Crossover Mayhem


For those of you following my Wonder Woman review project (if there is in fact anyone), I have recently come upon volume 2.   Volume 2 was a really good title for the first 20 issues, but then started to sort of lose some momentum.   The reason behind this?   It seems that some writers sometimes have some grand schemes in their heads when they take over a title, but when those ideas run out we get back to more common comic stories, as though the writers are being forced to write, instead of just letting their ideas flow.   While this may be the case I think something else which killed the momentum was too many crossovers.   Crossovers make a lot of sense in a comic book logic type of way.   A lot of times you see a hero struggling against the odds and you might think to yourself “He could just call the Justice League” and so in this sense crossovers are sort of realistic.   The problem with crossovers though is that it’s often the editors and publishers who are pushing them because they make financial sense, and this is often at the expense of the writers and their creative impulses.  

            I liked how Perez handled two previous crossovers.   It was pretty clear that he had his own concept behind the series and so for Legends and Millenium he made only the faintest reference to them.   When he got to Invasion though it seems that the powers that be sort of demanded a heavier participation from Diana.   This affected issues both before and after as the plot had to be set up and then the stranded aliens had to be given something to do in the DCU.   This had the effect of making them kind of choppy at times with little continuity.  I have never read all of Invasion and I never want to after reading the flimsy plotlines in these few issues (as well in a few other titles).   Crossovers made sense from a financial standpoint, bringing in fans to titles they might not otherwise read, but I wonder if it actually had any net benefit, as fans sort of get tired of being taken advantage of.  

            I think though that mostly what the crossovers come down to as usual is good writing.   Civil War and Infinite Crisis stand out for me as excellent crossovers because they fundamentally altered the way we see the respective comic universes and because they raise issues in society which are relevant (both sort of took a look at the Patriot Act from different angles I think).   Final Crisis (and Legends) sort of fizzled, partly because they depended on Darkseid as the antagonist, one of the old standbys for worst villain ever with very little motivation for his actions (just likes to be bad.)   If a crossover has a great concept behind it can unify the stories for months ahead of time.   If it is more formulaic (how many times has DC’s earth been invaded in a crossover?) then it becomes something for writers to struggle with and work around.   Hopefully we can see more of the caliber of recent ones without reverting to the crossover every year attitude of the 1980s and 1990s which produced so little of quality.       

3 Comments
3 Comments
Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

The only thing that I think at least was a difference between the crossover events now and then was, at least in the 80s and 90s they were relegated to usually just once a year (ie Crisis 1985, Legends 1986, Millenium 1988, so on and so forth).  Nowadays it seems a major crossover event happens several times a year if not more and some are just ridiculously huge (i.e. Dark Reign) and last for way longer than they should. But yes, you're right, it has to come down to the writers and the powers that be's motivations in writing the crossovers that will make them successful or break them.

Posted by A_O_N
@RedheadedAtrocitus: Hey don't pick on Dark Reign. It wasn't even a proper crossover. You were able to read books without having to resort to other books and such. It was just a theme. Stuff like Chaos War and Shadowland are the annoying ones.

But, yes I think crossovers in general get people excited but then don't live up to their expectations. I don't know anything about the ones from the 80's and 90's but crossovers are profitable for the companies because they get people hyped with the teasers. Seriously the teasers are way better than the whole crossover.
Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus
@A_O_N said:
" @RedheadedAtrocitus: Hey don't pick on Dark Reign. It wasn't even a proper crossover. You were able to read books without having to resort to other books and such. It was just a theme. Stuff like Chaos War and Shadowland are the annoying ones. But, yes I think crossovers in general get people excited but then don't live up to their expectations. I don't know anything about the ones from the 80's and 90's but crossovers are profitable for the companies because they get people hyped with the teasers. Seriously the teasers are way better than the whole crossover. "
Exactly right.  Darn teasers are just like preview trailers for a movie. You hit the nail right on the head!