This week saw the release of two crossover preludes (although only one of them was actually CALLED a prelude instead of Part One) – Batman #670 and X-Men: Messiah Complex One-Shot.
The former was better than the latter, and I think it is because it does not fall into the “necessary evil” trap that a lot of preludes seem to have (heck, a lot of first parts of crossovers, too!) – where the issue is spent getting across various plot points set up that need to be put into play for the following issues to work.
That’s basically all Messiah Complex One-Shot did – it just introduced the readers to the players and the basic set-up – nothing more. Comics like that, you cannot even really critique the writing, because all it is is set-up. It’s “let’s get all this established here so that we can just get on with the story in the later issues.” In other words, a “necessary evil.” A bad issue so that later issues can be (hopefully) better.
Batman managed to avoid this trap by doing all the info dump stuff (Here’s Main Character A – Here’s Main Character B – Here’s Main Character C – Here is the conflict!) AND actually having a story. Not a particularly great story – pretty tame by Morrison’s standards, but Batman’s fight against Dragon Fly, Silken Spider and Tiger Moth (in their first appearance, I believe, since they debuted along with Poison Ivy way back in 1966!) is at least something you would get in an actual comic book story, not just set-up for future issues.
I understand why companies go with the “necessary evil” approach (it is much easier for the writers who follow), but I would prefer to see it avoided.
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