Secret Wars: Battleworld #1 Review


Hello Spider-Fans, if you haven’t already noticed, Marvel’s massive universe-wide comic book event, Secret Wars, is well and truly underway! You can pick up our review of the main Spider-Man title Renew Your Vows here, and you can follow our reviews of the main Secret Wars title here. However I’m going to be bringing you everything else, there is a ton of comics coming out as part of this event and Spider-Man is in a fair few of them!

Next: Which Secret Wars titles will have Spider-Man in

First up we have Secret Wars: Battleworld #1 which is one of the event’s two anthology comics (the other being Secret Wars Journal). I picked up the issue because it had Miguel O’Hara’s Spider-Man 2099 and Miles Morale’s Ultimate Spider-Man on the front cover amongst a whole host of other particularly interesting Marvel characters. So I reasonably assumed Spider-Man would be inside somewhere!


And he was! The first of two stories in this issue centered around the 616 Punisher, who is also possessed by the spirit of Dr. Strange trying to evade ‘the Infernal Four’ in the 2099 section of Battleworld. ‘The Four’ turn out to be demonic versions of The Hulk, Wolverine, Ghost Rider (who  is already fairly demonic) and, of course, a black suited and spiky Spider-Man from Limbo! They’re tracking Frank Castle because he’s crossing borders which is frowned upon in God Doom’s world. Naturally the Punisher, with Dr. Strange’s magic powers, does what only the Punisher can do, which is to magic up cool Punisher ways to kill most of the four, before sacrificing himself. Wolverine collects payment from Strange for tracking down Castle and then Strange chooses Wolverine as his next body host.

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The second story also features a version of Spider-Man I don’t think we’ve ever seen before (which is saying a lot considering we’ve just had the Spider-Verse event) and probably will never see again! That’s because M.O.D.O.K has a plan! Which is to clone versions of himself based on other Marvel characters of course, with Spider-Man being one of them. Naturally the many different M.O.D.O.K personalities clash resulting in the Thor Corps walking into a room filled with devastation and many dead M.O.D.O.Ks.

Joshua Williamson and Mike Henderson’s opening Punisher entry is intriguing as much as it is confusing. I thought I had a pretty good grasp of what was going on but I have literally no idea about what was going on, how important it will be going forward and which versions of these characters I should care about. I’ve no doubt that Wolverine/Strange’s story will continue in the Limbo comic (Inferno) but seeing as I’m not picking that one up (their Spider-Man was just killed off in this issue) I’m more than likely going to miss any crucial plot developments that may arise.


That being said I got a kick out of seeing Spider-Man in his ‘Inferno’ get-up even if he did get chumped by Punisher’s magic guns and killed almost off panel whereas the other two deceased ‘hounds’ Hulk and Ghostrider got pretty cool magic Punisher deaths. The combination of Punisher’s brutal ruthlessness matched with Strange’s magic power was interesting, if a little unweildy plotwise in the long run, which is why it’s a good decision that Castle chose to sacrifice himself thus ending the partnership.

Whilst it’s unclear if the Punisher story will have any storyline implications going forward it’s fairly obvious that Ed Brisson and Scott Hepburn’s M.O.D.O.K story is a self-referential, tongue in cheek piece of irreverant fun. M.O.D.O.K himself was essentially characatured as a bumbling idiot which was emphasised by the scripting, especially in the dialogue between the all of the different M.O.D.O.Ks as the situation gradually escalates into a full-on M.O.D.O.K civil war, with the whole thing played for laughs.

All in all it was a fairly throwaway issue for Spider-Fans. Sure a cool looking Spider-Man appears for a panel but then gets wasted, and sure a M.O.D.O.K Spider-Man tries to hilarious keep the peace as his alternate versions squabble but as is always the case with anthology issues, none of it is important!

Check out Whatever a Spider Can’s other comic book reviews

Secret Wars #1 Review
Secret Wars #2 Review
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1 Review
Amazing Spider-Man #18 Review