I’ll admit, I became a lot less excited about DC’s Flashpoint when the sixteen spin-off series (and four additional one-shot spin-offs) were announced. That’s a new record for spin-off titles, as far as I can tell (This year’s Marvel event, Fear Itself, isn’t even close with “just” thirteen spin-offs to date, although there’s still time for it to catch up) and, hopefully, the culmination of what’s become a ridiculous trend for events in recent years.
As far as I can tell, DC’s 1986 Legends was the first event to spin-off its own mini-series, although Cosmic Boy (Also, of course, a spin-off from Legion of Super-Heroes) had more to do that just vamp between Legends plot threads and, perhaps more importantly, didn’t include the word “Legends” in the title. The spin-off book as brand extension came, I think, with Marvel’s House of M in 2005, which managed 5 sub-minis (Fantastic Four: House of M,The Incredible Hulk: House of M, Iron-Man: House of M, Mutopia X: House of M,and Spider-Man: House of M). Marvel’s 2006 Civil War, which sprawled wildly across something like 90 individual issues all told, only managed 7 spin-offs that had “Civil War” in the title, the same number as both Siege and DC’s Blackest Night (Oddly enough, Marvel’s mini-event Shadowland had 8 spin-offs bearing its title), so it’s no wonder that the jump to Flashpoint‘s 20 – all announced at the same time, and launching in the same month! – feels like a whole new level of overkill.
That said, it’s not, not really; presuming that DC doesn’t change its mind and add additional tie-ins once the initial sales figures are in (See Blackest Night, Sinestro Corps War, etc.), Flashpoint is going to be limited to the core series, the branded spin-offs, and issues of Booster Gold… which means that the whole story will run 62 issues (66, if you count the Flash “Road To” issues), far lower than, say, the 77 issues of Blackest Night (excluding “prelude” issues) or the nearly 100 of Secret Invasion. So is it just that there are so many titles called Flashpoint: [Insert Title Here], and that they’re all launching at the same time? Why does Flashpoint already feel bloated, before most people have had a chance to even read the first issue?