• WHEN THE MARVEL UNIVERSE IS GONE, ALL THAT REMAINS IS BATTLEWORLD!
• LEARN THE SECRETS OF THIS BRAVE NEW REALM IN THIS SPECIAL OVERSIZED ISSUE!
Well folks…that’s how to write an event comic.
Secret Wars #1 had so many plot threads to tie-up that it didn’t really have a chance of being a good story in it’s own right. After all, the series opened with the direct continuation of the really interesting plot thread from New Avengers #33 — a story that a lot of Secret Wars readers probably never looked into. The issue even bookended with that same plot point, but in a manner that is likely set to alienate new readers. Even those that are familiar with the first series (from the 80’s) or have read previous Secret Wars comics may not have recognized the new forms that the Beyonders took in the story. With that, comes Secret Wars #2, a story that shifts the Marvel Universe into a brand new place. Without giving away too much, I would like to say that this installment is about Battleworld. Somehow the Marvel press train actually managed to skirt more than a couple surprises about this story that are hidden from even the most astute readers.
The Marvel Universe is gone and Battleworld is now here, but everything else about what is inside the new Secret Wars issue #2 remains a shroud of wonderful mystery. Author Jonathan Hickman bends the mythology of the Avengers franchise, and once again mixes and matches everything he has created into a beautiful mess here. All the pieces already established in Avengers and New Avengers are rearranged in this issue, which is full of characters forming new relationships with each other that feel ancient. When Jim Shooter first ushered in the original Secret Wars series, he did so with pride, promising some lofty goals. Where that series eventually devolved into mindless fighting — this Secret Wars saga promises something else via this issue.
Sure new status quotas, characters, and relationships, are something frequently seen in the Marvel Universe — but this exact world has new things to say about characters.
LIGHT SPOILERS: One such example of these new things are the way that the Thor characters all have different relationships amongst themselves and with others. Yes, there are a ton of people with hammers arranged in this issue — but that doesn’t mean everything about surprise of the heroes’ own mythology is known to the reader.
Thankfully, this inversion of the original premise makes the actual saga of Avengers (the 2012 volume) less relevant. For some fans, that might be a let down, but this new Secret Wars needs to last and be burned into the mythology of the Marvel Universe. If everything about this comic sounds incredibly complicated — that’s because it is — however, this issue did the right thing by averting expectations and shifting pieces off of the board. The main criticism of the tale is that it just should have been the first issue. Confusing readers with context about a threat that they are unfamiliar with is not the good for the average fan. If any new reader is interested in this saga, hand them this second issue first. It will avoid some questions that will lead to trouble further down the round.
This tale is also much more suited to the art of Esad Ribic now. His depiction of Doctor Doom is nothing less than terrifying. The opening scene calls for a certain type of emotion that proves why Ribic can be counted among the best in the industry. Ive Scorcina’s color palette is also a haunting and beautiful. Secret Wars has an expansive scope that is perfectly explored within this tale. Key moments of action retain the fluidity necessary of great comics while still evoking the cerebral line work and sheer beauty of what Ribic is depicting in this comic.
Never before have I seen an event series so confident in it’s own ideas — as Hickman packs the story with loads of Marvel mythology in a king-sized ration. There are but a few plot threads tethering this story to our version of Marvel reality, but this story is meant to be witnessed through the eyes of the outsider, purposefully alienating the reader. For a Marvel comic filled with explosive wonder look no further than this week’s Secret Wars #2. Hickman and Ribic create mythology of lasting impact in Secret Wars #2.