Posted by: Graeme McMillan on March 27, 2010
The good thing about not posting here for… uh… months, is that there’s no limit of things to write about. The bad thing is that you all might have forgotten what I’m talking about. But please! Put on your memory-jogging devices and think back to the days of CAPTAIN AMERICA REBORN and THE FLASH: REBIRTH. I feel like it’s time to explain to you why they’re the same series.
Okay, that might be a bit unfair to both books. Flash had more of a story than Cap, for one thing, although it wasn’t necessarily a story that made the most amount of sense (In a Wait, What? that we have, I swear, recorded but haven’t got around to posting yet, Jeff points out that Barry doesn’t go back in time and save his mother even though he knows the Reverse-Flash murdered her, saying that history can’t be changed. Even though he says so while going back to prevent the Reverse-Flash murdering Iris. So history can be kind of changing, if it’s not already been changed? Maybe?), and Cap had the benefit of having a reason to exist beyond “Why don’t we bring Barry back, oh, Geoff did a great job with Green Lantern: Rebirth, he can do this as well,” but I can’t quite get past the final issues of either series, and the way they mirror each other.
For one thing, there’s the fact that both series started life as five issue mini-series, before adding a sixth midway through the run because the story needed more pages. And for another, there’s the fact that neither sixth issue really earned the extra pages and money we spent getting them. In both cases, the cliffhanger from the previous issue – and, let’s face it, the actual story of the entire series – is wrapped up in the first half of the book, leaving the second half to be filled with scenes of “Hey! Everything’s okay after all!” and “Or is it?!?” foreboding (I tend to lean towards Flash‘s treatment of this idea, if only because it seems less on-the-nose than Cap‘s, which is pretty much him literally saying “I saw this future plot oh here it is oh it looks scary, I should probably do something about that but, hey, end of the series!” Also, Flash‘s will probably be resolved much faster, and no, that wasn’t a pun), which… just kind of pisses me off. Neither issue actually works as an issue of a comic book. Maybe they’ll work in the trade, where it’s all one reading experience, but as single issues? They were both disjointed, each issue reading like two separate stories, with the last one made up entirely of filler (Teases and flashforwards and hints of what to come are nice, but they’re not really part of the story. When they take up more than a couple of pages? They’re filler) and unnecessary filler: in both Cap and Flash‘s case, there were issues left unresolved that could’ve been dealt with in that space – but then, of course, there wouldn’t have been Who Will Wield The Shield for Marvel to sell in the month off that Reborn had to take to finish.
This isn’t a rant against poor planning, or poor editing – although I genuinely think that Reborn could’ve been trimmed enough to fit it into five issues, as I complained about back in November – because, hey. The creators wanted some extra pages, and felt it would make the book better. That’s fine. Weirdly, what pisses me off is that those extra pages because extra issues, and those extra issues felt, for the most part, like afterthoughts stretched past their necessary length. Would it have killed either DC or Marvel to hold the (already late) books a little later to fold in extra pages into what would’ve been the original final issues as initially promised, even if it meant a higher price tag? At least then, I wouldn’t have felt so ripped off by the end of two series I’d been following for months.