It’s taken awhile to get there but Secret Wars is finally finished. While certain plot points were inevitably spoiled due to the delay the reality is that the journey can be more interesting than the outcome. Without spoiling the comic it’s an exciting end to a story that has stretched back to the beginning of Hickman’s tenure at Marvel. Some loops are closed, some new doors are opened and there’s some things that are simply inevitable. The gravity of Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four, New Avengers, and now Secret Wars came down to the relationship between Reed Richards and Victor Von Doom, and it’s no different here. But for fans of those two, Secret Wars puts that history on full display, especially as a counter for the people who thought this series was a reboot of the Marvel Universe.
Timeliness is something comic fans value and this series was absolutely worth the wait. As we’ve seen in the past the willingness to bring in fill-in artists can hobble a comic’s ability to stand as its own story and in the long-term as something worth remembering. The decision to let Esad Ribic finish the entire comic from start to finish was a sound one. In the first place, the vision that Ribic brings to the table with Battleworld is very uniquely his own from the broken patchwork architecture, to the cosmic melodrama that has defined the series since the beginning. Anyone else would have been noticeably different and it would have hurt the continuity of the series as a whole. The larger moments big and small benefit from that unique pen.
What sets apart Secret Wars from previous Marvel events, even Hickman’s prior event Infinity, is that it’s a character study under the guise of all the cosmic punching that we’ve come to expect from these things. A character study about Doom of course, but also about Reed and the Fantastic Four as a whole. Though plenty of writers have made their mark on Doom, Hickman has done very nuanced shadings of him, even at his peak as a god, that shows what kind of flawed machinations run underneath him, and just what a contrast he is to someone essentially good like Reed. It’s extremely easy to look at the landscape of the current Marvel Universe and lament that there is no Fantastic Four book, Secret Wars is very much a celebration of Marvel’s first family and of Doom even. Without them, there would be no Marvel Universe. And for what may well be their final story, it’s one hell of a capstone, and one worth keeping in mind as what’s basically the new creation myth for the Marvel Universe.
5 out of 5 Molecule Men