Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Secret Wars #6 Review (Jonathan Hickman, Esad Ribic)

3 weeks after the events of the last issue… 

Valeria’s search for the killer of THAT character has been unsurprisingly unsuccessful as it were Doom what dunit – except nobody else knows that. Doom has bigger problems anyway as Battleworld’s existence is beginning to fracture. (Deep breath) A mysterious leader calling himself The Prophet has sparked rebellions in several kingdoms, the two Reed Richards are working together to bring down Doom (called it!), Baron Sinister and Captain Marvel team up to do something, the two Spider-Men discover Doom’s secret source of power, and on the hidden Isle of Agamotto Black Panther and Namor discover an artefact that could be Doom’s undoing. 

Phewf - no complaints on a lack of content for this issue except it’s still all table-setting. The rebellion storyline comes out of nowhere (maybe it’s covered in one of the dozens of tie-ins?) while the Reeds are just building robot drones. The Spider-Men discover what we all found out in the last issue about The Molecule Man, which is relevant I assume? 

It’s hinted that Valeria and the FF have somehow been brainwashed by Doom which is why they think of him as father/God and diligently work for him, which is a little convenient and very poorly set-up. 

Expecting to see Thanos fighting some weird zombie-ish versions of Marvel characters because of the cover? It doesn’t happen in this issue. Looks right purty though, eh? Alex Ross’ covers for this series have been really something. 

Besides hinting that Sinister and Captain Marvel are gonna do something crazy, as well as revealing a weapon that could potentially destroy Battleworld completely (and Black Panther has it – yeah, do it, T’Challa!), the issue is focused on the Fantastic Four. 

Sigh… I don’t know how you feel about the FF but I am not a fan. Never have been, probably never will be. Still, Jonathan Hickman hits the brainwashing button again to explain why Sue is Doom’s consort and why no-one remembers Reed. He also hints at how Johnny met his fate and shows us what happened to Ben Grimm (which is hilariously stupid!). Not being a fan, I haven’t been reading the FF comics so I’m not sure if this has been covered elsewhere but – when did The Thing become 80 feet tall?! 

I’m still not sure what the story of Secret Wars is supposed to be and, at this late point, that’s very shoddy storytelling. Is it just about Battleworld’s creation and how the 616 and 1610 universes were blowed up? Is it about bringing Doom down as supreme ruler of Battleworld? Is it about destroying Battleworld and somehow restoring the status quo? And who is the main character – Doom? The answer to all, I think, is “sort of”. So far it’s been real heavy on the exposition with a non-existent plot and comes off as a very turgid read. 

I guess Doom is the main character but he doesn’t really have a story. He tells us what he did years ago with the creation of Battleworld but for most of this series he’s just reacting to stuff. Not that every character needs a story per se - it’s just more interesting if they do. And I guess the overarching story of Secret Wars is the fall of Doom? I suppose it makes sense as he’s a megalomaniacal tyrant except Doom’s more nuanced – without him, everyone would be dead, so he’s a hero in a way which makes his impending (unintended pun) doom less triumphant. Or will he fall? Surprise me, Jonathan Hickman! 

But there’s enough happening in this issue to make it seem like things are progressing even if what follows could see an already shaky setup become a sprawling mess. I didn’t dislike Secret Wars #6 but it doesn’t change the fact that, 2/3rds of the way through, the series has been underwhelming and overly complicated with this issue doing little to change that.

Secret Wars #6

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