Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Eternal Debate - Part III : Final Crisis vs. Secret Invasion (The Spin-Offs)

And by eternal, I mean for the past 12 or so months. You could not go anywhere in the Internet (well, at least the sites I frequent) without finding a conversation about either Final Crisis or Secret Invasion. Or both. This year's events from the Big Two felt incredibly long, by design or by circumstances, but they are now officially over (Legion of 3 Worlds notwithstanding), which allows us to look at both events objectively, or at least as objectively as comic book readers can get.

That is where I come in. I want to look at the different aspects of both events, measure them up against each other and see who comes up on top. To do so, I have chosen several categories (or rounds) which will allow me to compare both sides of the 2008 Special Edition Event Coin. If you have not yet read both series in their entirety, there will be spoilers ahead. Oh, yeah, and the point system may or may not be arbitrary or what most people consider fair. You have been warned.

Following the last two posts, it's a tie between Final Crisis and Secret Invasion with each having won one round.

The Spin-Offs

Big events are usually among the most sold comics year after year, and the Big Two know this. After the end of each event, there's usually a couple of titles that come out of the events, often dealing with the aftermath or to explore a new aspect of character(s) that played a prominent role. The past few years we have seen quite a few quality titles spin out of big events, titles such as: Blue Beetle (from Infinite Crisis), Booster Gold (from 52), Avengers - The Initiative (from Civil War) and Incredible Hercules (from World War Hulk). While not every spin-off is a critical or commercial success (New Warriors, I'm looking at you), the bar is set pretty high for events to deliver on new or fresh titles.

Spinning out from the aftermath of Marvel's Secret Invasion, we have the Secret Warriors (with the first issue hitting stores this week, coincidentally), a group of novice, new characters being led by Nick Fury, former leader of SHIELD. Fury purposely wanted super-powered people that were not in the public eye, as he feared that any known heroes could be compromised by the Skrull invasion. While they first appeared in the pages of Mighty Avengers, the team showed up together during Secret Invasion in the streets of New York to aid the heroes of the city. Other than that, they did not do a whole lot during the event, other than joining the brawl and surprising the other Marvel heroes. The team is mostly a carte blanche for future creators to explore and expand, and Marvel's character department could certainly use some new blood to pump into their veins. In addition to this title, Secret Invasion has led into the new status quo called Dark Reign (of which there have been a couple of one-shots and tie-ins in several ongoing series) where Norman Osborn is in charge of the security of the United States. Osborn put together a new team, in the pages of the ominously named Dark Avengers, to be his personal right-hand propaganda tool. The team is mostly made up of amoral characters posing as iconic heroes that the general public of the Marvel Universe would recognize.

On the other side of the comic universe, Final Crisis hasn't actually led to any spin-offs. DC announced a couple of one-shots and the participation of four one-shots under the "Faces of Evil" banner, a quasi-event that has been described as "inspirationally tied to Final Crisis". The idea behind these is to showcase villains and the consequences of what happens when evil wins (one of the tag-lines for Final Crisis was "The Day Evil Won"), but the execution has been very uneven. On the other hand, The Super Young Team (the Japanese heroes that seemed to idolize the members of the Justice League) looked like they were bound to get a series out of Final Crisis, and I remember Morrison stating that he wanted to do one in an interview. Why the higher-ups decided not to is a mystery: Morrison has very ardent fans and the Super Young Team seemed to have been very liked and received by the readers, even if they played a very minimal part in Final Crisis (the team aided Mister Miracle, but they could have been easily replaced by any other young team). Wait a minute, a parody team made up of superficial heroes with their own series written by a British author? That sounds somewhat familiar, maybe they are afraid of similar sale numbers. All kidding aside, it seems that at the moment the DC universe has not caught up to the events of Final Crisis yet, and maybe that is why we have not seen any spin-offs that deal with the aftermath.

It would have been interesting to see the Big Two have two young teams spin off from their big events, the more serious-minded Secret Warriors and the caricaturesque Super Young Team, as it would have created an interesting symmetry. In my humble opinion, the decision from DC to not give Grant Morrison the chance to flesh out these Japanese heroes appears like a mistake, unless there are bigger plans in the works that we have not heard yet. At the end of the day, this round has to go out to Marvel by default. DC has not done anything with the events of Final Crisis, which seem to be happening in a bubble while Marvel has gone headfirst into the status quo after the events of Secret Invasion.


  1. I felt the Super-Young Team were one of the more refreshing aspects of Final Crisis. I hadn't heard of the spin-off plans, but that would have been fun.

  2. bottleHeD, just yesterday they announced that they are going to star in a mini series called Final Crisis Aftermath: Dance (I think), but there's no creative team attached to it yet.