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Heroes In Crisis, Spoilers and the Lessons of Armageddon 2001

Armageddon 2001 was a 1991 crossover event published by DC Comics. Written by Archie Goodwin, Dennis O'Neil and pencilled by Dan Jurgens, it was a two-issue limited series that took in almost all of DC Comics' annuals in a six month period, each looking at potential futures for the characters.

The central mystery of the series (aside from why it was published) asked which superhero would go insane, kill all other heroes, and take over the world.

During the comic series publication, the Comics Buyers Guide, the weekly print newspaper of the American comics industry, ran a story revealing the identity of the hero who would become the supervillain Monarch ten years in the future, as Captain Atom.

In response to the leak, the ending was changed at the last minute, rewritten and redrawn, so that Monarch was revealed not to be Captain Atom, but rather Hawk, as in Hawk & Dove. Despite contradicting statements in previous issues that had seen Hank Hall fight and die against Monarch in the future and that the comic specified and "No matter the future they fought him but never became him" making Hawk and Dove the only two heroes Monarch could not be.

It led to the cancellation of the Hawk & Dove series as the book was tainted. The comic's writer Karl Kesel, the writer of Hawk & Dove, commented that "Hawk and Dove was always a love story. Then one day, Hawk went insane and murdered Dove".

Years later the ending would be retconned, and Captain Atom become Monarch as originally intended. Then the New 52 happened and all of that was binned.

Why am I regurgitating all this now?

Because I have been told DC Comics folk have discussed that Bleeding Cool may have revealed something about the planned superhero gone insane, killing all other heroes, in Heroes In Crisis. And that writer Tom King was discussing changing the ending as a result.

We thought it would be the opener of the series, turns out it may have been the final reveal.

Maybe Dan Jurgens or Dennis O'Neill could persuade him of the folly of going down that road again?

There are only so many people who read CBG – and indeed Bleeding Cool. They represent a fraction of the audience. Some people who like spoilers, or even rumoured spoilers can read, guess, speculate and add their own takes. Most people, as Kieron Gillen once talked about, remain blissfully unaware until the comic lands in their hands unless, as he put it…

The thing you have to bear in mind as a creator is as much press as a story spoiler can get (including something being given away in Previews) a huge chunk of the comics audience don't follow everything. Or even anything. The first they see of a cover is the NEXT MONTH page. So while the people who are deeply embedded are pulling apart every hint, the majority simply aren't. As much as the noise online may give the impression otherwise, it's just not how it works. Hell, I still get people asking me since when Loki is a kid.

Our plan is simply to keep quiet and not add our own volume to the signal, and so the proportion of people who just follow us and not the rest of comics don't get infected. Unless it gets stapled to the chest of a movie star at a premier the day before the issue comes out and broadcast around the Internet at the speed of lust, we should be fine.

Thanks, Rich.

Sorry Kieron. But as yesterday's reveal of the Heroes In Crisis #7 cover with Poison Ivy, courtesy of our old friend Tako, demonstrates, it looks as if the original plan is still being enacted.

But more on that to come later today.

Heroes In Crisis, Spoilers and the Lessons of Armageddon 2001

Tom King, everyone.

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Rich JohnstonAbout Rich Johnston

Founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world, since 1992. Author of The Flying Friar, Holed Up, The Avengefuls, Doctor Who: Room With A Deja Vu, The Many Murders Of Miss Cranbourne, Chase Variant. Lives in South-West London, works from Blacks on Dean Street, shops at Piranha Comics. Father of two. Political cartoonist.
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