Marvels Secret Wars was launched in 2014 as the event to re-establish a new status-quo for the Marvel comic book universe, and I as sceptical of this to say the least. However what we got was much better than anyone expected and one of the best mini events that has taken place in the last 5years- hence the reason it becomes this weeks recommendation.
Secret Wars was the culmination of Jonathan Hickman’s run on Avengers and New Avengers where it was being established the multi-verse was crumbling and most of the planets were colliding and wiping each other out, and once the 616 and the 1610 universe became aware of this they were trying to prevent this from occurring or trying to find a way to survive. Hickman did a great job in the two years he handled these books in building to the events, making it truly seem like the universe could end while giving us some great character moments in building up to the end.
Secret Wars started out with a passage of time missing since the Life Raft had been launched trying to save as many heroes as possible and instantly introduces us to a world ruled by Doom and broken down into wards that are ruled by some notorious faces and filled with heroes. We get a region of Thors, which is literally all the Thors the Marvel books have ever seen along with some new ones who act as the police for the world and carry out the justice deemed appropriate by the ruler. We have a kingdom of Hulks ruled by Maestro and we have a kingdom ruled by Mr Sinister along with others. This was a huge change and a real surprise that plays out brilliantly.
Doom is the main focus here for the first few issues, and it really works. Dr Doom is so well written and seeing him with omnipotent powers over the world is brilliant- add to this the fact we have no idea how the world got this way or who even survived the end of worlds and the first few issues are a real cliff hanger of information.
The story feels brilliantly paced, even in the early going as the current shape of the world is told along with how things became this way- and as the final act draws near the pace quickens and the feeling that the end is once again drawing near sets in but with a real sense that anything could happen but you know when it does it will be huge. The book has some real surprises hidden in its story too (I’ll avoid these for spoiler sake) but some of them are brilliant, and pertain to the major future of some of the most recognisable characters in the entire Marvel universe. The Fantastic four are given their ending here too, which explains why they are absent from the relaunch, along with a new status-quo for several heroes and villains that is nicely explained along the way and at the very itself in some cases.
The action within the series is great as everything is meaningful, and serves the purpose of furthering the character development and the storyline. When you add to this the amazing artwork from Ribic this is easily one of the better books that Marvel has been releasing. All of the key characters look great, the action sequences are epic with some double page splashes and everything is clear, defined and seems to help portray the emotion of those involved.
The books main focus was really the Fantastic Four and Dr Doom (I wasn’t expecting this) but its so well done that even with the focus on these two, who aren’t my favourite leading characters in the Marvel Universe this book stands out as being in the upper echilon of releases. Both characters and the relationship between them is so well defined and portrayed that you cant help but become engrossed in the tale and the struggles of them both. And the final issue really delivers on what is built throughout with a great confrontation between the enemies, where some old truths are shared while the fate of the world and their lives is literally in each others hands. This relationship and tale steals the entire book, and is brilliant.
Marvel did a good job of hyping this as the biggest event they will deliver in the coming years- and to be perfectly honest they may not of over stepped the truth this time. The ramifications are already felt in the relaunched ‘All New, All Different’ titles and the ending for some of the characters in this book is both heart warming and in cases sews the seeds for more from them. If you like your tales big, bold, epic and down right entertaining then this is the book you should be picking up right now!