Time Runs Out: Secret Wars #1 ReviewMay 7, 2015
Back in 1984, Marvel teamed up with Mattel to create a comic series that would also be directly tied into a toy series. Through focus groups it was determined that ‘secret’ and ‘wars’ were very popular with children and so Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars was born and written by Jim Shooter. It brought about a lot of changes but not so much on a wide scale. Major changes included Spider-man coming back with the symbiote suit, and the introduction of a new Spider Woman.
Flash forward 30 years and Marvel announces that it would be revisiting the Secret Wars, this time written by the always excellent Jonathan Hickman. At the time of the announcement, I was very skeptical at the prospect of a reboot of already tread ground so I approached this series with a lot of hesitation. The one major thing I can say before I get into talking about the first issue is that it is very clear for an event style series such as this there is no better writer than Jonathan Hickman to call the shots. When you absolutely need to tear everything down, blow up everything up while having your heroes put in a position of moral dilemma, Hickman is the best at what he does.
It also helps that the lead up scenario to Secret Wars was a central theme to his New Avengers run. With Incursion events continually forcing Earth’s mightiest to do the unthinkable to protect the planet, it all comes down to two Earth’s left in the multiverse. One is the mainstream Marvel universe and the other is the Ultimate Universe. The end result is a new start for the Marvel universe as the ultimate universe and regular 616 universe come to an end, resulting in Battle World.
While the name of the series is the same, the context is completely different. Where the original involved some heroes and some villains, this series affects all corners of the universe similar to what DC achieved following Crisis on Infinite Earth’s.
I was leery before diving in with the first issue, concerned about where Marvel was headed with another Secret Wars and to my surprise, the first issue is absolutely dynamite. It has a little bit of everything from big time action (which Esad Ribic makes excellent work of the panels and incorporating an insane amount of heroes and detail) to a storyline that does a great job of piquing interest and drawing you further into the tale.
Hickman leaps off fantastically from his work on New Avengers, but includes as much of the Marvel universe as possible. There was even a hilarious aside involving one of my favourite Marvel heroes, the Punisher. I won’t spoil what happens but needless to say, I got a good laugh out of it. There are also moments where you can’t believe what just happened and leave you wondering who is actually going to make it to the next issue. You really feel like absolutely everyone on the pages are in grave danger.
In quite a few series the first issue is usually more a feeling out process, where seeds are planted and you really need to play the waiting game to get some of the promised payoff. Secret Wars on the other hand hits the ground running and beckons you to be back for more with the next issue. This is a huge credit to the writing of Hickman creating just a natural extension of his previous books, but even if you haven’t read them, you won’t feel lost or out of place.
The artwork by Esad Ribic is excellent due to how many characters are thrown into the first issue. You don’t feel like you can’t determine who is who on the battlefield and the action is incredibly well done. In the latter moments of the book, character facial expressions don’t look out of place and fit the tone of the scene. On top of Ribic’s work inside the book, the cover is done beautifully by the legendary Alex Ross.
If you are looking for a big event series, look no further than Marvels Secret Wars. It looks like it has the potential to be a smash hit and if you intend to continue to follow Marvel comics, this is a definite must read.
Let us know in the comments what you thought of Marve’ls first issue of this big event, and stick with us over the next few months as we keep a close eye on the events that Battleworld unfolds.