Anghus Houvouras reviews Secret Wars #3…
Secret Wars is fast becoming the best event comic in the last 20 years.
This is coming from someone who loathes the event comic. Who sees them for so often what they are: annual cash grabs that barely forward the plot of whatever multi-year arc the editorial team is stretching out like paper thin taffy.
But not Secret Wars. I was ambivalent on the first issue which felt like a tepid prologue. We watched as the Ultimate Universe and the 616 Universe battled to save their dying worlds and both failing miserably. It was such a typical event comic opening that I had already begun to resign myself to the fact that Secret Wars was going to be a rudderless, pointless mess like DC’s Covergence.
Then the second issue came out.
Writer Jonathan Hickman has taken the remnants of the shattered Marvel Universe and created a new Battleworld which transformed the Marvel Universe into Westeros. The Game of Thrones comparison is painfully obvious to anyone with their thumb within orbit of the pop culture conscioussness. It may not have been the most original direction, but damn if it didn’t work.
The second issue introduced us to a world where Victor Von Doom was God, the heroes and villains of the world exist in lands ruled by various ‘Barons’ like Captain Britian and Mister Sinister. This was a brutal, terrible place where Zombies, Ultrons, Annihilus Waves, and Venom Symbiotes wander in the wastelands and where order is held together by the God Doom and Sheriff Stephen Strange.
The third issue takes us deeper into the architecture behind Battleworld and how Doom ascended to Godhood. It’s a brilliant little bit of storytelling. When tasked with creating the world anew, the only one righteous enough to play God is Victor Von Doom. Brilliant.
Esad Ribic’s artwork is gorgeous, perfectly suited to this epic world unfolding around us. While the third issue is more exposition than action, Hickman is moving our combatant’s into place and arranging the chess pieces on the board. Ultimate Universe Reed Richards and a slew of villains including Thanos are about to engage an army of Thors who serve as protectors of the realm.
This is the kind of batshit crazy I beg for in mainstream comics. Where the status quo is abandoned and characters are allowed to go buck wild. This is the most interesting Doom and Doctor Strange have been in ages. Battleworld is a place where it feels like anything can happen. Like any good comic story, it leaves the reader wanting more.
This is the goods, party people. I can’t wait to see where they take this next.
Anghus Houvouras is a North Carolina based writer and filmmaker and the co-host of Across the Pondcast. Follow him on Twitter.