06/05/15 | by Ryan Utterback
| Posted in
Comic reviews, Reviews
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Esad Ribic
The third installment of Jonathan Hickman’s universe-ending epic opens with Doom, the supreme deity of Battleworld, being briefed by his sheriff, Stephen Strange. The briefing, however, quickly turns into a discussion between friends that uncovers one of the secrets of Battleworld – that Doom and Strange remember the incursion that created Battleworld while the rest of the subjects do not.
Strange is then abruptly called to the site where the Cabal’s aircraft landed and one of the Thor corps was murdered. Strange dispatches the rest of the Thors to sweep the area for the passengers of the craft. We then discover that there was an additional passenger on the same ship – Miles Morales, the Spider-Man of the Ultimate Universe, who, much to Strange’s surprise, also remembers the incursion.
Back at Castle Doom, Doom and Susan Storm discuss her brother Johnny, who has apparently been punished for some sort of betrayal by being turned into the son, causing some of Doom’s subjects to worship him. This prompts Doom to consider his fitness as a god, and he draws the conclusion that he is a poor one. Sue objects to this and, in a poignant moment where we see Doom’s disfigured face, Sue assures him that he is a god with great love for his people.
Strange takes Miles and the newest Thor to his Sanctum Sanctorum, where he reveals that he has been keeping another aircraft like the one Miles was aboard. He opens the door to reveal Peter Quill, Jane Foster, Carol Danvers, and Peter Parker from the 616 Universe, who, of course, also remember the incursion. This group is soon joined by Black Panther, Reed Richards, and Cyclops, who now wields the Phoenix Force. Strange informs the group that they have been in stasis inside the spacecraft for eight years and that Doom rules the new world as a god, which, predictably, does not sit well with Reed. Finally, we see Thanos and the rest of the Cabal around a campfire in the Kingtom of Utopolis. As they bicker about what their next move should be, they are visited by several members of the Thor corps as the book ends.
This issue of Secret Wars keeps up the momentum that the first two issues started. In a departure from Hickman’s usual storytelling style, we actually see some real character-driven moments, most of them featuring Doom as he converses with Strange and Susan. The reveal that no one in Battleworld save Doom and Strange remember anything before the incursion offers us a great deal of insight into the world that Doom has created and sets up the intriguing proposition of what will happen now that there are two groups of people that remember what the world used to be like as well. Esad Ribic’s art is great as usual, and it is awesome to see him draw characters we haven’t seen him draw before, especially Miles Morales, who looks great when drawn in Ribic’s style.
It kind of goes without saying at this point, but this book is an absolute must-read. Not only is Secret Wars going to change the landscape of the Marvel universe, it’s a darn good story in and of itself.
Story - 8
Characters - 8.5
Art - 9