I am indeed part of the evil pirate empire that downloads EVERY SINGLE COMIC BOOK off the fabulous interweb first before I buy any particular one that I may feel is so awesome that I MUST have it! (I have on 2 seperate drives EVERY COMIC EVER PUBLISHED BY EVERY COMPANY. Every one. Honest.)

    I am the sole income for my family and just cannot afford to buy all the floppies(Yeah Conor I know u hate the term).

    That being said, I am sitting here staring at stacks and stacke of Trades, Hardcovers, Absolute Editions, and Omnibuses (Onminbi). And a large percent of these books are ‘event’ related. So yes I do eat them up with a spoon, and yes, even for a pirate like me, they generate great income.

    ps – The last floppy comic I bought was indeed The Confession. 

  45. I would have a lot more hype for either series if they didn’t sound so bad.  Absolutely, gut-wrenchingly awful books.  You already know the ending to Secret Invasion!  People are revealed as Skrulls, and several Marvel stories from the past few years are, in effect, unwritten since the main participants were Skrulls.  Who do I trust?  Not the writers. 

  46. The only thing I’m worried about is that it could be delayed. The last two marvel events I read were delayed. WHH wasn’t as bad since there were fewer books tied into it unlike Civil War. I just hope that this is on time so can it can be read uninterrupted. Still I’m really looking forward to reading Both Secret Invasion, and Final Crisis.