I took a quick look at a site where people were discussing scans of a few pages of Blackest Night #0, one of DC’s offerings for Free Comic Book Day. While there I noticed a discussion as to why this continuity-heavy lead-in to the big 2009 event was not suitable for a new reader who has just wandered into a comic store for the first time (or the first time in several years) to check out the free stuff (that being the primary purpose of FCBD).
Here’s the thing: I don’t think it’s intended for that audience.
I think DC has realized that Free Comic Book Day brings in a lot of regular comics readers looking for something free, like a sale, and they’re going after that audience. This isn’t aimed at people who have never read a comic book. It’s aimed at people who are at least somewhat familiar with DC Comics but maybe haven’t been reading Green Lantern and need a primer for the multiple Corps and the Blackest Night prophecy so that they can jump into the event. It’s aimed at people who read some DC Comics, but weren’t planning on picking up the next big event, but hey, since this one’s free, why not take a look?
And given that it sounds like DC’s entire line is going to be involved in this event over the next 8 months or so, it still works as an introduction to their output.
I’ve also seen the scans of this issue (well, issue is a bit much. It’s only like 8 pages long and 4 were already previewed) and thought it wasn’t that great a choice for FCBD either. It’s really only there for Green Lantern fans already familiar with it. It’s actually quite continuity heavy, even for hardcore fans, going into Batman’s death, guest starring Barry Allen, featuring an obscure villain like Black Hand (he’s only been in like 2 issues of Johns entire run and a handful of cameos and is hardly a household name) and even goes into Hal’s time as Parallax on top of the basic GL knowledge.
All in all, it’s a fairly tough read for the casual fan or anyone that may venture into a shop and I’m not sure if it even does a good job of pulling someone into Blackest Night if they werent already on board for it. DCU #0 (from just before Final Crisis) was a much better introduction to the DC Universe on the whole and the brief pages it had on Green Lantern and the multiple corps would have been a much better option for modelling this FCBD issue on.
However, I imagine the full issue will be more than the 8 pages I’ve seen scans of, so maybe there’s more to the FCBD issue than that and it acts as a better intro than I’ve been led to believe so far.
I think you may have seen more pages than I have, but what I’ve seen really gave me the impression of a book designed to introduce all the pieces — here’s Barry and Hal, both of whom died and came back to life, here’s who’s dead right now, here’s what the various Corps are, etc. — so that you’re up to speed when #1 comes around. Sort of like the opening text to a Star Wars movie in comic-book form.
Not the traditional goal of a FCBD book, but again, I think they’re aiming it at casual DC readers rather than complete newbies on the idea that both types of readers will be drawn in by the event.
I think you’re right that they’re aiming this at the casual comic shop crowd. But y’know, recapping important recent events is a good thing. Success or failure is determined by whether the reader is intrigued enough to delve deeper.
And just given the amount of new readers Green Lantern has garnered over the past 5 years, I think it’s safe to say Johns is a master at this. So it makes sense to give the non-initiated (heathens!) some butter, so they’re ready when the bread is served.
Besides, Batman is dead, Superman’s off-planet and the JLA is a mess. GL and Flash are now the anchors for the entire DCU, between Rebirth and Blackest Night. Kinda cool.
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