Saturday, January 21, 2012

DC and Marvel’s Crossover Craftiness

Forget the Big Events, the Crossover has returned! And in the past three weeks, both DC and Marvel have presented us with two excellent examples of how to do them well.

This is just eye-candy, folks. I'm not talking about the stories pictured above this time...

In my mind there are two primary reasons to have a crossover: story and sales. Hopefully, in that order, but I would think sales trump story most of the time. After all, the company’s goal may be to prop up the sales of the weaker title. So, the trick is to come up with a great story to make it all work. Otherwise, it’ll seem like a cheap money grab (You know the kind where Jim doesn’t even get a “kiss” first). Well, I’m happy to say both DC and Marvel got their crossovers right recently and even managed to do it two very different ways.

Since it came out first, let’s look at DC’s O.M.A.C vs. Frankenstein: Agent of Shade, which occurred in issue 5 of both titles.

This is an example of a single-issue crossover, meaning you didn’t have to buy both issues to enjoy your regular book. In my case, it’s O.M.A.C. Now, Frank did appear in a cameo at the end of O.M.A.C #4, but that same scene is replayed in its entirety from Frank’s viewpoint in his own book. So, we end up getting to see both sides of the same battle and in the process, if you were unfamiliar with the other book you got a nice taste of it. One great thing about their encounter is that it wasn’t forced. The two characters share some similar themes; the most basic of all is that they’re both monsters. While I probably won’t continue to read Frankenstein, I was glad to have the opportunity to finally see what it was all about. Although, O.M.A.C. wasn’t nearly as exciting in Frank’s book, because I think Kevin Kho’s predicaments make the character work. Oh, and kudos to DC for the awesome covers – what a wonderful image reversal.

Update 1: I'm super upset that DC is cancelling O.M.A.C! Look for me to whine, beg, and plead for a reprieve in a future post.

Then over at Marvel, we have the Daredevil and Spider-Man team-up in Amazing Spider-Man #677 and Daredevil #8.

This is an example of a “To Be Continued” crossover, meaning you have to get both books to read the complete story. Luckily for me, I’m already buying both titles, so this didn’t add to my spending at all. This story also was very organic in bringing the two heroes together – something that’s certainly been done numerous times before (since way back in ASM #16 and DD#16). Here the Black Cat is being framed for a crime that Spidey is certain she didn’t commit and Peter seeks out Daredevil for his legal and super-heroic help.

The extra bonus was that Daredevil scribe, Mark Waid was writing both parts, so you know it’s going to be a seamless “event” (I haven’t read the DD issue yet at this writing. It comes out on Wednesday). The ASM issue could have easily been numbered Daredevil #7.5. (Hey Marvel, you should do this for the second printings!) One slight drawback to Waid handling Spidey again is that Peter seemed to be in his pre-Big Time loser-mode. And his assertion that he was so in love with Carlie was ridiculous, but not as dumb as his behavior around Cat,where he was desperate to get some “Kitty”-time. (I’m glad Felicia turned him down.) I do mean slight drawback, because overall I really liked the issue a lot and much of that was due to the beautiful artwork by Emma Rios. After seeing all the House Ads for months with the Ramos cover and confusing Rios with Ramos, I was totally surprised to see the acclaimed Cloak and Dagger mini-series artist on this book. I was actually hoping that she would handle both chapters, but I don’t think that is happening (that would have been perfect). The story had a great cliffhanger ending and I KNOW the next part will be excellent.

UPDATE 2: It certainly was! I loved the scene with the billy club and the helicopter. I also thought it was cool that the Black Cat was totally playing "horndog". Although, I think I'm going to have to reassess her relationship with Spidey back in the 80's -- looks like it was more intimate than I always thought. What did I know? I wasn't even dating at that time and comics certainly were less explicit. Guess that's why she always called him "lover"...

The other great thing that both companies did for these two crossovers was that you only had to wait a week to finish the story. I don’t necessarily want to see a proliferation of crossovers, but when they occur naturally and are done this well, I don’t mind them.

No comments:

Post a Comment