“Big,” “exciting,” and even “universe shattering” are just a few ways to describe major comic book events. However, events aren’t advertised as aggressively as they used to be. Whether it’s because of problems behind the scenes, or a story’s mediocre quality, there’s definitely been some event/crossover-related burnout! So, it does beg the following question: do comic book events actually matter anymore?
It’s probably best to start with one simple fact: we’ve seen a ton of events over the years. Civil War, Infinite Crisis, Blackest Night and many more have shown us that they come in all shapes and sizes, with no evidence of slowing down.
The problem is, with the constant outpouring of event series, it can be hard for new events to live up to what came before. At the same time, it can also be easy to fall into predictability. It’s gotten to the point where events feel so familiar at times that we can determine exactly how they end before they actually end.
Sometimes, we don’t even have to do the guess work. Some publishers occasionally spoil the outcomes of their own events! The most recent example, at the time of this article, is how Civil War II was handled.
The aftermath of the event was released way before the end itself, which both spoiled it and killed any remaining interest. Even before that, the event was sort of spoiled with the announcement of new Marvel Now comics. We were able to put some of the puzzle pieces together before the story was over.
Another example of this is the Clone Conspiracy event running through Spider-Man (SPOILER WARNING FOR THIS NEXT PART!). Recently, it was announced that Ben Riley would return as the Scarlet Spider after the event concluded. But see, this spoiled a story that wasn’t finished yet!
If you’ve been keeping up with this one, you’re aware that Ben was the man in the Jackal mask the whole ding-darn time! So, thanks to the announcement regarding the new Scarlet Spider series, we now know that Ben isn’t the real mastermind, and will be a good guy in the end. And yes, knowing part of the ending completely neuters the mystery and tension behind Clone Conspiracy.
So, with the many tired clichés, early spoilers, and the sheer number of events that get released on top of each other, do events actually matter? Well, that’s hard to say, but you can definitely see why there’s been some event burnout lately. Sometimes, there’s no breathing room between them, and it’s hard to invest in event series that are methodically formulaic. However, I don’t believe that means there’s no hope for them.
Events are sometimes an interesting way to tell unique stories, or shake up the status quo.
Sure, there’s been a few bumps in the road recently, but eventually, things have to get better! From previous mistakes and pitfalls, publishers can note what worked and what didn’t, and use that knowledge to make a better event. The possibilities for storytelling are always open, and if the idea sounds interesting, I say the writers should explore it. Will they have as much impact as they used to? It’s possible, but it’s up to readers, and time, to decide.