Ladies and gents, this book was so massive that, instead of asking one person to review it, we brought the entire Review Brew in. Each of them had something different to say, so read on and see if they liked it.
by Oz Longworth
It’s easy to see where a lot of fans might be suffering from a degree of event fatigue. It seems like, nowadays, it’s gotten to the point where events run back to back, showing our wallets no quarter whatsoever. So, it’s almost understandable that readers new and old would be apprehensive going into Marvel’s apocalyptic saga, Secret Wars. They shouldn’t be. As far as events go, Jonathan Hickman is one of the most ambitious writers you could ask for in recent memory. The better part of his tenure on Avengers and New Avengers has been building and also undoing Earth’s Mightiest Heroes for what is essentially the end of the universe as we know it. The culmination of his efforts is definitely NOT your daddy’s crossover. This is not the typical old school, earnest adventure where a bunch of smiley superheroes are magically thrown together to beat up a bad guy, take a selfie, and go home.
From the very beginning, Hickman wants there to be no mistake that this is the end of existence (in a way…I mean, come on…it’s still comic books). Right off the muscle, we’re given the Ultimate Marvel universe and the 616 Marvel-verse beating the living shit out of each other and fighting for the right to survive, something that would normally be the climax of any other book on the market. This is a bleak yet action-packed ride that satisfies with its well-placed action beats and jam-packed cast of characters. I kid you not….just about every character advertised on the first page has something to say along the way. Meanwhile, there is simply nobody else better suited to the task of visually delivering the end of all things than Esad Ribic. There are a couple of stiff moments with the facial expressions, but mainly, the destruction and action (which takes up a substantial amount of the issue) is gorgeously rendered. Every other panel looks like it should be the cover of a new science fiction novella. It’s not the most accessible for newer readers but it’s not the hardest to immerse yourself in, either. Ultimately, if you’re a superhero fan, Secret Wars is definitely worth your consideration.
I can only speak for myself but the book gets a solid 4 out of 5 Sliders reruns from me.
I’ll say this for Secret Wars: It starts and ends with a bang. What’s here is the culmination of 3 years of meticulous setup on the part of Jonathan Hickman’s twin Avengers runs and it shows. As anyone who has read their run on the Ultimates, Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic mesh perfectly. Esad channels the hopelessness and chaos that’s been building up to the Final Incursion and lets it all loose. Plenty of people have drawn worlds living and worlds dying, but you haven’t really seen it ’til Secret Wars. THIS is most definitely an event.
While “everything will change” is something that’s a dime a dozen in superhero comic books, particularly with every major event, Secret Wars takes itself seriously. The characters, the plot, everything is given the respect it deserves which helps make what happens at the very end far more hopeless than it would under lesser hands. Definitely worth your time and money.
4 out of 5 Wars
by Ray Willis
The end of the last two universes has come with the incursion of the forces from the Ultimate and 616 universes. I haven’t read the original Secret Wars, so this is new for me, but I did watch the episodes of the 90s animated Spider-Man series that skimmed over this event. I know, I should read the original. This was a very good issue with a lot going on. Jonathan Hickman has been building up to this story since the beginning of the Avengers and New Avengers. It’s a massive undertaking that, as a first issue, has paid off. I like how the 616 is evacuating as many people as possible and then combating the colossal war machines of the Ultimate universe. There is a lot of chatter in this issue as commands go back and forth between characters which may get confusing but doesn’t detract from the story.
Characters get their moments to shine and fall as ulterior motives are laid in place while the fighting commences. Jonathan Hickman’s storytelling can be a turn off for some but it usually results in something good. You do have to be in it for the long haul to see what happens. This issue sets up so much and if the ending of Secret Wars isn’t as good, it will fall apart. Also, if someone were start reading Secret Wars from this issue, there would be a lot of ground to cover to get the full impact of the story.
The artwork from Esad Ribic is amazing and really makes the story. I haven’t seen much of his work since Thor but the use of lines and watercolors here is magnificent. There are some small details in the characters that I didn’t care for but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this issue. Overall, this is a great start to a massive story and I cannot wait to see the end result.
5 out of 5 Ultimate Reed Richards
By Brett Israel
After years of building, Jonathan Hickman’s Marvel Masterpiece is coming to a head this week with the start of Secret Wars. We finally get to see the prophecy that was started waaaay back in New Avengers 1, and, damn, was it satisfying. Hickman steps his game up in this issue, which I didn’t even think was possible, allowing us to get rightfully crushed by the end. Any fan of Cyclops or of the Fantastic Four will find this issue especially rewarding, and while it wasn’t totally open if you haven’t been reading Hickman’s run, there’s something here for everyone.
Esad Ribic has become a monster on art. The style we see in this issue is different from his Thor work, but remains a natural evolution of that. Everything he draws feels incredibly grand in scale, but he also nails the character expressions. I’m not 100% sure if it’s Ive Svorcina on the colors or Ribic, but the shading technique used here, which almost looks like pencil lines, is beautiful. If the story is a little too heady for you, this is at least worth a look for this artwork.
5 Ends out of 5
By Paul DiNello
The long awaited Secret Wars #1 is on the shelves and it doesn’t disappoint. The multiverse is collapsing and the world’s greatest heroes have come together to try to prevent the collision of the last remaining Earths. Nick Fury leads a team to save the planet one more time, but are they too late? The battle has begun.
Jonathan Hickman has created an impressive beginning to one of Marvel’s most highly anticipated books. Artists Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina make every panel pop while bringing to life their rendition of the characters that we’ve grown up with and love. I can’t wait to see what awaits us in issue #2.
5 of 5 Star-Lords
By John Amenta
Secret Wars is two things. It is the ending of the Marvel Universe as we know it, and it is also the final act of Jonathan Hickman’s run on the Avengers titles. Issue 1 is a gorgeous affair, painted by the talented Esad Ribic. The story continues with the theme that universes have been colliding, leaving one alive after each incursion. At this point only two are left, Earth 616, the traditional Marvel U, and Earth 1610, the Ultimate version. As these two realities collide, we follow characters from both sides as they attempt to fight and survive.
That being said, I am woefully behind on my reading, so I had to jump ahead to read this issue. This is a problem. For a big event signifying the end of Marvel as we know it, there is little to no tolerance for new readers, or someone to easily jump on. I appreciate this because it rewards long term readership, but there should be a sense of a beginning point to an event story such as this, and I felt there was not here. I am rarely excited for or pleased by Marvel’s event series, and after the first issue, there is nothing that Secret Wars has won me over with. Good news is there are 7 issues left. Sadly that can be bad news too.
2 Phoenix Eggs of 5
By Aitch Cee
So time has finally run out and things happen. For the most part to reflect on John’s review, this is one event that you can’t come into without following Hickman’s run for the past 3 years. This isn’t a new reader friendly book but, on the flipside, if you have been following, this isn’t the mess that Convergence is. Loyal Avengers and New Avengers will be treated to a spectacle as soon as the story opens as worlds collide (literally) and universes as we know them ends.
Like my other colleagues, I was really impressed with the artwork. I was impressed with how it conveyed a sense of urgency and despair as we watch the end of what we’ve known for so long.
In a sense, longtime fans are being treated to the start of an event being done right. One can only hope that this continues. Stand out scenes includes Reed Richards in his effort to save Susan, Ultimate Iron Man fighting Captain Marvel, and…the scene with the Punisher.
If this book was new reader friendly I would give it a higher score but for now it gets 3 out of 5 World Collisions from me.
Total score – 4 World Ending Comics out of 5