Firstly, welcome to the newest regular feature on the site. Rokk has asked me to expound a little and here I am. And everything I say here is true.. from a certain point of view.
Final Crisis and Secret Invasion are both at a midway point in their limited runs, so its a good time to do a comparison. We’ll hit the high points below:
Art: Both comics more than meet the minimums required for a good, solid comic read. The characters are expressive, identifiable and dynamic. Final Crisis’ art really does meet the definition of the word. The art is clean, detailed, and matches the mood of the work, both in tone and style. The layouts are often inventive, and have as much depth to them as the writing does.
Secret Invasion’s art is more serviceable with more standard angles. It feels like the camera placement was chosen to mimic that of an action film. Certainly a valid approach, but not groundbreaking.
Tie Ins: A lot of the Marvel Universe has gone Skrully. Thankfully, Captain America has avoided it. The upside is that some of the Avengers issues have been better than the main series. The downside is that there are way to many Skrull based covers, and a lot of Skrull themed stories interfering with perfectly good story lines in other comics. Guardians of the Galaxy and X-Factor could have done without the Skrull influence.
Again, Final Crisis has done a better job of working their tie-ins. While many DC’s comics are infuenced or tinged with elements of the cross over, very few have the “Final Crisis:” in front of them, and most of them are trying to tie up elements either left over from Infinite Crisis, or left out of Final Crisis. Marvel has as many good tie-ins, but DC isn’t trying to sell you as many tie-ins. Not that they havent’ tried that before. (*cough* Crisis on Infinite Earths *cough*)
Plot: This is the category that matters. While there are differences in the above, they would not be enough to not recommend on story over the other. What makes it easy for me to declare a winner at the half-way point of both big events are the two stories. To put it simply, one story is giving you depth, emotion, broad themes and personal moments, and doing it in a clever and original way. The other is using standard, 40 yr old comic plot elements, “surprise” twists, and melodramatic moments in a rather cliched way.
Secret Invasion takes one good idea, mainly sneaky undetectable Skrulls replacing major characters to sow distrust and defeat the good guys, and runs it into the ground. Too much time in the dialogue is spent on the “I don’t trust you, you could be a Skrull”. The only other element we get are fairly senseless and pointless fight scenes.
One fight is disrupted by a wandering dinosaur, and the other by the “surprise” reappearance of Nick Fury with an improbable gun and a bunch of characters we haven’t seen before unless we read an issue of one of the Avengers titles.
Other plot elements run through, and its not all bad, certainly, but having the whole ship full of heroes that crash lands and all turn out to be Skrulls, and having the cliffhanger being an overly overwraught Hawkeye? Ouch. At this point in Civil War, I cared what happened, I looked forward to the next issue and things had happened. At this point in Secret Invasion, I’m reading so I can have an informed opinion.
Final Crisis has not done enough to make it an instant classic yet, but things are happening. Its failing, in the “mainstream” market, is that it consciously has decided to avoid all the big blockbuster fight scenes, and tells the story around them. From all different points of view, from street level to Guardians of the Universe, from outside of all realities, to mixing characters from different ones. Instead of going for the obvious, the blatant, and the cliched, this story gives you the dots, but lets you connect them.
Neither story has reached its apogee, as is fitting a review in the middle of each of the stories. While Secret Invasion will probabl sell more copies of its remaining issues, I would speculate that Final Crisis is the story that is actually talked about years from now.
Feel free to disagree with me in the comments below. If you have other topics that you would like my point of view on, please let me know below also!