Secret Wars continues to build momentum and the tie-ins that I’ve read have mostly been interesting so far. Most of them feature titles you will likely be familiar with from Marvel crossover events of the past. It’s interesting to see how Marvel is handling these tie-ins as some seem to be direct sequels (eg. X-Tinction Agenda, Civil War (I’m assuming)) while others just seem to build off the name and aspects of those original events but are really not related (eg. Planet Hulk, Armor Wars).
After the break we’ll look at the latest and best issue of the main mini-series so far, issue three. Two tie-in series that seem to be in the “related in name only” department in Armor Wars #1 and Infinity Gauntlet #1. And then take a trip to a slightly skewed version of the future than we’ve seen previously in Secret Wars 2099 #1. As usual, spoilers will be prevalent.
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.
Secret Wars #3
If you told me that a month into Secret Wars the best issue would feature zero action I would have been very skeptical. But that is exactly what we have here. Not one punch is thrown, or claw unsheathed or web thwipped. Instead we get pages of exposition, lengthy conversastions between: Doom and Dr. Strange, Doom and Sue Storm, Dr. Strange and Miles Morales, Dr. Strange and the 616 liferaft survivors. And though the action is non-existent, we get so much information and backstory that it remains a page turner.
We learn that:
- Doom is omnipotent but not omniscient.
- Strange and Doom remember the incursions and what came before. They also, together “made” Battleworld, “saving what we could, creating what we could not”.
- Strange reveals he could have been the God that Doom is today, but he didn’t want it. And still doesn’t.
- There is a statue of Molecule Man in Doom’s garden.
- Miles Morales survived the incursion by hiding out in the liferaft from the 1610 universe. He has full memory of the incursions and events before which shocks Strange.
- At some point in the past Johnny Storm was a rebel and defied Doom and was punished. Because of Doom’s love for Sue Storm he allowed her to chose his punishment. She chose to make him the sun and placed him into the sky of Battleworld since it was too dark and had no sun at the time. The sun also orbits Battleworld, not vice versa.
- There are people now that worship Johnny instead of Doom and sing songs about “the man in the sun”.
- Sue does not remember before the incursions, but Doom has told her some version of the “truth” before he was God.
- Doom feels the world he has created is perfect but that he is a poor God that fails to inspire his people. He thinks now that once he created the world he should have removed himself from it like the Gods of old.
- With all the power of a God, Doom cannot heal his own scarred face. Which is odd, since when he had the power of just one (apparently baby) Beyonder in the original Secret Wars, he was able to do this:
- For the first time ever (?) Doom shows readers his real face.
- It’s been eight years since the incursion…but it feels like an hour has passed to those on the 616 liferaft.
- Strange discovered the 616 liferaft three years ago and has kept it hidden away unopened in his Sanctum Sanctorum ever since.
The issue ends, not with more revelations, but with the Thors finally tracking down the Cabal.
Ryan dropped by my
converted broom closet office to have a chat about this issue:
ryan: Just finished Secret Wars 3. That was really good. Shit finally starting to make sense.
jimmy: True. Excellent issue. Zero action, lots of explanation but keeps it very interesting.
ryan: Huh. Good point. Johnny as the sun is pretty epic.
jimmy: Very true. You have to wonder how/why/what he did to be such a rebel to be punished/honored that way by Doom. Keep in mind he doesn’t remember the incursion.
Also the fact that there was no sun prior to that.
ryan: So we’re setting up for the two ships duking it out for control because Doom wants out.
jimmy: I don’t know so much Doom wants out as Thanos and Richards are gonna stir up shit.
ryan: Doom said he wants out. That speech about old gods getting it right. Set it up and disappear.
jimmy: I’ll have to reread that part. I do remember him saying that he should have disappeared.
Just reread those couple of pages. Doom is disheartened that he is a poor God that doesn’t inspire his people. He wonders if the old Gods had it right by removing themselves after creation. I never read it as “I’m thinking about removing myself now.” Though Susan does say something to that effect, “Don’t remove yourself.” So it is open to interpretation. I still doubt Doom walks away and that he will be challenged by Reed and Thanos.
ryan: Sure, he gets to be the god pitting the forces against each other, giving the realms something to do and an excuse for him to be replaced.
ryan: Last issue–someone else is in charge and Doom walks among the people without his mask.
jimmy: It was interesting that Strange could have had the power of the Beyonders but said he didn’t want it. Not surprising that Doom would say to bring it on.
ryan: Who was the third guy with Doom and Strange back in the incursion space?
jimmy: Molecule Man. They visit a statue of him in this issue. But I haven’t seen him on Battleworld otherwise yet. (Lots of tie-ins I haven’t read though.)
ryan: Ah. Gotcha.
WHO THE &$%* IS MOLECULE MAN???
jimmy: You don’t know Owen Reese?
ryan: Comixology has all the secret wars books on one page. It includes the recent Star Wars issues. Star Wars is on the other side of the Shield. I’m calling it!
No clue about Owen Reese.
jimmy: Other side of the Shield is the Marvel Zombies I think.
ryan: Yeah but keep going–Star Wars.
jimmy: Molecule man has lots of ties to the Beyonder and was in Secret Wars 1 & 2.
He had a big role in setting up the current Secret Wars as well.
ryan: Don’t remember him at all. Sheesh.
jimmy: There are several zones over the Shield. Marvel Zombies, Age of Ultron, and Infinity Gauntlet.
Secret Wars 2099 #1
While this is a version of the 2099 universe we are mostly familiar with, it does not appear to be the 616 2099 universe. Which makes sense since, if the MCU was destroyed in 2015…how could the 2099 timeline even exist? But I digress.
The more telling aspects of why this is not the standard 616 2099 are these new Avengers and the role of one Miguel O’Hara, aka Spider-Man 2099.
We are introduced to a new team of Avengers: a female Captain America, Hercules, a winged Hawkeye, Black Widow and Iron Man. The new Captain America is the most interesting. She’s somehow been “programmed” to have two distinct personalities: stars and stripes wearing heroine and claims adjuster, family woman, loving mom. Not uncommon for superheroes to have a secret civilian identity, almost a prerequisite. But in Caps case, neither personality remembers the other. So, Roberta has no idea she is Captain America and vice versa.
The Avengers also work for Alchemax, which has generally been the big bad in the 2099 universe. And who runs Alchemax these days? None other than Miguel O’Hara. Actually, Miguel Stone as he is known here. It’s never said if he is actually Spider-Man. This all leaves a very strange taste in your mouth as Spider-Man has been fighting against Alchemax since the 2099 universe launched back in 1992.
The other member of the team that is not shown on the cover is Vision. But this isn’t any Vision you are used to. This Vision is essentially a pre-cog lifted straight out of Minority Report (which is becoming a TV show I hear), complete with wading pool. He warns the new Iron Man, Sonny Frisco to beware of new enemies that will present themselves as friends by the name of The Defenders.
Infinity Gauntlet #1
So I’m Doom. I have the ability to create a world that contains basically whatever I see fit. Whatever time periods, alternate universes, people, places and things I want to put on my world. Do I create the infinity gems and put them on my world? Six immensely power gems that when combined give the wielder the power of a God. That’s probably something I want to avoid. But maybe some things are out of Doom’s control and he has no choice but for them to exist. And if that is the case, so be it.
But would you populate your world with the tyrant most associated with collecting those gems together and using them to at one time wipe out half the population of the universe? We’ve already seen that Doom went out of his way to create a world with no Reed Richards on it from any time or universe…he couldn’t do the same for Thanos? And with the 616 Thanos surviving the incursion, we have at least two of those guys hanging around Battleworld. One alone is almost unstoppable, now there’s two? This is gonna get messy.
As I alluded to in the intro, this does not appear to be a direct continuation of the original series. Nor would I even say it draws inspiration for there. It seems to be a very different story on a very differnt world that just happens to involve Thanos and Infinity Gems. Maybe subsequent issues will tie more into the past, but I have my doubts.
This book centers around a family that believes they have lost their mother/wife/daughter, one of the Nova Corps. It’s a world left ravaged by an alien “bug” invasion that feels more like Starship Troopers or Ender’s Game than Infinity Gauntlet. As the family fights to survive, eating “mystery” can goods that end up being dog food, a mysterious cloaked figure lurks nearby, keeping watch.
While escaping a bug attack, the youngest of the family stumbles upon a bug nest, but also what appears to be the Mind Gem. (Though it looks more like a shard, than the well rounded, perfectly shaped gems of the past.) Immediately after her discovery, her mother returns to save her killing bugs with “lightening” that seems to be colored an awful lot like the Mind Gem itself. Makes one wonder if the Gem has had some role in bringing her back.
Meanwhile the mysterious figures continues to lurk and we discover that it is Thanos who is in posesstion of the Space Gem (maybe Time Gem, it’s hard to tell based on just the comics coloring). And while the Nova family believes, “Everything’s going to be fine now…” Thanos has different ideas:
“That is decidedly untrue.”
Armor Wars #1
Like Infinity Gauntlet, Marvel has used the familiar Armor Wars name to grab your attention and then bring you a completely different type of story. This is not the Layton/Michelinie/Bright/Windsor-Smith tale of Tony Stark hunting down and taking out anyone inappropriately using his designs. There is armor, everyone in the zone wears it. And there is a “war” going on between Tony, his brother Arno and Wilson Fisk.
In actually, the biggest “star” of issue one is not Tony, but Peter Urich, an armored version of Spider-Man known as Spyder-Man. (Don’t forget the “y”. And the hyphen. Suck it Watson.) He is on the run from Wilson Fisk’s men after discovering some vital information about…something. It is all kept a mystery to the reader. Unfortunately for Peter, another mystery is about to unfold: “Who killed Spyder-Man?” The issue ends with poor Mr. Urich with a giant hole through his chest where his heart used to be.
The rest of the issue is interesting but is mostly background on this zone of Battleworld. The politics between the rival armor companies led by Tony and Arno Stark and the illegal activities of the Kingpin. We are also introduced to an armored James Rhodes Thor, left in charge of guarding Technopolis, though he would rather be back Doomgard with the other Thors.
It will be interesting to see where this goes from here. In any regard, it was nice to see Tony acting like a hero again. I know I only read Iron Man during these type of events, but lately he’s just always seemed to be a pompous jerk. Especially after his inversion in Avengers vs X-Men: Axis and the subsequent Superior Iron Man series.
Our friend Ryan had a few thoughts on Armor Wars as well:
ryan: Armor Wars 1 was interesting. Sets up enough mystery elements that I’d read the next one.
jimmy: Armor Wars was good. I was thinking for a bit that Peter Urich might be the new Spider-Man coming to the MCU after Secret Wars…but I guess not.
ryan: He’s a guy living in an armored zone of a cobbled together world in a space between universes where a man is the sun. I think him being dead isn’t an obstacle.
jimmy: Lol, good point.
Do you think the virus that requires them all to wear armor to stay alive is real? Or perhaps it was real but Spyder-Man discovered that it was cured, but that information has been kept secret? Keep in mind, it seems that people have to buy their armor, it is not just given to them.
ryan: Was it a virus? I missed that. I thought they left it more open on why they needed armor.
jimmy: Let me double check…
The comic isn’t clear. Spyder-Man mentions that everyone has to wear armor all the time. An interview with writer James Robinson mentions “an unnamed disease” as the cause.
Either way, seems like there might be more going on here than meets the eye given that no one can remember a time when they didn’t have to wear armor.
ryan: Yeah that conversation was weird given how Strange explained how they are able to keep everyone’s memories intact.
jimmy: Conversely, maybe Spyder-Man’s secret was Doom/Battleworld related. But I think the other theory that keeps the story “in house” within Technopolis is more likely.
ryan: Good thought but can’t be. Spidey tells us everyone has to wear armor to live while he’s fighting Fisk’s men over the secret info.
jimmy: Likely some info to be used against Arno/Fisk.