I am not an event book reader when it comes to comic books.
In most cases, I find them to be sloppily organized, and sometimes harmful to the storylines of the characters involved.
More often than not, I find that crossovers and event comics typically have valuable ideas and story beats to bring to the table, however in most cases the events that take place between these major moments amount to little more than fluff or padding.
All of this, combined with the fact that I don’t consider myself a fan of “team” books, is what keeps me from reading event books.
I find them to be nothing more than bloated, ponderous, fanboy conceived drivel that are more enjoyable to read in bullet-point summary.
That being said, what experience do I have personally with event comics?
Well, the first crossover I ever read was X-Men: Fatal Attractions.
This was a typical 90′s X-family story, wherein the Acolytes are running around being dicks, Magneto has somehow come back from the dead following Fabian Cortez’s betrayal, and now the whole planet is in danger.
Sorry though, no New Mutants, although I don’t know who in their right mind would miss them.
The whole thing comes to a climax when a small strike force of X-Men attempt to destroy Magneto, resulting in him using his magnetic powers to tear the adamantium from Wolverine’s bones and clear through his skin.
It was perhaps the most dramatic moment in the entire storyline, however it was by no means the only important event to occur throughout.
As a kid, I really liked Fatal Attractions.
The X-Men cartoon and Capcom’s various Marvel arcade games of the time had thrust the X-Men into the forefront of my childhood consciousness, and even if I didn’t “get” all the subtleties of the story, I was just happy to be reading about the X-Men.
Nowadays, as an older, wiser Azn Badger, I bow my head in shame at any thought of the X-Men comics, however I still find myself nostalgically flipping through my collected edition of Fatal Attractions from time to time.
Oh yeah, and that piece of monkey-crap, X-Men: Messiah Complex.
In general, crossovers always have the potential to be pretty good, but when it comes to combining the writing and art of so many different writers and pencillers, it takes a special kind of chemistry to make it all sync together just right.
Of the 4 crossovers I own, only Fatal Attraction manages to remain fairly consistent in voice and presentation.
Well, except for maybe the guys that drew the Excalibur portion, they sucked something fierce.
When everyone comes together just right, and are able to trick you into thinking you’re reading a single cohesive story, written by one person; then you have a crossover that just might be something special.
It doesn’t happen often, but we comic fans are always hopeful.
Event comics are something that I stayed away from until fairly recently.
You know those little captions that pop up in the corner of some panels saying cryptic little nothings like:
“For more info, read Avengers West Coast #47!”
That’s the kind of bullshit that kept me away from event books for most of my life.
It was tightly paced, only had 2 illustrators, who thankfully had similar styles; and perhap most important of all:
It was self-contained.
True, there were a handful of supplemental storylines that tied-into the main storyline, but despite this, the entire collected edition, from start to finish, could be read and understood by just about anyone.
I really liked the Infinity Gauntlet, but from most reviews I’ve read, there aren’t that many company event comics that can measure up to it, outside of maybe the grandaddy of all event comics, Secret Wars.
I own maybe 3 event comics including the Infinity Gauntlet.
While World War Hulk was kind of a let down given that I am not really a “modern” John Romita Jr. fan, (I liked his 90′s style better than his Moai Statue looking people nowadays) and the conclusion of the story reeked of deus ex machina, Civil War was a pleasant surprise.
If anything swayed me a little bit on the possibility of good “modern” event comics, Civil War was it.
While the story is a little bit claustrophobic at times, and the conclusion seems to come rather suddenly, the collected edition of Civil War was largely coherent, and more importantly, enjoyable to read.
While Mark Millar is hardly on my “good list,” his writing for Civil War was remarkably restrained, and fit the voices of the characters quite well for the most part.
Like I mentioned earlier though, it helps when you have Steven McNiven, one of the best artists in the medium; doing the interiors.
Civil War had a shit-ton of tie-ins, some of which I’ve been told were essential to the experience, particularly the Amazing Spider-Man issues, however I read none of them and still enjoyed myself.
The reason I chose today to gripe about event comics and crossovers, was because of a dilemma I encountered at Olympic Cards and Comics yesterday.
I was in the market for a trade paperback, (I don’t buy weekly’s and monthlies anymore) and I had found myself stupefied by a simple, 3-way decision.
Why did I do this?
Because Thunderbolts vol. 3 just happened to be a tie-in to the 2008 event comic, Secret Invasion.
In terms of event comics, Secret Invasion is widely regarded as the definition of “let-down.”
It was hyped for no less than 5 years, and while the changes to the Marvel universe that it brought to the table were indeed significant, the actual panel-to-panel experience amounted to nothing more than “meh.”
On top of that, if you go to your local comic shop, and you look for Secret Invasion of the trade shelf, do you know what you see?
A WHOLE FUCKING ROW OF PAPER THIN PURPLE BOOK SPINES.
Marvel really shat on it’s readers with it’s release of Secret Invasion and it’s ungodly number of tie-in books.
Seriously, by my count there are 26 books under the Secret Invasion label, with 4 of them being of the core storyline, and about 5-6 of them being essential to the experience according to most recommendations.
At $30 for the core book, and like $15 a pop for any of the tie-ins, that’s not asking a lot, that’s just straight punk-garbage-faggotry, man.
Secret Invasion pisses me off because I don’t want to read it on account of it’s shittiness, and yet I feel a strong desire to give in and read it on account of it having stake in just about every storyline since it’s publication.
Either way, I still hate reading really good trades from characters I like and seeing those little fucking yellow captions pop up with their “See Secret Invasion #5!” bullshit.
2 years have past, I know what happens during Secret Invasion, and yet I don’t.
Though I loved Thunderbolts 1-2, the interference of Secret Invasion, a bloated book I honestly don’t want to read, is what kept me from pursuing the rest of the series for the time being.
Well, that and the fact that Warren Ellis bowed out of the series as writer after volume 2.
The whole point of this rant is that, I love comic books, but I’m pretty sure I’m always going to be one of those guys that just reads his comics.
I took a gamble with Civil War, and it worked out, but I also took a gamble with Messiah Complex, and now I feel like hitting someone every time I think about it.
Event comics are hard for me, because I tend to read comics from the DC/Marvel universes, but I generally stick to the characters that typically aren’t involved in the big events.
Moon Knight was featured in about 1 page of The Infinity Gauntlet.
I guess you could say The Punisher lent a hand in Civil War, and by that I mean he killed a pair of D-list supervillains that nobody cared about.
I like my comics, but every now and again, I feel compelled to take a gamble and try and read one of their comics.
When I think about it though, near as I can tell I’m about 1:1 with my “good” and “bad” event book purchases, so I guess the odds of me being pleasantly surprised are actually pretty good.
Here’s hoping to future gambles and pleasant surprises then, I guess.