The previous issue of Secret Wars was epic. The survivors of Earth 616, along with Dr. Strange, fought Dr. Doom in an all-out battle that reminds us why Dr. Doom is the greatest Marvel villain. It ended with Doom killing his former partner, Dr. Strange, after he scattered the others across Battleworld. This issue picks up sometime afterward, with Dr. Strange’s funeral.
Like Secret Wars 3, this issue delves into Doom’s personality and how running Battleworld has affected him. There’s some great exploration going on, with his frustration with how things are going and how his Battleworld is starting to come apart. We also learn exactly what happened at the dawn of Battleworld and the events that led to Doom killing the Beyonders. Doom isn’t just Marvel’s greatest villain, but he’s one of Marvel’s more compelling characters, and writer Jonathan Hickman handles him well.
There isn’t much time focused on any of the survivors, in fact all we get is a one page montage of some survivors scattered into different domains, and a page of Thanos looking at the Shield. Instead, we get the FF kids working together to solve Dr. Strange’s death. It’s delightful to see them working together again under Hickman’s pen. Even though they believe in Doom, their personalities still shine through.
The art by Esad Ribic is also great. There’s a lot of detail going on, whether it’s the flowery fields and statues in the funeral scene, the flashbacks showcasing how Doom stole the Beyonders’ powers or the montage showing off Battleworld. Facial expressions do a good job at conveying emotions, especially the FF kids’ determination to find Strange’s killer. That said, there’s one panel where Franklin Richards looks older than he should. Ive Svorcina’s colouring is also good. The opening funeral is bright and colourful, the flashbacks have an otherworldly purple hue and Thanos’s spread of looking at the wall looks almost like a real sunrise.
The thing that concerns me at the moment is that with such a big event, we only have three issues to finish it up. I’m kind of worried that the rest of the event will rely on the tie-ins. So far this event has actually felt self-contained, but the montage at the end suggests that this might not be the case anymore. That said, this is a great comic and a surprisingly good event so far. Marvel fans in general should at least be reading this because of how much it will change the Marvel Universe going forward.