This is the week Secret Wars was originally supposed to end. Not only are three more issues yet to come, but they decided to split the final issue into two. So far this event is great and in the long run, it’s better to delay the story rather than rush it out and negatively affect its quality, but it’s still a bit frustrating. At this rate we won’t see Secret Wars 9 until next year. Anyway, let’s review Secret Wars 6.
Secret Wars 6 takes place 3 weeks after the previous issue, which ended with the survivors of 616 scattered across Battleworld. The comic opens with Doom and his family trying to find the “rebels who killed Doctor Strange”. Meanwhile, Valeria’s suspicions that Doom isn’t exactly who he says he is continue to grow, while Mr. Fantastic and the other 616 survivors search for Doom’s real source of power.
The art by Esad Ribic is great. There’s a lot of environmental detail, whether in Doom’s castle or in the desert by the life rafts. Facial expressions do a great job at expressing character emotions, especially the moment when Mr. Fantastic learns where Susan is. It’s drawn well enough that no words are needed. The look on Mr. Sinister’s face at the end of his scene is also good for a laugh, along with a certain “servant” of his. The only problem I can think of is that sometimes Valeria looks a bit older than she should, but it’s a minor problem. The colouring by Ive Svorcina is also great. There’s a good variety of colours and shading for different scenes and locations, and the glow from different lighting sources almost looks real at times.
Jonathan Hickman’s writing here is fantastic. The story progresses quite a bit in this issue, and there’s also a fair amount of character development. Doom’s growing frustration is at the point where he can no longer hide it. Some of his Barons intend to help out, while others (like Sinister) intend to take advantage of it. Sinister’s little scene is amusing. Mr. Fantastic has a brief yet good dramatic moment in the middle of the story building, and the scene where Valeria meets Peter Parker and Miles Morales is a nice touch. The Spider-Men’s interactions are entertaining. Overall, this comic strikes a great balance between drama, world building, story development and build-up toward the climax. This comic’s ending is particularly awesome and ties directly into the Siege mini-series.
On that note, let’s talk briefly about Siege 4, written by Kieron Gillen. This now feels like the most important mini-series in the Secret Wars event. Basically it’s about a bunch of people from around Battleworld stopping the hordes of Ultron, the Negative Zone and zombies from invading the rest of Battleworld. This final issue is the one where the wall forever falls, and there’s no surprise that 616 Thanos is directly involved. Not only does this issue greatly expand on a major event at the end of Secret Wars 6, but as an experiment, I read this and Secret Wars 6 side by side for this review. So long as you know the order to read these in, these two comics benefit each other if you read them together. It certainly doesn’t hurt that the entire Siege mini-series is a delightful read that expands on Battleworld mythology in fascinating ways and is often funny. Abigail Brand is a great lead character for such a series.
As good as Secret Wars 6 is, I’m growing annoyed with how long it’s taking for this story to end. This seems to happen a lot with events, and not only with Marvel. With so many titles releasing in the next few months I’m almost worried that some of them will spoil the event’s ending. I guess there are a few lessons to learn here. 1, make sure your event is almost finished before you start releasing it. 2, Marvel has too many events (they’ve even sort-of announced plans for their next event and this one’s not even finished). 3, it’s especially frustrating that they’re delaying Uncanny X-Men 600 so much. More on that in the Old Man Logan 5 review.
Anyway, this is a great event so far, and a fantastic way to celebrate Marvel’s 75th anniversary. The event feels big and epic, yet there’s still a lot of character focus. Dr. Doom is at his best and pretty much every aspect of his personality is explored. This issue is no exception, and it’s an easy recommendation for Marvel fans in general.
Secret Wars 6: 8.5/10
Siege 4: 9/10