A new crossover called “New Krypton” is starting this week. From its title, we know it’s a Superman story. And this Superman story is going to be told in the two Superman comics, the Supergirl one and a smattering of specials. And with that set up it could be good, because a big crossover is a bad crossover. If it gets too wide and involves too many books, it loses focus and falls apart and wastes everyoneâ€™s time and money. That’s a danger readers already face from the two ongoing crossovers on the shelves right now: DCâ€™s â€œFinal Crisisâ€ and Marvelâ€™s â€œSecret Invasion.â€**
But â€œNew Kryptonâ€ isnâ€™t set up like those, this is following in the footsteps of last yearâ€™s â€œThe Sinestro Corps War.â€Â It was a storyline that took place in â€œGreen Lanternâ€ and â€œGreen Lantern Corpsâ€ and a several specials.Â The crossover had been subtly building in the background of each book and took them over, and intertwined them.Â It was a critical and financial success and DC planned to replicate its successes.
So far that DC has copied the structure, and there has been definite story build up, so everything is suggesting this should be a good story.Â And a great deal of that comes from the fact that we know whoâ€™s story is being told: â€œNew Kryptonâ€ will be a Superman (Family) story and â€œSinestro Corps Warâ€ was a Green Lantern (Corps) story.Â There might be plenty of other character showing up.Â The Justice League and Society lent a hand to the Green Lanterns, so theyâ€™ll probably help Superman with his problems.Â But in the end, theyâ€™re Supermanâ€™s problems.
Itâ€™s fine if many characters get involved in a story.Â Itâ€™s fun!Â It shows the reader that these events are not isolated and there is a shared universe they all exist in.Â And when there is a threat large enough, other characters all become involved.Â But their books shouldnâ€™t.
In the 1990s Marvel let Jim Starlin create The Infinity Trilogy, three large crossovers that each presented a threat so great it could only be stopped by the entire Marvel Universe: the Fantastic Four, The Avengers, The X-Men, Spider-Man, The Hulk, Dr. Strange, Silver Surfer, Alpha Flight, Ghost Rider, Dr. Doom, Galactus, everyone got involved and had a stake in this fight!Â But they didnâ€™t.
These events werenâ€™t about the Marvel Universe, they were about Adam Warlock.Â The first, Infinity Gauntlet was about Thanos & Adam Warlock.Â Infinity War was about Adam Warlock & his dark side.Â Infinity Crusade was about Adam Warlock & his good side.Â But the scale of their battle involved the entire universe.Â So it was completely fine to have Thor, Wolverine, She-Hulk and Puck in the same book.
But these Adam Warlock stories probably didnâ€™t need to hijack comics like Fantastic Four, Doctor Strange, Sorcerer Supreme, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man, Daredevil, Darkhawk, Spider-Man, Web of Spider-Man, Captain America, Marvel Comics Presents, Avengers West Coast, Silver Surfer, Sleepwalker, The New Warriors, Thor, Wonder Man, Alpha Flight, Cage, Deathlok, Guardians of the Galaxy, Marc Spector: Moon Knight, Nomad, Quasar, Silver Sable & the Wild Pack, or The Mutant Misadventures of Cloak & Dagger.Â Considering the story was already being told in Infinity Gauntlet, Infinity War, Infinity Crusade, Warlock & the Infinity Watch and Warlock Chronicles.
So if a reader followed Adam Warlock (& The Infinity Watch), there would be progression and development through the story.Â But if you read Nomad, what did seeing him fight an evil copy of himself matter?Â And each one of these unnecessary involvements just dilutes the power of the main storyline.Â And readers notice this.Â We can tell when something was shoehorned in for a quick buck.Â And thatâ€™s what causes â€œevent fatigue.â€Â Itâ€™s not the event, itâ€™s the non-event events.
Most people would like to just read what interests them and ignore what doesnâ€™t.Â But that isnâ€™t so easy.Â The current volume of Captain America has been struck twice by crossovers.Â In the middle of the second story line everything stopped and Issue #10 instead traveled to an alternate reality where everything was different, because â€œHouse of Mâ€ was going on and Marvel thought everyone would want to read about how it involved Captain America.Â The issue was great thanks to a stellar creative team, but most readers just wanted to learn more about â€œThe Winter Soldierâ€ which turned out to be much more important in the long run than seeing an aging Steve Rogers as an astronaut.
Shortly after that the â€œCivil Warâ€ storyline starred Captain America and his book could have simply repeated what he did in the primary storyline.Â But again the fantastic creative team made something that worked better, three issues devoted to the supporting cast.Â But I think everyone is glad that â€œSecret Invasionâ€ stayed out of the way and they were able to finish the Red Skull saga uninterrupted.
Most of these interruptions are being kept out of the primary book and now exist in miniseries.Â Curious how â€œSecret Invasionâ€ involves the X-Men?Â Well, if you read the regular X-Men comic books, it doesnâ€™t!Â But it does give Marvel an excuse to publish â€œSecret Invasion: X-Men!â€Â This doesnâ€™t fix the problem that has plagued readers for decades; it just makes it easier to produce collections with unified trade dress and titles.
Publishers shouldnâ€™t be putting their effort into coming up with new ways to dilute their stories and their impacts on the characters that matter, they should be trying to tighten and focus the story.Â Even if it has a cast of billions and takes place from one end of the universe to the other.
*Yes, I know â€œSupermanâ€™s Pal Jimmy Olsen Special #1â€ came out last week.Â But DC is acting as though itâ€™s â€œPart 0.â€Â And by the way, so long Jack Kirby DC Characters!
**In the interest of full disclosure, I should be open with any bias.Â I am reading both FC & SI.Â I have no strong corporate allegiances.Â I think SI was great off the blocks but has been running in place for a while.Â FC is fun and heady when it comes out, but weâ€™ll have see how it ends to judge it.