Just as Abraham begat Isaac and Isaac begat Jacob and Jacob begat Judas, every superhero event shall lead to the inevitable spin-off. Often published on a more-than-monthly basis and continuing upon the path of plotlines left dangling in the wake of the event, the post-event-event shall feature a collection of characters unable to sustain a book upon their own merits. Like the snake which eats its own tail, the cycle continues thusly until the ever-present fanboy population doth dwindle and internet criticism lay a heavy blow upon the collective head of the bullpen.
Or in other words, DC’s never heard of the term “event fatigue” and they aimed to prove that it is a myth with the release of Brightest Day #0 last week.
Though it had its detractors, it’s safe to say that the majority of the superhero comic reading population were quite enamored of Blackest Night and for good reason: it was awesome! Focusing on second stringers like Flash and Green Lantern and boasting tie-ins and spin-offs that were for the most part really good and actually relevent to the story, Blackest Night was a universe-spanning cosmic epic that never lost sight of the personal conflicts at its core. But like many of the events that have come before (at least, the more recent ones), it didn’t really end; it just left us with another new story and even more comics to buy.
We love Aquaman as well as Hawkman and Hawkgirl and we’re glad the classics are back in action. Same goes for Reverse-Flash and Captain Boomerang. The idea of Firestorm’s two halves hating each other? Awesome. Maxwell Lord? He’s cool too and the DC Universe could use another high-level villain who’s got ties to everyone in it. And of course, there’s Deadman. The concept of Boston Brand being brought back to life is beyond brilliant and we can’t wait to see how it all plays out. But you know what else we love? Stories with endings.
Empire Strikes Back is undoubtedly the crown jewel of the Star Wars kingdom, but sometimes, you just wanna watch Return of the Jedi and get some closure, y’know?
So we might sound a little hypocritical here. On one hand, we’re complaining about the never ending event and on the other hand, we’re praising Brightest Day and telling you how excited we are to read it. Hey, the first issue was good. You want us to lie? But maybe there are a few guidelines we’d like to see imposed upon the series or a few suggestions we’d like to offer.
Actually, this is the the only suggestion we have. Blackest Night was huge and took years of preparation to set up. Keep Brightest Day small and as self-contained as possible. Obviously the intent here is to tell an interesting story with each of these revived characters and hopefully spin them all off into their own series’, but lets keep the spin-offs and tie-ins to a minimum, okay? It’s true that no one is forcing us to buy them and in all honesty, we probably won’t, but for the love of God, will it ever stop? Does it ever end? Will our grandchildren be reading supehero event books titled No Evil Shall Escape Our Sight with the tagline “an event four decades in the making!”? Will it eventually hit a point where the tie-ins and spin-offs make up the entire DC Universe with only Batman and Superman as the only other ongoing series’? It’s starting to feel that way.
DC did it right with Blackest Night. As long as you were reading the main book and Green Lantern, you were all set. Green Lantern Corps enhanced the stories even more, but if you never bought any of the ancillary titles, it really didn’t matter. They helped the story along if you just couldn’t get enough of the Black Lanterns, but they weren’t necessary –and we liked it that way. And as we said, no one is going to force us to buy every (or any) books with the Brightest Day banner at the top – but why do there even have to be any? Can’t Brightest Day just be Brightest Day and not have a billion other books tied into it?
The whole point of “event fatigue” isn’t that DC or Marvel is forcing us to buy every single book that ties into the event; it’s the fact that these events are inescapable. It seems that every book on the stands has a banner at the top advertising the series. Every book, at some point, will have a crossover with the larger series, if not a spin-off. It’s a lot like Twilight. No one is forcing you see the movies or read the books, but if you have a television, radio or ever get online, it’s impossible to avoid it. At some point, you’re forced to take notice of the craze, no matter how hard you try to avoid it. That is what we’re complaining about and what we hope DC avoids with Brightest Day.
As far as we’re concerned, it’s quite simple. Just publish a bi-weekly book focusing on third stringers and benchwarmers for one full year and at the end of it, try to spin ‘em all off into their own books. Sure, there’s going to be a crossover here and there because there are few books that go an entire 12 issues without having a guest appearance by another hero, but how about sticking with other heroes doing guest spots in Brightest Day rather than the stars of Brightest Day appearing in other books... at least for a little while. And please stop with the banners at the top of every comic on the stands and lets cut out the one-shots! Just for one year. Just for this series.
Let’s try to have a post-event-event that’s really more of a non-event. Or better yet, how about if Brightest Day isn’t an event but just a really solid comic book series?