Monday, March 3, 2008

Damn, my wallet's f*%&ed


VERSUS


This year represents pretty much the first time ever where both major companies are putting out a major crossover that I'm actually interested. Which poses a problem. My tight finances can't take any more comic-booking. So I guess I have to choose one major crossover out of the two I'm interested. Let's take a look at both of them.

We'll break this down by category and then go from there.

Title:
Secret Invasion vs. Final Crisis
Details:
DC's crossover is a reference to Crisis on Infinite Earths, and then Infinite Crisis and now Final Crisis. The fact that it's called "Final" anything doesn't feel me with much confidence. I doubt strongly that anything will be resolved.
Winner:
Secret Invasion

Writer:
Brian Michael Bendis vs. Grant Morrison
Details:
This is a tricky one because they are both my favourite writers working in comics right now, but for different reasons. Bendis is a master at dialogue and clockwork-like plotting. He's also very skilled at the non-linear chronology. However, Morrison is a master at throwing a billion ideas at the reader, epic universe-sized stories, and deep complex meanings. Morrison is a more fun writer than Bendis, that's for sure. In terms of history, though, Bendis does not fare so well. The major crossover to his name is House Of M, which if you've never read, let me spare you - it sucks. On the other hand, Morrison is responsible for one of the best crossovers ever: DC One Million, which I still think of often as being one of the best time travel stories ever.
Winner:
Grant Morrison

Artist:
Leinil Yu vs. J. G. Jones
Details:
While most people aren't a fan of Yu, I sort of tolerate him. He's not my favourite artist out there, and his overly sketchy overly rendered style did take some getting used to. Now I sort of like it, but not really. I like Yu in the same way I like Sal Buscema - it's okay but I'd rather someone else. Jones, however, has always been a terrific artist. He and Morrison worked on this crazy never-collected mini-series for Marvel called Marvel Boy, which was bad-ass and balls-to-the-wall. Jones is also responsible for the artwork on Wanted, which was written by "a lay of the land"'s writer du jour, Mark Millar.
Winner:
J. G. Jones

Plot:
Skrulls vs. Libra amassing an army of villains
Details:
Not much is known about Final Crisis other than it features obscure villain Libra putting together an army of villains for some bizarre reason. From what I've read in interviews, everybody teams up to fight some multiverse-endangering peril. On the Secret Invasion side of things, we have the Skrulls infiltrating the 616 universe and slowly replacing people. The fact that Bendis has been setting this up since Avengers Disassembled gives me great confidence. I like that the clues and the foreshadowing was woven into the fabric of shorter stories, even going back as far as issue 1 of New Avengers. The more set-up there is, the less retconning is needed, which makes the story so much more satisfying. I'm also jazzed that Bendis is taking the time to rewind things and show us how we got to this point.
Winner:
Secret Invasion

Size of Crossover:
Secret Invasion - 8 issues, plus 6 New Avengers and 4 Mighty Avengers
Final Crisis - 7 oversized issues, plus a mini-series or two set right in the middle of the story, plus Countdown, plus 52
Details:
Well... this is a toughie. According to Morrison and Jones, I only need to read the 7 issues of Final Crisis to make sense of what's going on. It's not going to cross over into any monthly title, apparently, but there's going to be some mini-series that are released in a two month gap right in the middle of Final Crisis' release schedule. Whether or not these mni-series are essential remains to be seen. With Secret Invasion, I'm sure I could just read the 8 issues, but the real scope of the story is how deep the Skrulls have infiltrated, which means I need the rewind issues in Mighty Avengers and New Avengers. In order to appreciate the whole thing, I need all the issues.
Winner:
Final Crisis only because it's going to be cheaper

Conclusion:
Crap. It's almost a tie. It seems that the combination of Morrison and Jones is enough to barely get ahead of the combo of Yu and Bendis based on the fact that the previous Morrison-Jones book, Marvel Boy, is f*%&ing awesome, while the previous Bendis-Yu book, New Avengers, is adequate. I can't promise I won't be buying everything, but I'm going to try and stick with Final Crisis. There's always other means of reading comics - ahem.

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