Ask any veteran comic book reader what they think of event comics and you’ll get a wide range of answers. Sometimes viewed favorably, and other times viewed with much trepidation, comic events are usually met with various degrees of excitement and hatred. Whatever the reaction to them might be, they still tend to sell extremely well no matter what. That’s why it comes as no surprise that Marvel has announced several comics for summer 2015 that focus on past event storylines.
As of today, the comic events that have been announced by Marvel include Civil War, Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies, Plant Hulk, Years of Future Past, Armor Wars and House of M. All of these events have had varying levels of success. While some of these event books have garnered strong critical praise (most notably Armor Wars, Days of Future Past and Planet Hulk), the other titles listed so far have received mixed critical reception at best.
As with most of these teasers so far, little to no information has been released as to how these comic events relate to another. A theory proposed by Marvel fans and IGN is that these comics are all tie-ins to a multiverse Secret Wars event. Announced by writer Jonathan Hickman (Fantastic Four, Avengers) at this year’s NYCC, Secret Wars will be written by Hickman himself and will focus on numerous battles between the Avengers and other heroes across Marvel’s multiverse. As with any comic book event, there will be numerous tie-in comics to go with it. Though not said to be the tie-in books by Hickman, it’s reasonable to guess that these announced comics are in fact the rumored Secret War tie-ins.
For those unfamiliar with the event, Secret Wars was a limited 12-issue comic crossover that pitted Marvel’s greatest heroes and villains against one another by the mysterious cosmic entity known as the Beyonder. Heroes and villains included Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, the X-Men, Dr. Doom, Magneto and Ultron. The event is perhaps most famous for the origin of the alien symbiote. Thinking he had acquired a costume made of a strange alien material, Spider-Man was later haunted by the fact that he was partially responsible for the creation of one of his most iconic enemies, Venom.
Comic events typically do two things. They either change the status quo of most books in a bid to attract new readers, or revert back to the original status quo that previous events might have screwed up in an attempt to regain the readers they might have lost. Often, comic events are usually plagued by simplified plotlines and massive battles with multiple characters dying only to be resurrected again in the next comic universe wide event. It’s simply a “rinse and repeat” process of storytelling that pretends to be the end all be all of comic book stories.
Sure, there have been a few occasional successful events. Days of Futures Past, Planet Hulk and Armor Wars are typically viewed favorably by comic readers. However, most of those storylines focused on a single hero or team. For example, Days of Future Past, often looked at as one of best X-Men stories in comics, was only two issues in length. Also, Plant Hulk has only recently been labeled an “event” comic. The book followed the Hulk as he became a gladiatorial hero of sorts on a faraway alien planet. Only a handful of Marvel’s heroes made a short cameo appearance in the book.
With the summer still months away, there are numerous event books that could be in the works. It is possible that Annihilation, Secret Invasion or Age of Apocalypse might join the ranks of titles announced to premiere in 2015? Hell, is Spider-Island a possibility? Only time will tell.
What about you reader? What do you think of all these recent event titles? Are you excited or exhausted by the prospect of the Marvel Universe being engulfed by a universe spanning storyline? Let us know in the comments below.