Crossovers. Why’d it have to be crossovers?

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Crossovers are one of those occurrences in comics where a character from one title appears in the pages of another title and vice versa.  Generally, these events happen in the pages of titles from large publishers, and is a way to remind readers that the company’s universe is big and organic. Invincible, on the other hand, works perfectly well as a stand-alone universe in and of itself, so when characters begin to make more than a referential appearance in the pages, I get a bit concerned.

Especially when the crossover features characters created by the same person.

invincible_cov57.jpgI’m not one to blindly follow a writer or an artist to whatever project they are working on next.  For those who have been reading this site since the beginning, I’m pretty sure you know that by now.  So, when I reveal I’m only a casual reader of The Walking Dead, and I’ve never picked up an issue of The Astounding Wolf-Man, it isn’t because I don’t like Robert Kirkman, it’s just that I like Invincible so much more.

Wolf-Man’s appearance in this issue not only leads to potential confusion because readers may not have experienced this character before, but it also brings into question how much more money is being paid out to the creator.  I don’t claim to know all the goings on in Kirkman’s mind, nor the behind the scenes workings of Image Comics, but when readers are forced to purchase The Astounding Wolf-Man #11 to find out if Wolf-Man and Invincible make it out of Cecil’s white room and the horde of zombie robots, it gets me thinking that this is simply a money gimmick.

Now granted, this kind of gimmick is done all the time at DC and Marvel, but DC and Marvel own their properties, so they could just as easily feature a crossover between the JSA and JLA as they could the JSA and Ambush Bug, and everything is good with the world.  But in a creator owned environment, this crossover seems to be a way of lining the creator’s pocket twice as sales jump for the lesser title.  Would I be this concerned if this crossover featured Savage Dragon and Invincible? No, since the two characters are owned by two different creators. Since the preview of the next issue of Invincible features he and Atom Eve flying about, I can pretty much guess everything is going to work out fine, so I’m not going to buy into this particular crossover.

I like Kirkman, and I like Invincible, but had this guest appearance been kept to the Invincible title only, I wouldn’t be grousing so much.

I shall now step off the soap box.

Believing Cecil and his ilk are behind the spy probe that was destroyed last issue, Invincible confronts the government head honcho, who proclaims innocence.  However, should Invincible assist in the take down of a rampaging giant, and bring in Wolf-Man to boot, he’ll do what he can to see who is the real culprit.

One thing leads to another, and as misunderstandings are another trope in crossover events, there is a bit of a tussle between Invincible and Wolf-Man until Mark takes a moment to actually listen to Wolf-Man’s pleads of innocence.  From there, he’s convinced Cecil will let Wolf-Man go should he turn himself in and explain what really happened, but as you might have already surmised from my earlier allusion, Mark and Wolf-Man are both in jeopardy by issue’s end.

Yes, there is a lot of Bang! Pow! in this issue, but that’s what’s needed. Mark has just spent an entire issue dealing with heavy subject matter, so a return to traditional superhero fare is welcome.

The Good

  • Robot talks to Robot
  • Kid Invincible is more than willing to join a superhero team
  • Fight scenes, fight scenes, fight scenes
  • I like the Wolf-Man character

The Bad

  • A crossover requiring me to buy another $2.99 issue that I normally wouldn’t
  • I wish this were wrapped up in the same title
  • An editor’s note or two would be helpful

Forgetting the crossover concern, this is another good issue from Kirkman and crew.  The drama plays out well, and interactions with other characters is spot on. The pacing, layout and art rock once again, which can only mean one thing – Invincible #57 is good enough to earn 4 out of 5 Stars.

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82/82

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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2 Comments

  1. December 29, 2008 at 8:40 pm — Reply

    I have to say that I’ve never been that big a fan of Wolf-Man or of Brit. I’ve read both of them, but my general thought process is something along the lines of “meh.”

    Still, this issue wasn’t half bad.

  2. Talon
    December 30, 2008 at 1:26 pm — Reply

    Crossovers in small doses are good fun entertainment. Also, putting up a lesser known book to a little bit more exposure isn’t even close to a crime. It’s the same writer at the pen in each instance, so if you love Invincible but couldn’t give a rat’s arse about Wolf-Man, buy both anyways and be happy with a double dose of Invincible this month. Besides, you might even find you like Wolf-Man better now than you did before.

    I admit I’m a fan of both comics so I might not have a leg to stand on here but we’re not getting deceived here folks, so maybe we should stop looking for an ulterior motive.

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