A Slice of Fried Gold

The Day that Grant Morrison Won (Final Crisis: Reprise)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Secret Invasion vs. Final Crisis

Today was a really big day for comics. Rarely do we see two major events like Marvel's Secret Invasion and DC's Final Crisis have releases coinciding with each other, but today that happened. SI released its penultimate issue with issue #7 of 8, while we crossed the midway point with FC #4 of 7. That kind of timing is guaranteed to do two things: make comic dorks squeal with you (wheeeeee!) and make a person compare the two books.

Of course, going by what I wrote about issue 1 and issue 2 of Final Crisis, one would probably think that it would have no chance of standing up. To anyone who would listen to me, I have been unabashedly ripping Grant Morrison for the complicated mess that he's provided us in both that series and his Batman magnum opus, Batman R.I.P. As per usual, both have provided us with huge concepts, tons of characters, and a near encyclopedic knowledge of everything within that specific universe, however he wasn't letting readers in. Neither made much sense, to be quite honest.

However, just like what happened with the last issue of R.I.P., it's like Morrison pulled back the curtain and everything was revealed. The machinations of the previous three issues of Crisis all congealed to make issue four hit like a hammer, one that gave us an event where the fictional universe truly wouldn't be the same again, where everything seemed to feel deadly and irreversible. In short, Morrison did it again.

Over in Marvel's neck of the woods, Secret Invasion started off strong. The build up was perfect, the issues were fun, the tie-ins were incredibly revealing. However, everything began spinning its wheels about midway through (meaning the series and its' tie-ins), and I came to realize that the series has pretty much been seven straight issues of punching with intermittent discussions along the lines of this:

  • Unknown hero A: Are you a Skrull?
  • Unknown hero B: No. Are you a Skrull?
  • Unknown hero A: No.
  • Unknown hero B: Really?

Of course, now we've graduated to having cool character moments featuring all time favorites like Thor, Nick Fury, and Hawkeye plus some cool stuff featuring others like Maria Hill and the Hood, but still, there just isn't a lot of depth to the series and everything feels too stretched. There are too many characters, there are too many issues, there is just too much. It's still really fun in a summer action movie sort of way, but in terms of Earth shattering changes, we're simply not getting that.

So here I am, incredibly surprised by my own thoughts. Against the odds, Crisis has surpassed Invasion as the current leader in event wars with three issues remaining for the former and one for the latter. It's still anyone game, and Morrison has proved he can lose it at any time. However, from where I stand, DC is winning and Marvel can just sit and watch.

Also, one note about why I think this happened: right now, Marvel is spending every waking moment hyping Dark Reign, their post Invasion event. However, DC just keeps focusing on Crisis. While it's great to look forward, doing that removes focus from the present and devalues the package as a whole, and it also tells you "well I guess not a whole lot is going to change." Reading should be perpetually surprising, especially for such a plot oriented medium like comic books. Someone needs to remind Marvel of that before their next big event.


Troy Olson said...

I should note that I haven't read either issue yet (nor have I read the previous issue of SI).

Still, from what you have written and what I've read elsewhere, I have the sneaky suspicion that even after the last issue of SI hits the stands, there won't be a real ending to it (see also, House of M and Civil War). Doesn't that just get old at some point?

Oh, and it turned out that Luke and Jessica's kid ISN'T a Skrull? I thought that his (her?) green eyes were the whole thing that started the entire crossover!

I better go read these now...

David Harper said...

That bothered the hell out of me. I have no idea how Luke and Jessica's kid wasn't a Skrull. I thought that was the big reveal at the end of the issue where Elektra was revealed as a Skrull. They zoomed in on the kid's eyes and they were green.

Now it's pointing at a Skrull like it's terrified, and I'm confused as to how it isn't a Skrull.

But yeah, Secret Invasion (like House of M and Civil War) is good but anti climactic. I guess it makes sense considering they are trying to make the events a part of a bigger hole, but it is really frustrating as a reader.

Definitely read them. Both are good reads.

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