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Monday, January 30, 2012

A severe case of event fatigue

The first month of the new year is coming to a close. That naturally means that it's time to over-think stuff that's going to come out in the summer. For your average comic book buying Marvel zombie (I will never why any fan would call themselves that) that means it's time to buy this year's company crossover event comic and all the tie ins they can afford. That would be the case for me at least if the event fatigue had gotten a solid grip on me.

...I should probably explain a few things here.

A company crossover event comic is basically a mini-series that tells a story that's so big and so world-shaking that it drags a lot of the company's regular tites into it, making them tie in comics that lets the reader see the happenings in the event comic itself from the perspective of the tie in comics main character(s). Most tie ins aren't actually essential to the main event mini-series and you can pretty much just pick up whichever ones you're interested in or are already buying. The mini-series however will most likely have some major impact on several titles because of how expansive they are and the regular titles have accomodate for the stuff in the event comic because of continuity.

In short:
The event mini-series often have a major impact on regular titles.
Regular titles are most of the time fair in-consequential to the event mini-series. Unless they're written by the same the guy that writes the event comic.

Naturally there are pros and cons to this system. But that's another discussion.

Event fatigue is when you've for reason or another have gotten tired of all the freaking events mini-series that comes out each and every year. I'm one of the people that have this condition. The main symptom is basically indifference to the latest company wide crossover, or hesitation to it if the idea behind the event actually sounds fun and interesting.

In the most recent case it's the latter for me. Because Marvel is really pulling out all the stops this year for an event that's designed to appeal to even the people that only know about their characters from the movies. And it can be summed up in three words.

Avengers versus X-men

As the Phoenix Force returns, from wherever the hell it goes when it supposedly dies but never really does thus becoming more of a joke to comic book readers than anything else, to claim Hope Summers, or MacGuffin Mutant Girl either one works just fine, as its new host the two titular teams comes at odds on what to do about the situation. Being superheroes rather than real people they naturally start beating the crap out of each other over the issue. And thing's will spiral out of control from there.

That's a very cynical summary for the premise of the event. To be honest, when I first heard about it I was actually rather excited. The fight fan and connoisseur in me was looking forward to some old fashion superhero fisticuffs with perplexing and dubious logic and reasons behind them. I wasn't expecting much from the deep characterisation department, will get to why later. I was just expecting some silly fun.

So the event fatigue had not settled in at this point. I even figured that it wouldn't be a problem from an economic perspective since I'd skipped out of the previous giant crossover. Then I read the specifics of the mini-series' format and around there I started questioning things.

First of all. Your normal event mini-series is usually five to seven issues long, and even all these years there're still pacing problem with every last one of them. Avengers versus X-men is going to be TWELVE issues long. That alone pretty much gurantees that the story will drag on needlessly and be a little too much fighty-fight and stuff like that. At least it won't be spread across an entire year. Two issues will come out each month. Which isn't all that pleasant on the old wallet.

Then there's the creative team or teams rather. Most series usually have only one writer and one artist. Avengers versus X-men will have FIVE writers and THREE artists. They'll team up in different formation in rotating teams. That won't at all make the series inconsistent in presentation and quality. Doesn't help that I largely dislike one of the main writers behind the whole thing, as in I dislike his writing style.

So yeah. The format did not endear itself to me once I started going through it in my mind and all the old questions and hesitations that show up when you're hit by event fatigue started rearing themselves again. I took a look at how the event itself would effect the Marvel books that I actually buy. Surprisingly AvX actually doesn't effect all that many of the company's book. Just those directly relating to the X-men and the Avengers. In other words, none of the books I'm currently buying.

So I don't like the format or the line-up of creative talent behind it, they both feel over-bloated for my tastes, and the whole thing doesn't actually effect any of the titles I read. The natural question is of course then "Why the hell should I buy this series?". Once ask that question you know that you've been hit by the event fatigue.

Yeah, the fight connoiseur in me is pounting a little. But despite what my sister and mother believe I do want more than just action scenes in my stories, even if I'm just looking for some silly superhero fun. Also, I can probably find other pieces of entertainment with better action scenes, action scenes in superhero comics aren't what they used to be.

So a final word on event fatigue. It's basically a state of mind where you've just had enough tired with what has become a vital part of comic book industry, or at least to the big two, and how the derivative effect it has. In normal cases you'd just take it and buy the mini and disect the crap out of it online. When you've got event fatigue you're just fucking tired of how these things never ever stop and how they drain away at something you usually love. Going on any longer would just be repetetive.

I have event fatigue and that it was certified when I recently skipped on ordering the first few issues of Avengers versus X-men. Ten bucks says that if I don't read the internet spoilers I won't even notice it flying by.

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