Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Comic Event Season

We can bitch and moan about big comic book events all we want, but they aren't going away. Lately it seems events never really end, either. They just sort of morph into the next one or spin off into separate mini events until the next big one comes along. Either way, I think the key is to make the event what you want it to be. These are just stories, so just approach them as stories not as life or universe altering events. Of course, this would be easier to do if the publishers handled it properly on their end.

Right now, Marvel is into Fear Itself. Several ties have come out and the core Fear Itself book released issue 2 last week. I have decided to read only the core book. My thought is that you should be able to follow the story and get something out of it without having to read everything. The publishers themselves tell you this. So, is the case with Fear Itself? NO! They lie! Fear Itself, the book, is horrible. It's so condensed that nothing actually happens. Whether or not this is true of the whole event itself, I can't say, but as a series goes, Fear Itself started off ok with issue 1, but number 2 didn't do anything at all to move the story forward. So far, all we know is that this so-called Serpent character has unleashed all these hammers on the world, which are picked up by various people, who in turn are possessed by the Serpent's army. Meanwhile, Odin has recreated Asgard and chained up Thor. Still no clue who this Serpent person is or what he wants. Taking your time with a story is fine, but you have to give me something each issue.

It seems as though, instead of rewarding readers for reading all of the tie ins, Marvel is punishing readers for only reading one book. It's a missed opportunity to do something interesting with the medium. Properly done, what should happen is that no matter what title you follow, you get a complete story. Not THE complete story, mind you, just a story. Then, if you read other tie ins, you get more pieces to a larger story coming together. The main book, however, should be the backbone of the whole thing and not just rely on snippets to be expanded upon in the other titles. It should make me want to pick up the tie ins, not because I have to in order to know what's going on, but because you've given me enough to care about that I now have an interest in going deeper. If what you want is a story where you need what is being told in all the tie ins, then do it as a series of OGN's. To me, that's just common sense.

Last week, Marvel also released X-Men Prelude to Schism #1. While only a prelude to the upcoming X-Men event, I found it much more satisfying than Fear Itself. Nothing much happened in the book, but we did get a good set up of where the characters are at, particularly Cyclops. We know some kind of threat is at hand that has put Scott in the position to decide whether to fight or evacuate Utopia. And, really, in a prelude, that should be all we need to know. Whether this event will actually change everything for the X-Men, as advertised, or not, doesn't really matter, so long as it's a satisfying story.

Today, DC releases Flashpoint #1, which already looks promising. The many mini-series associated with Flashpoint look to be interesting. DC is once again playing with alternate realities, which is, I think, what they do best. And in those situations, events have a better chance of doing what I think they should. There's a much better chance that reading any of the minis will be satisfying, regardless of the bigger picture of the event. I will probably be following most of, if not all of Flashpoint, but I already predict the main story will not be the best part.

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