I was trying to think of when I started hating it. I think when Team Titans debuted and they did 5 variants of issue #1. Each variant had a different cover (that's another thing I hate, variant covers) and had a "team" story for half the book and a "solo origin" story for the other half. The "team" story was the same in each variant and the "solo" story was different in each one. So you had six half-issues or three issues worth of story spread over five issues.
Just do a double-sized first issue and be done with it. Ridiculous.
Wow! That’s the worst example of customer gouging I’ve heard of in the comic industry. I don’t like all the variant covers either but at least you can still get the whole story without chasing variants. But what you just described was awful.