Secret Wars Battle Report, Week Ten


Welcome back to the Battle Report! Marvel is up to fourteen books including the main title. So far, Bam Smack Pow is recommending the reader on a budget pick up the main story in Secret Wars, then enriching with books that either show a bunch of the Warzones like A-Force, Inhumans: Attilan Rising, Captain Marvel And The Carol Corps, Thors, Secret Wars Journal, and Old Man Logan, or the highest quality insular Battleworld books like X-Men ’92, Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, and Marvel Zombies. This week saw a ton of quality books, and we will help you make those impossible choices about which titles make the cut to earn our recommendation.

X-Men ’92 #4 (Digital First)

What happened:  Cassandra Nova, unable to handle the sexual tension between Gambit and Rogue, turns them into puppets with promise rings. This world’s X-Force (Cable, Domino, Archangel, Psylocke, Cable, Bishop, and Deadpool) come to the X-Mansion to rescue Professor X but find his body and believe him dead – Stab his eyes!

Was it good:  So good. Funny, creepy, and charming.

Is it necessary: No, this stands alone.

Should you buy it: Yes. It’s a fantastic display of what digital comics can do, and it’s a great book for X-fans.

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #2

What happened:  Bad guy Regent has taken over Manhattan, so Peter Parker and his daughter have to hide their spider powers.

Was it good:  Yes! Peter’s exploration of the guilt around his choices (Killing Venom last issue, leaving the Avengers to get killed while he saved his family, suppressing his powers and not fighting back against Regent) fits in with the classic interpretations of the character but in a way that feels fresh.

Is it necessary: No, no one even references how Doom-like Regent is.

Should you buy it: Yes, this is a high-quality book and the best of the offerings for Spider-Man fans.

Spider Island #1

What happened:  Agent Venom, Spider-Woman, and the Vision lead a resistance against the Spider Queen’s army of mind-controlled, mutated spider-Manhattanites. They can’t cure the people without killing them, so they further mutate them, turning the Hulk into a lizard with Curt Connors’s formula, Captain Marvel into a vampire with Morbius’s blood, and Captain America into a werewolf with John Jameson’s Godstone.

Was it good:  Very good – lots of action, great tension, and a focused cast.

Is it necessary: No, it stands alone.

Should you buy it: No. I loved it, but if you only buy one Spider book, it should be Renew Your Vows. But if you can buy two, yes, this is better than Spider-Verse.


Inferno #3

What happened:  Illyana Rasputin turned Nightcrawler into a teleporting dragon last issue, and in this one, she uses him to bring down the magic quarantine barrier keeping the demons on Manhattan. As she runs rampant through the X-Men, the final page reveal suggests Mr. Sinister may be pulling all the strings.

Was it good:  Pick Of The Week good.

Is it necessary: No.

Should you buy it: It’s been on the fence for a while, but this issue had something for any X-fan, and now it’s on the recommended list next to X-Men ’92.


Age Of Apocalypse #1

What happened:  A contingent of X-Men including Storm, Dazzler, Exodus, Colossus, Nightcrawler, and Iceman are killed rescuing Cypher from Holocaust. Apocalypse’s forces use Cypher to find out Dr. Peter Corbeau’s humans might be planning a virus to wipe out the mutant oppressors.

Was it good:  It was terrific. Subtle changes differentiate the plot and characters from those of the original crossover, but tone and art are very consistent.

Is it necessary: No, I don’t see a lot of connection to the appearances of this world in issues of Old Man Logan and Secret Wars Journal.

Should you buy it: No, save your X-dollars for Inferno and X-Men ’92.

Runaways #2

What happened:  The kids are happy to kill enemy robots in their final exam, but Amadeus Cho learns that they’ve been tricked into killing other teens (including poor Pixie!), so he leads the group of kids on an escape from Doom’s school.

Was it good:  Yes. The humor is less than in the first issue, but the subject matter is so dark that it would have been out of place. And despite the horror of teens standing among the bodies of their peers, the book keeps the tone just light enough to float it as inspiring to the teens instead of the murky trauma we may have seen in the stereotypical DC book. If you were a fan of the first few trades of Morning Glories, this is good book for you.

Is it necessary: No, the Doom in Secret Wars doesn’t seem to care much about his training program for that Elite class I’ve never seen, and the Valeria in the main title does not mention her role as Headmistress in this one.

Should you buy it: No.

Squadron Sinister #2

What happened:  The villains of the Squadron kill or torture the Frightful Four during an annexation, and Nighthawk and Hyperion continue to scheme against one another.

Was it good:  Yes, though the grim gore can be a little much.

Is it necessary: No, it looks like the version of the Squadron Supreme that survives Battleworld is not the exact villain crew we see here.

Should you buy it: No.

Civil War #1

What happened:  Steve Rogers and Tony Stark blame each other for a disaster that destroyed the Midwest, so the Civil War ended with the United States split in half. The east side is the Iron, and the west half is the Blue. When Miriam Sharpe sets up peace talks, a sniper aiming for Captain America kills her instead, stirring up more war.

Was it good:  Yes, Charles Soule kept the tense, sad tone from the original crossover without holding to the plot minutae.

Is it necessary: No, it’s standalone.

Should you buy it: No.

Master Of Kung Fu #3

What happened:  Shang Chi has to fight representatives from the other martial arts schools to take over the empire from the Mandarin, but the Iron Fist may prove his undoing.

Was it good:  Yes. The action was creative, and the kung fu redesigns of characters like Namor, Sabretooth, Spider-Woman, and Moon Knight were inspired.

Is it necessary: No.

Should you buy it: No.

Ghost Racers #2

What happened:  We learn a little about Robbie Reyes’s Battleworld origin as a poor kid in Doomstadt possessed by a serial killer, then we watch him escape the Killiseum during a race, inspiring Arcade to send a ton of Ghost Racers after him.

Was it good:  Yes, high energy, but with more heart than last issue had.

Is it necessary: No, it doesn’t even connect to the Planet Hulk or Secret Wars: Battleworld scenes in the Killiseum.

Should you buy it: No.

1872 #1

What happened:  In the Western town of Timely in 1872, the Kingpin’s boys want to lynch Red Wolf, inspiring Sheriff Steve Rogers and town drunk Tony Stark to bring up some frontier justice.

Was it good:  Yes. I am not a fan of Westerns, but I enjoyed the playful character redesigns and straightforward story.

Is it necessary: It doesn’t connect to the bigger story. The Hank Pym from this world showed up in Robinson’s Age Of Ultron Vs. Marvel Zombies, sentenced to death by monster, but he isn’t in this book, so we don’t get to see his crime like we did for Kate Bishop or Miss America Chavez.

Should you buy it: No. Marvel promised Red Wolf would be sticking around after the Wars, but until we know more about how, I would hesitate to say this is a crucial introduction.

Spider-Verse #3

What happened:  The Sinister Six defeat the Spider team (Spider-Gwen, Spider-Man UK, Spider-Man Noir, Spider-Man India, Spider-Ham, and Arana) and take them to Norman Osborn, who swears he’s a good guy. Gwen isn’t buying it and runs away, bumping into Peter Parker on the way out.

Was it good:  This series is losing steam, and the quirky artwork is not holding up as well as it did the first issue. What was once creative now feels like a rushed artist putting together a sketch for his friend’s fanfic. It’s got lingering charm, especially with Spider-Gwen, but it’s no longer a serious contender.

Is it necessary: No.

Should you buy it: No, I’m directing Spider-dollars to Renew Your Vows.

Secret Wars 2099 #3

What happened:  The corporate Avengers of 2099 meet the Defenders (Valkyrie, an Atlantean named Roman, Strange, Hulk, and Silver Surfer). When the Defenders refuse to become Alchemax’s private security force, they are declared enemies of the state.

Was it good:  Yes, the new team’s characters are more fun than the Avengers and bring out the humor in the book’s original team.

Is it necessary: No.

Should you buy it: No.

Mrs. Deadpool And The Howling Commandos #2

What happened:  Shikla and the monsters try to cross the River Styx, get attacked by zombies, and then cross the river anyway. And Shikla kisses Werewolf By Night.

Was it good:  No. Maybe if I knew who Shikla was, I’d be into it, but in two issues, she hasn’t really set herself apart as a character, and this issue was too boring to work without that.

Is it necessary: No.

Should you buy it: No. It’s not as bad as Armor Wars, but it’s not good.

So ten weeks in to the summer crossover, here’s how we stand:

Essential Reading:

Really, just Secret Wars. Well done, Marvel.

Recommended Tie-ins:

A-ForceInhumans: Attilan RisingCaptain Marvel And The Carol CorpsThorsSecret Wars Journal, Old Man Logan, X-Men ’92 (digital version), InfernoAmazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, and Marvel Zombies.

Good Books That Just Don’t Make Top-Tier:

Spider Island, Age Of Apocalypse, Runaways, Squadron Sinister, Civil War, Master Of Kung Fu, Ghost Racers, 1872, Spider-Verse, Secret Wars 2099, Giant-Size Little Marvel: AVX, M.O.D.O.K. Assassin, Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars, X-Tinction Agenda, Red Skull, Ultimate End, Secret Wars: Battleworld, Korvac Saga, Where Monsters Dwell, Infinity Gauntlet, Age Of Ultron Vs. Marvel Zombies, X-Men ’92 (print version), 1602 Witch Hunter Angela, and Weirdworld

Books To Skip:

Armor Wars, Mrs. Deadpool And The Howling Commandos, Future Imperfect, Years Of Future Past, E For Extinction, Planet Hulk, and any of the Last Days titles you weren’t already reading.


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