By Alan Donald
Do great minds think alike, or they rip each other off? Is there something in the water that the chiefs of the comic business drink, is there something special about December that makes them go crazy, or do they seriously believe in their own ideas? I'm talking about December 2001, the month that Marvel and DC decided would be special, so special that all of their books would be affected. Marvel had 'Nuff Said, for comics with no words in; DC had Full Coverage, with special covers and introductory stories to help ease people into their titles. Let's have a look at a wide range of their books and see what conclusions we can draw.
'Nuff Said about Marvel?
Well, you have to say that it was an idea with promise...but only if done right. The best ones, you'd hardly notice the lack of words; the silence would not leave a pain in your ears. But when not done properly, it's a pain in the arse, let alone a pain in the ears. Some creators chose to continue their usual, on-running storylines, some chose to do one-off, self-contained tales.
Iron Man. Dreadful. The lack of sound is circumvented by having one long fight, setting it in space. A good concept, but wasted in execution.
Punisher. Written by the artist (Steve Dillon). Very good issue, takes a while before you notice there is so sound.
Captain America. Not bad.
Wolverine. Terrible. Really, really, really bad. A confusing story, made much worse.
Peter Parker. No big surprise here, Mark Buckingham has a great sense of visual comedy, and pulls this issue off without any problems. Nicely done with the mimes - very clever.
Daredevil. Wow. Didn't even notice is was a silent issue until I'd finished it. Very good; great visuals, good script.
Elektra. Not quire up to the standard of Daredevil, but excellent - normally quiet character anyway.
Defenders. Nobody can actually make any noise! Good get out, it's probably the easiest way to do a silent story, and it works.
Avengers. The BIG SHOCK. One of the crappiest titles on the shelf, and it pulls off an incredible silent issue. Powerful, yet simple story. No words are needed.
Uncanny X-Men. Terrible. Don't know what happened at all in this issue. If you're not going to have speech or sound, make it easy to understand, please!
Deadpool. He's a ghost. Good visual humour, nice funny story.
Exiles. OK. Fun in places but not overly greate. Dream sequences are a nice idea for a silent issue.
My conclusions? A total rip off for customers when badly executed, which unfortunately happens with a few of them. As a marketing gimmick these aren't good jumping-on points, except for the very best of them.
DC's Fool Coverage?
Superman. Nice, fun cover conveys the story inside.
Adventures of Superman. Ok, little bit plain though.
Man of Steel. AWESOME! Beautiful cover, conveys the sense of majesty and quiet power that Superman should have.
Supergirl. Just a nice simple cover, packed with detail yet to the point.
Action Comics. Nice, classic Superman image. Good but not up to Man of Steel standards.
Legends of the Dark Knight. Nice art deco cover, midway point in serial.
Detective Comics. Dark, atmospheric, simple.
Suicide Squad. Simplest of the bunch, but for the story inside it works well.
Flash. Encapsulates the character nicely.
Orion. Nasty, but simple.
The Legion. Just a legion cover, nothing spectacular.
Gotham Knights. Nice Brian Bolland cover, simple and dramatic.
Batman. Intense, simple and fun.
Catwoman. Very Deadenders.
Robin. OK, but not great.
JLA. Dramatic, but pointless.
My conclusions? Not really hugely great jumping on points, but if the cover doesn't work at least you still have the story inside. Basically you haven't wasted your money if you buy DC's event and it flops (i.e. the cover is crap), but with the Marvel event you do, big time.
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