Se­cret Wars

When Worlds Col­lide

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Rated / Comics -

Re­lease Date: OUT NOW!

Pub­lisher: Marvel Writer: Jonathan Hick­man Artist: Esad Ribic

Jonathan

Hick­man doesn’t do sim­ple. A writer who’s been grab­bing at­ten­tion since his de­but The Nightly News in 2007, his comic sto­ries are in­tri­cate, amaz­ingly de­signed tales that re­quire se­ri­ous at­ten­tion to keep up with, and he’s gained ma­jor suc­cess at Marvel with his epic run on the Fan­tas­tic Four and his sprawl­ing Avengers/ New Avengers saga.

How­ever, even by Hick­man’s stan­dards, the setup for his latest Marvel event comic is in­cred­i­bly com­plex. The se­ries is ac­tu­ally a semi- re­make/ remix of the 1984 Marvel event comic Se­cret Wars, and this 2015 in­car­na­tion is so com­plex and con­ti­nu­ity- heavy that even the most ded­i­cated comics fan may some­times strug­gle to keep up.

The build- up to Se­cret Wars has been hap­pen­ing across Hick­man’s Avengers- re­lated comics since 2012. Uni­verses have been col­lid­ing with dev­as­tat­ing con­se­quences, and is­sue one is a mas­sive epi­logue to his Avengers run, at the end of which the last two re­main­ing uni­verses – the main­stream Marvel uni­verse and the “Ul­ti­mate” Marvel uni­verse – were ap­par­ently de­stroyed.

How­ever, thanks to Doc­tor Doom and Stephen Strange, the frac­tured re­mains of the two uni­verses are melded to­gether into a strange realm named Bat­tle­world. Here, history is mixed up as realms fea­tur­ing dif­fer­ent eras of Marvel con­ti­nu­ity ( from the “1602” uni­verse cre­ated by Neil Gaiman, to the dark fu­ture of X- Men clas­sic “Days Of Fu­ture Past”) all co­ex­ist, po­liced by mul­ti­ple Thors and ruled over by Doc­tor Doom, who’s now as­cended to god­hood.

Boiled down to a syn­op­sis, Se­cret Wars sounds like all the worst ex­cesses of su­per­hero comics, but the first three is­sues are ac­tu­ally more en­ter­tain­ing and ac­ces­si­ble than you’d ex­pect. Told in broad strokes and ki­netic set­pieces, the story prop­erly starts in is­sue two, where Bat­tle­world turns out to be or­gan­ised as a semi- me­dieval se­ries of fief­doms – think Game Of Thrones.

The odd­ball mix of epic fan­tasy and Marvel con­ti­nu­ity is weird, lurid and a sur­pris­ing amount of fun, as Hick­man plays against ex­pec­ta­tions with well- ex­e­cuted twists ( in­clud­ing a num­ber of un­changed sur­vivors from the pre- Bat­tle­world history) and a hefty sense of mythic drama. It’s also a vis­ual feast, with Esad Ribic and colourist Ive Svorcina pulling off tremen­dous lev­els of cin­e­matic scale, mak­ing this one of the best- look­ing main­stream su­per­hero comics in a long time.

The var­i­ous realms of Bat­tle­world are ex­plored else­where in a mul­ti­tude of cross­over minis­eries, but un­like DC’s sim­i­larly con­ti­nu­ity-themed event Con­ver­gence, this core se­ries is hold­ing up as an en­ter­tain­ing read in its own right. Se­cret Wars is too com­pli­cated to win over many new con­verts to Marvel, but it’s shap­ing up as an en­ter­tain­ing and ac­tion- packed burst of over- the- top su­per­hero fun. Saxon Bul­lock

One of the best­look­ing su­per­hero comics in a while

The orig­i­nal 1984 Se­cret Wars minis­eries was writ­ten so that Mat­tel could cre­ate a new range of Marvel ac­tion fig­ures.

“Round up the usual sus­pects!”

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