I’m not totally sure what’s going on, and I’m not willing to spend the money necessary to fund a third world country (read: buy all the Battleworld stories), so this is…
A REVIEW OF SECRET WARS #1
in dazzling incomplete-o-vision. Incomplete-o-vision means I haven’t read of all the side issues and stories and don’t have the time or cash to do so. Also, the whole mega-storyline strategy has always kind of annoyed me. When the first Civil War story arc came out eight years ago, I bought a few of the non-essential issues (Civil War: Deadpool, Civil War: Wolverine, etc.) and was unimpressed. It seemed like an unusually forced attempt in a medium where stories often have to be forced. And though I don’t know if Secret Wars will be the same, at least issue #1 was entertaining.
In Secret Wars #1, both the Marvel Universe (Earth 616) and the Ultimate Universe (Earth 1610) are destroyed. Small groups from both universes escape, though it’s unclear how many. Steven Strange and Dr. Doom meet God, and Doom, of course, still talks in the third person. The bulk of the issue is an exciting and well-paced adventure story about the original Marvel Universe fighting the Ultimate Universe, and about Reed Richards’ attempt to save at least a portion of humanity on a life raft spaceship. The Ultimate/Original battle provides some enjoyable moments, but the story’s so busy that there isn’t much focus on the fights themselves. To Jonathan Hickman’s credit, he manages the chaos pretty well, balancing scenes and exchanges between necessary exposition and a few characteristic last notes: Colossus does one last fastball special, Ultimate Tony Stark hits on Captain Marvel, and Frank Castle gets to shoot a roomful of the everyones’ rogues’ gallery.
The art outdoes the story so far, though it’s a little unfair to judge a mini-series off of one issue. I’m unfamiliar with Esad Ribic or Ive Svorcina, but the characters are well-rendered, and the coloring’s so beautiful it’s reminiscent of Dave Stewart’s work in the early days of Dark Horse’s Conan monthly. In the same way Hickman balances exposition and character development, Ribic similarly balances broad action tableaux and close-ups.
Worth the money? It didn’t need to be $5.00, but it’s kind of necessary to all of Marvel’s future storylines, so readers are over a barrel. Buy it if you want to stay informed. And now you know why I hate mega-storylines.