DC Comics, much like their rival Marvel, has come to increasingly use and rely on comic book events to spur sales and boost interest in their many titles. These expansive, epic sagas have led to some of the company’s best stories, but they’ve also led to some of the most controversial moves at DC. One of the ways an event can annoy readers is the over-saturation of needless tie-ins, which often outpace the core story.
DC has some of the best events in comics and even helped create the idea in the first place through Marv Wolfman and George Perez’s Crisis On Infinite Earths. Since then, the idea has escalated in the company, leading to some enormous blockbuster stories. However, the need to buy sometimes dozens of tie-in comics has also brought with it the view from readers that such events should be minimized to be more accessible.
10 Final Crisis
Grant Morrison & JG Jones
Though the actual Final Crisis event wasn’t too extreme in its tie-in comics, asking readers to commit to an entire ongoing series, Countdown to Final Crisis, was a bit much. Not only this, but the idea was extra confusing on the back-issue market, with the series’ numbering going in descending order, the first issue last.
In fairness to Final Crisis, many fans would probably actually prefer the format of a dedicated event ongoing series to the often confusing nature of sporadic, random tie-in books. That said, a weekly ongoing book that lasted 51 issues for an event that still had tie-in one-shots was still a bit much.
9 Lazarus Planet
Mark Waid, Ricardo Federici, Billy Tan, Gene Luen Yang, & More
Lazarus Planet was initially teased as a mini-event that tied up loose threads from Batman vs Robin and World’s Finest with the Devil Nezha story. The event followed the Justice League’s battle with King Fire Bull and his minions in the wake of the eruption of the Lazarus volcano as its resin spread around the world and changed the powers of heroes.
To fully appreciate Lazarus Planet, a reader would have had to buy the first World’s Finest arc, Batman vs Robin, the core mini-series as well as issues of Monkey Prince, Wonder Woman, and an entire sequel mini-series. The story could and should have been told through a simple expanded Batman vs Robin maxi series.
Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo
Dark Nights Metal was the first major event in the aftermath of DC Rebirth and introduced the Batman Who Laughs to the DCU, along with Barbatos and a team of Nightmare Batmen. The story follows the villains’ plans to conquer the multiverse and plunge it into the Dark Multiverse.
Dark Nights Metal was far from the most intrusive event, but its one-shot-based storytelling basically made it so that readers had to pick up just about every tie-in. To be fair, this is better than events whose one-shots often feel pointless, but it also upped the pain on people’s wallets.
7 Blackest Night
Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, & Oclair Albert
Blackest Night is perhaps the best event in Green Lantern history and arguably the most enjoyable of all the 2000s DC events. It effectively combined the DCU with the zombie apocalypse when the death-powered Black Lantern leader Nekron arrived in the universe.
Blackest Night was a brilliant story, but it unnecessarily expanded to encompass just about every corner of the DCU. Years later, most people catching up on the event find it easy enough to accomplish by buying the trade paperback of the main mini-series. The high number of tie-in issues was fun but too much and too missable.
Scott Snyder & Greg Capullo
Dark Nights: Death Metal symbolized the finale to the epic saga that Scott Snyder had constructed during his post-Rebirth time at DC. Beginning with Metal, moving into Justice League and Year of the Villain, the three-year saga finally concluded here in Death Metal — which consisted of 24 issues and tie-ins.
One of the problems with the Death Metal tie-ins wasn’t just the number of them but how expensive they were. The event came with graphic novel-length tie-ins, some of which went as high as $8.99. So much context beyond the main event was required to appreciate the story that it would have been all but inaccessible to newcomers.
Geoff Johns & Andy Kubert
Flashpoint was a fun event that served one key purpose: to lead DC Comics into its New 52 era. What should have been relegated to its core mini-series and perhaps a few character tie-ins amounted to over 50 total issues, with a slew of ultimately unnecessary mini-series.
The Flashpoint event basically built up an entire side-timeline of the DCU that was never going to last anyway; it was simply an anomaly of a world that existed for all of five months. The world has been explored since, but the original event was overly bloated with side quests and character arcs that never really mattered.
John Ridley, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Joelle Jones, Nick Derrington, Mikel Janin, & More
Future State wasn’t an innately bad idea — a look into the future legacies of DC heroes — but its execution was just strange. Rather than explore a core main story the way most events do, Future State just took over the main DC titles in mini-series format for just about every major hero.
Future State took almost every title up to prices like $5.99 and $8.99 and became a line-wide event with no actual singular story. Both DC and readers knew the event wouldn’t last, and what could have worked well as a mini-event for the Trinity’s legacy heroes became an inconsequential mega-event. The event was just too big of an ask for readers.
3 Knight Terrors
Joshua Williamson, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Stefano Nesi, Caspar Wijngaard, & More
Knight Terrors could have actually been a solid event had it held true to the format of maintaining a core mini-series with its own tie-in comics and picking just a few ongoing books to cross over with. Instead, a mostly standard horror superhero story was spread out into a line-wide event.
Knight Terrors was a great story, but it would have been much better off as either one long Justice League arc or a standard mini-event. Taking over every single title, derailing Dawn of DC’s momentum in the process, was a mistake. The core mini-series is a good read, but DC made the line-wide tie-ins feel needlessly inconsequential.
2 Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths
Joshua Williamson & Daniel Sampere
Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths returned DC readers to the original Crisis On Infinite Earths story with the arrival of Pariah and the Great Darkness, killing the Justice League. The event focused on DC’s other heroes and teams, like the Teen Titans and Justice Society, as they stepped up to fight the new evil. However, what was teased as a leaner event quickly expanded.
Dark Crisis spread across the DCU, with multiple connecting mini-series and tie-ins from otherwise disconnected titles. Considering the fact the event itself was the conclusion in a trilogy, along with Infinite Frontier and Justice League Incarnate, it made it all the more expansive — albeit thoroughly enjoyable — of an event.
1 Year Of The Villain
Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Steve Epting, Javi Fernandez, & More
Year Of The Villain is perhaps the single biggest, most unavoidable event in DC Comics history. The story, which was the lead-in to Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo’s Death Metal, spilled out into every single DC ongoing book. The event saw Lex Luthor upgrade all the DCU’s major villains, preparing for an upcoming battle with the JLA.
Part of the ongoing story within Year of the Villain included heroes like Hawkman and Shazam becoming Jokerized. This meant series like Robert Venditti and Bryan Hitch’s acclaimed Hawkman run were stalled so that they could accommodate the changes of the event, and buying into the full story would have required hundreds of comics.
DC Comics has relied on events to spur sales and boost interest in core titles. However, these events often come with far too many tie-in books. Read More