My big problem

With DC’s One Year Later event.
It’s reliance on cheap mystery to engage the reader. Want to know who the new Catwoman is and how Selina Kyle found herself in a delicate condition? Want to know how Superman lost his powers? Want to know why Green Arrow is in office?
Well then you want to read all of the One Year Later titles, don’t you? Instead of simply having the stories progress naturally (or unnaturally, in some cases), we’re thrown ahead in time, after a series of major upheavals, staring at a familiar world made unfamiliar. And the readers are desperate to know why. The emotional resonance comes not from the story itself: it comes from the reader who wants to know what has happened to his or her favorite characters. I always thought storytelling like this was a bit of a copout. And it happens a lot in comics, particularly in the “done in one” years. You’d get a great splash page of our hero in peril and the first thought balloon on the page is along the lines of “How the heck did I end up here?”
Of course, that’s really the reader’s thought, not the character’s. That’s where the dramatic tension comes from. Not from a story unfolding before you, but from the cheap thrill of instant peril that’s never quite paid off.
Why does SEVEN SOLDIERS work and all this stuff is leaving me cold? Because SEVEN SOLDIERS is tight storytelling. Infinite Crisis/OYL is an event. SEVEN SOLDIERS happens before your eyes. The other stuff all takes place off the page, with mere plot pointers to direct you to the MEANINGFUL ACTION. But then I’ve had this problem with big event comics since…well…forever.
But hey, I’m just bitter because I’m not writing the BLUE DEVIL revival, right?

3 comments to My big problem

  • The only OYL title I picked up with Robinson’s Detective, which was decent. I liked how they kept saying “yeah, like what happened 7 months ago?” and “Totally. It was only 5 months ago before _____ happened and look at us now?” Its a shame, but they are eating it up at the LCS, for sure.

  • I liekd the OYL issue of Catwoman but I foudn it funny that there’s this mystery of Catwoman’s secret identity, only for it to be given away on the “next month…” blurb.

  • There’s a mystery? Looked like it was Holly right off the bat.