Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Every week he reviews of one of them, with potential minor spoilers.
This week saw the start of Marvel’s new Secret Wars event, an 8 issue mini series in which the regular Marvel Universe (Earth-616) and the Ultimate Universe (Earth-1610) collide, heralding the end of both worlds and the multiverse itself. Amongst the new tie in series that will be coming up, several comics will revisit old defunct or What if? stories too. Secret Wars is written by Jonathan Hickman, with art from Esad Ribic, colours by Ive Svorcina and letters from Chris Eliopoulos.
“The multiverse is dying. Only two universes remain. Today, Earths collide”
Secret Wars opens in Manhattan on Earth-1610 in the Ultimate Universe, and with the universal incursion imminent Nick Fury and Reed Richards plan to strike first – to save themselves by eliminating the other Earth. Little does Fury know, Richards is working with The Cabal, a group of villains from Earth-616 including Thanos, Namor, Black Swan and Terrax, for some alternate goal. Tony Stark leads the charge, with huge ships appearing above Manhattan in Earth-616. But despite the surprise attack and the firepower, the metahumans of the Marvel Universe start to fight back and win. The X-Men, the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Fantastic Four and an array of other characters slowly destroy the ships. But they also fear the incursion too, and Earth-616 Reed Richards (keep up) and the Fantastic Four have been arranging a ‘Resurrection Ship’ full of scientists to escape the collision of the two worlds, and to rebuild the human race elsewhere. This obviously goes wrong, and plan B seems to be to teleport certain choice heroes into the ship and escape in it. As the worlds collide, the universes glow white-hot and then die, with the final page simply:
The Marvel Universe
The Ultimate Universe
The story continues next week, but it’s a pretty explosive ending. Those who escaped on the ark/resurrection ship will presumably form the main cast of Secret Wars, including Thor, Reed Richards, Captain Marvel, Black Panther and Star Lord, but where it will go from here and how it will end up is anyone’s guess. Somehow the universes will be smushed together and we’ll have a new Marvel Universe.
As a first issue this was pretty impressive. What I have read of Hickman’s work on Avengers or Fantastic Four is very much in line with this, if a little more high-concept, but I think that will be played up in the coming issues. This is an action packed introduction to the story (and the FCBD Secret Wars #0 isn’t totally necessary, though it was pretty good). To totally unfairly compare it to the start of DC’s ‘worlds colliding’ story in Convergence a few weeks ago this was a lot more fun and cohesive, but also much harder to follow if you are even a casual reader, let alone using this as a jumping on point. I dabble in Marvel, and currently only follow 3 books regularly, but consider myself to have a basic working knowledge of the universe. This was dense. Though the only thing that didn’t make a huge amount of sense to me is why Fury and Stark from the Ultimate Universe seem to be so easily and totally bent on taking out Earth-616 rather than working together to find a solution like superheroes would.
Ribic’s art was largely very strong, with the actual action and the scale of the attack looking stunning. The only shaky moments in the art were with a few of the faces of various characters, where they didn’t quite look like a face anyone would actually pull, the most obvious of which was She-Hulk about halfway through. But the bulk of the issue looks great, and Svorcina’s colours make the action and all of the many explosions look intense and vibrant.
If you’re a Marvel fan, you’re probably going to check out Secret Wars. This first issue was a lot of fun, the stakes felt high and I’m genuinely interested in where it goes next. If you don’t really follow Marvel at all… this might not make a lot of sense to you, but you may enjoy it anyway! I really did, so I’m going to see what happens to the survivors of the incursion and what sort of universe we’ll end up with at the end. Pick this up at your LCS or digitally!
Score: 8 Incursions out of 10