Since I wasn’t in North America for Secret Wars 1’s release, here are my brief thoughts before we discuss Secret Wars 2. It was alright. Esad Ribic’s art is fantastic in the issue and when the comic tries to be dramatic, it works. That said, it felt like a bunch of things happening, and if you don’t know what’s been going on in Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers run, it will probably confuse you. I didn’t think it was anything special and I wouldn’t spend $40 on 8 comics if every issue was like that. Secret Wars 2 on the other hand is a very different animal.
After such an intense action issue, Secret Wars 2 takes its time to introduce Battleworld, an alternate dimension with various territories based on different alternate universes and event comics throughout Marvel’s history. In itself, this is a good way to celebrate Marvel’s 75th anniversary. There will be minor spoilers ahead.
The world, ruled by Doom, already has an established political structure, a universal police force made of Thors, and different rulers for most of the different territories. Everything about the setup works, and there’s enough happening in this comic to break up the exposition.
At first glance, Jonathan Hickman is the perfect writer for this kind of story. He’s known to tell big, complex stories with a lot of build-up and payoffs that actually make the build-up worth it. While I didn’t like his Avengers run, a lot of people did, and I thoroughly enjoyed his Fantastic Four run. So far, Battleworld is interesting enough to hold my attention. The main story has only been introduced, but with a variety of power players in the field, this event has plenty of potential.
Ribic’s art continues to be great in the second entry. The wide variety of Thors in the central chamber opens the comic with a variety of body types within their matching armour, and the chamber itself pays tribute to Doom in a way that feels like a blend of Latveria and Asgard. The environmental detail continues to impress, whether it’s the Utopolis wastelands, the creepy worlds of the undead, Mr. Sinister’s glowing realm or the fantastic view from the great wall known as The Shield. While this issue doesn’t have much action, what is there flows well.
I’m not sold on this event yet, but this is a much better issue than the first one. Placing Doom at the overall throne of Battleworld makes the event all the more intriguing, and with the story barely introduced, this event could go pretty much anywhere from here. I’ll at least read issue 3 to see where it goes from here. Either way, with this event having such an effect on the Marvel Universe going forward, anyone who reads Marvel should at least read this issue. You won’t miss much by skipping Secret Wars 1, but this one feels very important.
A recent comment on my About page suggested that I should consider giving review scores. Usually I don’t, but I might as well give it a shot.
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Soooooo much exposition. This issue was world-building, rather than story-telling, which would be fine, if that description didn’t apply to basically his entire Avengers run. Hickman’s run has been dominated by exposition, and I don’t hold high hopes that Secret Wars will be any different.