Monday, March 21, 2011

Fear Itself V Flashpoint - Predictions

'Tis the season for events from the Big Two, we've got Fear Itself and Flashpoint right upon us, and I wanted to take a more relaxed and non-serious look at these two stories and how they stack up for me (because that's the most important to me, obviously), critically, and with sales. Hit the jump to see me make generalised observations and comparisons.

Both companies are running their events at the same time, no shock there, but it does make me wonder which will fare better. Marvel is running Fear Itself, an Asgardian tale centring around Thor as well as Captain America. It’s going to affect the entire Marvel U, as every event does, but it’s really a big Thor/Cap tale. And I’m cool with that.

Then DC is doing a whole alternate universe thing centred around the Flash. It’s really going to affect the entire DCU, natch, as the whole universe becomes alternate. No one is the same, nothing is the same. Everything you know is wrong…etc, etc. That’s the set up.

Looking at both, I want to know the following: which will be better (for me), which will get better reviews (overall), and which will sell better (in the monthly format), and then replicate those questions for the tie-ins? It’s a bit hard to call now, what with only Fear Itself: Prologue having shipped, but these are the thoughts that keep me up at night.

I can only speculate, so here goes:

Which Event Is For Me?

For me, Fear Itself is going to be the tale I follow. I’m pumped mostly to see how Matt Fraction steps up to the plate with an event. I love his work (his old work) and have been pretty meh with his Marvel output of late. Can he produce a game changer with this story? I must know.

Plus, Stuart Immonen’s art. Gold and sold.

Flashpoint sounds good, I must admit – I always was a sucker for an alternative universe. But taking a universe I don’t know and twisting it still feels foreign to me. It’s almost like I want to be pumped for it but it just doesn’t work for me.

That’s a win for Fear Itself as the main series I devour.

Critical Winner

Critically, it’s anyone’s game. Fraction can be one of the best writers in the business, at times, and Johns certainly knows how to make with big stories that please a certain sub-section of the fanlad audience. I want to believe Fear Itself will take this category but I worry Fraction is going to extend too far, not stick the landing, and this honour will go to Johns for a solid if not perfect effort. That’s my call, for now.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say Fear Itself will sell better of the two – though the sales charts of late would say I’m a chump for that thought but I’m sticking with it. Marvel readers are going to rally around Fear Itself because there’s nothing building into it; it’s just a big tale. Flashpoint is spinning out of something Flash related, which might turn off some readers if they are not interested in the character.

Tie Ins

Then there are the tie-ins. They deserve attention too, people, so let’s all be attentive.

Marvel tie ins are generally garbage. The Shadowland ones certainly were so that’s my last touching point with them. Sometimes they dominate, but you rarely see it coming (see Dark Reign Ares and Zodiac). I’m looking at the list of Fear Itself tie ins and they sure are disparate. Some are one-shots, others are 7 issues. We have Deadpool and Homefront and Black Widow and then some ongoings are getting in on the action too. Here’s a list of what’s on offer:
  • Fear Itself #1-7
  • Fear Itself: The Amazing Spider-Man #1-3
  • Fear Itself: Black Widow #1
  • Fear Itself: Deadpool #1-3
  • Fear Itself: Fearsome Four #1-4
  • Fear Itself: Homefront #1-7
  • Fear Itself: Sin's Past #1
  • Fear Itself: Spotlight #1
  • Fear Itself: Youth in Revolt #1-6
  • Fear Itself: The Worthy #1-8 (Digital only)
  • Fear Itself: The Deep
  • Alpha Flight #1-8
  • Avengers Academy #15-19
  • Avengers #13
  • Herc #3
  • Iron Man 2.0 #5
  • The Invincible Iron Man #503-504
  • Journey into Mystery #622-623
  • Secret Avengers #12.1
  • Secret Avengers #13
  • Spider-Girl #8
  • Throne of Blood: Birth of a Vampire #1
  • Thunderbolts #159-163

I don’t think the tie ins are going to be all that awesome and I can only see maybe a few issues I’ll actually be seeking out. That’s really lame. And such a shame. Well, actually, there's just a lot of these, and most don't seem really necessary but I suppose that is good. If all tie ins are necessary then they're forcing you to buy more. I guess tie ins should just float in the periphery and lure in some but mabe not all.

I'll already be buying Thunderbolts and Journey Into Mystery. As for official tie ins, I'm curious to try The Worthy, because it is digital only. Fearsome Four does souns pretty cool, or at least Howard the Duck and Frankenstein do, She-Hulk and Nighthawk do nothing for me. Cullen Bunn on The Deep with a basic Defenders roster does sound pretty cool, and him on a Black Widow one-shot also works for me. That's probably about it for me.

However, DC are rocking the Kasbah with their tie in titles. Seriously. Think about the following titles:
  • Legion of Doom
  • Emperor Aquaman
  • World of Flashpoint
  • Hal Jordan
  • Deadman and the Flying Graysons
  • Deathstroke and the Curse of the Ravager
  • Batman, Knight of Vengeance
  • Citizen Cold
  • Reverse Flash
  • Grodd of War
  • Green Arrow Industries
  • The Canterbury Cricket
  • Secret Seven
  • The Outsider
  • Abin Sur – Green Lantern
  • Lois Lane and the Resistance
  • Wonder Woman and the Furies
  • Kid Flash Lost Starring Bart Allen
  • Frankenstein and the Creatures of the Unknown
  • Project Superman

Right there, that’s good times. These titles make me feel like I could dip a toe and I’ll have fun. These titles aren’t going to become ongoings because their universe will very soon collapse or roll over or whatever else happens to these alternate universes when our main and most important universe pops in for a visit.

If I want to enjoy some Jeff Lemire written Frankenstein then I can get in and enjoy the good times. I don’t even mind that there are so damn many of these titles, like someone sprinkled fertiliser into the Previews catalogue. I look at this list and see a few I can pick up if I so desire.

I think I want to buy me some Lemire-stein. As well as some Lois Lane chewing bubble gum and kicking ass. And as for Gorilla Grodd, yeah, I could probably do some of that. It appears that I’m more interested in trying a little bit of DC’s smaller characters rather than their big guns.

I think the Flashpoint tie ins will both sell much better and reach much higher levels of critical acclaim. I’d almost say it’s a lock.

Projected Winner

Overall – That’s Fear Itself for the main series in quality and sales, but Flashpoint dominating in the tie ins. Will I be proven right…of course, I’m always right. But surely time will tell.


Fear Itself or Flashpoint, which side are you choosing? Obviously you can choose both, but what fun is that? I want you to pick a side. I'm picking Fear Itself. What's your poison?

NOTE: Thanks to Bleeding Cool for the banner image. And don't forget, kids, all opinions expressed within this article are speculation only. The events haven't even really started so I can't truly say just yet, not that it stopped me from trying.

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Danial said...

Despite being a Marvel boy, Flash happens to be my favourite DC character, so this could be a game-changer for me. Looking forward to both!

Butters said...

I don't know how you can get excited for fear itself as you said his work on marvel has been pretty bad plus the whole plot seems like fraction got from thriving through the writer of hellboy's recycling bin

Brandon Whaley said...

Marvel has done very little for me as of late, and Flash is one of my favorites. Also, I'm not a fan of Fraction, and Johns has rarely let me down. I'm going Flashpoint all the way here, and probably won't even crack the cover on Fear Itself.

Retcon Joe said...

I'm sticking to Fear Itself. Flashpoint, up to this point sounds a little too much like the Amalgam stuff DC and Marvel put out years ago and I really have to wonder how much alternate universe stuff will impact the canon of the DCU. That being said Fear Itself might get bogged down in the quagmire of the ephermal state of Fear. Time will tell the story.

Midnight Monk said...

I believe the X-Men have a Fear Itself tie in as well dealing with Juggernaut(Possibly one of the few ties I'm interested in). I'll be looking not for Fear Itself as well But I'm most likely gonna ignore Flashpoint, the alternate universe thing rarely works for me except for Batman Beyond anyway

Haven't even touched Age of X yet

John J said...

Flashpoint, hands down. Johns + Kubert = Winner.

Anonymous said...

Flashpoint . His work in marvel has been amateur at best but his Thor has been awful

Ryan K Lindsay said...

I understand Fraction's Marvel work, of late, has been tired. But I just keep thinking back to the man that wrote Casanova, Immortal Iron Fist, Punisher War Journal. What if he turns up for the party?

And what about tie ins, people, what ones are you picking up?

Eric Rupe said...

The problem with the Flashpoint tie-ins are that they are literally editorial driven comics as almost half of them are written by editors or former editors at DC. Aside from the Batman, Superman and Secret Seven tie-ins, there isn't a lot of quality on the titles. Kolins is more known as an artist than a writer and Lemire is more known, and praised, for his non-superhero work. DnA are generally well-regarded but aren't really up there with Azzarello or similar writers when it comes to talent.

Flashpoint does have a leg up with possibility of interesting tie-ins since they are doing an alternate reality tale but the lack of great or even above average creative teams, especially on the art side of things, pretty much wipes out all of that potential.

Tracey said...

If fraction wrote the dialogue for iron fist he would of been a insufferable asshole and I don't think bringing war journal up as a positive does him no favours. "Hatemonger his mission is to kill immigrants" and "punisher is the new captain America" yeah Casanova is good but Robinson wrote starman and loeb wrote long halloween and they didn't keep the quality

Ryan K Lindsay said...

@Tracey - are you saying Fraction didn't write the dialogue for Iron Fist? (I think I've had this exact same argument here a few weeks back...)

As for Punisher: WJ - man, there's some really good stuff in that book, overall. Hatemonger wasn't a solid hit but a lot of the supervillain interplay was, and the done-in-one of Castle taking down the bar full of villains is one of my favourite issues ever.

I should also mention The Order that was quite good.

But you do make a great point with Robinson and Loeb. But rarely doesn't a writer strike lightning with every attempt. But if they have enough credits in my account (Casanova certainly leaves many) then I'll at least try some more of their stuff. Johns hasn't written anything that's lured me across.

David Charles Bitterbaum said...

Do we have the option of being excited for neither? I'm slightly kidding, but I'm not reading anything Flashpoint related and am being very picky with Fear I guess Fear Itself is the series I'm going with--albeit not too excitedly.

Gil said...

I plan on picking up both main titles, but I'm more psyched for Flashpoint, being a DC guy. Although I plan on getting all the Flashpoint books, it's great that the only monthly being dragged into the event is Booster Gold, so people can read what interests them and not worry about the books they already buy taking forced detours, which seems to be the case with Fear Itself. Fear Itself does sound fantastic, but Fraction has yet to earn my trust, unlike Johns. I did enjoy the prologue issue by Brubaker, more than many I've seen on the net, so it is off to a good start, but we'll see what happens when the real mastermind behind Fear Itself takes the stage. I'm cautiously optimistic.

Chris said...

I went to the Fear Itself panel this weekend at C2E2 and it really sounds like it will be quite good, Fraction is very excited about it and I'm a big fan of his so I'm really looking forward to it.

As far as the tie-ins for that I'll definetly get the Spider-man ones and I read Iron Man and the Avengers books anyways so I'll get those for sure....might pick up a couple of others depending on how big my pull list is on a particular week.

Space Jawa said...

Normally I'm a Marvel guy, but I'm going to be going with Flashpoint over Fear Itself.

Between Civil War, World War Hulk, Secret Invasion, and Siege, I've kind of been burnt out on Marvel crossovers (with an exception for their Cosmic stuff). As interesting as the concepts can be, they seem to keep ending in the worst possible ways. It's left me really wary to buy anymore crossovers from Marvel until they put out something that doesn't seem to drop the ball by the time the last issue is over. What I heard about Shadowland didn't exactly do much to instill confidence on the matter.

On the other hand, I'm kind of a fan of Alternate Reality stuff, so despite not being a big reader of DC (or perhaps because of, since I'll be seeing comparisons based on the more basic knowledge I have of most the characters), I'm going with Flashpoint.

It's hard to say how many tie-ins I'll get, though, and despite not reading the main story, I might actually get some of the Fear Itself tie ins based on the characters involved.

Ivan said...

I'm slightly more a DC fan than Marvel fan, so it's Flashpoint for me.

When it comes around to these parts, that is. We're just starting Brightest Day.

Anonymous said...

I'm a DC guy, but alternate reality stories don't do much for me. Hopefully Geoff Johns and Andy Kubert change this for me. At this point, I'm more interested in Fear Itself even though Fraction's Thor has been a dissapointment for me.

krakkaboom said...

The fact that The Flash is being canceled once issue #12 ships has soured me on Flashpoint. I really don't care at all now. I have to go with Fear Itself, even though I feel like both events are going to be lame.

War of the Green Lanterns, on the other hand, (while not an event with a book that bears its title) looks like it will be the best large scale story from DC or Marvel in 2011.

Koottie said...

Flash point. Hands down, a small factor was Fear Itself #1-7 are all $3.99 each.

I stopped eating at subway because its pricey lol

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