<i>Blackest Night</i> vs. <i>Siege</i>: Place your bets!

They say nice guys finish last, but when event comics will finish is anybody's guess. The demands of a high-profile series around which entire shared universes revolve can play havoc with scheduling. Naturally, editors and publishers love to maintain the artistic quality and consistency (and sales levels) provided by the big-name writer-artist teams that tend to lend such books a sense of "this is a big deal." On the other hand, they need to get books out on time so that other series whose storylines depend upon what happens in the event can proceed as planned -- and so that they don't end up alienating retailers and readers. But these same readers and retailers can end up just as irritated if they get the sense that the creators are being rushed, or if fill-in artists aren't up to snuff. It's a tough row to hoe.

With his front-row seat for a variety of events this decade, including Avengers Disassembled, House of M, Civil War, and Secret Invasion, Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort knows this better than anyone. So it was with an obvious mix of boldness and trepidation that he made the following prediction on his Twitter account:

It's height of hubris time: I'm willing to bet that SIEGE will wrap up before BLACKEST NIGHT does.

Siege, of course, is the apparent capstone in Marvel's years-long series of mega-events, reuniting Avengers mainstays Thor, Iron Man and Captain America as (I assume) they attempt to thwart HAMMER Director Norman Osborn's advances on Asgard. Launching in January for a four-issue run, it's written by Brian Michael Bendis and drawn by Olivier Coipel, and its second issue is due out on Feb. 3.

Blackest Night is another years-in-the-making project, this one stemming from Geoff Johns's long-running "War of Light" storyline in Green Lantern and pitting the heroes of the DCU against power ring-resurrected versions of their allies and enemies who seek to wipe out all life. Written by Johns and drawn by Ivan Reis, this eight-issue series launched in July (with an additional #0 issue arriving on Free Comic Book Day a couple months earlier), and its seventh issue is slated for release on Feb. 24.

So can Siege sneak its final two issues in between Blackest Night #7 and 8? Seems tight, but anything can happen. Heck, just ask Brevoort himself, who's far from cocky about the prospects for his proposed wager. In that very same tweet, he says, "You'd think I'd've learned from REBORN," the Ed Brubaker/Bryan Hitch Captain America miniseries that's been transmogrified from five issues to a delay-plagued six. Still, Brevoort jokes that its final issue, due out Jan. 13, will still see the light of day before that of Flash: Rebirth, the similarly expanded and delay-prone series by Johns and Ethan Van Sciver whose sixth and final issue is currently scheduled for a Dec. 23 release. "I know their pain. And yet, I mock them anyway. Hubris," he later self-diagnoses.

Speaking of mockery, Brevoort responds to a pair of reader tweets with some good-natured jibes in at Marvel's own infamously unfinished Daredevil/Bullseye: The Target ("That already finished. You may be confused because the title was changed to Zack and Miri Make A Porno.") and The Twelve ("Hey, there are many issues of Brave & The Bold that have to be written."). Of course, as that last tweet indicates, the writers of those titles -- Kevin Smith and J. Michael Straczynski respectively -- have since largely decamped to DC, so the gags go both ways.

So which of the big events will end up finishing first -- the Green Lantern's or the Green Goblin's? Swing by in March to find out!

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