Secret Wars Battle Report, Week Five


Welcome back to the Battle Report! The tie-ins are down to eight this week, but next week we go up to thirteen, even with the delays in shipping. God Doom have mercy on us all. Quality is still generally high, but this week sees a couple books that just don’t seem to click yet. As always, your pals at Bam Smack Pow will help you sort out which ones you need to follow Marvel’s summer crossover.

Secret Wars #3

What happened: Doom’s sheriff, Dr. Strange, is revealed as the Strange from the end of Hickman’s run, with pre-Incursion memory intact. He investigates the arrival of The Cabal on Battleworld and finds Miles Morales as a stowaway on their life raft out of Ultimate Marvel. This inspires him to open the life raft he found a few years ago, allowing Earth-616’s group of Starlord, Captain Marvel, Thor, Spider-Man, Cyclops, Black Panther, and Reed Richards to come out and gape at a world where Doom is actually pretty good at keeping acceptable order. Also, we learn that Doom originally didn’t keep a sun on Battleworld until Johnny Storm needed punishment, so Doom turned him into the new sun. I am going to have nightmares.

Was it good: Absolutely. This is the strongest work I’ve ever seen out of Hickman – exciting, emotional, compelling stuff.

Is it necessary: Oh, yes. And it’s starting to connect to the tie-ins, as Strange references Wolverine wandering around in Old Man Logan, the Hulks of Planet Hulk’s Greenland, and the activity in Inferno.

Should you buy it:  Without a doubt.

(Check out Bam Smack Pow’s review here!)

Years Of Future Past #1

What happened: After the Sentinels ravaged the mutants in the Days Of Future Past storyline, the few remaining freedom fighters include the daughter of Kitty Pryde and Colossus and the son of Wolverine. They get tricked into fighting Mystique and Blob on camera so President Kelly can froth up more anti-mutant hysteria and sell the next upgrade of Sentinels.

Was it good: Marguerite Bennett is usually a very good writer, but this came across as a pretty standard post-apocalyptic story, and a lot of the visual storytelling was bad – one panel had young Christina hugging her father, and the next panel had her almost-identical mother in the almost-same position French-kissing him, making it hard to understand that Colossus was not taking advantage of his teen daughter.

Is it necessary: Not that I can tell.

Should you buy it: No, and it’s a shame because this was one of the titles I was most looking forward to based on writer and source material.

X-Tinction Agenda #1


What happened: Havok and Wolfsbane help run Genosha after the events of the 90’s crossover. A deadly virus has spread through the mutants of the island, but the baron of the Warzone quarantines them and won’t allow any mutant healers in, so the Genoshans (including Rictor and Karma) invade “X-City” to kidnap the ones they need.

Was it good: Very. It keeps the best parts of the original crossover’s tone while telling a unique story.

Is it necessary: Doubtful – Doom appears in it and worries about the Genoshan virus spreading to neighboring mutant-inhabited kingdoms, but that doesn’t seem to be a big factor in the main story.

Should you buy it: Not if your need for X-Men books is met by the recommendations I had for Old Man Logan and Inferno. But this is a close third.


Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1


What happened: In a 90’s world where Peter Parker is married to Mary Jane and has a young daughter, he joins a team of Avengers and New Warriors to fight the enigmatic Regent, but he ditches the battle to rescue his family from Venom. While he’s gone, Regent kills all the heroes and takes over New York.

Was it good: Amazing. It was my Pick Of The Week.

Is it necessary: No, we got the Earth-616 Peter Parker in the main title this week, so this version is likely to be self-contained.

Should you buy it: Oh, yes. This is a great example of what this crossover can mean to the industry in a creative sense.

(Check out Bam Smack Pow’s review here!)


Secret Wars: Battleworld #2


What happened: In the first story, Blade hunts a vampire on Howard The Duck’s world and teams up to defeat him. In the second, Thunderbolt Ross is a cyborg named War Machine in Arcade’s Killiseum (last seen in Planet Hulk two weeks ago). Taskmaster has been training gladiators but resents the popularity of Steve Rogers, so Arcade uses the War Machine battle to take Taskmaster out.

Was it good: Yes. The first story was silly and fun, and the second was efficiently menacing.

Is it necessary: I don’t think so. The Killiseum is becoming more prominent but doesn’t seem to impact the bulk of the crossover.

Should you buy it: No. If you want an anthology title, Secret Wars Journal has a little better quality and seems more connected to the main book.



Giant Size Little Marvel: AVX #1


What happened: In sweetly cartoony Marville, adorable child versions of the Avengers and X-Men just can’t get along. Jokes are fast and funny, and the story ends with both teams about to fight over who gets custody of the new twins in town, a cute comment on the film rights over Quicksilver.

Was it good: This is the best Little Marvel work yet by master cartoonist Skottie Young. The story was stronger than in previous skits, and the art was deeply charming.

Is it necessary: The odds of Hickman’s serious noseless God Doom interacting with a cute baby Cyclops are slim to none. I’ll go ahead and say none.

Should you buy it: I hate saying no to genuinely funny titles like Little Marvel, Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars, and M.O.D.O.K. Assassin, but if the point of this column is to help you follow the summer crossover for the minimal financial investment, they just don’t make the cut.



Master Of Kung Fu #2


What happened: Shang Chi agrees to train his group of Morlocks, identified as awesome Kung Fu versions of Shadowcat, Lockheed, Wolfsbane, Cypher, Marrow, Callisto, and Caliban. Calisto betrays him, and Cypher is killed in the resultant raid on their hideout by Iron Fist.

Was it good: Even better than the promising first issue, highlighting the fun you can have when you creatively reinterpret characters across a genre lens.

Is it necessary: No, it’s developing into a nicely contained miniseries.

Should you buy it: Not a top priority, unfortunately.



Future Imperfect #1


What happened: Ruby Summers finds Odin in the desert of the Dystopia kingdom and recruits him to oust the evil Maestro, but Odin turns out to be the very enemy in disguise.

Was it good: I’m not usually a fan of Hulk stories and found this issue to be pretty light on plot, so I can’t say I enjoyed it.

Is it necessary: Hard to say. It’s not closely connected to the main title, but Marvel has promised that this version of the Maestro will be sticking around when the dust clears on this event.

Should you buy it: No. If you need a Peter David fix, Secret Wars 2099 was better; if you’re a Hulk fan, Planet Hulk has you covered.


Armor Wars #1


What happened: After a huge battle, the city of Technopolis is ruled by Baron Tony Stark, inhabited by citizens in armor, protected by Thor Marshal Jim Rhodes, and menaced by Kingpin Arno Stark. Their version of Spider-Man learns too much about Arno and is murdered in the streets.

Was it good: I haven’t read the original Armor Wars, so I don’t know how much of my confusion is about that, but I followed Planet Hulk, Future Imperfect, and Old Man Logan just fine without the first stories, so I have to think this just wasn’t a very accessible piece.

Is it necessary: No.

Should you buy it: I don’t recommend this book. This is one of the few tie-in series that just didn’t land well.



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