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Should a Twist in a Comic Necessarily Be Surprising?

by  in Comic News Comment
Should a Twist in a Comic Necessarily Be Surprising?

Awhile back, I mentioned my theory regarding what I felt was comic writers going out of their way to make sure they were surprising their readers, and the result ended up being detrimental to the story.

“Don’t compete with your readers to see if you can surprise them,” was my main point, as doing so almost always leads to crazy ideas done simply because “no one would ever guess I would do THAT!”

Okay, that being said, I also mentioned that it was silly to build a story around a twist that was too obvious. I still agree with that, but what if a twist was just PART of a story? At what point does the obviousness of a twist become detrimental to the story itself? SHOULD a twist being obvious count against the story?

I will admit that I write this with an example in mind – the current Black Canary mini-series. It has been a pretty enjoyable read, but issue #3 and #4 involved one of the most blatantly obvious “twists” that I can recall in a recent comic book. It is about as obvious as a comic ending with the title character being killed, only for the next issue to reveal how the hero evaded the fatal trap (See the last two issues of Fantastic Four for an example of this tried and true method). In those instances, we don’t hold it against the writer for the “twist” of the hero not actually dying, mostly because it is not really meant as a “twist,” as the writer does not actually expect us to believe that the character is actually dead.

But in Black Canary, it reads as though the twist IS intended to throw the reader, and I’d be mightily surprised if it did to any reader.

So, would that count as a negative aspect of the comic?

Is it necessary, to be considered a successful twist, for the twist to be actually surprising, even if otherwise, the twist is executed well in the comic?