I spend more time pretending to be Spider-Man than I should.
Marvel’s Secret Wars #1 continues the final events of Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers and New Avengers event Time Runs Out. The Multiverse is dying, universes across every plain are being destroyed and only two remain; Earth-616 and the Ultimate Marvel Universe, Earth-1610. With the incursion imminent Earth’s greatest scientist are set to task to no longer “try to win” but to “not lose”, Lifeboats are designed that they believe can survive the impending destruction all is going to plan until Earth-1610 attack.
To say this issue is massive is a crying understatement, it’s printed as a double length issue and the cast boasts a total of 57 characters crammed in to it. Esad Ribic, of Thor: God of Thunder fame, teams up with Hickman once again to provide striking visuals and glorious aesthetics.
Secret Wars draws together the concluding story arcs found in the final issues of Avengers, New Avengers, Avengers World and Miles Morales: The Ultimate Spider-Man and gives any fan the perfect jumping on point. There’s argument to be made that the first issue of Marvel’s Secret Wars should have been the last issue of the Avengers. Whether this is more a marketing technique than literary begs a question but to start the series with an ending is a bold move and works perfectly.
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Initially, I was going to put a spoiler alert warning but I chose against it; Secret Wars has been talked about and marketed for such an extensive time now that you’d of had to have lived in the deep space of the Multiverse to not know the heroes fail. When we talk about failure I mean they failed to bring the universes’s back to the status quo we are used to.
Its no secret, that Secret Wars is the start of something new but there’s a huge part of me that wished this ‘failure’ would of been secret to the very end. I would of preferred to pick up this issue still wanting, still hoping that the heroes would pull it off, instead I went into curious of how exactly they lost. This for me is the only point where the issue falls down. This said, this is how it has to be, with Secret Wars only just starting there are already reports of what will be happening with Marvel post-Secret Wars, and in an industry where the fan pushes you to continuously improve, to set the bar at new heights, this is how it will remain.
There’s something ominous in starting a superhero comic with failure, with death, Marvel’s mightiest have told the world governments the end is near, there is nothing they can do, they can’t protect the people any more. It’s over. This despondent emotion carries itself through the issue to the very final page. Hickman manages to mix a few humble notions of specific characterisation, flirtation of Iron Man, sarcasm of Rocket and even a fastball special with Colossus and Hulk. (It’s as awesome as it sounds) but this issue predominately aches of hopelessness.
The points I’ve raised may come across critical but it’s impractical to give this issue enough praise. Hickman and Ribic have excelled where previous events have failed, where creative teams have sunken they’ve created an unrivalled, organic line-up akin to those they’ve flawlessly adapted. Secret Wars #1 delivers everything promised, it’s a game changer, a world changer with the perfect balance of heartbreak and resolve.
The Multiverse is dead, all that remains is Battleworld.
Cut to black.
Louis Waldron is a contributor to ComiConverse, you can follow him on Twitter: @Louiswaldron