I haven't paid much attention to Marvel's last two event series but since their latest magnum opus is supposed to reboot/reshuffle/reimagine/redecorate the whole of the Marvel universe I felt that it was probably necessary for me to get into it. So here's my, delayed because I'm lazy, review of the first two issues of Marvel's Secret Wars.
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Esad Ribic
Color artist: Ive Svorcina
Summary: The multiverse is dying, has been for quite some time. Only two universes remain and they must battle it out to decide which one gets to win. From the ashes of that battle comes a new world. A mishmash of old and new universes and timelines brought together and ruled over by the God Emperor, Doom. This new world is called Battle World.
My thoughts: I haven't exactly been excited about this event. Mainly because I haven't enjoyed the stories leading up to it and it seems a bit convoluted, which quite frankly does describe the Marvel universe as a whole so why let that stop me. So far I'm uncertain but interested in where this series is going.
The first issue contains the battle for survival between the two remaining universes in the Marvel multiverse. In one corner we have the classic Marvel universe (designated 616) and in the other corner we have the modern Ultimate universe (designated 1610). An all out war between the two could be an event series all on its own. Thank god that's not what happens here because I'm tired of long ass minis focusing on heroes beating up each other for whatever reason. Nope, this is about the death of both these universes.
There's so grand scale action as the massie air fleet from the Ultimate universe meets the staggering number of meta humans that the 616 universe has at its disposal. There's drama and tragedy as well known and beloved characters die quick and painful deaths. There's hope as a desperate escape is made into the maw of two universes colliding two form the ashes of something new. And there's a little send off as both universes get their own obituaries at the end of the story. It has everything one would expect from a shocking and epic super hero apocalypse. There's just one teeny, tiny problem.
It's a bit boring.
There's something clinical and sterile in the execution of two universes dying. It also feels a bit rushed and there's no real meat to the issue. This multiversal extinction event just happens, with only a few more emotional scenes taking place, and that's that. Like they're trying to get it out of the way for the actual story of Secret Wars. If that is the purpose of this issue it does certainly work. But it still feels somewhat cold and boring, doesn't help that there isn't a lot of new ideas being used here.
Thankfully that all changes with the second issue.
In this issue we're introduced to Battle World, a planet where the countries are made up of pieces of different universes and timelines (these countries are where the majority of the Secret Wars tie in mini series' will take place) and ruled over by one self made god. We get to see the interal politics of Battle World, meet several key players, the structure of the whole planet is largely laid out for us and a lot of interesting concepts are presented. It's a bevy of fun ideas and interesting interactions that has me excited about the continuation of the event. It even ends with a nice fly in the soup moment. Not everything from the universes 616 and 1610 perished. The worst beings imagineable are still here and I can't wait for them to mess things up.
So yeah, first issue was a dud due to a largely boring execution and the second one is a great and fun ride thanks to all the new ideas presented in it. I'm certainly going to stick around with this series and not just because it's kinda vital to the continuation of the Marvel universe.
#1: Meh - 2
#2: Great - 4