Secret Invasion Versus Final Crisis

All right, the numbers are finally in concerning Secret Invasion #2 and Final Crisis #1. Now, I never use sales numbers as a basis for the quality of a comic book. It is merely an indicator of the popularity of a comic book. And that is important since the amount of money a title generates dictates the creative direction of that title as well as how long a life that title possesses. And the fact is that my opinion that Secret Invasion was nothing impressive is totally irrelevant. All that matters is how many units an issue sells. It is all about money.

First, I have to mention that Marvel absolutely owned DC in May. Marvel snagged 51.86% of the share of units in the Top 300 compared to DC’s 31.68%. Marvel also garnered 52.38% of the share of dollars in the Top 300 compared to DC’s 30.18%.

Now, I knew that Secret Invasion #1 would outsell Final Crisis #1, but I figured that Final Crisis #1 would probably outsell Secret Invasion #2. Wow, was I ever wrong. Secret Invasion #2 absolutely crushed Final Crisis #1 by 37,606 units. Secret Invasion #2 sold 182,390 issues compared to Final Crisis #1 which sold 144,784 issues. That is a stunning blow to DC and is yet another black mark on Didio’s reign at DC. Didio has to be completely embarrassed by this.

Now, DC can take solace that the horrendous lead-in to Final Crisis known as Countdown didn’t completely kill off any and all interest in Final Crisis. Countdown #1 sold 72,688 issues. That means that Final Crisis #1 enjoyed a nice 50% increase from the final issue of Countdown to Final Crisis.

Secret Invasion #2 did take it on the chin compared to the sales numbers from Secret Invasion #1. Secret Invasion #1 sold a whopping 250,213 issues. That is a 67,823 issue difference between Secret Invasion #1 and Secret Invasion #2 which constitutes a 27 % drop in sales. I will be curious to see how much of a drop that Secret Invasion suffers between issue #2 and #3 considering what a poor read issue #2 was.

Still, Marvel has to be absolutely tickled pink that the second issue of Secret Invasion crushed the first issue of Final Crisis. Marvel basically won this fight between the two events with a knockout punch in the first minute of the first round.

I have had my problems with Joey Q, but the fact is that Marvel continues to routinely whip DC’s butt in the sales charts. I may not like several things about the current state of the 616 Universe, but for the most part, it is a well oiled machine and is extremely popular. Add on top of that the fledgling Marvel Studios with their first two hit movies in Iron Man and Incredible Hulk and things are looking good for Marvel at the moment.

I am curious to see if DC can finally turn the tide and actually make a good run at Marvel. It is easy to say that Didio must be fired immediately. The fact is that Didio has done some good things during his tenure. Infinite Crisis, 52, Batman, Detective Comics, JSA, Booster Gold, Green Lantern (In particular the Sinestro War) and Action Comics have all been wonderful titles. I like that Didio pulled the trigger on the return of the Multiverse. I dig that Hal Jordan and Barry Allen are both back.

I think that DC has done many good things and that there is a solid foundation for them to build off of. The important thing is for DC to get a much better focus of where they want to go from here. It seems that Didio is scatter-brained and changes his plans for the direction of the DCU every other day.

Of course, there is no doubt that Didio has been at the helm for many serious mistakes by DC. The “cleansing” of established white heroes to make way for minority heroes with the same codename and gimmick is not my preferred method of creating diversity in the DCU. This move tends to piss off long time readers of these established characters and makes it easy for readers to hold a grudge against the new character. We have seen DC take this approach over and over with characters like The Question, Firestorm, Blue Beetle and The Atom.

And these new versions have not been popular. Firestorm and the new Atom got cancelled. I guess Blue Beetle has not gotten cancelled because Didio doesn’t want to lose face and see all of his new versions of old characters fail. I have heard that many people like Blue Beetle, but the cold hard fact is that Blue Beetle gets putrid sales numbers. Blue Beetle #27 sold a paltry 13,798 issues. That is definitely the type of sales number that causes vultures to circle around a title.

I much prefer Marvel’s approach to creating diversity in the 616 Universe. Marvel doesn’t junk established white heroes. Instead, Marvel takes older characters like Luke Cage and Black Panther and re-invents them and makes them relevant again. Then Marvel gives the characters a big push and makes them bigger players in the 616 universe. Marvel also goes the route of actually creating new characters like Echo. I know that sounds like a lot of hard work, but believe me, it is worth it.

Another problem with DC is that they obsessively try and reinvent themselves every other year. It creates a chaotic environment in the DCU where readers have no idea which version of a character they are going to get. Marvel does a great job of understanding their identity and sticking to it. When you pick up a Marvel comic book you know who is going to be Iron Man, Spider-Man, Hulk, the Fantastic Four, etc. There is much more stability in the 616 universe and it makes it new reader friendly.

I am not saying that Marvel never shakes things up. Marvel did “kill” off Steve Rogers. Of course, we all know it is temporary and that the original Captain America will be back better than ever. On the other hand, with DC comics there are like three different versions for every character. Wait, which version of Starman is this? Wait a minute, who is Blue Beetle now? I thought the Question was a guy? And it goes on and on.

DC needs to take this opportunity to return to their roots with the Multiverse firmly in place and build some stability for a good long time. Stop junking established characters for newer versions of the same character. Stop with the Crisis events that constantly re-write and radically alter continuity. Just stick with what you have going and focus on building a stable and quality DCU that is new reader friendly but still appeals to long time readers.

There have been other mishaps under Didio’s direction. Flash has been a hot mess since the end of Infinite Crisis. This title has been just horribly mishandled. Flash is a great example of a lack of direction, vision and commitment by Didio. The re-start for Wonder Woman was terribly botched. At least it appears that DC has managed to correct that problem finally. The Justice League of America is a shell of a title that is only used to shill stories for other comic books.

But, what was most alarming was the way that Didio completely bungled everything relating to Final Crisis. Evidently, Morrison turned in his scripts for the first two issues early so Didio would know what Morrison wanted to do with this story. What does Didio proceed to do? Come out with Countdown and Death of the New Gods without even bothering to consult Morrison on how this would gel with Final Crisis.

Evidently, Morrison did not even know anything about Countdown or Death of the New Gods and was already half-way done writing Final Crisis. The result is that Morrison barely references either title in Final Crisis. Morrison stated that he used Infinite Crisis and 52 as his foundation for Final Crisis.

That is absolutely shameful of Didio. How in the world can you pull off a big event without coordinating everything connected to it with the writer of that big event? I may not be all that impressed with Secret Invasion, but you have to give credit to Joey Q for allowing Bendis to plant the seeds for Secret Invasion years ago. Joey Q also made sure that everything that lead up to the debut of Secret Invasion would gel perfectly with the big event itself.

On the other hand, you have Didio ignoring what Morrison is doing and then not even bothering to let Morrison know what DC wants to do with Countdown and Death of the New Gods. There appears to be no communication from Didio to Morrison. It also appears that Didio never called Morrison to ask him how Morrison wanted to set-up Final Crisis in the year prior to the big event.

Morrison has even stated that he had to fight tooth and nail with the DC editorial staff to plant even a few crumbs into the various DC titles in the year leading up to Final Crisis. This is beyond inexcusable. It is simply unprofessional and a sign of a complete and total lack of focus by the editor and a lack of communication between the editor and his talent.

Then to top it all off, we find out that DC is going to have to bring Carlos Pacheco onto Final Crisis with issue #4 in order to help out J.G. Jones with the artwork. Really? With all the lead in time to Final Crisis, there was no way for an editor to manage Jones in order to ensure that he got the job done in a timely fashion?

Honestly, Didio has done such a poor job with his handling of the lead up to Final Crisis and the event itself. DC deserves whatever beating that Marvel lays on them with this duel of the big events.

Maybe it is time for a change at DC. Maybe Didio has done all that he can do for the company and there needs to be a change at the EIC position. Personally, I’d hire Mark Waid to be the new Editor in Chief of DC. I think Waid could get along with the talent and communicate effectively with everyone. I also think that Waid is a good big picture guy. And Waid’s encyclopedic knowledge of the DCU is tough to beat.

8 thoughts on “Secret Invasion Versus Final Crisis

  1. Wow Rokk, Your piece reflects my feelings to an incredible degree.
    Secret Invasion has Spider-Man,Iron Man and possibly the return of favorite versions of beloved characters(if it can undo the obscenity Morrison perpetrated on The Beast it will be worth it)while Final Crisis deals with the New Gods.Yes, the big characters are there,but in the end it is based in the Kirby DC universe. This isn’t a bad thing but I feel that the run-up to this was badly bungled.There has not been any time without a Flash.Bart dies, Wally’s back. If cover of the first issue of FC had a lightning bolt flashing accross the moon in a red sky after a year or more of no Flash it would have been the biggest event of the year.Now, I have enjoyed the New Gods in various incarnations over the years,but they have never been supported by the fans.It is a turnoff for many regular readers and too obscure for new readers.DiDio cannot be balmed for all that is wrong at Dc, however if the rumors of an editorial turf war are true then it is his fault. He has to push in one direction.DC also need to release a primer for Final Crisis ASAP. Anti-Life? Anthro? Kamandi? I know what they are,but how many others? I am also concerned about the length of the story. FC is going to run abot 300 pages,Seven Soldiers ran about 600 and still seemed to be bursting at the seams. This makes the massive waste of Countdown all the more painful.What A Shame.

  2. I wouldn’t have listed Infinite Crisis with the things the DiDio did well, but you are right in that he does deserve credit for some good projects.

    My impression is that I won’t really be happy with the overall DCU until he is gone because he wants to tell “war stories” with “superhero characters.” The kind of fictional environment he prefers works well with Green Lanterns and some other characters, but not with a great many others. That is a matter of opinion and not fact, and if he is making enough people happy with his approach, there’s no problem.

    It seems to me that he is not making enough people happy, which means not selling the number of books that DC ought to be able to sell. The organizational problems that you mentioned, and the “Last Son” debacle (schedule, not story), may be a bigger part of this than what I consider the “bad tone” of the DCU. Still, unless there is someone above DiDio who should be held responsible for all of this, I really think Dan needs to go.

  3. if we are to believe CBR’s lying in the gutters it is also morrisons fault not only didio’s. it has been said that final crisis#1 although “supposedly” written 2 years ago, that when the script was given to didio it was COMPLETELY different from what they originally agreed and talked about.i wouldnt put it past grant to pull off this kind of stunt and then blame the editors instead of himself.

  4. While it may be fair to blame Dan Didio for the downturn DC has taken since Infinite Crisis ended, I don’t think it’s fair to give Joe Quesada credit for keeping Marvel as the leader of the pack.

    Marvel has pretty much ALWAYS been the leader of the pack. It was whalloping DC before Quesada took over as EIC and it will continue to whallop DC after he eventually leaves.

    Marvel just seems to have a more accessible universe than DC does, and that’s really always been the case.

  5. I’ve heard rumors of DC/warner bros selling of everything to Marvel, with Marvel promising to maintain the DCU and keep it seperate from Marvel’s. I know this rumor is probably B.S, but who knows. I never thought that the WWE would own WCW, yet one dayit happened.

  6. I think the major issue with DC can be compared tot hsi chicked I used to datwe in college. One week, she came in crying bacause her roomate kicked her out. Then it was some paper she did’nt get an A in. Then it was her paretns fighting with her. After awhile I broke up with her. I was sick of every week having to deal with a new crises.

    Frankly, I’m a bit burned out on DC mega-events. They keep establishing new universres and not letting us hvae a chance to explore it. You can have a massive cross over even without thhe univverse having to be reset every time. Sometimes a good stry is all you need. Nobody belives that Final Crises is going to be at at Final. And so why get involved in an event that will be reconted away anyway?

    “Marvel takes older characters like Luke Cage and Black Panther and re-invents them and makes them relevant again.”

    I don’t know. Is it really a good idea to have The New Atom start kicking Giganta in the croch? I think Marvel’s problem is to push old chracters as us because they are ethinic and have them do out of chracter things like lead the avengers or marry storm just so they have some plot line.

    “Flash has been a hot mess since the end of Infinite Crisis.”

    Which is a same because I really liked how he was portrayed in IC. That part where he was fighting SuperEmo Prime and Barry Came and was all like “Your not weak, and your not alone.” I’m not ashamed to say that I cried a little right there. This is why I’m worried about Barry coming back. I’d rather he stay gone awhile longer rather than have some dorky plotline.

  7. When I started reading comics, I was a total Marvel boy. Then I stumbled upon DC with stuff like Morrison’s JLA and Preacher and bought much more DC and Marvel. Right now, it does seem like Marvel is doing more things right than DC. I think it was a good move not to match DC and say “okay we’re going to come up with a weekly series too” but rather just focus on storytelling.

    DC right now makes it too easy to ignore what they’re putting out. Not reading Countdown? Great that’s Countdown to Adventure, Death of New Gods and other books out of the way without even looking at them. As you mentioned the payoff of sticking with them is hardly there as well. Why suffer through Countdown when it doesn’t even “countdown” to Final Crisis?

    Marvel? You can’t help but WANT to find out more about Secret Invasion. Am I annoyed that I have to hunt down other books that aren’t part of the mini-series, sure a little bit, but credit goes to Marvel for making the storyline so well intertwined in the first place and rewarding longtime readers with hints/etc seeded in the books for awhile.

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