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When a comic slaps a big, visible "Crisis Crossover" logo on the cover, but has only a token Shout-Out to the Big Event that only peripherally affects the plot of the issue in question, that's a Red Skies Crossover.
The name's taken from the original Crisis Crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths. Almost every comic in The DCU was involved, but in many cases, the "involvement" was just characters looking up and wondering why the skies were red.
Since then, most Crisis Crossovers have had at least a few. For example, in Infinite Crisis, a squad of blue cyborgs would rampage through a few panels and then fly off, leaving the characters (and the reader) wondering what the heck that was before going on with the story.
This, generally, is good for the book it appears in, getting it the extra readers from the crossover without having to derail its storyline because of it, but bad for the crossover overall, through dilution of the brand.
Anime and Manga
- Since Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle and XxxHolic 's stories are somehow running parallel-ly, and occasionally interconnect with each other, it is no surprise that during both of the movies, there is a scene where the characters from TRC are talking to Yuuko via cute-little-magical-pet. However the scene only has relevance to the TRC movie plot. For people watching the xxxHoLic movie, it's just a WTF'ing irrelevant scene.
- In the original Inferno crossover, one of the first that Marvel Comics did involving all series in their universe, most crossover issues not directly connected to the X-titles featured minor content at best, or at worst, totally contradictory writing to the actual central story. This is particularly glaring in the case of, for example, The Avengers #300, when the newly-assembled group of Avengers fight to retrieve Franklin Richards after his being kidnapped by N'astirh and, despite New York still being consumed by demons, and N'astirh -- whom they clearly saw take him -- still being at large, they go home with the apparent satisfaction of a job well done.
- When the Casket of Ancient Winters was opened in The Mighty Thor, many other Marvel titles were smacked with impossible blizzards on top of what they are dealing with at the time. Usually, the characters had little or no knowledge of what exactly was going on in Thor.
- Subverted during The OMAC Project, a mini-Crisis Crossover that helped set the stage for Infinite Crisis. One of the key plot points for both crossovers -- Wonder Woman killing Max Lord to break his mind control over Superman -- took place in Wonder Woman's own title. Despite DC hyping the issue, most believed that it would merely be a Red Skies Crossover. Instead, the only reference to the event during the main Miniseries was an incomplete Flash Back. Readers truly did need to read Wonder Woman to get the full story, which annoyed many fans. The Wonder Woman issue in question was included in the trade paperback collection of The OMAC Project, as well as DC's Countdown to Infinite Crisis one-shot.
- Infinite Crisis had many tie-in issues in which either an OMAC appeared out of nowhere to fight the main character or a few pages were devoted to The Spectre destroying something.
- Cable and Deadpool did a really small Crossover with House of M that lasted one issue (they were conveniently out of the universe during most of it.) It was so small that if you go back and read the trade you probably won't even realize it was part of House Of M.
- There was an event where a Predator took on characters from Dark Horse's Comics Greatest World line. Apparently the writers of Ghost didn't really want to spend much time with this, so they just included a couple panels with a Predator jumping out, after which the heroine phased her gun through its face plate and fired, killing it instantly. She then simply returned to her own plotline with no further thought given to the strange alien.
- Lampshaded during DC's Last Laugh storyline, where The Joker, after "jokerizing" most of the worlds villains and cutting them loose on the planet, begins complaining that the sky is perfectly clear and normal, and that he's going to have to "kick it up a notch" in order to achieve the desired sky effect. The crossover also had some traditional Red Skies Crossovers. Pretty much the only tie-ins that were actually important to the main story were written by Last Laugh writer Chuck Dixon (Nightwing, Robin, Birds of Prey, JLA). Most of the other tie-ins were simply "Jokerized villain goes off to tangle with the hero of whatever book this is".
- While Final Crisis: Rage of the Red Lanterns was important to the next crossover, Blackest Night, it didn't have a damn thing to do with Final Crisis.
- Final Crisis: Legion of 3 Worlds is also totally unrelated to Final Crisis. For one thing, almost all of the story takes place a thousand years after the crisis. While a few lines are thrown in to make characters aware of the event, to them it's literally ancient history, and not terribly relevant to them. Indeed, the story originally was meant to be a stand-alone, only labeled a crossover at the last minute to increase sales.
- Blackest Night spread out over nearly every corner of the DC Universe, including a number of Red Skies Crossovers:
- The final issue of the Solomon Grundy miniseries carried a Blackest Night banner, but the alleged crossover only occurred on the last page.
- Between Blackest Night #6 and #7, fully twenty-seven books tied in to it. While the characters did usually spend most of the issue (or more than one) fighting heroes, villains and/or supporting cast members who had come back from the dead, very few of the stories overlapped with the main storyline in any meaningful way.
- Amazing Spider-Man had an alleged tie-in with the Avengers Disassembled event. This turned out to be a couple completely ordinary issues that just happened to guest star Captain America, without the slightest reference to "Disassembled".
- All the original Secret Wars crossovers simply consisted of a few panels of the character disappearing and reappearing from the miniseries, because the pattern for how to tie a crossover series into a character's own book hadn't been set yet.
- For the Onslaught crossover, the titles displaying the Crossover's logo were separated into two types, with directly affected titles branded "Onslaught: Phase (1, 2, or 3, depending on the month)" while the more Red Sky types were billed as "Onslaught: Impact (1, 2, 3)". Most of the "Impact" issues featured the heroes facing Onslaught-controlled Sentinels.
- Averted following DC Comics' Legends series as a direct reaction to criticism of the Red Skies Crossovers in Crisis on Infinite Earths. Several books spun directly from the events of Legends, but Justice League, and Suicide Squad purposely avoided labels like "From the Pages of Legends".
- Inverted with DC Comics' Crisis Crossover Genesis, to the point where the "main" series in the crossover was incomprehensible due to major elements occurring in other books. The bulk of the actual storyline was in New Gods and Wonder Woman, but with Genesis itself referring to major events only in editor's notes.
- Subverted three times in Hitman during the Cataclysm, DC One Million, and Final Night events.
- Lampshaded during Cataclysm, as Gotham's massive earthquake occurred during a story arc in Hitman. The main characters woke up one morning and realized their hometown of Gotham City had been leveled and cut off from the rest of the country. For the rest of the event's duration, the cast was either living in the ruins of Gotham or had conveniently escaped it for the duration of the arc.
- The crossover with DC One Million satirized the entire crossover concept, which held that every ongoing series at the time had an influence on the DC Universe over 800 centuries later. Including Hitman, a series about a small-time thug with low-level super powers. In the Hitman crossover, Tommy is brought to the future by fanboys. He roundly insults them all for wasting their time and ability on bothering with him. He also has time to hilariously kill Gunfire, a fellow creation from the Dork Age crossover Bloodlines.
- The Final Night crossover followed an exceptionally depressing arc for Tommy. And then the sun went out. The tie-in involved Tommy and his friends brooding over how this might be the Crisis Crossover that finally kills them all, and discussed their closest brushes with death.
- Many Brightest Day tie-ins were Red Skies Crossovers. Titans and Birds of Prey featured resurrected characters in their casts, but otherwise had little to do with the overall storyline. Green Lantern Corps had nothing to do with Brightest Day despite the banner, and Green Lantern: Emerald Warriors was launched as a Brightest Day title, but had only an offhand reference to Guy Gardner's breakup with Ice to justify it.
- Eclipse Comics, to celebrate their tenth anniversary, had a mega-crossover called Total Eclipse. It involved, among other things, a total eclipse occurring in every title they published. Some of the tie-ins involved that eclipse alone.
- At first the Green Lantern Zero Hour crossover issue seemed to be one, with the whole comic dealing with Kyle Rayner's recent tragedy and his first meeting with the Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott who gives him a primer about the Green Lantern legacy and about the Silver Age Green Lantern Hal Jordan, who at that time has recently gone crazy, has destroyed the whole Green Lantern Corps, and has disappeared. Alan then informs Kyle that he may be called in to help stop Hal the next time he shows up. It seemed that the only connection to the crossover was the last page where Superman and Metron arrives seeking his help. But later on it apparently can be regarded as a subversion of this trope when it is revealed near the end that Hal Jordan himself is the Big Bad of the Crisis event, and since the Green Lantern issue is the only comic in the crossover that has really brought him up before The Reveal.
- Not a Crisis crossover but a crossover nonetheless: in the second House of Mystery annual, there's a series of Vertigo Comics short stories linked by the presence of the same ghoulish trick-or-treaters. While the rest actually feature them, the Hellblazer story merely has John Constantine walk by them at the beginning, going into a plot that has nothing to do with them.
- Invincible Iron Man #503 was branded as a Fear Itself tie-in but only had Fear Itself-related content at the end. Most of the book wrapped up the story that had been running at that point.
- Deadpool's own tie-in also only had a plot marginally related to the overarching story, in which he tried to cash in on it all by decorating an ordinary sledgehammer to make it look like one of those that fell from the sky and dropping it before some lame villain that no one cares to remember, just so 'Pool can beat him up later and grab the glory for himself. Then something happens that is only left to this particular tie-in, and not oonly is the worldwide calamity caused by the Worthy completely sidelined for three issues (the only thing that happens is Kuurth - Juggernaut - breaking through a house in the first issue, for a grand total of one page), there's also the fact that Deadpool was in the X-Force tie-ins at the same time.
- The first of two Robin crossovers in Cataclysm is a totally normal end of the arc story, until the last two pages where the crossover affects the storyline for a grand total of 5 panels. It does work by having an emotional impact because it so unexpected except that the cover spoils it.
- The Hasbro Comic Universe:
- The First Strike tie-ins for all of the ongoing have little to nothing to do with the main story. The ones set on Earth just mention that there's something happening on Cybertron.
- The Micronauts tie-in in Transformers: Unicron. There's no indication of where and when the story takes place with Unicron only being referred to as a "cosmic threat" that will change everything.
- Ant-Man and The Wasp ties into Avengers: Infinity War by showing the Pym family fall victim to the Snap (essentially rendering most of the film a Shaggy Dog Story) but is otherwise totally unconnected from the film.
- Star Trek: Insurrection features a few scant references to the Dominion War but nothing to really tie into Deep Space Nine too much.
Live Action TV
- On one night, NBC tried to link all of its Thursday sitcoms with "Blackout Thursday". Mad About You, the first sitcom of the night, featured the characters causing a citywide blackout by trying to get free cable TV. The following episodes of Friends and Madman Of The People, also featured the characters dealing with a New York blackout. While the characters didn't explicitly cross over, it was implied that they shared the same universe. Seinfeld was the only missing link in the Crisis Crossover chain. The script for that week had already been written before the idea was announced, and the Seinfeld writers refused to change it to include a blackout.
- A shooting star passed through the Cyrus family house on Hannah Montana, the Tipton Hotel on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody, and the White House on Cory in The House.
- The Arrowverse's adaptation of Crisis on Infinite Earths, of course, features this, showing multiple DC properties, such as Burt Ward's Robin, reacting to the red skies and the anti-matter wave.
- The invasion of the alien Xorn in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe was this. In any campaign other than the primary Global Guardians game, the "invasion" consisted of perhaps an afternoon of beating up alien warriors, or helping in a recovery effort after a primary battle. In the Global Guardians campaign, the characters were fighting the Xorn for weeks, invading their mother ship, and eventually successfully driving them off. As one player in the Denver Defenders campaign put it, "anyone else feel like a benchwarmer?"
- When Linkara attempts to escape his review of Lunatik #1, he is captured three months later just outside Molossia. It's not stated outright, but since Linkara takes part in the Nostalgia Critic's invasion of the micronation, that's why he was there.
- Night of the Hurricane, was billed as a three-way crossover between American Dad, Family Guy, and The Cleveland Show but the casts of the three shows, or more accurately the leading men of each show, didn't interact until the very end, the bulk of the story simply being how each family reacts to Hurricane Flozell.