Following up on my Lightning in a Bottle/Flash: Rebirth comparison, one of the issues I found myself flip-flopping on was how early you could fairly judge an incomplete story. In addition to my frustrations with Flash: Rebirth, I’ve picked up at least 8 other first issues over the last three months. Times (and storage space) being what they are, I’m taking a hard look at what I’m buying, including the new books.
To the Question
So, at what point is it fair to write off an incomplete story?
On one hand, I’m the kind of person who hates to leave a book unfinished. Even if I don’t like it much, I’ll generally slog through it (as I did with A Game of Thrones). So if I’d picked these miniseries up as complete editions rather than individual chapters, I’d probably read all of them through to the end.
But I’m not buying them as trade paperbacks or as hardcovers. I’m buying them one chapter at a time, and while I’m happy to let details unfold over time, if I’m just not interested, what’s the point in spending an additional $12+ to get the rest of a story I don’t want to read?
Making the Cut
All those new books I’ve picked up in the last few months are at #2 or #3 now, and I’ve realized that’s my threshold these days. If I really don’t like a first issue, I’ll stop there, but if I’m sort of lukewarm toward it, I’ll usually give it a second chance. That worked out well with, for instance, Ignition City and Mysterius the Unfathomable. In both cases I wasn’t quite sure about the series at the end of issue #1, but issue #2 sealed the deal.
So, The Unwritten and The Unknown, both of which grabbed me in the first issue? Already on my list. Final Crisis: Escape and Unthinkable, both of which had me just intrigued enough to pick up a second issue? Gone after issue #2. Still not sure about Final Crisis: Dance, which I think I’ll give one more issue. If not…it’s on the chopping block.
A few weeks ago I watched The Illusionist. I won’t say much about the plot, because it’s better without spoilers, but…I hated the first hour of the movie. Just couldn’t stand it. The two leads were just acting so stupid and self-destructive that I couldn’t sympathize with anyone except the police inspector, and even that was probably in part because he was effectively narrating the story.
If it had been a two-part TV miniseries, I wouldn’t have bothered with part two.
But I stuck through with it, and the tone changed significantly in the second half…and then the ending was so good that it completely made up for everything that had bothered me about the beginning.
So I have to wonder, what might I be missing by dropping a book two issues into a 5– or 6-issue story?
Any thoughts? When do you decide to stick with or drop a miniseries?