Secret Wars #1 (Marvel)


CREDIT: Marvel Comics

Rating: 3.5/5 – The End of the Marvel Universe?
by ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

So this is it. The end of the Marvel Universe, and the end of the Ultimate Universe. Marvel has been teasing this for months now and if this does change everything in at least one way or another, then this event could be Marvel’s biggest event in years. The story is truly epic in scope with the death of countless earths within Marvel’s multiverse as the incursions that have been taking place over the last three years have left just two earths left, and we see the fate of those two within this opening chapter. A lot of enjoyment in this first issue will depend on whether or not you’ve been reading Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers and New Avengers series. It’s really been three years of stories, dozens of integral characters, and multiple big concepts that have led up to this point.

As the final incursion looms, Reed, T’Challa and others are putting the finishing touches on a “life raft” that will send a handful of survivors out into the “in between” universe to try and save the human race. This issue moves at a rapid pace and although you’ll see a gigantic cast of characters that in typical Hickman fashion are pictured on the contents page, you may only see them for a panel or two. In a way, this issue reads similarly to the first issue of DC’s Crisis. In one single panel we see Luke Cage and Iron Fist rescuing a young child from fallen debris, and in another we get a tiny glimpse of Iceman and then never see them again, assuming they were caught within the incursion.

In a way, it feels as though we don’t get the chance for a proper send off before heading into Marvel’s new status quo. There’s a particular scene with the Punisher and a small group of villains that made me realize and ask the question “What’s happening with everyone else?”  Secret Wars moves the story along which will allow Hickman to show us Marvel’s new world, but in doing so it feels as though Marvel is rushing through the ending of so many character’s stories. It’s a trade off of not having to write and subsequently purchase so many multiple tie-ins, but the consequence of a writing a story like this is it feels like it’s leaving a lot out.

Art wise, Esad Ribic does a fantastic job considering the amount of characters shown. This is a story that in the past would fall to someone like a George Perez, but Ribic shows that he’s more than capable of handling a story like this. He’s able to draw the simple scene like the one with Cage and Iron Fist mentioned above, and then is able to show us the scale and scope of the life raft hovering between two colliding earths. Although there are a few pages within this first issue that are simple one color dialogue pages, for the most part each page is packed with details.

I thought this first issue paid off, but for someone looking to jump in here, or for someone who may not be as familiar with the Ultimate Universe, for example, it may all be a bit overwhelming (even I’m not sure why the Ultimate version of Reed Richards is a bad guy and I read a lot of comics). If you can get past this first chapter it looks as though the fast pace sets up the second issue for what’s next in the Marvel Universe. It may be a while before we get back to the Marvel Universe we’re all familiar with as this first issue seems to change everything, even though that’s an all too familiar phrase we’ve heard many times before. Although I enjoyed this first issue, I’m actually more relieved that the three year journey that Hickman has led us on in preparation for this is, for the most part, over. We can now finally see and read about what’s next.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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