Secret Wars Battle Report, Week Fifteen


Welcome back to the Battle Report! The main series is back with its fifth issue, and eleven tie-ins join it this week. Let Bam Smack Pow help you figure which of those most deserve your comic dollar!

Secret Wars #5

What happened:  We get some clarity about the end of last issue – Sheriff Strange magically scattered the good and evil refugees from pre-Battleworld Earths across Doom’s planet, so Doom killed him. This issue, Doom attends his funeral and tasks his daughter’s foundation with hunting down these refugees. He also spends a large chunk of the issue talking to Molecule Man and rehashing the role the two of them played in the Incursions in the first place.

Was it good: Umm, yes. It’s still better than Hickman’s tedious Vulcan tenure on the Avengers books, but man, the talk with Molecule Man reminded me of everything I hated about that run, so thank Doom the rest of the issue was such proof of emotion in this project.

Is it necessary: Very.

Should you buy it: Oh, yes.

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


A-Force #3

What happened:  She-Hulk investigates the portals where foreign monsters have come to Arcadia, putting her in the stink-eye of three Thors and leading to the murder of one of her team.

Was it good: Pick Of The Week good.

Is it necessary: It’s connecting to other titles and will be continuing in some form after the summer, but it’s not like you won’t understand Secret Wars without it.

Should you buy it: Oh, yes. It’s a great superhero team book, regardless of context.

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


Star-Lord And Kitty Pryde #2

What happened:  The title characters, handcuffed together, fight a bunch of robot versions of the classic New Mutants before sneaking into the Doomenheim Museum to steal a pre-Battleworld artifact before Gambit can. Turns out Kitty is on this mission to find items that challenge the blind faith everyone has in Doom, but she wants to disprove them so she can have her belief preserved. And along the way, Star-Lord talk about the Kitty he lost in the Incursion and starts to fall in love with this rougher, Apocalyptic Kitty.

Was it good: The New Mutants fight was so funny, especially where the kids all make silly fun of their Claremont catchphrases. The love Peter Quill talks about made my heart flutter, and the romance in the present day is winning me over so hard.

Is it necessary: No, but it’s doing a lot to flesh out the belief system of Doomworld.

Should you buy it: Yes. This is a sparkling glass of champagne next to that juicy steak of the main series. It’s one of my favorite parts of this crossover.


Master Of Kung Fu #4

What happened:  In the final issue of the miniseries, Shang Chi defeats his father in a Kung Fu tournament and becomes ruler of K’un Lun.

Was it good: Yes, this was a light exploration of how Marvel can incorporate martial arts as a genre, and it’s just as good as Brubaker and Fraction’s Iron Fist series.

Is it necessary: No, it doesn’t have any impact (even though there are so many punches!)

Should you buy it: No, this is one you can safely miss.


Korvac Saga #3

What happened:  As Wonder Man’s Avengers and Michael Korvac’s Guardians investigate the infectious madness plaguing the city, team members learn that Korvac used to be an omnipotent cosmic force but had to agree to dampen his powers to please Doom. The madness has come from those powers trying to come back, and in this issue, they infect Captain Marvel.

Was it good: Yes, it’s exciting and tense.

Is it necessary: No, there was some hope we’d get more of the Doom versus Korvac story, but that doesn’t seem to affect the main book.

Should you buy it: It’s good, but if you can only get one cosmic book, I’d point you toward Star-Lord And Kitty Pryde.


Ghost Racers #3

What happened:  Robbie Reyes runs from the other Ghost Racers but eventually fights them. The Satanist possessing him manages to restore the pre-Killiseum memories of the other Spirits Of Ignition, and Arcade kidnaps Robbie’s little brother to take his place in the next deadly race.

Was it good: It’s good in the same way the last run of Ghost Rider was – the energy is high, the plot is built for speed rather than durability.

Is it necessary: Nope.

Should you buy it: It’s not a priority.


Inhumans: Attilan Rising #4

What happened:  Medusa interrogates Black Bolt, and he tells her about all the crummy things Doom has done across Battleworld, including turning Attilan itself into a tower broadcasting a brainwashing signal to keep everyone compliant. Meanwhile, Bolt’s renegades escape to the Maestro’s Dystopia.

Was it good: Yes, this one was as good as the book’s strong start.

Is it necessary: The “Doom is brainwashing us” idea is a cool one but none of the other books have really picked up on that.

Should you buy it: Yes, it’s back into the recommendation pile.


Secret Wars 2099 #4

What happened:  Spider-Man 2099’s corporate control of the Avengers starts to break down, and Captain America leads Hercules and Namor 2099 on an escape from Alchemax.

Was it good: This series has been consistently good without being great. This issue developed more of the themes of control that give the book its identity apart from the other team books.

Is it necessary: No.

Should you buy it: It doesn’t make the cut for top-tier, but it’s worth a look for your surplus money.


Secret Wars: Battleworld #4

What happened:  In the first story, James Stokoe shows the Silver Surfer of Egyptia hunting river monster Fin Fang Foom to feed Galactus. In the second, Peter David writes about the time a Surfer crashed the Maestro’s party to steal his board from the trophy room.

Was it good: It was fine. The Egyptia story was creative and indie but forgettable. The Maestro story showed how comfortable David is with these characters, but the Maestro hasn’t impressed me in any of his Secret Wars appearances.

Is it necessary: No.

Should you buy it: No, the anthology books can be bought issue by issue, and this one is not a keeper. Secret Wars Journal is the more consistently entertaining book, and even that’s had some misses.


Mrs. Deadpool And The Howling Commandos #3

What happened:  Shikla and the monsters reach Weirdworld to find their artifact, then teleport home to Dracula’s castle to prepare to kill him with it. But they find him drunk on the blood of the Invisible Woman and slashing his way through his own people.

Was it good: No. I just read it a second time and cannot figure out how it took so many pages to say so little.

Is it necessary: No, not even as a cool showcase of Weirdworld. The Weirdworld book is a cool showcase of Weirdworld. This is just kind of dull. With fart jokes.

Should you buy it: I search for a reason and find none.


Years Of Future Past #4

What happened:  Magneto pulls out a Sentinel he and the mutant refugees had been building, but when Chrissie and Cameron Pryde find out the machine is programmed to kill Senator Kelly and the two of them as martyrs, the kids rebel. Cameron kills Magneto and crazy monologues about going on to kill all the mutants, and Chrissie sets up a “You’re going to have to go through me!” final splash page to lead into the final issue.

Was it good: It’s the best this book has been. But that still means wordy, with a lot of time spent on new characters that I haven’t liked yet and a conspiracy plot that doesn’t hook the reader in.

Is it necessary: No, there are pieces of this world in A-Force, but you don’t need to know this book exists for that to make sense.

Should you buy it: Not recommended.


Planet Hulk #4

What happened:  Steve Rogers, Devil Dinosaur, and the Hulk make it to the lair of the Red King. The King waves Bucky’s severed metal arm to prove that he killed him, but the Hulk on the team has memories only Bucky would have, so I’m pretty sure Steve’s had his best friend at his side this whole time.

Was it good: No. I am astounded how Humphries can write Star-Lord And Kitty Pryde with such action, comedy, and romance, then turn in this dull, padded series of splash pages.

Is it necessary: Doom, I pray not.

Should you buy it: Please don’t. Buy an extra copy of Star-Lord and give it to a needy child, but really, your money ought not go in this direction.


Essential Reading:

Really, just Secret Wars. Well done, Marvel.

Recommended Tie-ins:

A-ForceCaptain Marvel And The Carol CorpsThorsSecret Wars Journal, Old Man Logan, X-Men ’92 (digital version), InfernoAmazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows, Star-Lord & Kitty Pryde, Ms. Marvel (Last Days), Marvel Zombies, and Inhumans: Attilan Rising.

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

Captain Britain And The Mighty Defenders, Siege, Spider Island, 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, 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:

Guardians Of Knowhere, Hail Hydra, Armor Wars, Mrs. Deadpool And The Howling Commandos, Future Imperfect, Years Of Future Past, E Is For Extinction, Planet Hulk, Age Of Apocalypse, Ultimate End, and any of the Last Days titles you weren’t already reading.


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