Story: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Esad Ribic
What They Say:
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The penultimate installment of Secret Wars covers a lot of ground in bringing things together from the various actions that have been taken by the survivors from all sides of what came before. The lead-up to this has been touched upon in the main series to be sure and I expect that it was part of other event miniseries that are out there, but having not read them it just keeps me at a distance. But what sells things here is the execution of it all with Hickman’s pacing and scripting combined with Ribic’s haunting visual design. It’s a series that has all the right scale and importance to it, but it’s also one that feels like it plays at the emotions, pulling the expected levers – which do work – but without the stronger connect to really make it hit hard.
With the attacks on Doom and his castle, there’s several areas at play. The Richards’ pairing continues to be amusing to watch in general and having Quill as the ace pilot is spot on in the additional interaction. I loved the flow of the approach and having to deal with a Hulk on the wing since it’s a kind of surreal moment. While Quill’s role gets shortened here seemingly at first, it’s one that has a key moment later on as Black Swan comes calling to deal with him. It’s a pretty good moment for Quill and his gallows humor and it gives this series a much needed Groot infusion as well. Considering the nature of the number of big players in this issue, it’s definitely a good addition with an oversized Groot striding the Battleworld and causing a ruckus.
The sprawling chaos of this book is hugely appealing as we get so many fronts coming into play. I really enjoyed seeing the massive Ben Grimm going up against Doom’s forces with the Galactus that he has, controlled by Franklin, but I hated the way it got worked through so quickly even if it is true to Ben’s character. Adding Groot to this even briefly later was welcome. The best part of this book, however, is the confrontation between Doom and Thanos as Doom gets more personally involved in things. The dialogue between the two is certainly dead on with how they view things, and with Doom’s current perspective, giving it the right sense of power and confidence while also feeling all too natural in how it unfolds. Doom’s sense of control isn’t shaken through all of this, believing he can set it all where it needs to be based on what’s unfolding, but it’s also good to see that sliver of fear enter the picture when he realizes what’s to come in the finale thanks to what T’Challa has put into motion.
Secret Wars continues to be engaging in its own way, even if it feels like we’re getting a Cliff’s Notes version of what’s going on in this main series. As we hit the penultimate installment, the overwhelming array of forces at work here brings a lot of things together that we’ve seen pieces of before. Having not read most of the side series I find myself looking at it from a distance, not connecting with it on a bigger level. I love the way it’s unfolding and the scale of it all, but there’s something that continues to feel like it’s a big opportunity that was just missed. I’m thoroughly enjoying it for what it is, and it’s beautifully put together, but as an event it feels so unlike others that I can’t quite figure it out. It doesn’t help that it’s all been delayed as well and that the relaunch has already happened, making this all feel even more awkward in a way.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: December 9th, 2015