Secret Wars #2 Review


Secret Wars #2 (of 8)
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Esad Ribic
Colored by Ive Svorcina
Published by Marvel Comics

When I wrote my review of issue #1 of Marvel’s game-changing miniseries event Secret Wars, I noted that it was an incredibly well done comic that clearly showed Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic at the top of their game. It had drama, excitement and a sense of foreboding that practically dripped from each panel.

My one problem was the fact that someone who had not been reading Hickman’s work on Avengers practically from day one would be hopelessly lost. Very little of Secret Wars #1 was welcoming to a new or lapsed reader and it could be a barrier to someone really enjoying what was shaping up to be an event like few others.

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With the release of Secret Wars #2 however, we can now welcome everyone else to the party.

While issue #1 dealt heavily with what went before and the buildup to the final incursion, issue #2 was like a blank page, with a new world, new situations and a totally new status quo.

Funny how the end of all that is will allow you to do that.

Secret Wars #2 introduces readers to Battleworld, the sum total of all that is left of the multiverse. We get the nickel tour through the eyes of the latest recruit to the Thors, the police force of Battleworld. We visit some of the various realities that make up the new world, meet some familiar faces in new roles and see that ruling over it all is none other than Doom.

In many ways, Secret Wars #2 is the introduction that the first issue should have been, but couldn’t be for various reasons. As such, you can tell Hickman is having a blast with this new world he has created, as the story in chapter 2 moves with a much lighter tone and brisker pace that the incredibly dense first issue. Secret Wars #2 also doesn’t have that terrible sense of dread and hopelessness that permeated issue #1, at least until the last few pages.

And those last few pages? Oh boy…

Ribic again turns in some incredibly done artwork that really showcases the diversity of his talent. From Thunder Gods to zombies to a Doom that looks every bit the man who thinks he is God, it shows that there are precious few artists working today who could have drawn Secret Wars and have it live up to the scope of the story Hickman is telling.

My worry is that, much like when Hickman and Ribic worked together on The Ultimates, Ribic won’t be able to finish all eight issues and will need some fill-in artists to help. That would be a shame, and a situation Marvel should try to avoid at all costs. Hickman and Ribic are obviously a great team, and to break up the symmetry they have with inferior art in later issues would do untold damage to the story. Need an example? Read Age of Ultron again and tell me the fleet of artists working on that title towards the end didn’t take away from its overall impact.

The Bottom Line: Secret Wars #2 is the introduction everyone needed in issue #1, but didn’t get because of the end of everything. Don’t worry though, there are still plenty of questions to be answered, and it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun watching all the drama play out over the next few months.

With the Marvel Universe gone, what happened before becomes meaningless. Because now, there is only Battleworld.

Next: Secret Wars #1 review