Wednesday, October 19, 2005

COMICS: I got the crossover blues

I've recently found myself becoming inordinately angry at the big crossover events going on at Marvel and DC. I'm just sick to death of them. They make me shake my tiny little fist and go, "Grr."

The Marvel crossovers have been -- among other irritations -- screwing with a couple series written by Peter David, one of my favorite comics writers. First, during David's dozen-or-so issue return to The Incredible Hulk, five whole issues were wasted dealing with this House of M malarkey. It was David's epic run on the Hulk that got me back into comics when I was 18, which is over [mumble] years ago. I was really looking forward to his return to the character, and his inscription into the House of M crossover extinguished most of that enthusiasm.

And now, with his return to Spider-Man (in the new Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man series), the very first issue kicks off a 12-part crossover story, "The Other." Dammit! I just want to read Peter David writing his own Hulk or Spider-Man stories. I don't want to have to read his half-hearted attempt at joining a storyline crafted by Brian Bendis and the Marvel editorial staff, and I don't want to have to read 87 other books written by different writers that I don't especially care for just so I can keep up with what's going on in the one book I want to read.

Meanwhile, over at DC, they've got their current Infinite Crisis event going on, which is kind of the end product of last year's Identity Crisis, which itself was followed by a plethora of "Countdown to Infinite Crisis"-themed mini-series, not to mention a ton of crossovers that have been occupying most of the big-name books and characters. The only bit of business in all this hoo-hah that has interested me even in the slightest has been the return of Hal Jordan as the Green Lantern in his own book, and the accompanying spin-off title, Green Lantern Corps, featuring past-and-present GLs such as Kyle Rayner and Guy Gardner.

I've always liked Green Lantern... theoretically; in practice, I've never really been a regular reader, but I like the character well enough when I encounter him in group books, like JLA. So I thought I would try the first issue of Hal Jordan's new series, and the first issue of the Corps series. Mistake, both times. These books -- and to a certain extent, all the big-name DC titles -- are encumbered by an insurmountably arcane history of continuity and such a vast legion of obscure supporting characters that they're completely inscrutable even to someone like me, who's been reading comics pretty much weekly for almost two decades. Throw in the crossover events on top of it all, and almost the entire superhero lineup of DC is nigh unreadable to a less-than-hopelessly devoted fan.

For example, if I wanted to read and properly understand and enjoy the first issue of Infinite Crisis (which I don't), I first would have to be familiar with its preceding mini-series Villains United, Omac Project, Rann/Thanagar War, Day of Vengeance, and even Adam Strange, as well as the one-shot Countdown to Infinite Crisis, plus the regular JLA, Wonder Woman, Batman, and Superman comics (at the very least -- possibly also Green Lantern, Flash, JSA, and others), and be more than passingly familiar with Crisis on Infinite Earths, a mega-crossover event from 20 years ago, which tied into the continuity of basically the entire history of DC superhero comics.

Sure, I could do that. Or -- here's a thought -- maybe DC Comics can kiss my ass instead.

I know these big crossover events aren't going away any time soon -- according to Mike, Infinite Crisis has been selling like gangbusters. (Or hotcakes. Gangcakes!) But still, it annoys the hell out of me that such a large segment of the superhero comic library is seemingly eternally dedicated to these crossovers, both A) continually interrupting the internal story integrity of so many regular series, and B) adding unnecessary complexity to stories and characters which are already mind-bogglingly inscrutable.

So there. If you want those kind of events, you can have 'em. I'm gonna be over here, reading my Showcase Presents: Superman collection instead. These '50s comics don't make a lot of sense, either, but at least they do it in such a hilarious, fascinating, endlessly entertaining way!

Weblog Commenting and Trackback by