Secret Wars #5 (Marvel)

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CREDIT: Marvel

Rating: 4/5 – A Quiet Moment and Origin Before the Final Act.
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

When compared to the first four issues of Secret Wars, number five definitely feels as though it’s a calm before the storm. Writer Jonathan Hickman slows down the pace and spends most of the book showing how Dr. Doom is dealing with the death of Dr. Strange from last issue, as well as providing a much needed and satisfying explanation as to the importance of Molecule Man and his relationship to the Beyonoders, Battleworld, and ultimately to Doom himself. It’s a dense issue that’s light on the action, but sets up what should be a jam packed final three issues.

After a memorial for Dr. Strange, Doom tasks Valeria in tracking down Stephen Strange’s killer and you’re left feeling that this conversation will definitely come back to haunt Dr. Doom. From there, we see a conversation between Doom and Owen Reese the Molecule Man, that’s the strongest part of this issue. This is a new/updated “origin” to the Molecule Man and makes his powers make sense, and shows why most creators have shied away from using him due to his ability to create, change, or destroy just about anything. Hickman embraces the long time Fantastic Four villain’s powers and provides meaning behind them. Where most writers would choose to ignore someone with Molecule Man’s almost omnipotent powers, Hickman has found a way to have them explained in a most satisfying way that ties into so much of what he’s written before.

Esad Ribic’s art is better than ever, despite the lack of action and character count. There’s plenty of scenes where Ribic’s pencil lines stand out which lets you in on his process, but never takes away from its beauty. Ribic chooses to shade in his shadows with quick pencil lines which normally I’m not a fan of, but with Ribic it looks great and makes you feel closer to the art. At times the colors do look a bit washed out especially during the Beyonder scenes, but the art still makes up for it.

Secret Wars has three issues left and after the last page of #5 it seems as though that’s not enough time to wrap everything up. That being said Jonathan Hickman has proven with Infinity that he’s capable of providing a satisfying ending. We know what’s ahead for the Marvel Universe after Secret Wars and the slow feel of this issue may be intentional so we can catch our breath before heading into the final act. I trust that Hickman’s pacing is intentional and look forward to what should be an exciting and rapid ride ahead.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
(shawn@comicspectrum.com
)
https://comicspectrum.com/ Covering the full spectrum of comics culture

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