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After reading most of the current Secret Wars titles, I would say — so far — it has been middle of the road as far as events go. There have been some pretty good issues and some… not so good ones, as is par for the course. And that’s kind of the problem.
See, for an event that felt the need to kill a universe that I have so loved, I guess I was expecting something bigger. Something huge, an event to end all events. I mean, worlds ripped apart big. Instead it seems like we’re getting “Marvel’s Greatest Hits”.
So while I don’t completely hate this event, there are some things I found pretty disappointing. Here’s four of ’em! (It’s a regular Spoilerworld below, so WATCH OUT!)
As you may already know, Doctor Doom is my favorite comic book villain. He is the kind of villain we don’t see a lot of anymore. He’s grandiose, theatrical, he’s dynamic! An evil sorcerer, mad scientist, and iron-fisted ruler all in one. So a world ruled by him, a world where everyone considers him a kind of god-king? Man, sign me up.
However in Battleworld, at least from what we’ve seen so far, he seems kind of… boring. He just sits at the foot of the World Tree, has his Thors uphold the law, and presides over court. That’s really it.
I understand this is kind of an extension of The Avengers‘ plot thread wherein he started a new religion to help him destroy Molecule Men (it’s a whole thing), but it doesn’t seem very “Doom”. It doesn’t really feel like Doom to have Thors enforce his will. Doom is incredibly vain, he’d never stand for a Thor stealing his… thunder. An army of Doombots or… or, like, alternate Dooms… or something, sure, yeah. That’s my Doom, bwah gawd!
Also, though he’s a ruler he’s traditionally been pretty hands on in his endeavors. He has schemed and manipulated, he has sent Doombots to do petty actions Doom finds beneath him, but when it came to do the actual work, the nitty gritty, he was never afraid to get into the thick of it. He feels too “in the background” in Secret Wars.
The conceit of the first Secret Wars was to that Marvel put all these heroes together and had them fight all these villains. It was simple. It was effectively. The dream of schoolyard arguments finally realized. Plus, you got to see all the most popular characters beat the daylights out of each other.
This modern Battleworld is a patchwork of entire alternate Marvel universes, meaning you could bring together some of the greatest heroes of all time and have them fight the best villains of all time. What a cool idea!
Instead, we have a weird feudal set up with all the worlds agreeing to keep out of each other’s hair. I’m not sure if you got that, but that’s the opposite of what you need for to “battle”! Now, I’m sure this will eventually fall apart one way or another, but right now? It’s kinda… meh.
Each tie-in book seems concerned with more-or-less its own little issue. Perhaps they’ll overlap eventually, but right now they amount to little more than Marvel’s version of Elseworlds. It’s fun to see, but this is Secret Wars. I came here for the fights! Let me see X-Men ’92 Wolverine fight Old Man Logan‘s Old Man Logan. COMIC BLOOD FOR THE COMIC BLOOD GOD!
Speaking of the plot to Secret Wars, the plot to Secret Wars seems to be (from the two main story comics that’ve come out) a rebellion — aided by the survivors of the previous universes — fighting to overthrow Doom and his dogmatic regime. Which is, I suppose, a serviceable plot for a comic, but I can’t find it anything but a little disappointing.
Again, this is supposed to be, like, the biggest event in Marvel history. A defining moment! Yet, we’re stuck with this generic plot. A scrappy rebellion trying to overthrow a powerful ruler! Why that’s practically unheard of, except for, you know, most stories!
Maybe it gets bigger as it goes on, maybe it incorporates the Beyonders, who knows. I expected to come into this world seeing chaos, not a defined kingdom with an ruthless King and a growing rebellion, but I guess that’s the secret of Secret Wars.
To jump off the last point, what about the end of The Avengers when Doom shot a timeline into the Beyonder’s faces (this is an approximation of what actually happened)? What was the Beyonders’ experiment all about? How did Doom’s failure lead to Battleworld?
I (mostly) think these will be answered in the main-story comic, but I’ve seen no seeds of it thus far. Maybe the Cabal gets captured and Doom explains it to them? I don’t know. I’m being optimistic. It just feels weird to not give us a even little taste at the beginning.
My fear is that, like Hickman’s Avengers and New Avengers, the answers to everything are going to be stuffed into the last couple issues of the series. Then we get only half-answers implied by a page and a half of dialog. I know Hickman can do better, but the lack of set up right now has my worried!
But what do you guys think? Any disappoints so far with Secret Wars or am I completely off the mark?