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The Great Summer Event: Fear Itself vs. Flashpoint

Written by: Gary M. Kenny, CC2K Comics Editor

Each week we build up our comic book pile. Now that gas prices are at an all time high, our comic collections suffer. Let CC2K save you a few dollars as we tell you what comic company has the better big summer event.

Flash Fact: This comparison essay has *SPOILERS.*

Marvel vs. DC. Many of you have been reading comics since the 1980s, some started in the big 90s comic explosion, while the rest of you are new and us veterans hope you feel very welcomed. Yet, it doesn’t matter when you joined the comic community since all of us comic readers share one thing in common: we’ve experienced the big summer comic event. From Marvel’s Secret Wars (1984) and DC’s Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985) to the more recent Marvel’s Secret Invasion to DC’s Infinite Crisis. The two big comic companies grab their famous characters, they hire their most talented writers and artists, and they hope that there endless promos will suck you in and force you to buy their 6 issued mini accompanied by their unnecessary side issues. And we do. We spend $3.99 happily. We hit the forum, we read the reviews, and we discuss. Some stop reading by the 1st issue (like me with Flash Point, but more on that later), while others will keep powering through to the end, hoping that the story is worth it. I am here to tell you that unless these two big comic companies lay off the summer event for a few years, their big blockbusters are going to fall short and be rich with cliche’.

I’m going to lay it down. Marvel, I actually love the direction you guys are going in. Since last years summer event: Siege, You’ve let the Avengers police the world, disbanded the Fantastic Four in order to make them fresh again, and brought the Asgardians down to Earth. All within a year’s time. Now here’s the problem and it starts with Fear Itself. In issue #1 you have the Norse gods sent back to Asgard, the Avengers aren’t really policing anything, and the FF are comical saps again. At first i really enjoyed this issue, but by issue #2 i realized “So basically nothing worked out and everything sucks again.” So I ask: Why couldn’t you wait? Give us a year or two. No big summer event, just a few good runs. Let Bendis and Fraction and what not have some fun in their new surroundings. There are so many stories that could have been told. I mean you have fan favorite Dan Slott’s Spider Island coming out soon and the death of ultimate Spidey is interesting. That right there is enough.

I’m not full of hatred and i’m not trying to put all Marvel’s hard work down, I do think it’s fun how Fear Itself is giving everyone a hammer so they can become their own version of Thor. Hey Juggs, hey Hulk, here’s a hammer, It’s fun. Guess what though, because I didn’t have much time in Marvel’s new world order, I (the reader) feel disconnected. Too much too soon. Marvel used to give us a big series maybe once every 2-3 years. It let people jump on their bandwagon and get familiar with the characters. Now everything is dark again in Marvel land. I thought we were suppose to be in the Heroic Age? Hammers and fear kind of takes me back to The Cold War. Not a strong selling point.

Flash Fact: Originality is key. Geoff Johns did a fantastic job with the Sinestro Corps War , Green Lantern Origins, and bringing back Barry Allen (the original Flash). So i’m a bit bummed that I thought Flashpoint sucked. Johns is trying to reimagine characters: Kill Bruce and Martha Wayne so now Thomas Wayne is Batman. Barry Allen loses his Flash powers and now Captain Cold is a hero. Turn Wonder Woman and Aquaman into villains. It sounds good but its trite. Marvel took the good guy and made him bad with their Ultimate universe this year plus i’ve already read too many elseworld stories. There are countless Teen Titan, Superman, X-men tales that gave us original elseworlds. Why do we need another? It offers nothing new and DC ruined Flash’s first staring role in a summer event. This should have been better. Maybe it still can? I’m just not so certain. What does work is the amazing artwork of Andy Kubert, this entire issue has eye candy galore. Geoff Jones is a talented writer and his dialogue and story flow is well paced. But issue #1 is too unoriginal for me to keep reading, I’ll wait with issue #2 and ask my local comic pals their thoughts before I start running with Flash again.

Fear Itself vs Flashpoint. The big summer events are a tad unwanted this year. The companies will lose and more importantly the readers lose. So far Marvel offers their characters hammers which is an original tale but too much too soon, while DC takes away one superhero’s powers and makes his good guy pals into bad guys. Folks it’s your $3.99 is this what you want to spend it on? Instead might I offer a comercial title worth reading:

Ozma of Oz

The Amazing Spider-man

Jonah Hex

Batman and Robin

These 4 titles offer fun, they are well written, and they don’t contain too much dribble (there is alway a little dribble). You’re going to get your moneys worth, they are safe and cliche’ free. Plus if there ever is an elseworld tale in any of these issues it won’t feel as dry as Flashpoint. All four titles contain no Asgardian hammers.