Sunday, April 3, 2011

Flashpoint vs. Fear Itself

So I've given this a lot of thought since Marvel and DC's big summer events were announced, and I've come to the conclusion that I'm going to give some of this Flashpoint nonsense a try, while completely ignoring Fear Itself.

This may not be a very wise decision, and I want to make it clear that I don't necessarily recommend that anybody follow my example.

I'm giving Flashpoint a try not so much because I believe it's going to be good, but more because I have a desire to participate in at least one of the big summer events in some capacity, and of the two, this is the one that appeals the most to me. And the reason it appeals to me the most is that Fear Itself appeals to me none at all.

Why doesn't Fear Itself appeal to me? Partly it has to do with my relationship to Marvel. I'm a casual reader at best, so I'm just not that invested in the Marvel Universe. I've tried to get into Thor, Iron Man, Captain America and the (various) Avengers titles, but none of them have stayed on my pull list very long. And since Fear Itself is by being "architected" by the same people who are "architecting" those book, I'm just not thrilled about it.

The only Marvel books that I'm currently really digging are Amazing Spider-Man (which as far as I know won't tie directly into Fear Itself) and Wolverine and Jubilee, which is a mini-series with only one issue left.

As for Flashpoint... well, I read a lot more DC, so I know and care about almost all the characters involved. The Flash has been pretty good since it relaunched, and that leads directly into the main Flashpoint mini-series.

The story itself seems like a bit of a clusterfuck and it remains to be seen if it's going to make any sense at all, but at least some of the ideas that are getting thrown around sound like fun. It just seems like a really colourful and trippy event, whereas Fear Itself seems dark and serious and kind of tedious. I'm sure that difference is only superficial at best, and Flashpoint will have its share of darkness and unpleasantness and dismemberment. After all, that's the only way super-hero comic books know how to show that they "matter."

So anyway. I'll give it a shot. And possibly live to regret it. Now the question is, how much of it should I get? Because 16 mini-series and God knows how many one-shots is INSANE, and I just can't afford it all.

I'm obviously going to get the core mini-series, which is presumably the only "essential" part, although if past events are any indication, this is usually not true. I think I'm also going to get Booster Gold, since Dan Jurgens is returning to the title around the same time and it looks like it's going to be a major tie-in. The Flash is getting cancelled during the event, so that's one less book to worry about.

Looking at the various mini-series, it's hard to gauge which ones are going to be "important" to the story. My impression is that they're all more or less on the same level, which suggests that they might all be unnecessary, so it's really more a matter of deciding which characters, concepts or creative teams appeal to me personally.

Here are my thoughts on each of them:

  • Batman: Knight of Vengeance: Brian Azzarello writing makes this tempting, but I'm not really thrilled by the premise of Bruce Wayne running casinos. WEAK MAYBE.
  • Secret Seven: Peter Milligan and George Perez are a plus. Shade the Changing Man is a trippy fan-favourite character that I'm curious about. But I fear this might not be the best place for me to get introduced to him, so that makes me hesitate. WEAK MAYBE.
  • Abin Sur: Green Lantern: I'm not big on the Green Lantern books these days. Plus, Felipe Massafera on art? Blargh. NO.
  • The World of Flashpoint: A bunch of different writers, no specific character? This is going to be a mess and definitely not essential. NO.
  • Emperor Aquaman: Very tempting. With the solid creative team of Tony Bedard and Ardian Syaf and the totally badass-looking Aquaman on the cover, this should be good. STRONG MAYBE.
  • Deathstroke and Ravager something or other: I hate Deathstroke, so NO.
  • Frankenstein and I forgot the full title: I have no idea what Frankenstein is doing here. I mostly want to ignore this, but the fact that Jeff Lemire is writing makes me kinda curious. WEAK MAYBE.
  • Citizen Cold: It's a character from Flash's rogues, so this might be "important." I like Scott Kolins' art, but didn't know he wrote. ON THE FENCE.
  • Wonder Woman and the Furies: I'm sick of alternate-reality Wonder Woman. And I don't like the creative team. NO.
  • Deadman and the Flying Graysons: Love the concept. Not super-thrilled about J.T. Krul. ON THE FENCE.
  • Legion of Doom featuring Heatwave: As much as I'd love to support these Milestone characters, this doesn't do anything for me. NO.
  • Lois Lane and the Resistance: Damn it. I really would like to get this, if only to support the idea that Lois Lane can lead her own book. But with DnA writing, I don't have much faith in it. NO.
  • The Outsider: I'd like to give James Robinson a chance, but the concept here just doesn't do anything for me. NO.
  • Kid Flash: It's Bart. How can I say no to Bart? YES.
  • Project Superman: Scott Snyder is writing. And everything of his that I've read so far has been fantastic. STRONG MAYBE.
  • Hal Jordan: HELL NO.
So that's one yes, 2 "strong maybes", 2 "on the fences", 3 "weak maybes", and 8 "definite nos". Considering how many titles there are to pick from, I can probably write off the "weak maybes" as "nos," and that leaves me somewhere between 1 and 5 titles to chose from. My final decision will probably be based on how many other titles I have on my pull list that week and a quick flip-through at the store.

Then there are the four one-shots in June: Grodd of War, Reverse Flash, Green Arrow Industries, Canterbury Cricket. That last one sounds kinda cool, but I think I'm going to skip all of those. One-shots are almost never worth it.

As a blogger/reviewer (and I suppose as a fan), I kind of wish that I had unlimited income and that I could plunge head-first into this insanity and review the full event. On the other hand, that could be the kind of thing that would then turn me off of mainstream comics forever, so it's probably a good idea to exercise some restraint, and not just from a financial point of view.

All of those secondary mini-series and one-shots are hitting in June. The first issue of Flashpoint comes out in May. Until then, the prelude is appearing in the few issues of Flash that are left.


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