Marvel is changing everything, and while some might call it a reboot, this might just be a foray into something completely different. Last issue ended much of what we know, leaving issue #2 to show us what has changed. Is it good?
Secret Wars #2 (Marvel Comics)
If you’re just joining us you’re probably coming in at a good place, because we are first introduced to Battleworld in this issue. Last issue was all about the end of the world, or worlds as the Ultimate universe and the 616 universe seemingly came to an end. I say seemingly because you never know with events in comics. Things and people die and always come back. That said, it was a task to read that issue, partly because I had not read a lot of writer Jonathan Hickman’s run, but also because it felt so convoluted. This issue opens in an entirely different place, not giving the reader any clues up front but forcing us to learn along the way what this new world is…and it’s pretty fantastic.
Why does this feel like Judge Dredd?
This issue opens on a place called Doomgard where what appears to be many Mjolnir-wielding characters are crowded. There’s a rite of passage for a boy named Thor and he joins their fold. We quickly learn they are the justice bringers for Doom and they’re basically his police force. Very cool. We’re quickly given a quick summary of what these Thor types consider their creation story and it’s a bit frightening. It involves Doom and, based on what he was up to last issue, we can safely start to make assumptions as to what he’s been up to.
And that is what makes this issue so much fun. We the audience are in the dark trying to piece together what we’re witnessing. Similar to say, Neil Gaiman’s 1602 or Brian Michael Bendis’ House of M, the Marvel universe has been completely changed and part of the fun is figuring out who is good and bad and how this new world works. It’s made relatively clear this new world is a bit like a medieval society, at least as far as the law and rules are concerned. Take for instance a moment where Mr. Sinister is accused of a crime. He asks to meet his accuser in the arena similar to Game of Thrones when justice is served via a champion. This of course has underpinnings of the Battleworld makeup, but it’s interesting to see how this world functions.
Poor Galactus! Wait, did I just say that?
It’s also fun to see who works for Doom and who his new lover is. I won’t ruin it here, but it’s becoming clear Battleworld is basically House of M, only it’s Doom’s version of the Marvel universe. Of course there’s no going back, which increases the stakes, because it was made clear universes we knew are now gone forever.
The script here is quite wordy with a lot of dialogue, but I was never bored reading it. Instead I was always trying to figure out who and what was going on and Hickman certainly has many surprises for you to chew on. When you eventually reach the reveal of the Deadlands you’ll at once gasp and shout in excitement. It’s basically the embodiment of all the horrific things of the Marvel Universe smashed together in a dark and evil soup.
Interesting setup. But does she really need an underboob top?
The art by Esad Ribic is far better this issue as well. Last issue there wasn’t a single splash page to get the audience excited (this is a summer event after all!), but here there are quite a few moments of awe. The man knows how to capture your imagination and he gets plenty of moments to do so here. He’s also a wizard when it comes to facial expressions with plenty to work with here, as Thor is wide-eyed and learning and characters meet their ends in death snarls.
What is this, Game of Thrones?!
Is It Good?
If you’re a lover of world building and great mystery, don’t miss this issue. There’s plenty to uncover here as we enter a brand new world and it’s fascinating to peel back the many layers of this onion.