I Liked Millennium

I liked Millennium.

What is wrong with this Internet? Every day I can read a score of people chiming in on how much they liked Secret Wars, but hated Millennium. On how they thought Inferno or Fall Of The Mutants or Atlantis Attacks or Acts Of Vengeance was totally wicked…but Millennium sucked.

Are they serious?

I have not yet heard one person inveighing against Millennium — not one! — who could say what they didn’t like about it.

And I’m not saying it was the best thing I’ve ever read in my whole life, either.

But as far as Mandatory Marvel/DC Event Crossovers?

Yeah. It’s up there.

Because, Inferno, Internet?

As Ed calls it, “Look Out, Big Nasty’s Coming To Get You”?

Have you lost your mind, Internet?

Yes; you have. Because I just read someone praising Secret Wars II.

Secret. Wars. II.

I sometimes forget that you are all kids, and don’t know any better. Then I read something like CSBG’s Top 100 Runs, where the Australian X-Men run sits about middle of the pack, and Ditko’s Dr. Strange sits at the very bottom. Mind-boggling. I read people saying Al Milgrom’s a no-talent hack. Christ, next they’re going to be saying Al Williamson’s a no-talent hack.

I mean for God’s sake.

Honestly, I’d like to know what you all consider a good crossover.

What’s a good crossover?

What’s the best crossover?

And what’s the worst crossover.

Although I suppose a better question would be: what’s the best single issue of a regular series that had to deal with a crossover?

Ooooh…now that I want to know.


24 responses to “I Liked Millennium

  1. Are we talking about the same Millennium here? Manhunter robots disguised as members of everyone’s supporting cast? I don’t remember it that well, but I do remember how much of a problem it was for all the DC titles to come up with a member of the cast that they could afford to do without. So anyone who was a fan of Booster Gold’s sleazy manager Dirk Davis, or the first Rocket Red in the JLI, or Blue Devil’s sister Mary Frances Cassidy, or Laurel Kent, was just out of luck, because they had to be sacrificed on Millennium’s altar. There are still Legion fans ticked off about the Laurel Kent thing, not that she would have been permitted to remain part of Legion continuity anyway, with her Superman connection.

    Best crossover? Invasion was pretty good. Best crossover tie-in? I liked the Fisherman story that was part of Blue Devil’s Crisis on Infinite Earths tie-in sequence. LSH had an awesome tie-in to 52, but that’s not quite the same thing.

    Worst crossover… hard to say, but from what I know of Bloodlines it was pretty terribly done.

    The thing I hate about crossovers is that they give us all these lame spinoff characters who are completely devoid of personality or purpose and yet they stick around for years thereafter. The Monitor, the Anti-Monitor, Pariah, Harbinger, Waverider…

  2. Okay, here’s my own off-the-cuff opinion, and be warned I’ve been drinking so I’m feeling kinda mean:

    Best post-Crisis DC crossover: Invasion.

    Worst post-Crisis DC crossover: War Of The Gods.

    Best Roped-In Issue: unsurprisingly, my vote goes to the Messner-Loebs/Larocque Flash that featured Wally vs. first Hermes, then Mercury. Great art, great writing, great speed, and a story that actually counted for something…all amid the meaningless plot-chaff of an absolutely pointless summer blahblahster.

    Best post-Crisis Marvel crossover: none, they’re all horrifyingly stupid.

    Worst: probably Inferno. Hard to argue with Big Nasty. Although “Infinity War” certainly comes bloody close, in my book.

    Best Roped-In Issue: TIE! Between Silver Surfer Annual #1, crossed over with Evolutionary War, and whatever issue of FF it was that crossed over with Secret Wars II. Good job by both Englehart and Byrne to find a way to serve their ongoing plot-purposes, despite everything.

    And then there’s…

    Best pre-Crisis DC crossover: I honestly don’t know, but I’m going to say the first annual JLA/JSA thing, because, you know, fun.

    Best pre-Crisis Marvel crossover: I want to say “all of Marvel Comics up until Secret Wars”, or “All of Len Wein’s Marvel Team-Up”, but I won’t, I’ll pick one — in which case it has to be “Thing Vs. Hulk”/”Avengers Take Over”…the latter of which I need a T-shirt of its cover, pronto.

    Best intercompany crossover: hands down, Superman Vs. Spider-Man.

    Runner-up: Batman/Grendel.

    And the issue of Coyote where he drinks the Beers Of The World with Badger, does that count?

    Okay, sleepy now. And why do I just know that someone’s gonna swan in with some obvious entrants that completely overwhelm my own in terms of quality?

    Sigh. I shoulda had more to drink.

  3. Dash it, Matthew, you beat me for first comment!

    Yup, same Millennium…and I’m not sure how really, really, REALLY hard it was on everybody, fans and creators alike, to lose one supporting cast member from each book. There were a lot of workarounds, as I recall. And these things all look a bit less than earthshaking when compared to the fallout from every major crossover since then, don’t you think? I mean in Zero Hour Hal killed Arisia, didn’t he? That’s some nasty stuff. Even, dare I say it, some Big Nasty stuff.

    And ah, Bloodlines. Ouch. Forgot about that one.

  4. My favorite post-Crisis DC crossover so far is DC One Million. It’s not the traditional carnage-and-changes story, and that’s just why I like it. It’s just a love letter to DC set a million months after Action #1.

    Least favorite has to be Genesis. I still don’t understand a lick of it and have no desire to try.

    Favorite JLA/JSA crossover? Probably a three-way tie between 1977’s trip to the 30th Century, 1980’s trip to the Fourth World, and 1981’s battle with the Secret Society of Super-Villains.

    Can’t think of a single issue which stood alone within a crossover — okay, maybe that Swamp Thing issue of Crisis. It’s not a single issue, but the Green Lantern arc which ran alongside the original Crisis served that book pretty well. Too bad those haven’t been reprinted as some kind of Crisis supplement.

    Can’t help you too much with the Marvel crossovers, although from what I remember Atlantis Attacks was pretty bad.

  5. I was fond of Acts of Vengeance back in the day (when I was in elementary school), and I still like what I have of it now. Yeah it was just an excuse for a bunch of fight scenes. but they were between heroes and villains they usually didn’t clash, for whatever reason (Thor vs. the Juggernaut! OK, Thor & the New Warriors vs. the Juggernaut, but I liked the New Warriors so that was fine), and that was kind of nifty (if nothing else, it probably delayed another Spider-Man/Venom fight, as they were starting to move into overuse of that character). I mostly stuck with the various Spider-title issues of that event, and that was when they gave the Spidey the Captain Universe powers, and you got to see him fight Magneto, Mr. Fixit, as well as, lesser villains, like the Brothers Grimm and Trapster, and it was neat to see Spidey flying around, zapping people with energy beams. A bit of a novelty. And during all that you had Doom curious about these new powers Spidey manifested, and trying to find a way to steal them for himself. Because that’s what Doom does, steal powerful alien energy sources away from their current users, I suppose.

    Plus, Simonson wrote an FF issue during that where Reed Richards made a very convincing argument against a Superhuman Registration Act that was in legislation, which is even better when considering he completely ignored all those arguments, when Civil War rolled around.

    As for my favorite crossover, would Annihilation count? I think it was definitely an event, but it was basically self-contained, and hasn’t gotten much mention outside Nova (and Stark commenting on what it did to the Skrulls, ’cause that’s relevant to Secret Invasion). If it doesn’t count, then I’ll stick with Acts of Vengeance.

    Let’s see, worst crossover, um, Disassembled. It seems to have allowed for all the mess we’ve seen the last few years at Marvel (not that everything there is bad, just the overarching story of the Marvel Universe, with the distrust among the good guys, and the Negative Zone prisons, and etc., is getting tedious). Worst issue tying in with a crossover, I’m going to nominate all the issues of Spectacular Spider-Man, because it had Peter meeting some insect queen, turning into a giant spider, dying, emerging from the corpse of his giant spider-self, and hey, he’s got organic webshooters and can communicate with insects now (which was basically never used by anyone)! I’m not sure whether to blame Jenkins or Editorial for that one, though I’d prefer to lay it on Editorial, since I’m fond of most of Jenkins Spider-Man work.

    On the DC side, I don’t have a good or best, because I’m never reading more than about 3 DC titles at once, so I’m not really invested in the universe as a whole, so something tying a bunch of it together just annoys me. Worst crossover, War Games, though that was contained to the Batbooks. I’m a Spoiler fan, so that didn’t make me too happy, there seemed to be some glaring plot holes, and all it really seemed to accomplish was give Batman another reason to get all “grumpy loner, I can’t trust anyone, they’ll all betray me or disappoint me, I AM THe NIGHT!” on us again. Boring.

  6. Best post-Crisis DC crossover – A tie between Legends – which was sort of DC’s Civil War except the heroes united against the forces that shut them down – and DC One Million, which was pretty neat.

    Worst post-Crisis DC crossover – Tie between Armageddon 2001 (Archie Goodwin and Denny O’Neil should have known better) and War Games, which after decades of Bat-fandom managed to make me hate Bruce Wayne.

    Best roped-in issue: Supergirl #4, where Linda Danvers/Matrix fights Gorilla Grodd during the whole Final Night thingie. Peter David manages to further the book’s own master plot while servicing editorial, plus Gary Frank draws a great super-intelligent ape.

    Best post-Crisis Marvel crossover – um, I liked the original Infinity Gauntlet crossover at the time. Haven’t read it recently though. I also was a fan of World War Hulk, especially the part where Bruce Banner clocks the Sentry.

    Worst – At least X-Factor had pretty Simonson art during Inferno. (Poor Maddie.) Again, a tie vote for Disassembled (heroes stand helplessly while world blows up, Dr. Strange – or a Skrull, for all I know – gives ’em a stern talking to) and Atlantis Attacks. Boy, did that suck.

    Best roped-in issue: That issue of Daredevil where he beats Ultron with a stick.

    Best pre-Crisis DC cross-over: JLA & JSA meet The Freedom Fighters on Earth X.

    Best pre-Crisis Marvel cross-over: Avengers/Defenders war, of course!

    Best inter-company cross-over: I love Superman/Spider-Man as all right thinking people should, but I was really floored by the X-Men/Teen Titans cross-over that had Dark Phoenix and Darkseid united against our heroes. Plus, good Claremont writing and GREAT Simonson art!!

    Runner-up: Superman & Hulk by Roger Stern and Steve Rude.

  7. So you’re the guys who’ve been buying and reading all these crossovers? You know, if you just stopped doing that, maybe they’d stop as well…

    Well, no, but you’d be happier and have more pocket money.

    I did read a few DC One Million tie-ins, and darned if that didn’t seem like a really clever premise and structure for a crossover — offering a lot of hooks for other writers to use but not imposing a particular structure or plot point out of brutal story-advancing necessity. If only this were the model they all followed!

    People are naturally focusing on the “alien impostor” angle of Millennium, but there was a whole other aspect to it that gets overlooked. I read only the core series, not any of the tie-ins, and what you mostly got was a philosophical, discursive story in which the super-hero action was mainly going on somewhere else (i.e., other titles) with the spandex characters reporting in every so often while the real action was a Guardian and a Zamaron teaching their pupils a course in numerology. (Something like that; I haven’t reread the issues in a while.) Treating the hero/villain fights as a distraction and the philosophical stuff as the real story, the quiet center at the heart of the storm, appeals to me a lot. It would have worked vastly better had Englehart been allowed to use the ending he intended — the “new Guardians” return to their normal lives, the world left to wonder when or how those seeds would eventually develop — instead of the superfluous new hero team we actually got. But that failure, at least, can’t be held against the original premise.

  8. Best DC: DC One Million. It was fun, which almost no other crossover ended up being.
    Worst DC: Genesis. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz…
    Best tie-in: I liked the DC One Million Hitman issue because it was really funny in a juvenile “super-heroes are stooopid” kind of way. John McCrea’s goofy art really sold it.

    Best Marvel: Infinty Gauntlet had great George Perez art, decent Ron Lim art, a big fight in space, and it introduced me to a whole bunch of cool characters.
    Worst Marvel: I guess Disassembled, as I never read Civil War, Atlantis attacks, Evolutionary War, or any of the Annuals crossovers.
    Best tie-in: I liked the “teeny-tiny Hulk pretends he’s God to beat the Abomination” Infinity Gauntlet tie-in.

    Aaand I just heard my son wake up, so that’s all you’ll get from me.

  9. Just throwing a few things out while my faulty internet connection’s still, er, connecting:

    I’ll second Annihilation, if it counts as a crossover. Way, way better than it needed to be.

    Best single issues: The recent Blue Beetle series has dealt really well with the crossovers foisted on it.

    Hitman’s Final Night issue: wasn’t it just a set of guys sitting round talking in a pub, as the world ended? Gets my vote.

  10. Oh, yeah, that’s the Blue Beetle one I was thinking of. The Countdown crossover: “Total Eclipso: The Heart”. A perfect, perfect little story, self-contained, had so much spirit, action, heroism, and boy did it bring the funny. It had (a) a great title, (b) managed to be self-contained and brilliant while (c) tying into one of DC’s worst ever titles. Seriously, it almost made Countdown worth it. All 52 issues, all on its own.

  11. Millenium? I honestly liked Secret Wars II better. There wasn’t much tension, faceless robots make for the most… panache-less villains possible, and the whole “character you like is actually a killer robot” bit got on my ones.

    Worst, crossover, ever. And, I mean, I DO really like Steve Engelhart and Joe Staton 95% of the time. But this one I just hated.

    Best Post-Crisis Crossover: And I liked Infinite Crisis, too. It was insular, and kind of dumb, but the plot just kept horking itself along without getting too bogged down. I appreciated that. (Although I only read it in trade.)

    Worst Post-Crisis Crossover: Already covered.

    Best Post-Marvel Crossover: Haven’t read most of them. I did like the first Infinity one.

    Worst: Inferno. I can’t even describe it without painfulness in my temples. Or, geez, maybe Dissasembled. That was pretty turgid.

    Best roped-in issue: Not to be TOO obvious here, but the Crisis response in Moore’s Swamp Thing.

    Best Pre-Crisis DC Crossover: The… I believe it’s third JLA/JSA crossover. Where Spectre fights the anti-matter man and his head grows all super big. A sight gag! In the midst of UNIVERSAL COSMIC WORLDS MAY LIVE, WORLDS MAY DIE AWFULLNESS! Holy shit, I miss Gardner Fox.

    Or else the Wein/Dillon JLA/JSA/Seven Soldiers crossover in JLA 100.

    Best intercompany crossover: Gen-13 in Beanworld? Or else the second Dematteis/Nolan Batman and Spider-man.

  12. Gen-13 in Beanworld?

    I had NO IDEA. That’s NUTS. I must locate that…

    I keep forgetting about Final Night, ye gods what a waste of time that was. Also Zero Hour inaugurated a certain style of high-concept crossover that still makes its evil effects felt to this day, I think…although if I recall correctly it had many decent Roped-In Issues running alongside it…

    The FF Acts Of Vengeance crossover was one of the few I could stand — and also one of the few Simonson FFs that I liked, period — but although I liked One Million I found a lot of the tie-ins to be a bit lacking in luster, compared to the great work Morrison did on the stem titles.

    And Avengers/Defenders, of course! How forgetful I am…

    In general I’ve gotten pretty weary of Starlin’s Thanos-related work — well, weary of Thanos period, he’s really turned into an awful crutch over time, hasn’t he? As to Infinite Crisis, my major complaint with it mirrors Ed’s — what came of it all, in the end? In practical terms, what “happened”? Next to nothing, as far as I can tell. 52 Earths, okay, but what use are they, exactly? Except as things for Superboy-Prime to blow up, but…but didn’t we just go through all this? Humph. Compare the aftermath of IC with the aftermath of Crisis, Invasion, even the build-up to Zero Hour…and yes, Millenium. These were all pretty good examples of DC using line-wide crossovers to introduce legitimate new storytelling possibilities into its overall universal structure, that creators could then put to strong use, or not, without creating deep faultlines between what they were doing and what everybody else was doing. Sadly, this sort of light-touch planning got yanked away from later DC crossovers for the most part…until Morrison’s JLA came around.

    Whoops, sun’s getting in my eyes, now. More to follow, I’m sure…

  13. Uh – Greatest crossover of all time: Seven Soldiers.

    And if we need a Marvel crossover… well, Acts of Vengeance did have Daredevil killing Ultron with a 2 by 4.

    Also Silvestri’s art on the Austrailia X-Men was so good. I can’t really say anything bad about it.

  14. I’d quarrel with Seven Soldiers — or things like JLA/JSA teamups that were strictly limited to consecutive issues of JLA — being counted as crossovers for purposes of this discussion. Heck, I’d even argue against Avengers/Defenders as a candidate, on the grounds that it was all the work of one writer and only affected the two series. I assumed we were talking about publisher-driven events involving multiple writers and multiple titles united by some common premise…in which the probability of suckage is by definition exceedingly high, so the rare moment of aesthetic success becomes all the more precious.

  15. That seems like a reasonable restriction, RAB…I considered Morrison’s Seven Soldiers myself, but decided it didn’t cross over so much as it made totally new space up for itself…

    Only one problem, though: if we go so far as to rule out the Avengers/Defenders War, that leaves nothing I can recall that could count as a Marvel crossover event prior to Secret Wars! Unless, maybe, you count the more extended MTU storylines…

    Or Not Brand Ecch. maybe?

    Hmm, well, as I’ve often said, the Marvel Universe really was a Crossover universe anyway, almost from the very beginning…a tendency for different characters, storylines, and titles to accidentally bump into each other pretty routinely, a principle taken to nearly absurd lengths in Wein’s MTU…and of course in Gerber’s Defenders, which actively embraced the absurd.

    And then there was the painful artificiality and consequence-beggaring called Secret Wars…

    Huh, it’s almost like the difference between English SF and American SF, isn’t it? As Ed’s fond of pointing out, American SF grew out of Gernsback, but English SF grew out of Wells. And in a similar way, Marvel’s crossoverism grew out of Secret War’s shilling, and DC’s grew out of Crisis’ more evolved storytelling intentions. Hence, Invasion, Millenium, even the excesses of Zero Hour…even the goulash that was Infinite Crisis…even trainwrecks like Final Night, War Of The Gods, and their ilk…all attempt to follow, even in sometimes twisted fashion, Crisis’ cosmological note. Rationalization, refinement, the addition of texture. Of course then you have garbage like Bloodlines…arguably Amazons Attack…

    But maybe that’s the Marvel influence. Secret Wars II, Acts Of Vengeance, The Evolutionary War, Atlantis Attacks…these are straight-up toy merchandising efforts, at their core. Sure, there were no toys made for Acts…but there might have been! Such is the nature of the Marvel crossover: it lends itself to poseable diorama.

    Well? Do you think I’m right?

    So the knock on the modern DC crossover, following from this, would be: it’s cosmologically incoherent, most of the time. But it still likes to use the cosmological toybox when it can. Fan service: but Wellsian fan service. Or at least, attempted Wellesian fan service.

    And the knock on the typical Marvel crossover: incredibly arbitrary and disruptive, due to an essential lack of cosmological purpose. But then it gets much worse when it aspires to cosmology anyway. It just doesn’t have the tools at hand to hit that note at a bearable angle: because there are no Wellesians left, over there. They’re making product, not a universe.

    So if you like action figures, the Shooter-inspired crossover is for you — and if you don’t like action figures, it’s worthless. But not as worthless as it is when it tries to “change” stuff.

    And if you like all the Marvel stuff from the Seventies scripters and artists, that the post-Shooter Marvel had no patience with — then DC’s crossovers are for you. Unless they try to use the revision of their cosmology essentially as an excuse to make action figures. And then it’s no good, because when you end up revising all of time and space and history to make bad latter-day Marvelisms like “Extant”, then…well, that stuff never really works anyway, you know? That isn’t where new characters come from, and it isn’t what they’re good for. Again, it’s making new universes for the sake of crap, for the sake of characters no one cares about, or in all likelihood will ever care about.

    When it’s done particularly well, it can make both at once, and work: Invasion produced L.E.G.I.O.N…but L.E.G.I.O.N. was a cosmological device!

    Englehart’s FF got rid of the Beyonder, by replacing him with a bigger Chain Of Being!

    Regardless of DC’s cosmo-mutterings being more intelligible than Marvel’s for the last thirty-odd years, this is really what Marvel does best, and needs most of: “cosmic” shit, for its own sake. Not for a big-shouldered character design or a bust of Thanos with a bejewelled golden gauntlet on his fist, but for storytelling purposes. That’s where Marvel got lost, I think.

    And imagine DC, freed of cosmo-revision and rationalization! I take Seven Soldiers’ aim not to have been its (verrrrry clever!) cosmological conceit, but its addition of new character potentials to its universe…and in a sense this was arbitrariness, wasn’t it?

    Sorry, I don’t think I have much of a point, here. Just rambling, really. And, I’m sure, overgeneralizing. But maybe I’ll come back to this later, and it’ll all read really great…!

  16. I’d rather the high foreheads behind these crossovers realized that in the end, these things still have to read like actual stories, and not like collections of editorially-mandated plot points. That was my big problem with Infinite Crisis: what exactly was it the story of? You could isolate it, but then there’s all kinds of other extraneous stuff happening that doesn’t quite seem to fit in, from a storytelling point of view.

    So I’m somewhat hopeful about Final Crisis, because Grant Morrison’s driving, so it ought to smell like a story if nothing else.

  17. I can’t check (as the issues are at your place), but I suspect that you’ll find that there’s a general tapering off of Marvel titles being purchased during and in the aftermath of “Inferno”. A crossover (meant to help sales) so bad that our consumption of Marvel titles actually went down. There may be a corresponding increase in DC titles as well, so Inferno really didn’t help Marvel in our case, did it?

    Do you remember, a few years before Secret Wars, we were talking about how cool it would be if Marvel would do a crossover of absolutely all its books & characters? Man, talk about wanting to eat your words…

    As far as in-company crossovers go, not a whole lot to say that hasn’t been said already, but as far as the various Infinity-whatever series go, nothing Starlin has done after “Dreadstar” has really done much of anything for me. Over-elaboration concerning the Soul Gems just seemed to pollute the concept.

    As far as inter-company crossovers go, I’m actually going to put in a good word for JLA/Avengers, latter-day as it is; if you’re going to indulge in that sort of slightly wanky reference-heavy continuity-play, Busiek’s one of the best people to do so and keep it fun.
    Also, while Marvel Vs. DC sucked pretty damn heavily, there were some rather cute ideas & bits in the various Amalgam books.

  18. I liked JLA/Avengers even more when I cottoned onto the homoerotic overtones…

    Plus: Perez going nuts. I mean how do you not.

    And it was good — even good enough to be considered “in continuity”, I think. Whereas that aspect of Amalgam really didn’t cut it for me. Although there were, as you say, some nice ideas. Still like that Superman/Hulk thing a lot, though. No, not the Shooter one — boy, really hard to live up to that first Supes/Spidey crossover! — but the Stern one, with Lois saying “hey, how come you’ve never done anything about this Hulk character?” and Superman rubbing his neck and saying “Welll…gee, Lois, I mean…”

    On the Soul Gems: I’d prepared a whole rant on how once Starlin had made Adam Warlock’s, he should’ve just been kept away from the whole idea. Like the opposite of Occam’s Razor, Marvel to a degree relies on the multiplication of entities (thought this can go really, really, REALLY too far when you just spend all your time making up atrocious siblings for Eternity and Galactus! I mean Death’s okay, but even Death doesn’t quite make sense all the time…Thanos is “in love with Death”? Fine. But dating her? Ghaa), and when Englehart brought in a completely different kind of Soul Gem in Captain Marvel, he opened a door to further mysterious “cosmic” items and possibilities. Unfortunately then Starlin slammed that door shut, so now we just have “the Infinity Gems”…blah. Boring. Too much consolidation. And it’s spreading like a disease: I dread what Johns will end up doing to the Silver Twist, if he hasn’t done it already…

    I sometimes wonder if there were high-level discussions about what Secret Wars might do to Marvel’s branding: “won’t this turn off a lot of our traditional readership, isn’t this kind of “anti-Marvel”, Jim?” And then Shooter marshalling a lot of probably half-decent arguments as to why it was a good idea, or a worthwhile risk, or whatever. All of which arguments (if he made them) turned out to be dead wrong. (Ed, where’s that Shooter Era Overview post? That would almost be like journalism, at this point…)

    Anyway, that’s when we start to become de-Marvelized, right? Or maybe it starts a little bit before that, with various Shooterisms designed to “clean things up”…by dumbing them down…but anyway Secret Wars is probably what finally really gets the wedge into the wood for real, I think. It was so not for us

    And then things just go further and further down that path, and then there’s Inferno, and…yeah. I think that’s when the wood splits down to the middle, if not clean through. And I see no reason to believe that we were somehow this weird outlier sector of Marvel fandom.

    So, if all that’s true…

    When did DC start to lose it? Was it “Fate”? Bloodlines? The Conglomerate? Zero Hour? I don’t really remember, I just remember there were a lot of reasons to be into DC rather than Marvel, and then suddenly there were fewer.

    Thank God for Fantagraphics!

  19. I’m convinced DC lost it in the mid-’70s- Lots of half-assed comics, and the big two (Superman & Batman) were treading water. They got “it” back, thanks to New Teen Titans, prestige projects like Camelot 3000, Legion, Swamp Thing, general improvement in their Batman books, and some other stuff I’m forgetting. They kept “it” through Crisis (which, from what I gather, got people talking about DC when they weren’t before), Miller’s Batman, Watchmen, and all those wonderful late-’80s DC books (JLI, Suicide Squad, Question, L.E.G.I.O.N., et al).

    They lost it again in the post-Image early- & mid-’90s, when they couldn’t get the popular artists, the good titles petered out, and they tried theor damnedest to imitate Marvel and Image. Since then, it’s been up and down and up and down with even greater frequency. For every Starman, there are three really bad universe-wide crossover “events.”

  20. OK, I wrote this back on April 12th and have been sitting on it Actually, I was ruminating on it for a few days, but kept getting stymied by my own inherent LACK of enjoyment of the ACTUAL cross-overs while I find their OVERALL IDEAS (or what they COULD BE) to be enjoyable.
    The dichotomy is killing me.


    Call it curse or blessing, but one of the particulars of being a Doctor Strange centric collector, lo’ these many years – is that I don’t REALLY have to be bothered with all that many crossovers.

    Sure I do buy a few, but mostly out of a mild curiosity (OR long afterwards from the bargain bin).

    The crossovers that I HAVE bought, I usually only buy the MAIN title and/OR whatever issues of other titles that I would normally be buying. I MAY be enticed into buying one or two issues of a new title, but only if it has a Doc appearance.

    Due to Doc’s “powers” (of course, the fact that he HAS NO POWERS dammit, only the ability to manipulate energies and forces) which are always a bit too daunting for many mainstream “writers” to get a handle on, they usually have him M.i.A. for these things.

    I have had to buy a FEW such crossovers with Doctor Strange involvement over the years, but they’re hardly ever “important” appearances.

    – Thankfully Doc had NOTHING to do with Secret Wars.
    (Still, I read it ad couldn’t BELIEVE the SUCK.)

    – Doc’s involvement with Secret Wars II was one issue.
    (again, SUCKIEST SUCK that ever SUCKED some SUCK.)

    – Atlantis Attacks – the majority of his involvement was clandestine in two or three issues (do stuff to help, but then mind-wipe his involvement from the people gathered. He WAS pretending to be “dead” at that time anyway, so he only revealed he was “alive” again at the finale).

    – Infinity Gauntlet / War / Crusade / Abyss – He’s actually a major player in all of these. (Gauntlet & Abyss were fairly good, all things considered.)

    – Acts of Vengeance – he went up against ARKON, ENCHANTRESS & EXECUTIONER, HOBGOBLIN in his own title. Never involved or crossed over into main plot.

    – Rise of the Midnight Sons – Contained to the “dark” titles at the time (Ghost Rider’s 3 titles, Morbius, Nightstalkers, etc… All titles that I bought anyway.) Doc is behind the scenes acting as a “puppet master” thru the whole thing. (not too bad, really)

    – Midnight Massacre (Also VERY Small contained x-over. While he WAS a part of this confused mess, it was a minor part.)

    – Siege of Darkness (oh my EYES, that Malibu coloring was SO BAD!) – The upheaval of his status quo and the umpteenth attempt to revamp him took over a year (one of the FIRST examples of decompressed storytelling at Marvel) and everyone lost interest.

    – Over the EDGE – Doc’s involvement in this crossover was to NOT answer the door when Nick Fury comes looking for him. No. Seriously. (Punisher goes nuts and tries to kill Nick Fury. All other “EDGE” titles get to play for an issue or two. Fuckin’ AWFUL!)

    – Heroes Reborn – Doc is involved in ONE issue of HULK & One “one-shot special” where he discovers the “Franklinverse”.

    – Heroes Return – MAN-THING (my other main comic interest) is in this more than Doc! Doc is in 1 issue (iirc), where he obtains the Franklinverse ball, and then gives it to Eternity. MAN-THING, however, was in a TON of stuff for this; “DAYDREAMERS” (with Franklin, Artie/Leech & Howard the Duck), some crossover stuff in Team-Up, a Spider-Man annual and his own title that spun out of it.

    – House of M – Primarily bought this for Scarlet Witch (# 4 on my ‘comic characters I collect’ hit parade, just behind Black Knight) So… uh…Doc’s secret desire is to be a Therapist?!? WTF?!

    – Civil War (Doc sitting out the war in the Arctic? So exciting!)

    – World War Hulk (yeah… I got this cock-up, due to the Illuminati plot.) Still, an interesting bunch of events. I never thought I’d see Strange actually DRINK the essence of ZOM. Call him forth, perhaps. But INGEST him? WTF kinda nuttiness was THAT?
    Too wild to pass up. Sadly, it was handled poorly and then the fallout of his actions was forgotten and treated as an afterthought in New Avengers.

    – Secret Invasion (oddly enough, he quits the New Avengers JUST before this starts – due to the afterthought reasoning of his WWHulk shenanigans, so I get the feeling they were sweeping him off the board for this. His involvement may only be “Illuminati” based.)

    Be that as it may, I find myself actually INTRUIGUED and fairly EXCITED by the POTENTIAL of this one.
    I’m sucked in to this for the long haul (AND with a good number of tie-in’s this go ’round as well. I can ONLY HOPE that it isn’t yet another case of end product not coming CLOSE to my expectations – or what the end product COULD be).

    Anyway, you get the idea. With the exception of the “INFINITY” stuff, Doc is USUALLY on the periphery of these things. Too powerful to be directly involved.

    But, I was GOING to answer before I went off on one of my usual tangents. I have a few faves that I bought over the years: First of all, CRISIS on Infinite Earths was great! I’m not even a DC fan and I thought it was really good. (Sure the AntiMonitor was crap, but the scope and handling of the epic was…well…EPIC!)

    George Perez at the zenith of his abilities. I only have the main series, none of the tie-in’s (if there were any – I really don’t know).

    I bought ZERO HOUR and thought it had some good moments.
    Hell, we got STARMAN out of that, so I’m giving a thumb’s up.

    The DC 1Million books were kinda cool. I bought a handful of those and liked them quite a bit. AT least they were TRYING something a bit different, and using their “legacy” heroes in a new way.

    But… FAVORITE?

    Aside from Crisis and Infinity Gauntlet
    (and parts of Marvel/DC: Access), I have none.

    Crossovers usually seem to muck up the rhythm of a title’s current storyline (sometimes they can NEVER get back to their main focus as in the case with Marvel of the 90’s, it is ONE crossover after another. Doc’s title was a MESS for a decade! HE just couldn’t get back on track.

    Such a frustrating thing for a reader. I can only IMAGINE the heartbreak for the WRITER of a besieged title.

    I DID like the “ACCESS” cross-overs from Marvel/DC. A few really FUN issues came out of that.
    DR STRANGEFATE! (Kevin Nowlan & Garcia Lopez!)
    LOBO the DUCK!
    IRON LANTERN (Paul Smith artwork!)
    and a few other good ideas there.

    However, that said, I HATED the “VOTE” aspect of the preceding miniseries.
    Sorry, but that was a strange popularity contest (no way does Lobo lose – off panel yet – to Wolverine. Just wouldn’t happen).

    Also I was a HUGE fan of the X-MEN / Teen Titans crossover back in the early 80’s. Darkseid! Dark Phoenix! DARK SIMONSON!!!!
    The fact that it wasn’t really Phoenix, but some aspect of her being called forth was the only let-down.

    I wasn’t all that fond of the JLA/AVENGERS cross-over.
    The fact that the DC heroes were so “ICONIC” (all caps intended) and the Marvel heroes are seen by them as being more “anti-hero” than anything, struck me as a weird bit of cynicism.
    Superman was down on the M.U. guys because their world is all cocked up, yet it is SMALLER than the DC Earth.
    He was basically saying; “What are they even DOING to make it better?” With WonderWoman giving the “they’re doing their BEST, dear” type of “oh, they’re just kids darling. They can’t help it.” kind of attitude.

    I know that Busiek was really playing up the fundamental differences between the two universe’s heroes (DC is more powerful / Marvel = flawed), but it was strange to see it laid out to overtly.

    The two Superman / SpiderMan x-overs were pretty good.
    I thought the second one was especially good (a nice handling of DR DOOM in that one).
    However, it could just be that since I owned that one, and read it more times, it felt “better” to me than the 1st one tat I only read once.

    So…I don’t know what I’m saying here anymore, really.
    All my thoughts are jumbled.
    Hopefully, you guys can piece it all together.

    Just that I love the overall CONCEPT of certain crossovers, but the actual product tends to fall short.

    Still, as I detailed with SECRET INVASION, I’m game to keep trying.


  21. Oh dear.

    I just re-re-read that.

    My humble apologies for the MANY typos and rambling thought-circles.

    I haven’t had much sleep and I thought I edited it properly.

    Looks like I cut&pasted some things in the wrong position and butchered spelling and grammar.




  22. Speak of the devil. (Scroll down to the tpbs.)

    I’ll probably get this (I another person who liked Millenium), and I’m definitely getting the Invasion collection. It seems odd that they’re putting these collections out, but I’m not going to complain about it.

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