Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Devil Comics Review | Secret Wars [2015] Jonathan Hickman | Esad Ribic

The announcement of Secret Wars by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic was released just before the 2014 New York Comic Con. It is the conclusion of Time Runs Out story arcs running between both Avengers and New Avengers. Marvel brought a female Thor, created an arrogant Tony Stark in Superior Iron Man, and made Sam Wilson as Captain America in 2014. Now those characters will face off against their classic versions of their namesakes as well as their multiverse counterparts on Battleworld. Secret Wars is the culmination of Jonathan Hickman’s work at Marvel. From the Ultimate Universe to the Marvel Universe, from the past in SHIELD to the future in Avengers, this is the final act that has been building up since 2012 when Hickman took over the Avengers and New Avengers titles.

Secret Wars #0 sees the Future Foundation kids building a ship to escape the final Incursion with the Ultimate Universe. We are given a history of how the heroes attempted to save us that led to destroying worlds and creating the Cabal. We also see the Ultimate Universe deciding to invade and destroy the Marvel Universe during the final Incursion. The stage is set up for Secret Wars that has been building since 2012. 

Secret Wars #1 follows the endings of Avengers #44, New Avengers #33, and Secret Wars #0. The Ultimate Universe of 1610 decides to invade and destroy the Marvel Universe 616 in a last attempt to save their worlds. The Marvel Universe decides to build life rafts to save the best people to restart humanity. The Guardians of the Galaxy arrive to help protect Earth as well as Cyclop’s Sentinels. The Hulk, She-Hulk, and Colossus travel to Earth-1610 where they topple their headquarters. However the invasion by the Ultimate Universe was only a diversion set up by the Cabal and the Ultimate Reed Richards to set up a second invasion using superior weapons. Cyclops opens the Phoenix Egg to release its powers to become the Phoenix as some of our heroes are rescued on the life raft. The Incursion occurs and both the Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe collide leaving nothing.

Secret Wars #2 Victor Von Doom has somehow forged Battleworld with heroes under his control. Doom sits at the throne of the World Tree, Yggdrasil. The Thors act has his Stormtroopers, Doctor Strange is the Law and sheriff, and Valeria Richards is the Foundation. Science is called discovery and religion is called Doom on Battleworld. Borders exist between each kingdoms and a Baron or Baroness controls their provinces.

The Thors arrive on Bar Sinister and charge Mr. Sinister with discord with House Braddock by aligning himself with Hyperion, the Baron of Utopolis. They take him to Doomstadt for judgment at the Court of Doom. He is found guilty and Sinister asks for a trail by combat with Brian Braddock. Sinister wins however Brian Braddock is brought before Doom. Apparently his name Braddock has been whispered in the silent chambers of Manhattan where heretics and thieves are planning to cast down Doom. Jamie Braddock admits he is the one the heretic spoke of. Doom removes Jamie from his position on Avalon and promotes his brother Brian Braddock to Baron.

The life raft from the first issue is discovered and Strange invokes a quarantine. The Thors quarantine the life raft however it opens and slaughters a Thor. It is revealed the Ultimate Reed Richards constructed a life raft for the Cabal to escape and land on Battleworld. 

Secret Wars #3 Doom and Strange discuss matters as we discover the Molecule Man sacrificed himself to create Battleworld, Johnny Storm became the Sun, and the unmasking of Doom. Strange arrive at the location of the life raft and the fallen Thor. He meets the Miles Morales Spider-Man who hitched a ride with the Cabal and discovers he remembers the events before Battleworld. Strange takes Miles back to his hidden isle of Agamotto where he opens the first life raft which contains the Marvel heroes including Reed Richards, Black Panther, and Cyclops who is now the Phoenix. They discover Doom created Battleworld as the Thors catch up to the Cabal. 

Secret Wars #4 Doctor Strange explains to our heroes how Doctor Doom created Battleworld as the Thors battle the Cabal. Doom is aware of the battle between the Thors and the Cabal. Strange and the heroes arrive to aid the Thors and Doom notices Reed Richards is among them. Doom arrives and confronts Richards as Cyclops with the power of the Phoenix attempts to stop him. He kills Cyclops and Strange scatters our heroes before Doom has a chance to destroy them. Doom kills Strange for betraying him and now the Richards is back to take back his life. 

Secret Wars #5 sees Hickman pay homage to Thor: The Dark World with the mention of the Ether as we witness the funeral for Sheriff Stephen Strange. Doom visits Owen Reece AKA the Molecule Man who was made by the Beyonders as a bomb to kill a universe. Owen went into the Marvel Multiverse to kill himself to diminish the charge within him and built a religion involving the Black Swans who were determined to kill Owens. He also built a better bomb to destroy the Beyonders and steal their powers. Dr. Strange couldn’t determine which worlds will live or die so he allowed Doom to decide. The Future Foundation hunt down the rebels who they believe killed Sheriff Strange however they soon realize Strange was the one who scattered the heroes. The decide to find out what is really going on and why Doom is scared. 

Secret Wars #6 takes place three weeks after issue five as Doom’s daughter Valeria is tracking the survivors of the Incursions. We see the Maker and Reed Richards working together to stop Doom. Valeria meets Miles Morales and Peter Parker as Spider-Men. Now they discover the Molecule Man created Battleworld. Meanwhile the Prophet is raising an army against Doom as Black Panther and Namor find an Infinity Gauntlet to use against Doom. In the SHIELD detention level Thanos reveals to the Thing that none of this world is reality and asks him to rise against Doom.

Secret Wars #7 Maximus of the Inhumans launches an assault against Doom as well as the Thors and Maestro who sends an army of Hulks. Reed Richards works with his Ultimate counter-part the Maker to stop Doom while the Black Panther and Namor bring the Marvel Zombies to Doom’s doorsteps.

Secret Wars #8 Ben Grimm takes down Maestro and faces Franklin Richards using Galactus’ body. Reed, Star Lord, and the Maker break into Doom’s castle. Star Lord uses Groot to take down Doom’s castle as Doom destroys Thanos. The Marvel Zombies arrive thanks to Black Panther and Namor to Doom’s doorsteps.

Secret Wars #9 Namor and Black Panther confront Doctor Doom with the Infinity Gauntlet before Doom realized it was all a distraction. Reed Richards meets his wife Susan Storm and daughter Valeria before taking his counter-part from the Ultimate Universe the Maker to the source of Doom’s powers, the Molecule Man. The Maker betrays Reed by turning him into a monkey however the Molecule Man turns Reed back while changing the Maker into pizza. Doom arrives and the Molecule Man makes it a fair fight between Reed and Doom. During the battle Doom agrees that Reed could have created a better world so the Molecule Man empowers him.

The Prime Earth of the Marvel Universe is created where Wakanda has a space program to explore the twelve planets of the Solar System. Molecule Man thanks Miles Morales for the burger and returns him with his parents on Prime Earth.

Franklin Richards helps shape the new universes with the help of his father Reed and the Molecule Man. The Fantastic Four and the Future Foundation are left to shape universes and explore the multiverse. Ben and Johnny are back on Prime Earth along with a restored Doctor Doom. Writer Jonathan Hickman gives us his send off from the Marvel Universe by putting everything back in the bottle from his run in Avengers and expanding the Marvel Universe. For the time being this will be the last Fantastic Four story.