Beyond The Panel: 5 Reasons Why MARVEL Needs Less Crossover Event Comics
Welcome true believers and lovers of picture books with words and splash pages! With most of today’s biggest movies coming from the ideas and character work of comic book characters, The Think Tank of The Well Versed gave me the privilege of bringing a bi-weekly column on all things that go BOOM, POW! and WOW! This week’s piece takes a look at MARVEL Comic’s infatuation with huge, event comics. Welcome to the first edition of Beyond The Panel.
Since 2005, with the release of House of M, MARVEL comics has released a sweeping crossover event that ”changes the status quo’ ‘almost every year. After House Of M, there was Civil War, World War Hulk, Secret Invasion, Siege, Fear Itself, and finally Avengers Vs X- Men (which ended last week). The Well Versed gives 5 reasons why MARVEL should scale back on the epic crossover events, and focus more on character contained stories.
Reason #5: The after Effects Don’t hold Up Very Long
With each crossover event we get the tired tagline of, ”Nothing Will Ever Be The Same!” While the status quo changes for a while, fans that bought into the crossover event and followed each and every issue, are usually left disappointed that after the author promises that the changes during the event will last. Such as the Hero Registration Act that carried out through Civil War and caused the entire Marvel Universe to fight one another be done away with four years later during the Heroic Age. Or how the events of Civil War led to the death of Captain America, and Bucky Barnes aka The Winter Soldier going on to become the New Captain America; only to see Steve Rodgers resurrected a year or so later and returned as Captain America. The events give readers false hope and changes that don’t last and end up making the reader feel cheated.
Reason #4: Character’s acting out of character
With Avengers: Disassembled, many MARVEL faithful were perplexed by Wanda’s increased power level. Gone were the days of simple spells and magic; now Wanda had the ability to alter reality completely and kill fellow Avengers. In House Of M, The Scarlet Witch eliminated the majority of Mutant kind with three words: ”No More Mutants’.’ There’s also the great character misdirection of Tony Stark and Steve Rodgers in Civil War, where a lot of comic book fans saw Stark go from dashing playboy and business man, to uber serious dictator. Steve Rodgers went from Boy Scout and patriot to rebel with a cause. Then there was the Hulk’s strength going from super to Superman x 10. Of course, the Hulk has always been one of MARVEL’s strongest characters, but in MARVEL event World War Hulk, the Hulk became an unbeatable, overwritten green giant. What we don’t get from these events is proper character development.
Reason #3: Fans can’t afford to buy the entire tie in books and main books
I got back into comics during the Civil War Main Event and I nearly went broke during my college semester by trying to keep up with all of the tie ins and one shots revolving around Civil War. Things got so bad financially that I had to drop every other comic that I was reading to keep up with only Civil War. With Civil War I bought all 10 books that tied into the Civil War saga (Civil War was already a 7 issue series). So, there’s no wonder why fans simply wait to read these events in trade now. It’s cheaper and less time consuming.
Reason #2: Enough Hero vs. Hero battles already!
Other than Siege, we’ve seen MARVEL heroes square off with one another in every event since House Of M. At first, it was cool seeing some of our favorite heroes square off against one another. But, after House of M, Civil War, World War Hulk, and now the battle clusterfuck with Avengers vs. X-men; the fighting thing has gotten really old. Nothing ever comes from the fighting other than the death of a D-List character, or an A list character ”dying” and being suddenly resurrected.
Reason #1: Readers miss self contained stories
One of my favorite comic runs from MARVEL last decade was Astonishing X-men by Joss Whedon and John Cassidy. One of the great things about it was the fact that it avoided three of MARVEL’s crossover events and stayed in its own world. Not only did we get one of the best X-men run’s since the 80′s, we also got a story that didn’t have to be interrupted by the demands of succumbing to the events of a crossover and event. Few comics can make it through crossovers and maintain their momentum and character development. Ed Brubaker’s Captain America is one of the few books I can think of that maintained a high level of quality during its interruption from crossover events.
With Avengers vs. X-men being over and the MARVEL: NOW! Campaign launching, we may be crossover free for a couple of months. That is, until MARVEL wants to get some press and instant sales.