As if I don’t have enough to do with reading all of DC’s Convergence and Tom Kelly making me watch every DC animated series known to man, I’m also going to attempt to read all of Marvel’s Secret Wars. While I’ll likely end up as a quivering blob like Weird Science’s brother by the time fall rolls around, let’s see how this goes.
I got lucky this week as there is really only one Secret Wars book, plus the Free Comic Book Day Secret Wars #0 prelude. (I’ve heard rumors of the existence of an Armor Wars #1/2 that is exclusive to Toys R’ Us, but I have yet to lay my eyes on it.) We’ll look at those two books after the break. Be prepared for spoilers.
Also, if you are like me and haven’t read all of Johnathon Hickman’s Avengers run leading up to Secret Wars, be sure to take Tom’s Road To Secret Wars course at gabbinggeekuniversity.com. The reading materials are online here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six and Part Seven.
Here’s the short version of this column:
Secret Wars #0
Just before everything dies.
Secret Wars #1
If you need more than that, read on…
Secret Wars #0
This issue starts with the kids of the Future Foundation. It is four days before the final incursion that will end the universe. Valeria Richards, genius daughter of Reed Richards, rally’s the troops to finish work on their “life raft” of a space ship. The greatest minds in the world may not be able to stop the incursion from happening, but they don’t have to stick around and be on Earth when it does.
The majority of the rest of the issue is spent recapping Hickman’s run on Avengers.
Jump ahead to four days later and the ship is finished and the incursion commences. Cue two page splash page of the 616 heroes heading to intercept the heroes from the 1610. The end.
Secret Wars #1
Secret Wars begins with a revisiting of Doctor Doom, Dr. Strange and Dr. Molecule Man confronting the Beyonders, as originally presented in New Avengers #33.
To be honest, the rest of the issue, not much “happens”. I’m sure Tom Kelly could pick it apart and have a field day knowing the intricacies of Hickman’s run, but for the most part we have three converging story lines.
One, Nick Fury and the heroes of the 1610 are bringing the fight to the 616 to try to save their own world. Meanwhile, rat-fink Ultimate Universe version of Reed Richards is buying time as he is obviously up to no good. You know you’re one of the premier bad guys when even Thanos thinks you’re an evil bastard.
Two, the 616 FF and the Black Panther are boarding their life raft and preparing to make a run for it with a few dozen hand picked individuals to restart the human race elsewhere. Black Widow and Spider-Woman are on an away mission picking up the selected individuals including Beast.
Three, since we can’t all just get along, the heroes of the 616 are bringing the fight to the invading heroes from the 1610. Much super hero battling ensues.
As the end draws near a temporal bubble that has bent time and space on the 616 begins to open. Evil Reed says, “Now it’s time to reveal what secrets we hide in the dome.” I knew it! I bet Telos and pre-Crisis Metroplis are in there!
Meanwhile, elsewhere during the end of the world, there is one scene that is completely ridiculous but completely awesome at the same time. Since there will be no tomorrow, Wilson Fisk sends out an email to all his buddies to get together and hoist a beer as they watch all their enemies greatest failure. One problem, what do you get when you gather a large collection of A-List super villains in a confined space? An opportunity the Punisher just can’t resist.
There is the requisite drama as the life raft tries to keep itself intact and escape, but in the end, as Marvel has been saying all along, the incursion occurs and everything dies. Sorry, everything “dies”. Cue tombstone of the Marvel Universe (1961-2015) and the Ultimate Universe (2000-2015). Immediately followed by a page with just the text, “Next…” and an image of the life raft, crashed somewhere, with people heading out onto the surface. “Dies”.
(Yes I know I said “not much happens” and then I spent six paragraphs summarizing what did happen…including the end of two universes…)
As an aside, Marvel’s other Free Comic Book Day offering this year was Avengers #0. While technically not a tie-in to Secret Wars, it does give us some clues as to what we can expect. You see, the two stories in the issue (one Avengers and one Inhumans) both take place AFTER Secret Wars, in the NEW Marvel Universe. However, outside of Miles Morales now being integrated into the heroes from the (former?) 616, you would never know that anything was any different than any Marvel book you’ve picked up the last 54 years. Thor is still a woman, Captain America is still a Falcon and New York City seems right as rain. Now maybe this is a new amalgamated Earth, or it is the 616 zone on Battleworld (though I doubt Battworld exists when Secret Wars is over). In either case, much like it’s twin event over at DC it gives the impression that at the end of all this the new boss will be the same as the old boss.