In the song "Dark Fantasy" Kanye West asks, "What's worse, the pain or the hangover?" Given the way that major publishers have structured their recent stories, comic book superheroes could ask themselves that same question.
These days, every big comic book "event series" comes with its own extended epilogue, some lasting as long — or longer — than the preceding story, and usually with its name branded at the top of comic covers for months to come.
Given Marvel's recent news that October's Fear Itself #7 will be followed up with the multi-faceted "Shattered Heroes," and the fallout of DC's soon-to-wrap Flashpoint being the much-publicized relaunch of their entire superhero publishing line, Newsarama examined the recent history of event aftermaths, to try and figure out if it really is the journey or the destination that matters.
Event: House of M
Length: Five months (June 2005 to November 2005)
Length: Five months (December 2005 to May 2006)
Writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Olivier Coipel rather efficiently got through eight issues of Marvel's House of M in just five months, ending with Scarlet Witch infamously uttering "no more mutants." The direct fallout of that was labeled "Decimation," with that label on comics like Uncanny X-Men and New Excalibur for only about three issues each. Yet much of the true impact of House of M was seen in the Paul Jenkins-written miniseries Generation M, which wrapped in May 2006. (If you want to get technical, the aftermath of House of M is still being dealt with in contemporary Marvel comics, specifically the currently unfolding Avengers: The Children's Crusade miniseries.)
Event: Infinite Crisis
Length: Nine months (October 2005 to May 2006)
Aftermath: 52/"One Year Later"
Length: One year (May 2006 to May 2007)
When it comes to long aftermaths to events, DC is king. Following the establishment of "New Earth" at the end of Infinite Crisis, all of the DC Universe titles jump forward 12 months, an event called "One Year Later." That came along with its own logo, which was seen on their comics for about three months. The real sequel to Infinite Crisis was 52, a sprawling 52-issue weekly miniseries that, as the calendar-inclined can tell you, ended a year after it began. (Which itself led to another year-long weekly miniseries, Countdown to Final Crisis.)
Event: Civil War
Length: Nine months (May 2006 to February 2007)
Aftermath: "The Initiative"
Length: Eight months (February 2007 to October 2007)
Civil War was rather infamously plagued with delays, leading to it stretching out for months longer than originally intended. Yet its follow-up, "The Initiative" (named after the Fifty-State Initiative founded at the end of Civil War) lasted nearly as long, with the banner showing up comics as late as October 2007's Fantastic Four #550. Additionally, the ongoing series it sparked, Avengers: The Initiative ran until May 2010.
Event: Secret Invasion
Length: Eight months (April 2008 to December 2008)
Aftermath: "Dark Reign"
Length: Thirteen months (December 2008 to January 2010)
Norman Osborn was the only man able to take care of the Skrulls in Secret Invasion, which led to him getting placed at the head of national security in the Marvel Universe — a "Dark Reign," indeed. And one that lasted a good chunk of time in Marvel history. Several ongoing series carried the "Dark Reign" banner for months, as late as July 2009 and New Avengers #55. The branding continuing on to a series of "Dark Reign: The List" one-shots which ran until November 2010, and was seen even while Siege (we'll get to that one soon) was in full-swing, on the cover of January 2010's late-shipping Dark Reign: Hawkeye #5.
Event: Final Crisis
Length: Eight months (May 2008 to January 2009)
Aftermath: Final Crisis Aftermath
Length: Five months (May 2009 to October 2009)
This is a bit of a weird one, which is appropriate, because, well, Final Crisis was kind of a weird book. Though Final Crisis wrapped with issue #7 in January 2009, the "official" follow-ups didn't come until months later, in the form of four six-issue miniseries all branded "Final Crisis Aftermath." They didn't really have that much to do with Final Crisis, either. The true follow-up was probably Batman: The Return of Bruce Wayne, which like Final Crisis was written by Grant Morrison and came even later, running from May 2010 to October 2010.
Event: Blackest Night
Length: Eight months (July 2009 to March 2010)
Aftermath: Brightest Day
Length: One year (April 2010 to April 2011)
In the tradition of 52, DC went with another long-term follow-up with Brightest Day, which started in April 2010 with a #0 issue and lasted for 24 biweekly issues, ending in late April of this year — though how much of it will remain relevant in DC's "The New 52" landscape remains unclear.
Length: Four months (January 2010 to May 2010)
Aftermath: "The Heroic Age"
Length: Five months (May 2010 to October 2010)
Siege was one of the tidiest event miniseries in recent memory, lasting only four issues and as many months. With Norman Osborn and his Dark Avengers removed from power, it was time for a "Heroic Age" for the Marvel heroes way back in the faraway time of spring 2010. That sparked relaunches of all of the Avengers titles and several miniseries, and the branding lingered on comic books until the close of Bendis and John Romita Jr.'s first arc of the new adjectiveless Avengers in October 2010.
Length: As originally intended, 15 months (July 2010 to October 2011)
Aftermath: Artifacts ongoing series
The Ron Marz-written Top Cow event was originally supposed to be 13 issues, but was recently announced to be continuing as an ongoing series. So depending on how long the book keeps going, it may potentially be the longest event follow-up ever — while also not really being an event follow-up at all. Trippy.Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!