May 23, 2024

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The Secret Wars Power Rankings – Final Standings


Well, it is finally over!  Ok, it was finally over back in the beginning of January, but I’ve finally finished my write ups.  With that done, after the break check out our (well, mostly my) final rankings for all the Secret Wars series.

It was a huge event and most will not be insane enough to read it all.  If you are interested in the main story, you can mostly get by with just reading the main series.  Very few of the other series tie into the main event, and those that do are recapped as needed in the lead book.

Outside of that, I’d recommend giving any of the top 15 a shot.  As for the rest, you can likely just pick and choose the series that interest you.  As said, most have no ties to the core book outside of Doom being God and the story taking place in a domain of Battleworld.  And some barely bother with that.

Let us know what’s ranked too high or too low.

secret_wars_9_cover1. Secret Wars (main series)

Summary: If you can only read one Secret Wars series, this is the one you want.  While other tie-ins have unique takes and have the freedom to do almost any twist they want, in a change from the norm, so does this book.  Pretty much anything can happen and usually does, including many surprise deaths.  You can probably predict where it is heading from issue one and you know nothing good can come out of Doom playing God.  With great writing from Jonathan Hickman and fantastic art from Esad Ribic, this series is the complete package.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

thors_42. Thors

Final Thoughts: This book grabs from the first few pages and doesn’t let go. It’s a police procedural in one way and an intriguing look at Doom’s biggest flaw in the entire event in another way. Either way, it’s a great read and a great adventure. And anytime you have a giant collection of Thors including Groot Thor, I’m in. –Ryan

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

squadron_sinister_43. Squadron Sinister

Final Thoughts: Great story, great characters, great ending, great book. While the connections to Battleworld ultimately start and stop the series, it still feels like one of the most independent series of the event. I wish they’d had the time to extend this for more issues because I wanted to see how far the creative team could have gone with these warring anti-heroes. –Ryan

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

planet_hulk_54. Planet Hulk

Final Thoughts: Another excellent series with a bit of a let down with regards to the ending.  Starring a Steve Rogers who is more Gladiator than Super Soldier, Cap makes his way across the Hulk filled domain of Greenland to rescue his BFF Bucky Barnes.  Joined by his trusty Devil Dinosaur and Doom appointed companion Doc Green, nothing and no one, including the Red King, will stand in his way of getting Bucky back. —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

5. Armor Warsarmor_wars_5

Final Thoughts: Fantastic series whose only flaw is the last few pages when it goes past the natural ending point. Those are easy enough to ignore, leaving you with a fun adventure in one of the most unique zones of Battleworld. Connections to the original Armor Wars (one of my favorite comic book storylines) were mostly in spirit but there are a few incorporations for the die hard fans. –Ryan

Jimmy’s Read Through: ½, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

siege_46. Siege

Final Thoughts: Just as Jimmy unfairly downgrades Battleworld and Journal because of their lack of connection to the main event, I think Siege suffers the reverse effect. It’s highly connected to the main event and integral in explaining some of the events leading to the final confrontation. But I didn’t find the overall story that interesting or even good. The developments (especially with The Thing) are great, but the connective tissue is boring. I felt like anyone could have been given the major plot points (dictated by the main event) and created something better. –Ryan

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

marvel_zombies_47. Marvel Zombies

Final Thoughts: The second best (edged out (IMO) only by Siege) of several books that heavily feature The Shield and the Marvel Zombies that it protects the rest of Battleworld from.  It doesn’t tie into the main series, but is a good stand alone monster/zombie tale that introduces some nice twists to a concept that has been around awhile.  You’re likely not familiar with Elsa Bloodstone or her monster hunter heritage, but you will learn all about it as Elsa tries to make her way back to The Shield after being teleported deep into zombie territory. —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

8. Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos


Final Thoughts: Spoiler alert…Deadpool dies on the first page.  But no worries, his ghost is along for the ride as the series narrator, comic relief and continued troublemaker.  Deadpool’s widow Shiklah is out for revenge against Dracula for her husbands death.  Many of Marvel’s monster characters get involved, but where do their allgiences lie?  If you like your horror mixed with a hearty helping of humor, this book is for you!  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

infinity_gauntlet_59. Infinity Gauntlet

Final Thoughts: With Thanos and the Infinity Stones taking center stage I really wished this series tied into the main event.  But, it is still a tremendous stand alone little mini-series as our old pal Thanos once against does everything in his power to aquire all the Infinity Stones and assemble them into the Infinity Gauntlet to obtain ultimate power.  Also starring alternate versions of the Nova Corps and Guardians of the Galaxy as only Battleworld could give you.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

civil_war_510. Civil War

Final Thoughts: This series was the hands-down most brilliant story of the entire event. Starting from the premise–how do you take the Civil War event and spin it into an entire world–the book succeeds at making a fantastic world and a great story that suddenly gets WAY BETTER near the end. I won’t reveal the twist here, just in case you haven’t heard, but this is a must-read for people familiar with major Marvel events of the past decade. –Ryan

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

future_imperfect_511. Future Imperfect

Final Thoughts: The older, ruthless, alternate version of the Hulk known as The Maestro is not content with simply being the Baron of Dystopia.  He wants to unsurp Doom and become ruler of Battleworld.  A band of rebels led by The Thing are his biggest opposition, but they actually join forces with Maestro with his promise of letting them rule Dystopia in his stead.  Will the Maestro succeed in overthrowing God Doom?  I’m not saying, but be forewarned that the ending does not play nice with the continuity of the main series.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

inhumans_attilan_rising_512. Inhumans: Attilan Rising

Final Thoughts: A band of rebels lead by Blackagar called The Voice Unheard (get it?) must fight for survival when God Doom sends Baron Medusa and her Inhuman forces against them for defying his “holy word”. Can the rebel leader persuade Medusa to join his cause against Doom? In the end, will it even matter when facing a God?  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

howard_the_human_113. Howard The Human

Final Thoughts: Skottie Young is best known for his cute little covers and stories in the vein of that other Secret Wars book Giant Size Little Marvel: AvX.  But here he writes a more adult spin on the tale of Howard, a private investigator and the lone human in the animal domain of New Quack City.  Jim Mahfood provides the slighty askew art to perfectly compliment this wacky story.  An excellent laugh out loud aside from your regularly scheduled Secret Wars programming.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1

weirworld_514. Weirdworld

Final Thoughts: Where’s Tom when you need him to nail the blurb about this excellent tale of swords, sandals and…weirdness.  Arkon has traveled the ever-changing landscape of the floating island of Weirdworld in search of his home of Polemachus for years.  Will he ever find his way back before he is killed by the likes of the creatures from Apelantis, the Lava Men and the army of sorceress Morgan le Fay?  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

modok_assassin_515. M.O.D.O.K. Assassin

Final Thoughts: Raise your hand if you thought that a series featuring M.O.D.O.K. would be one of the break out hits of the Secret Wars event?  There’s likely not many hands raised.  Mine surely wasn’t.  In fact, M.O.D.O.K. Assassian sunk to the bottom of my read pile as I had no interest in it.  But like Mrs. Deadpool which did the same, it really surprised, and once I started I couldn’t get enough.  Some great humor, but just an overall solid, fun story that also manages to avoid the “Secret Wars weak final issue” disease.  Definitely worth your time.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

captain_marvel_and_the_carol_corps_416. Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps

Final Thoughts: A common theme that emerged in many of the Secret Wars books was the ever growing doubt that Doom was the true God and that he was lying to everyone about their current existence and what came before.  On a world where no stars can be seen from the sky, Captain Marvel and the group of fighter pilots under her command have grown especially curious about what is beyond the great void that fills the sky.  And if there are no stars, what exactly did Doom forge the hammers of the Thors from?  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

old_man_logan_517. Old Man Logan

Final Thoughts: It starts as a fascinating story, morphed into a tour of Battleworld, then abruptly ends without explanation–but keeps going even after it ends. When read in context with the main event the ending/not-ending makes a bit more sense, but because of the schedule delays reading the final Old Man Logan months before Secret Wars ended left me with a bit of a sour aftertaste. Still, Old Man Logan is a fantastic character and I look forward to seeing his further adventures. –Ryan

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

a-force_518. A-Force

Final Thoughts:The island of Arcadia is populated mostly by women, most of whom are Avengers, one of whom is a traitor.  Can She-Hulk and her team find the traitor before Doom sends his Thors and the wraith of God to smite them for their perceived disobedience?  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Secret_Wars_Agents_Of_Atlas_119. Secret Wars Agents Of Atlas

Final Thoughts: This one-shot is a massive deep cut featuring characters mostly originating from the days before Fantastic Four #1, in Marvel’s predecessor Atlas Comics.  There’s not much of a Secret Wars tie here besides the concept of the domain Barons, but it is a worthwhile self-contained read if you are a fan of books/shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D..  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1

where_monsters_dwell_520. Where Monsters Dwell

Final Thoughts: If you are a fan of a neutered Garth Ennis, then this funny, wacky tale of Karl Kaufman, the Phantom Eagle, may be for you.  If you like your Ennis to be totally uncensored, you might find this a bit restrained.  It does get a bit risqué near the end, but nothing that a Marvel book with a Parental Advisory warning wouldn’t allow.  Also has zero ties to Secret Wars, so barely qualifies as required reading for completists.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

guardians_of_knowhere_421. Guardians of Knowhere

Final Thoughts: Sometimes you get the feeling that someone fell asleep during an editorial meeting.  Such is the case with Guardians of Knowhere that features aliens and the head of Celestial that had to come from “somewhere” even though there is supposedly nowhere else besides Battleworld.  The head is spotted in other titles as Battleworld’s “moon”, but the whole concept seems in opposition to the core of the event.  As for the series itself, think of it as the natural extension of Guardians of the Galaxy that Brian Michael Bendis needed to just fill up Marvel’s shipping schedule.  That’s harsh, it’s not a bad book, but nothing special.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

star-lord_and_kitty_pryde_322. Star-Lord & Kitty Pryde

Final Thoughts: Riding high I’m sure on the big screen success of Guardians of the Galaxy, the 616 Star-Lord seems to pop up in more places than other 616 stalwarts Doom and Strange.  I’m not sure that any of these appearances make sense, but at least this series spins out of Secret Wars #4 and seems to tie into the overall scheme of things. It doesn’t really, but at least they tried.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3

deadpools_secret_secret_wars_423. Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars

Final Thoughts:  Deadpool is all the rage, especially with his film destroying the box office and capturing any records that Star Wars left untouched (especially since it wasn’t R rated).  I was a little turned off by this series initally as I feared that it was retroactively changing the original Secret Wars, but when I let that go and read it as a pure What If? style story, it was quite enjoyable, especially the shout outs to the red lenticular shields made famous by the corresponding toy line.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

ghost_racers_424. Ghost Racers

Final Thoughts: For the entertainment of the citizens of Doomstadt, Spirits of Ignitition (aka Ghost Riders) have been rounded up and forced to race in Arcade’s Killiseum.  Behind the scenes the losers of each race are mercilessly tortured and brainwashed.  But most recent Ghost Rider Robbie Reyes has had enough.  Can he lead a rebellion, or will the other Ghost Riders remain against him?  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

spider-island_525. Spider-Island

Final Thoughts: A continuation from the events of Spider-Island with the twist that Spider-Man failed at the end of that arc and the Spider-Queen has taken over Manhattan.  All that remains is a small resistance lead by Agent Venom Flash Thompson.  He may have discovered a way to break the Spider-Queen’s control over everyone, but is it too little too late?  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

spider-verse_526. Spider-Verse

Final Thoughts: A follow-up to the conclusion of the Spider-Verse event and a prequel to the current Web Warriors series. In spirit anyway. The Web Warriors have been transported to Battleworld with their memories erased, but they still feel a connection to each other and all have a bad feeling about apparent do-gooder Norman Osborn. Featuring Spider-folks from across the multiverse including Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Man India, Spider-UK, Spider-Girl, and Spider-Ham.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

amazing_spider-man_renew_your_vows_527. Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows

Final Thoughts: If you skipped Secret Wars and are wondering who this Regent character is that is currently popping up in Amazing Spider-Man, then look no further than this series.  Regent does the unthinkable and kills the majority of the heroes including the Avengers and X-Men and steals their powers.  Meanwhile, Peter Parker has gone into hiding to keep his family safe, as in this domain he is still married to Mary Jane and their long lost daughter is growing up.  I found Peter acting much too out of character in this series took away the enjoyment for me, but to each their own.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

runaways_428. Runaways

Final Thoughts: Runaways was another gem in the Secret Wars event. Not only was the story fun and consistent–with an ending that made sense!–but it also stayed true to the spirit of the original title. While Secret Wars Runaway only used one of the original characters, the overall themes of youth rebelling against evil authority but frustrated in their attempts to do so remained throughout. This is the punk rock opener for the more serious Secret Wars and you should crank up the volume for a quick read. –Ryan

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

hank_johnson_agent_of_hydra_129. Hank Johnson, Agent of Hydra

Final Thoughts: This isn’t just one of the best Secret Wars books, this is one of the best single-issue comic books ever written. That’s not a joke. I think most of the jokes will hit home with middle aged parents (of which I’m one) but the world created here and the hilarious tension between SHIELD and HYDRA employees is fantastic. Read this book and then tell Jimmy why he should rank it higher. –Ryan

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1

secret_wars_2099_530. Secret Wars 2099

Final Thoughts: For the most part, to borrow a phrase, what happens on Battleworld stays on Battleworld.  But some things have leaked through to the new Marvel Universe.  Rolling out of this series and making an impact in the current Spider-Man 2099 is a new female Captain America.  There’s some other shout outs to previous incarnations of 2099 characters, but you’ll want to get the low down here on Roberta Mendez so that you have some idea what is going on over in the Spider books.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

hail_hydra_431. Hail Hydra

Final Thoughts: One of those interesting concepts that will likely amount to nothing in the new Marvel Universe.  Ian “Nomad” Rogers is not some Battleworld dup, but the genuine 616 version, making him one of the few survivors of that universe that wasn’t aboard a life raft.  Ian teams up with versions of his adopted father (Captain America), mother (Sharon Carter) and a “step-sister” to fight the evils of his “real” father Arnim Zola and Leopold Zola, the man Ian could have turned out to be.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

ultimate_end_532. Ultimate End

Final Thoughts: This is the last time I mention this, I promise, but Marvel should have let Galactus eat the 1610 universe during Cataclysm.  That would have been so awesome and a much more fitting end then this confusing series that does little to send off the Ultimate Universe into the sunset.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

captain_britain_and_the_mighty_defenders_233. Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders

Final Thoughts: You won’t find two more polarizing issues than this short Judge Dredd tribute series.  The first issue was fantastic with it’s alternate spin on Iron Man and his origins, followed up by an absolutely dreadful (pun intended) second issue.  Probably best to avoid this altogether, but damn that first issue was good.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2

house_of_m_434. House Of M

Final Thoughts: Remember the end of House of M?  Well forget it!  In this domain it never happened and Magneto continues his rule.  But not everyone is happy about it.  Not human rebel leader Hawkeye.  Not Mageneto’s son Quicksilver.  Not nemesis Prince Namor.  No one.  And when Magneto gets depowered, who can he turn to?  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

x-men_92_835. X-Men ’92

Final Thoughts: Everything from the 90’s is new again, including this throwback to the old X-Men cartoon/the Jim Lee years.  At least it masquerades itself that way.  While the characters have the look down, the story is unlike anything you’d probably see on the show, and that’s before the likes of a 90’s animated style X-Force shows up.  It’s a blast of nostalgia, but don’t expect it to recapture that magic.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

red_skull_336. Red Skull

Final Thoughts: Another story featuring The Shield and the Marvel Zombies.  This go round, Crossbones sends a Suicide Squad (I know, wrong company) over The Sheild to confirm for Doom that The Red Skull is dead.  When the team is wiped out in seconds, only Magneto is left standing.  Will he bring Doom the head of the very much alive Red Skull, or join forces with him against God Doom himself.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3

1872_437. 1872

Final Thoughts:  Ala the popular 1602 series by Neil Gaiman, 1872 transports the heroes and villians of the Marvel Universe to the American wild west.  A better idea in concept than execution, it has some interesting twists on familiar characters, but for the most part you’d be better off reading 1602.  The original.  Not the Secret Wars version.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

age_of_ultron_vs_marvel_zombies_438. Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies

Final Thoughts: Starts off with an interesting story and twist on two major Marvel events but rapidly fizzles out to a meaningless and non-sensical ending. If you’re actually curious, read the first three issues, then stop and fanfic your own ending. –Ryan

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

master_of_kung_fu_439. Master of Kung Fu

Final Thoughts: It’s hard for me to say if this is a good or bad Kung-Fu story as I’ve never really read any Shang-Chi or Iron Fist, the two featured characters.  It is an averge story and like Where Monsters Dwell, almost seems like it was just something that was floating around the Marvel offices that they just stuck a Secret Wars logo on.  That’s too harsh, and it does have some credibility, but likely skippable outside of completists and fans of the genre/these characters.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

inferno_540. Inferno

Final Thoughts: Another in a long list of series that do away with the “happy” ending of their namesakes for the purpose of continued conflict.  In this case, the Inferno storyline has never ended and Illyana Rasputin is still the Darkchild.  Every year Colossus makes a pilgrimage to save her, but she’s not interested in being saved.  And having captured Colossus’ teammate Nightcrawler on his last rescue attempt, she now has the means to escape the force field that keeps Limbo at bay and take over the rest of Manhatten.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

age_of_apocalypse_541. Age of Apocalypse

Final Thoughts: Having never read the original Age Of Apocalypse, I’m probably not the best to comment on this one.  Like X-Men ’92, they nail the look of the characters and the whole thing screams ninties, too bad the story screams convoluted mess.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

secret_wars_journal_542. Secret Wars Journal

Final Thoughts: Similar to Battleworld, this book told small stories about random characters and zones across the Secret Wars event. Unlike Battleworld, some of these stories were connected to other Secret Wars books, which is probably why Jimmy ranks this slightly higher than Battleworld. Some hits, some misses. –Ryan

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

korvac_saga_443. Korvac Saga

Final Thoughts: Another series that I have not read the story from which it is based, so I can’t make any comments from that angle.  From the angle of it being any good, it’s “ok”.  It does a good job of playing with the whole Secret Wars concept as a virus has been sweeping over the domains protected by the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy which first makes people remember their pre-Battleworld existence, but then turns them into monsters.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

x-tinction_agenda_444. X-Tinction Agenda

Final Thoughts: I find it a bit ironic that the X-Men used to be the kings of the inter-title crossovers back in the day, yet the revisiting of most of them in Secret Wars has yielded some of the worst titles.  Perhaps we’ve all moved on.  Regardless, this series picks up the events of X-Tinction Agenda from the 1990 crossover as a new virus is killing the mutants of Genosha.  With Doom wiping his hands of them and the neighboring X-Men domain of X-topia refusing to help in fear of becoming infected themselves, where will Havok turn for help?  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

e_is_for_extinction_445. E is for Extinction

Final Thoughts: I think to get the most out of this series you need to be familiar with Grant Morrison’s X-Men run.  I was not and found this series very lacking.  The efforts to mimic Frank Quietly’s art also fall well short.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

giant_size_little_marvel_avx_446. Giant-Size Little Marvel: AvX

Final Thoughts: While it makes some references to God Doom and Battleworld to give the impression it is tied into Secret Wars, it is really just a sandbox for Skottie Young to cute the hell out of the Marvel Universe.  Didn’t overlly appeal to me, but if you like Young’s work, you should like this.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

years_of_future_past_547. Years of Future Past

Final Thoughts: Ryan hated it so much he stopped reading.  Tom hated it so much he ranks it last out of all the Secret Wars series.  Is there anything good to say about this sorta sequel to Days of Future Past?  Well, I didn’t rank it last, so I guess that is a positive.  The first issue was “ok”, so that’s positive.  The rest of it I’m pretty positive that it sucked.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

 secret_wars_battleworld_448. Secret Wars: Battleworld

Final Thoughts: The Battleworld series told a number of short tales that took place in scattered zones. Jimmy downgraded the series because it’s less serious and connected than the others, but that’s what made me like it so much. Yes, some stories were bad, but they were at least short–better than 5 issues of crap. But some stories were a lot of fun. –Ryan

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4

secret_wars_secret_love_149. Secret Wars Secret Love

Final Thoughts: If you’ve read the blurbs for the other anthology entries on this list, you know that Ryan has a much greater love for them than I do.  There were some hits, but a lot of misses.  And some of those missed really, really bad.  For a collection of misses centered around “love”, feel free to read Secret Wars Secret Love.  This book actually got a fair amount of positive press when released but it turned me off.  I guess my soul is loveless and full of bile.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1

1602_witch_hunter_angela50. 1602: Witch Hunter Angela

Final Thoughts: Don’t bother reading this series with it’s endless Shakespearean allusions.  Even Tom, who’s a Shakespeare fanboy doesn’t appreciate whatever it was they were trying to do.  Do yourself a favor and go read the original 1602 and call it a night.  —Jimmy

Jimmy’s Read Through: 1, 2, 3, 4