The Bricktosser

A place for me to rant, ramble and rave about all things comics related.

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Friday, February 24, 2006

Outcome Oriented Comics

Intriguing title?

This post is prompted in a trend I see in comics over the last few years-- the rise of stories which seem less intended to entertain, but rather, to result in some final state.

To wit: Green Lantern #9, just released.

The point of this comic seems to be to re-establish Green Lantern and Batman as allies. Oh, there's a story-- and it's reasonably entertaining (if forgettable), particularly the character bits between Hal and Bruce. (Yes, I'm a geek, I refer to them by their first names.)

But mostly, the point seems to be to get to the end.

This isn't all that unusual these days. See also: Green Lantern: Rebirth, the JSA arc re-introducing Hawkman, the Power Girl arc of JSA: classified. Notice a pattern here? They're all written by Geoff Johns.

He's not the only one, though. The Marvel Ultimate line is chock full of stories that the point of which seems to either establish or overturn a parallel with the regular Marvel line. Bendis does it in New Avengers, too-- the whole setup of the Sentry. And while it's getting common lately, it's not new. Early in the current JLA series, there was a two-part story that existed to restore Adam Strange and his surrounding to their old state. Even back in the 70's you find these stories from time to time, like the one that existed solely to explain how Superman could fool everyone with a pair of glasses. Google "Master Mesmerizer of Metropolis" if your curious about that one.

Anyway, there seem to be two flavors of OOC
* Restore some aspect of a character or his mythos
* Establish some character change mandated by editorial edict (such as killing off a character or disbanding a team so that a new one can come along).

OOC comics aren't all bad, and if fact, Johns' are pretty good. But they're very disposable. Here's hoping the trend will tire itself out before long.


Blogger bluecanary said...

What about non-superhero comix? I think Blade of the Immortal tends to flip from story arc to story arc -- some are character studies, some are about driving to the next plot point. Part of the appeal of serialized storytelling is that you want to know what happens next, so you want to buy the next issue. I think plot "what's next" is easier than character "what's next" -- and I think a good series moves back and forth between these. But do you mean a different focus than just merely plot, but a larger scale outcome?

11:07 AM  
Blogger Ken S. said...

What I'm driving at is not so much plot-driven comics-- I think you're right on that. I'm more talking about comics which have as a primary purpose the state of the charcters or mytholgies therein.

I think this only happens in long-term continuities.

Another example that just came to mind would be "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock"

To wit-- desired outcomes: restore Spock, get rid of Kirk's son as a character, impy that that Genesis device has some problem which will allow it to be written off if desired. How this comes about was less important than that it does.

9:11 PM  
Blogger Striker said...

Yeah, that's a little irritating sometimes. For instance, I can use a couple of DC's crossovers as examples.

Crisis on Infinite Earths, to some extent, fits the bill. Though, it was still interesting reading anyway, and it wasn't too confusing (most of the time).

Zero Hour, on the other hand...ick. It was pretty much only designed to sweep up some debris and it wasn't very interesting otherwise. It was confusing as all hell. I've read it over a few times now(having been suckered into buying it) and it still makes very little sense to me.

Hell, the only really interesting part(Extant wipes out the JSA) has been better done in JSA's own pages recently anyway.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Ken S. said...

Zero Hour is the perfect example. I wish I'd thought of that when I wrote the post.

4:26 PM  

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