12/10/15 | by Nicholas Turner
| Posted in
Comic reviews, Reviews, Uncategorized
Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Esad Ribic
Delays, delays, and yet more delays. With everything going wrong on the editorial side of Secret Wars, it’s a relief to know that with the release of the penultimate issue: the end is nigh. Everything is heating up for the finale next month and this month’s issue, titled ‘Under Siege’, has successfully slotted the various pieces into their conclusive places.
I’ve said before that Jonathan Hickman makes use of every proverbial tool in Marvel’s vast toolbox. I take that comment back. With this issue, Hickman has proceeded to drop kick that toolbox into the atmosphere and in the ensuing madness has formed together a conflict so vast in scope and intricacy it boggles the mind to how he is going to execute the climax. His ingenious and unpredictable narrative truly made this issue an amazing read; elevating the reader experience to new heights. Quite the feat considering that this is a blockbuster event shrouded in editorial meddling and corporate tweaking. Hickman’s characterization is on point, as always, even with characters he has had little to no experience of writing before. Pacing issues do arise, as it seems the plot takes a backseat to the action-packed nature of the issue, resulting in this installment being filled with a lot of white noise. Although it’s hard to complain when the spectacle the issue provides overall is a sight to behold.
Esad Ribic delivers outstanding art once more. His colossal set pieces are filled with such awe-inspiring action and energy that do a vast amount of justice to Hickman’s epic script. Environments are bursting with detail and precision; adding further to the scope of this installment. Designs of creatures and the more aesthetically unusual characters provide some of the most jaw dropping moments in the book. Although, his line work falls short one again, especially when it comes to the human facial work. Some drama inevitably loses it’s impact when most of the cast have alarmingly similar faces and expressions.
One of the highlights of the series so far has been Ive Svorcina’s stellar coloring work. The issue is filled with amazing lighting that adds tremendous depth to Ribic’s pencils. Some of the most frenetic panels are given so much more weight and nuance with Svorcina’s choice of light and shadow. He also strategically achromatizes certain pages, washing out colors to make some panels as intense and poetic as a classical painting. The overall style feels reminiscent of Studio Ghibli, more specifically Howl’s Moving Castle.
It seems the news surrounding Jonathan Hickman’s blockbuster event have been focusing on the sporadic scheduling instead of the content. Which comes as a shame, seeming as Secret Wars is shaping up to be one of Marvel’s preeminent events. All we can do now is hope that Secret Wars’ legacy won’t be mired in it’s, albeit frustrating, delays.