Mike Del Mundo
Mike Del Mundo
VC’s Cory Petit
Welcome to the wildest, most dangerous new corner of the Marvel Universe. Welcome to Weirdworld. A world of swords and sorcery and strange, perverted science. A world where one barbarian walks alone, on a dark and savage quest though all things weird and fantastic from throughout Marvel history. His name is Arkon. A lost man in a lost world. Follow him if you dare.
“Each region is a domain unto itself!“
So says the keepers of Marvel Comics that write the credits page of each title crossing into Secret Wars. When encountering these so called ‘domains,’ the unexpected may happen. Old Marvel events and concepts are resurrected in new formats and concepts that allow for dragons, monkeys, and lava monsters to exist within the span of just one mere installment. When we first heard about Marvel’s plan to return to Weirdworld, we jumped for joy! Aaron and artist Mike Del Mundo have a lot to live up to — even in seeking the original tone of the source material.
This comic doesn’t open with Arkon, the Conan the Barbarian analogue, and King of Polemachus accidentally falling into Weirdworld, instead Arkon has already been living within the dangerous domain, attempting to piece together what or who is behind the danger. What is known about Weirdworld is sparse, yet a sprawling map hand drawn by Arkon himself starts to paint in the connections to the Marvel Universe weaved in the story. While this region is in fact a domain unto itself, it is also home to more than one familiar character from the Marvel Comics stable of heroes and villains.
Aaron has shown a certain mastery of language from his various Marvel projects, and with speech patterns and dialogue broken up into Arkon’s scatterbrained internal narration, most writers would pen something akin to a modern day cliche. Thankfully, Aaron isn’t most writers and instead takes the time to flesh out the mind and thought pattern of Arkon in a way that loops readers deeper into the narrative itself — as we enter this location through his mind.
The visuals of Mike Del Mundo are a great showcase for what the veteran Marvel artist can do. Given the free reign to dive into an abstract Marvel concept such as this really allows the artist to dig deep into his own visual language and develop a brand new way for readers to interpret the different pieces of scenery lying within. Mundo’s penchant for the weird is really allowed to flourish under these circumstances. The artist delivers beautiful painted splash pages while showing off several incredibly complex character designs. The dazzling reds, greens, and yellows depicted by Mundo and Marco D’Alfonso will burn bright in the imaginations of readers long after they close the last cover of the issue. VC’s Cory Petit delivers interesting lettering techniques that make action sequences seem even more hectic than they would have been just depicted in the stories themselves.
As for the larger aspects of Secret Wars, the narrative doesn’t intrude on anything already established in other titles. Characters used here are not present in other series, and the Weirldworld domain was always set to be a part of Battleworld long before the event began. This basically gives the creative team the license to utilize those Moench concepts to their fullest within the narrative. The few principles concepts of the Domain including things like Barons add to some of the intrigue of the issue.
This debut issue from the red hot creative team perfectly encapsulates an odd 70’s landscape reinterpreted for the modern day through Secret Wars. More importantly, if this brand new event allows Marvel old-fashioned weirdness, I say bring on the Marvel events. If it weren’t for the impeccably delightful oddities of Mundo’s art this comic would have been mere fun, but stacked next to the devilish delight of Aaron’s prose, Weirdworld #1 is a domain worth venturing into.