Big Events: More "Night of the Owls," Less "AvX"

A big event should be something that the publisher is proud of and the fans should crave. These are the pay-per-view events of the respective comic universes. The stories should be inspiring and exceptional, the art detailed and fantastic, and most important of all, it should be something that loyal fans of the company will love and the event will further cement their support for the publisher. Unfortunately, it hasn't been that way for awhile. I personally haven't enjoyed any of Marvel's big events since "Civil War," and it seems as though a fair chunk of fans agree. In fact, many go a step further and loathed "Civil War." To make matters worse, the most recent event ("Avengers vs X-Men") is being bashed by a big majority of comic fans I chat with, and I have to say I agree with their fading interest in the story. However, over at DC, "Night of Owls" has been a huge success, generating lots of love and finding a fun way to mesh into other titles. They're both big events, but what is it that makes "Avengers vs X-Men" so terribly mediocre and "Night of the Owls"such a hit?

The Scale

I know this might be hard to swallow for Marvel, but not every big event needs to have massive scale or such drastic odds. The Phoenix is coming (for the millionth time) and the world might be destroyed if Hope can't harness the power! Do you really think the Earth will be destroyed this time around? And, if Marvel's true objective is as simple as giving the fans some hero versus hero encounters, then why not just give us "Contest of Champions III?" After all, that's the friggin' premise of the book and it does so without trying to come off as some grand event. Sure, this event is appealing for longtime fans of Phoenix or people who have grown fond of Hope, but aside from that, we're four issues in and quite literally nothing has happened to make us give a damn. To call that unfortunate would be a pretty big understatement. On top of that, the primary titles alone don't suffice if you want a better grasp on the story. The tie-ins are mandatory for extra details. Otherwise, Cap doesn't seem like all that fantastic of a tactician if you're limited to his actions in AvX #1. "Hey Wolverine, Phoenix is bad, right? Alright, let's go steal that girl."

"Night of the Owls" has a very simple premise that allows it to seep into other books without feeling forced. The Court of the Owls want to re-take Gotham, so they're sending out a flood of assassins to take out a host of targets. Which will live? Which will die? How will Batman stop them? This isn't shoving all of the characters into one big shindig while they're still off doing other matters in other titles. Instead, it has managed to fit organically into every title it impacts (in this case: everyone in Gotham). These tie-ins have a clear objective: prevent the Talon from killing his/her target. While none have truly been great, so far each has been quite fun and it's enjoyable seeing how the assorted heroes would handle facing the regenerating assassins. More importantly, they're not mandatory if you want to understand the majority of the main story.

The Creative Team

No, I'm not going to jump on the Bendis hate train. While I'm not a fan of most of his recent work, there's no denying his time with Daredevil, the earlier work with New Avengers and Ultimate Spider-Man was some quality material. So, credit where it's due. Then we have some other big names in Marvel (Aaron, Brubaker, JRJR), but despite these being the "heavy hitters" of the company, this event (just like the handful before it), don't stand out as anything exceptional. Like I said before, we're already 4 issues into AvX and not much has happened to push the story forward. And, seeing as I'm on a budget, the $3.99 price tag per issue means it's growing costly to stick around only to be continually letdown. John Romita Jr's art is something that has grown on me a lot over the years. I wasn't a huge fan at first, but I've come to really love and appreciate his incredibly unique style in many titles. However, there's a significant lack of detail here, especially when a handful of characters share a panel. This is a big-freaking-event and it should look great and it should keep our interest. It shouldn't appear sloppy and move at a snail's pace.

It's widely agreed upon that Snyder and Capullo have been dominating with Batman. Introducing the Owls was a tricky move and risked making WTF-worthy retcons to Gotham's history, however, they completely pulled it off. Their existence is believable and is continually fleshed out as we carry on in the event. To make matters even more impressive, almost every issue we get an interesting set of facts about the history of Wayne's family or the city itself.

What To Do?

In my eyes, Marvel is suffering from a quantity versus quality issue. They're pumping out a lot of events, but none will really go down as a must-read story, and as a long-time Marvel fan, that's a huge disappointment. There's no quota for big events, so perhaps it would just be best if Marvel took a step back and began reducing the volume of these stories and treated each one as their next masterpiece. Yes, sales are incredible for them (how could the majority not want to pick up a book with Wolverine and Cap fighting on the cover?), but at the same rate, pulling in more cash doesn't mean all of that green should blind them from a pretty loud outcry from their loyal fans. A big event doesn't need to feel big, and "Night of the Owls" is proof of this. Now, this isn't to say DC isn't guilty of the same mistake. I guess we'll just have to wait and see when "Trinity War" comes around.

What do you think? Do you agree that Marvel needs to cool down with the big events and focus on fewer but better stories? Or, are you loving AvX and think I'm a fool for believing otherwise? And, do you agree or disagree that "Night of the Owls" should be a standard for more events?

source: my blog

36 Comments
36 Comments
Posted by Vance Astro

People have been complaining about Marvel's events for years.Frankly I'm fed up with Marvel.Their events are pointless from a story telling standpoint, but they are making money and the hardest thing to do is to make some feel bad about making subpar work when they are topping the charts.Sadly enough i'm still addicted to their books.They have such great characters.Their roster has always interested more so than DC's.My problem with DC now is the DCnU.I was behind from the get go.Just when I get to the point where i'm going to catch up,they reboot their entire universe and not even for the better.I haven't seen one change that made DC anymore interesting aside from the quality of Aquaman making it's way up.As far as these two events i'm behind on both but so far what i've gotten from the Night of the Owls event, it's like every event involving the Bat-family, it's fairly decent but not mind blowing.It's not supposed to be.It's a short period in the history of a few characters.Marvel on the other hand involves nearly all of their characters yet completely fail at character development.

Moderator
Posted by k4tzm4n

@Vance Astro:

Marvel on the other hand involves nearly all of their characters yet completely fail at character development.

Staff
Posted by zexion_armando

I wouldn't call Night of the Owls a big event, its a simple bat family crossover (with only like 5 other comics participating for an issue, at that) not unlike the recent The Omega Effect.

Would I prefer smaller, better crafted events? Yes, but thats harder to do with a universe so intertwined as Marvel's is, where nearly every major hitter appears in every other major comic on a weekly basis. It seems like DC has a better way to distancing its characters and their respective spin offs (barring JLA). Fans, it seems, are clamoring for major, cross series events which all their favorite teams participate.

Thats kind of Marvel's shtick for the past, what, decade or so?

Edited by k4tzm4n

@zexion_armando: I actually thought about that first remark for quite a bit. Seeing as Bat-related titles are a good chunk of DC's titles, I thought it was safe to call it a big event. After all, it's impacting roughly the same number of books that AvX is (albeit for a shorter period of time). Plus, they're dubbing it an "epic event." I agree with you that it's not on the same scale of traditional big events, but I thought it would be fun to compare/contrast the two and why I believe Marvel needs to focus on giving that a shot instead of (just like you said) what they've been doing for quite some time. While I do agree it'll be more difficult to pull off due to the abundance of characters appearing in numerous titles, I don't think it would be impossible. After all, Messiah CompleX is a good example of this (in regards to X titles), as is Spider-Island for Spidey related titles.

Staff
Posted by zexion_armando

Yeah, other than semantics involving what to dub Night of the Owls lol, I do agree that Marvel should really downsize their "events" to very few franchises , and only really play a big event crossover every other year or so, where they can really plan something great out, instead of reaching into a hat and picking "Who should rewrite Marvel continuity again, and temporarily kill off someone fans love for no reason today?" And not make it seem like its going through the motions, like AvX currently feels like (its just Civil War with new sides, pretty much. Just instead of pro registration, it's pro kill Hope, lol.)

Posted by knighthood

The best thing about the Owls crossover is that you don't need to read every issue just to understand a battle sequence.

Posted by clemj

AvX done by Loeb or someone else would make it great, now Bendis is bringing Marvel down with him! 
but it's right... they should focus on the characters 
DC should change nothing at all! they're doing great

Posted by TheGreyOutcastX

@clemj said:

AvX done by Loeb or someone else would make it great, now Bendis is bringing Marvel down with him!

Did you read X-Sanction or Ultimatum?

Posted by Dane

I think you know my opinion on Marvel's events already :p
 
I think you also know I'm right with you on this. Writing stories should be able the stories. Just because there are pictures shouldn't make it a derpfest.

Posted by Saren

I am a little surprised that I liked all the single issue tie-ins to NOTO as much as I did. I was not expecting to.

Moderator
Posted by X35

The difference between the two is Night of the Owls is an actual event. It's something that happens and has scope to cross over into titles.

Avengers vs. X-Men is just a glorified story that's hyped to be an event. If you took away the banner and tie-ins, and just slotted it into any Avengers title, how is it any different than a standard modern Avengers story like Breakout or The Collective?

Posted by Lvenger

I agree wholeheartedly with what you've said k4tzm4n. Night of the Owls is a perfect way to do an event. It's self contained to the Bat family titles, you can read the main series, Batman without having to read the others to understand the story and to top it off it is a darn good read! Marvel's big events have lost their appeal. Putting out a large scale event every year is a bit predictable and loses the impact better large scale events like Secret War and COIE had. Hopefully DC's Trinity War will be more promising than any recent Marvel event but at least they can do small scale crossovers. Actually Marvel can too now I think about it. The Omega Drive crossover was good. More of that Marvel! And on a side note I'm still waiting for news on a Superman family crossover. It's the next logical step for DC IMO.

Posted by Saren

Ends of the Earth is pretty naice so far, why am I not surprised that the Spider-Man event is (once more) better than the company event?

Moderator
Posted by SupremeHyperion

I must be the only one who is enjoying the AvX thus far. And as a whole I'm a pretty big fan of marvel blockbusters. I think they do a good job of showing how these events impact not just the big time characters but also the smaller less known ones (in fact some of the smaller offshoots tend to be the most enjoyable). As far a NOTO i don't see it as being a DC universe storyline more of a bat family story (really good one at that for the most part).

Posted by Lvenger

@CitizenBane: Oh yeah Ends of the Earth is pretty good. How could I forget about the event I've been waiting ages for?

Posted by k4tzm4n

@zexion_armando: Definitely agreed that Marvel's big events should be every other year.

@knighthood said:

The best thing about the Owls crossover is that you don't need to read every issue just to understand a battle sequence.

Agreed.

@CitizenBane said:

I am a little surprised that I liked all the single issue tie-ins to NOTO as much as I did. I was not expecting to.

Well, it's kind of tough to not like an issue built around a fight sequence with a pretty sweet assassin, hah.

@X35: Agreed!

@CitizenBane said:

Ends of the Earth is pretty naice so far, why am I not surprised that the Spider-Man event is (once more) better than the company event?

Yes, but the ending to the last issue definitely had me scratching my head. Something that big needs to have an impact on every freaking title. Everyone would need to respond to that. Unless it's just a ruse and only impacted the immediate area. I guess we'll wait and see.

@Lvenger: Thank you!

@SupremeHyperion: Well, respect for standing up for what you enjoy :D

Staff
Posted by TDK_1997

AvX is one of the events that Marvel say that it is big and it is cool but it's like Fear Itself,$h!7.As for NOTO,it has been great and I like every tie-in DC delivers.

Edited by k4tzm4n

@TDK_1997: Your icon is the new Nuke in Cap's book, right? Nice :D

Staff
Posted by Dhor

NotO is one of my favorite events so far. i know it`s pretty straight forward but i like the fact that the talons have their own voice and history. i would actually think one Talon could remain in DC as a anti-hero type of character. they have pretty cool powers and the way they were created (most of them having a hard and sad life story) could make a interesting character.

On the other hand AvsX feels like a "what if" story . maybe it`s just me but i really don`t care about the story (everything feels forced) and the characters act too stupid and "out of character".

Posted by The Stegman

Marvel- Hey let's have heroes fight each other...again for our next event!!! 
 
DC-....Batman, your event is now invalid.

Posted by TDK_1997

@k4tzm4n said:

@TDK_1997: Your icon is the new Nuke in Cap's book, right? Nice :D

Yes!

Posted by k4tzm4n

@Dhor:

i like the fact that the talons have their own voice and history.

Definitely.

Staff
Posted by ReVamp

Nightwing is awesome. The book that is, the character isn't even questionable.

Posted by k4tzm4n

@The Stegman: Hah. Like I said, they should just keep making "Contest of Champions" if that's really the goal!

Staff
Posted by k4tzm4n

@ReVamp said:

Nightwing is awesome. The book that is, the character isn't even questionable.

Just saw this. Nightwing's series is considered an "on-going big event."

Staff
Posted by Superguy0009e

I think marvel is trying a bit too hard, if they step back and relax, they could have events that are 10x better

Posted by k4tzm4n

@Superguy0009e: Yeah, I'd love to see big events toned down to once every other year and a bigger focus on events like "Spider Island."

Staff
Posted by blazinasian112

Dark Angels Saga > both

Posted by k4tzm4n

@blazinasian112: :O

Staff
Posted by Mercy_

One of the guys at my comic book shop compared AvX and Bendis to a Michael Bay film and Michael Bay. I couldn't agree more. You read that stuff looking for the comic book equivalent of huge explosions, not good character development. Night of the Owls on the other hand is simply amazing.

Moderator
Posted by k4tzm4n

@Mercy_: But I at least enjoy a Michael Bay film if I'm in that kind of a mood (you know, leave your brain at the door and enjoy the pretrty CGI and action). I can't say I view AvX the comic book equivalent of popcorn entertainment. It's not stunning looking, nor has it been very fun. It's just been a whole mess of mediocrity so far and that's terribly disappointing.

Staff
Posted by The_MVPs

I've tried getting into AvX but cant. Maybe a couple years ago before Civil War but now hero vs hero doesnt have the same shine. Night of the Owls on the other hand is crazy good. I love when a new character(s) is showcased with a backstory that seemingly indoctrinates them instantly into Bat-Canon.

Moderator
Posted by k4tzm4n

@Gambler: Completely agreed.

Staff
Posted by Cap10nate

The one thing that I do like about the big Marvel events are the repercussions that effect the entire MarvelU like how Secret Invasion caused Dark Reign which caused Siege. They say that AVX will have long lasting repercussions. I do enjoy NOTO more than AVX but I am more excited about the aftermath of AVX since NOTO most likely won't affect too much.

Posted by Illuminatus
@blazinasian112 said:

Dark Angels Saga > both

Although I really can't speak for Night of the Owls as I haven't done much of the reading on it, I will certainly support the notion that Remender's epic tragedy is leagues beyond AvX. The two can't even be compared.  
 
It's almost the same as comparing The Silmarillion to a flipping Harry Potter book.
Posted by Superguy0009e

@k4tzm4n: exactly. i loved spider island because of the size. i was a small event with big consequences. even though it was confined to NYC, it still felt big and fun (that's what she said)