Instagram’s DoctorNvrmore checks in with his impressions of Marvel’s Secret Wars event.
Dayton, Ohio, 1984, a young boy named Jason anxiously buys Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1 from his local drug store. He is wildly excited to see all of these heroes interact together for the first time in his comic reading history! Secret Wars did not disappoint this 11-year-old boy as a being called the Beyonder brings together Heroes and Villains telling them:
I am from beyond! Slay your enemies and all that you desire shall be yours! Nothing you dream of is impossible for me to accomplish!
And so began the first Secret Wars! It helped continue to foster the boy’s love for Hawkeye and Spider-Man as well as introduced him to other future favorites like Wolverine, Storm, Hulk, Doctor Doom, Molecule Man, Magneto, and Deadpool! Wait, not Deadpool! That comes much later. The original Secret Wars captured the boy’s imagination thoroughly, plenty of battle royals, intrigue (“Beneath one hundred and fifty billion tons stands the Hulk”), conflict (my first taste of X-Men/Avengers relations), surprises (Spider-Man in black?!?) and DOOM! That’s right! [Spoiler Alert: Doctor Doom steals the power of a god (for the first time)!]
If you have not read it, turn your brain on low and go to a simpler time and enjoy the banter and brawls brought to you by Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck with help from Bob Layton as well. The boy in now a man or maybe just a boy in an older man’s skin, regardless he is me and I continue to embark on my childhood joy of reading comics.
This article isn’t about 1984’s version of Secret Wars or that time’s version of me, nor is it about the Marvel Cinematic Universe—it’s about the blockbuster summer of 2015, the amalgamated Marvel Multiverse dubbed BATTLEWORLD! This current Battleworld as depicted in this summer’s all-new 8-issue limited series Secret Wars is unlike its predecessor. It’s fully populated by all the different time periods and alternate versions of your favorite characters, not just a handful of heroes and villains doing battle for a prize. It’s a What if…? book that exploded into a huge Marvel Crossover Event with one of the most popular and known Marvel villains holding it all together.
I have not read all the tie-ins, I’m not that rich. Can you hear me Disney/Marvel? Making billions off movies and charging up to $4.99 for a comic book!!! *hiss*I digress, I have read the first two or three issues of many of the tie-in comics that have come out thus far and the first four issues of the main title by fan-favorite writer Jonathan Hickman and the astonishing art of Esad Ribic.
Before we take a look at this comic book event let me tell you a little bit about the current me. I am 42, and I have been reading comics since I was 10. I have an affinity for the Marvel Universe and truly have a love for its fictional inhabitants. I have not read comics all my life, as I have about a 10 year gap where other life events took priority—like getting married, establishing a secure (as secure as one could be these days) financial foundation and having children. But you have to have a little fun for yourself so I returned to the bliss of comics and again immersed myself in the Marvel Universe where I lived out much of my geeky childhood. I am no professional writer and this is a fun attempt at talking about one of the things I love to do, reading comics! Thanks to Joe (@jcmilone) for the opportunity to submit an article to the thegeeksverse.com.
Now on to the “early death of everything” with some of my thoughts and insights inserted along the way…
Spoilers will be touched on going forwards, nothing I think that would ruin the reading of the comics for yourself though.
The set up: “Beings from Beyond” see fit to bring to an end Marvel’s version of the cosmos with what is dubbed an Incursion Event, or a series of Incursion Events. This coming catastrophe has been known about for quite a while by the mainline Marvel Universe’s A-list brainiacs and eventually the knowledge of the coming end is unleashed on the population of Earth as Captain America stood against the Illuminati, as covered in the Avengers and New Avengers storyline “Time Runs Out” and is further chronicled in the “Last Days” books, part of the Secret Wars event. These Incursions Events occur across the known and unknown Marvel Multiverse (no, DC doesn’t own the rights to that word—I am as surprised as you are).
The collision of worlds, seemingly destroying all realities, takes place… then there is DOOM… and at Doctor Doom’s side is Doctor Strange, and together they save the world. They create Battleworld, and Doom becomes its unnatural GOD because Strange does not want the position. Doom has the power but it is Sherriff Strange who maintains the rule of law, God-Doom’s law. It’s also worth noting that the Molecule Man—a pivotal character in the original Secret Wars—was a key factor in the end of all the universes, but I am unclear of the details but this is also linked to the Beings from Beyond.
Now there is only Battleworld, a planet amalgamated from other Earths, a planet that the sun revolves around and a planet where figuring out how much time has elapsed since the Incursion Event seems impossible. The Secret Wars event is divided into two categories—there are the Warzones, which tell stories of the various domains; and then there is Battleworld, which deals more with the planet’s framework and system of justice.
Every bit of this feels like a huge What if…? comic book story and I am a big fan of thosecomics. There are 41 domains in Battleworld, all with their own What if…?-style stories. The Warzone books tackle these individual stories more so than the Battleworld books but of course all of it is one big composition of What if…?s coming together to create a new reality.
The problem with What if…? comics is that they never mean much when it comes to the big picture. You read them and then it’s over, never to be expounded on again and never affecting any other comic book stories. Secret Wars apparently means to take this Battleworld and its surviving elements to reshape and reboot the Marvel Universe while also destroying Marvel’s Ultimate Universe in the process.
So what will remain real (within the confines of this fiction) after issues number eight of this event remains to be seen (unless you have been reading about the future releases in PREVIEWS, which I have not). Thus, as I read and get engrossed in some of these well written stories (some are not very well-written mind you, I’ll get to that) I feel like I am watching a TV show that I know will more than likely just be canceled. That is an uneasy feeling, the feeling of wasting my time—I try to tell myself just to enjoy the ride and enjoy the tales for what they are.
Let’s take a quick look at the great, the good and the ugly. The main title of Secret Wars is well-written and keeps every bit of my attention and it seems self-contained, which means that to this point, reading the tie-ins are not necessary to understand and enjoy the story. This is a good thing. But many of the tie-ins are worthy of the reader’s time as well. Out of what I have read these are what I deem the cream of the crop of the Battleworld books and therefore suggested reading: Siege, Red Skull, Runaways and the absolute must read is Ultimate End.
The not-so-cream-of-the-crop of the Battleworld books are: Marvel Zombies (zzz… ), Secret Wars Journal, and Secret Wars Battleworld—the latter two of which have multiple stories contained within them which might tie in to the main story in the end, but I didn’t think any of them were very good. These are books that I have not bought or have not came out yet: Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies, Ghost Racers, Inhumans, Korvac Saga, Master of Kung Fu, Secret Wars: Secret Love, Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde, and Thors.
Out of the vast number of Warzone books these are very good or getting good and therefore suggested reading: A-Force, Age of Apocalypse, Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders, Civil War, Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars, Future Imperfect, Giant-Size Little Marvel: AvX, Guardians of Knowhere, Infinity Gauntlet, Old Man Logan, Planet Hulk, Squadron Sinister, X-tinction Agenda, and Years of Future Past. (Note: I got Armor Wars #½ from Toys ‘R’ Us and it seems pretty interesting, it sold out at my comic shop though.)
I wanted these books to be better and they may get better but these are just not doing it for me: Inferno, Spider-verse, and Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos.
And these are the Warzone books that I have not bought or have not came out yet: 1602, 1872, Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps, E is for Extinction, Hail Hydra, Hank Johnson: Agent of Hydra, House of M, Howard the Human, MODOK Assassin, Agents of Atlas, Weirdworld, Where Monsters Dwell, and X-Men ’92.
Well this wraps up my thoughts on God-Doom and his Battleworld at least to this point in the chronicled summer event. As long as I’m not immediately fired from thegeekverse.com (which means you will never have read this) I will bring you a full review of the 2015 Secret Wars event after its conclusion.
Till then, let your geek flag fly!