Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tuesday Ten: ......5 Not So Awesome Comic Events

Comic event fatigue is a very real thing.

It seems like these days that DC and Marvel are pumping out so many line-wide events that it's impossible for any one book to settle into a good rhythm. While the first half of this list covered 5 events that I enjoyed, this one covers 5 that....well....I didn't.

It's impossible to cover all the different events in just two postings, so I'll come back at some point and talk about the ones that I REALLY REALLY loved when I can do them justice. So don't worry, Age of Apocalypse not being on the last list doesn't mean it's on here. What is on here, is an example of how NOT to perform a continuity reset...

5) Zero Hour - DC - 1994 

Hindsight has hurt this one. In fact, hindsight has hurt this one so much that I retroactively despise it even more then I did originally. Zero Hour came about as an attempt to fix the fix that was Crisis on Infinite Earths. Spoiler: Zero Hour made DC's problems even more pronounced and glaring. Zero Hour was the compression of time in the DC Universe from the two ends, future and past, resulting in characters from the future like Booster Gold and past, like Vandal Savage, just....disappearing. 

In an echo of Barry Allan's death in Crisis, Wally West tried to run fast enough to repair the timestream and wound up getting sucked into it. The result was that the |mysterious stranger" that gave Wally great life advice as a kid, turned out to be adult Wally after being sucked into the timestream. In another tie-in, Catwoman wound up making out with a caveman. 

While it was frustrating to read at the time due to the deck being so stacked against the heroes, once the villain was revealed, I got pumped. Hell yeah insane Hal Jordan! Hell no insane from possession by a space STD and not from having actual PTSD. The reveal of Parralax making Jordan do evil things instead of it being the natural result of seeing Coast City vaporized was.....really disappointing. 

The aftereffects of Zero Hour resulting in legacy heroes fading away to be replaced by dark and gritty heroes was also disappointing. I could rant for hours on how horrible Fate was or the way Zero Hour's mucking with timelines made the current Supergirl and Alexander Luther make ZERO sense. 

4) Infinity Crusade - Marvel - 1993

After the events of The Infinity Gauntlet, Adam Warlock had control of the the collected Infinity Gems, which wound up resulting in his evil dark side, the Magus, emerging and causing the Infinity War. With Magus defeated and the gems broken up with different protectors (Drax had Power, Gamora had Time, Pip the Troll had Space, Moondragon had Mind, Warlock kept Soul and Thanos of all people had Reality), things looked to be safe for awhile. 

Oh wait, if Adam Warlock has an evil, hyper-masculine side then sure he has a good, feminine side too. Enter The Goddess. The Goddess converted all of the heroes that had a "spiritual" or "just a really good person" bent to them as part of her Crusade, leaving the angtsy, asshole heroes behind to try and stop the Goddess from bringing about The Rapture. Yes, the actual Rapture. 

Aside from establishing Sleepwalker as strong enough to take down multiple other heroes by himself, no one really came out of Infinity Crusade for the better. While Magus has been referenced in later stories, the Goddess has been shoved into the same failed character closet as all the other new characters (23 of them~!) Marvel tried to spotlight in 1993. 

It was a dark time for Marvel. 

3) Original Sin - Marvel - 2014

Who shot The Watcher is a great hook. 

Original Sin is a horrible story. 

What starts off as a great mystery quickly devolves when the Watcher's eye is used as a "truth bomb" in the middle of New York City and all sorts of 'secrets' (or "retcons" if you prefer) are revealed. These range from "Angela is actually Odin's daughter" to "Tony Stark messed with Banner's Gamma Bomb" or the less earth-shattering "J.Jonah Jameson was a fan of Spider-Man as a wrestler!" and the horrible "Dum Dum Dugan has been dead since 1966 and Fury kept rebuilding a Life Model Decoy". 

The Dum Dum Dugan revelation makes zero sense, especially since it then raises the question of how could the Skrulls have impersonated Dum Dum during Secret Invasion when he was actually a robot since the Skrull technique used back then altered them on a genetic level. The whole story ended up being how Nick Fury is a jerk with not much of real consequence taking place. 

It was just boring and the "secrets" tended to be poor retcons. 

At least the prologue issue, with Nova and The Watcher was really cool, as we learned about the background of Uatu and how he became The Watcher. 

2) Bloodlines - DC - 1993 

Covering every DC Annual in 1993, Bloodlines was about a group of extra-dimensional aliens that have covertly invaded Earth and drain the spinal fluid from their victims. The problem is that sometimes this process leaves the victim alive and grants them superhuman powers. This was basically an excuse for DC to debut a brand new character in every Annual, leading up to a two-issue event series called "Bloodbath" that required all of the newly created heroes to save the planet. 

Some of the newly created characters were horrible, one-note characters that just scream 90's comics, such as Ballistic (an Asian-American mild mannered cop gets invulnerable skin) or Razorsharp (hacker gets ability to create sword arms). Oh! My favorite!? JAMM! 

Jamm is a surfer dude slacker that gets the ability to command people to do whatever he says. He's a slacker though, so he can't think of much for people to do except of course, order female members of the Legion of Superheroes to get naked in front of him. Jamm is hands down the worst character I have ever seen in a comic book. He was quickly forgotten after the events of Bloodbath and I think he was killed off during either Countdown or Final Crisis. 

The only good characters to come out of Bloodlines? Sparx, a Canadian electricity based heroine that worked real well with the Superboy of the time, and Hitman, whom got his own solo series written by Garth Ennis and went on to become a hit. That's about it. Though the concept of Geist, a guy that is only invisible in darkness, is so stupid I have to applaud it. 

Bloodlines is a great example of how NOT to create new characters. 

1) AXIS - Marvel - 2014 

The same year that Original Sin was released, Marvel decided to punish everyone with Axis. The event has some great moments in it that are overshadowed by all of the other stupid. Red Skull grafts Professor X's brain onto his in order to harness Xavier's mental abilities and after getting murdered by Magneto (that whole Nazi thing again), Red Skull becomes RED ONSLAUGHT. By sending out waves of HATE across the world, Red Onslaught is able to cause chaos and anarchy. The solution?

After corrupted Stark Sentinels capture the heroes, Magneto rejoins the fight leading a team of villains (Carnage, Absorbing Man, Hobgoblin, Deadpool, Dr. Doom, Enchantress, Jack O'Lantern) as the Stark Sentinels are programmed to counter the usual heroes and not the villains. Stuff happens, plan for a stupid inversion spell to reverse the hatred spread by Red Onslaught which sort of goes off and ends up "inverting" everyone on the island of Genosha. Whoops. 

That means Tony Stark is evil, Captain America is evil, Carnage is good, Dr. Doom is good, etc. 

In a smaller dose, that could be really amusing and lead to some good redemption stories. The way it was handled? Well, it degenerated into another hero vs. hero event, Carnage sacrificing himself to stop the X-Men from setting off a gene bomb and Dr. Doom reviving Dr. Voodoo and Stature. Much like Original Sin a good concept hook was woefully mishandled and the event fell on its face. 

Let's not even mention Kluh, the Hulk version of the Hulk himself. 

At least AXIS: Carnage and AXIS: Hobgoblin were enjoyable. 

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