Secret Wars Battle Report, Week Sixteen


Welcome back to the Battle Report! Seventeen tie-ins this week. Seventeen. Marvel may be trying to use Secret Wars to kill us. That said, this was one of the highest-quality weeks of the crossover. Series I have absolutely hated have surprised me. Series that felt isolated have seen pretty big interconnectivity to the main books. Welcome back to Battleworld, gang. Bam Smack Pow will help you survive the experience.

Captain Britain And The Mighty Defenders #2

What happened:  Captain Britain, White Tiger, and She-Hulk rescue the people of Yinsen City from their gritty Mondo City neighbors, then propose a compromise to unite the cities. It turns out Doom was using them as an experiment for how to achieve peace if the walls between the Battleworld kingdoms eventually fall or if he lightens up his iron grip on his people.

Was it good: It was great. Action-packed, hopeful, and never too pat or preachy.

Is it necessary: No, but the side of Doom it shows is fascinating.

Should you buy it: It’s only two issues for the whole series, but I think you’re better off investing in two issues of one of the other miniseries. That said, great book. Well done.


Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #4

What happened:  While Peter Parker’s wife and daughter join the resistance to fight Regent, the supervillain tells Spider-Man about his plans to steal his powers and use them to take out Doom.

Was it good: Absolutely. This series has been about heart, about family, about what we’ll sacrifice to do what’s right and what is too precious to let go. It makes my heart soar. Spider-Man has been great under Dan Slott’s pen, but this alternate reality story may be the best it’s been in over ten years.

Is it necessary: Sadly, no. Regent is not going to take Doom out.

Should you buy it: Yes. I don’t push that many of the tie-ins, but this is one of the best books for sale out of Marvel right now.


Secret Wars: Secret Love #1

What happened:  Four stories: Karen Page deals with her jealousy watching Daredevil fight Typhoid Mary. The latest versions of Ms. Marvel and Ghost Rider team up but decide to be fans of each other instead of dating. Misty Knight and Iron Fist go on a date and work out marital cooling by punching a Tyrannosaurus and watching Kung Fu DVD’s. Squirrel Girl wins a date with Thor. Insect versions of the Avengers help the Wasp and Ant-Man prepare for a date.

Was it good: Jeremy Whitley’s Misty Knight story is honest and warm, one of the best depictions of this romance I’ve ever read. Marguerite Bennett’s Squirrel Girl story is adorable and fits right into Ryan North’s near-perfect series. The other three stories are instantly forgettable, though not that bad.

Is it necessary: Nope.

Should you buy it: I can’t recommend it on the strength of 40% of the book. But I recommend Whitley and Bennett as writers to watch and hope their stories get collected in trades with better material.


X-Men ’92 #7 (Digital First)

What happened:  The X-Men fight brainwashed child-safe pacifist versions of Wolverine, Gambit, and Rogue while Jean Grey pits the Phoenix against Cassandra Nova long enough for Xavier to step in and throw Onslaught against the Shadow King.

Was it good: I loved it so much. The neutered X-Men were so funny, and the sweeping visuals of Jean Grey’s psychic battle belong on a dorm wall poster.

Is it necessary: Sadly, no, it’s still a digital series separate from the big crossover tentpole.

Should you buy it: Yes. You should buy it in digital to get the scope of this psychic warfare. If this doesn’t translate to the print version, I am going to cry a little.



Inferno #4

What happened:  Sheriff Strange praises Illyana for conquering the kingdom and gives Baron Summers’s title to her, but the good guys are rallying, including help from mad geneticist Mr. Sinister.

Was it good: Amazing. It’s got the scary demon transformations from the original crossover, like a monster fire hydrant eating a dog, and when Colossus admits he was wrong about saving his round-the-bend-evil sister, it hurts as bad as her death in New Mutants did.

Is it necessary: No.

Should you buy it: I still say the X-Men dollar needs to go to X-Men ’92 first, but the next X-Men dollar can go to this title or X-Tinction Agenda.


House Of M #1

What happened:  Magneto’s Red Guard (including Wolverine and Mystique) breaks up a meeting of the human resistance, but Deathlocket rescues the survivors. In the mutant ruling class, Quicksilver is conspiring with Namor against his father’s empire.

Was it good: Yes – the original crossover was a wealth of story material, and Hopeless builds on it with love and creativity. And it’s great to see him writing Deathlocket again, one of my favorite little Hunger Gamers from the Avengers Arena.

Is it necessary: No.

Should you buy it: It’s solid, but it doesn’t quite cross into the top tier yet. Keep an eye on it.


Howard The Human #1

What happened:  Howard is a human detective in a kingdom of film noir talking animals, working on the murder of Peter Possum while dodging the Vulture’s debt collectors and the Black Cat’s femme fatale machinations.

Was it good: Yes, I made it my Pick Of The Week.

Is it necessary: No, it’s a standalone one-shot to display the wacky creativity of Marvel treasure Skottie Young and indie darling Jim Mahfood.

Should you buy it: Not if you’re on a budget, sorry. There sixteen other books out this week, and many of them are key chapters in stories I have been recommending.


X-Tinction Agenda #3

What happened:  Traitorous Genegineer Aldus Kluge has resurrected Cameron Hodge and Warlock, making a scary monster to menace the Genoshan mutants and the X-Men who’ve busted in to rescue their kidnapped teammates.

Was it good: Loved it, loved it, loved it. This is as true to the tension and fear of the original Agenda as Inferno was to its source this week.

Is it necessary: No.

Should you buy it: As with Inferno, once you pay off your X-Men ’92 issues, take a look at this book.


Weirdworld #3

What happened:  Arkon escapes Morgan Le Fay’s lava dungeon and defends himself from Skull the Slayer before landing in a swamp full of Man-Things (the swamp monster, not actual penises) (which would make a very Weird World indeed).

Was it good: It’s so good. Jason Aaron is writing a story celebrating the fantastic without getting lost in the oddities, and Mike Del Mundo’s art may be even better than his Elektra work, and Doom, his Elektra work made me dizzy.

Is it necessary: Well, we know now that this fall’s Black Knight title is going to be set on Weirdworld, so that’s something.

Should you buy it: I wish this were essential enough to say yes, but no, it goes at the top of the “If you have the spare bucks” pile.


Spider-Verse #4

What happened:  As Spider-Gwen uses punk rock guitars to save Peter Parker from Venom, the heroes in Norman Osborn’s offices find a machine he plans to use to kill Doom. This catches the attention of a Thor.

Was it good: This series has been mediocre, but this issue was really good.

Is it necessary: No, I don’t think Osborn is going to kill Doom any better than Regent is going to kill Doom. But it’s pretty cool that these plans came out in the same week.

Should you buy it: Nope. Renew Your Vows is the Spider-title of choice.


Secret Wars Journal #4

What happened:  In the first story, the Punisher from Egyptia teaches the Iron Fist from Age Of Apocalypse how to protect the Shield wall from Ultron robots. In the second, the Psylocke of Years Of Future Past comes out of hiding to help Northstar’s husband rescue him from a concentration camp.

Was it good: Both stories were great. The first was simple but engaging, and the second was a heartbreaking exploration of duty and guilt and sacrifice.

Is it necessary: No.

Should you buy it: If you want an anthology book, this is a better choice than Battleworld or Secret Love, but I’m not sure you need an anthology book.


Runaways #3

What happened:  The teens who escaped Doom’s murder school stop for supplies in the 1872 world, then seek cover on Weirdworld before losing Delphyne in a fight against the Winter Soldier.

Was it good: Yes! It’s taken a couple issues to hit its stride, but the madcap exploration of Battleworld is as good as we see in Old Man Logan, and the characterization has begun to incorporate the darkness of the plot into a more balanced mix of hope in the teens.

Is it necessary: No, but man, I wish Doom would mention any of the graduates of murder school so I could say so.

Should you buy it: It’s still at the top of the Almost-Top-Tier category, but I don’t think this issue’s improvement quite tips it in yet. But let’s look again next month.


Age Of Ultron Vs. Marvel Zombies #3

What happened:  Ultron and Zombie Magneto’s alliance leads to an army of undead cyborgs marching against Hank Pym’s human resistance, and the 1872 Wasp heads into the Deadlands to find her ex.

Was it good: Yes. As bad as Robinson’s Armor Wars has been, this book has been a solid, enjoyable read.

Is it necessary: No, but it’s kind of cool that this week sees 1872 represented in its own title, Runaways, and this book.

Should you buy it: No, the Deadlands book of choice is still Spurrier’s Marvel Zombies. But this is a good book.

1872 #2

What happened:  Sheriff Rogers falls to Bullseye’s pistol in the dusty streets of Timely, but this inspires Bucky’s Widow Natasha to harbor fugitive Red Wolf and Tony Stark to smash his whiskey bottles and start building something in his metal shop.

Was it good: Yes. I am not a fan of the Western genre in general, but this book is full of heroism and action.

Is it necessary: Until we know how Red Wolf is playing into the post-Wars Marvel landscape, I can’t say yes.

Should you buy it: No, not more than a dozen other Good-But-Not-Top titles this week.

Guardians Of Knowhere #3

What happened:  Drax helps Angela defeat Yotat, then Angela and Gamora come to blows over Gamora’s strongly-held doubt in the Deity of Doom.

Was it good: Doom help me, it was. I hated the second issue and wasn’t that into the first, but this one was gorgeous, well-paced, dropped the incongruous space stuff, and emphasized Gamora’s doubt, the strongest part of this miniseries.

Is it necessary: No, and I have long argued that the rules against space travel in every other book make this one out of place in the crossover.

Should you buy it: I… usually I would make a mean comment about how bad this book sucks, but this issue elevates the title to a polite “No, you should not.”

Armor Wars #4

What happened:  Thor Jim Rhodes finds out Tony Stark killed Spyder-Man and a bunch of other people to hide that his virus is what’s killing Technopolis. Tony kills him, but he gets word out to his niece and Spyder-Man’s widow, and they fire up building-sized armor suits to take the fight to Tony.

Was it good: Again, like with Guardians Of Knowhere, this series has been terrible for three issues and has now become actually good. The Tony revelation feels like The Crossing back before The Crossing spun into a soupy muck, and I love it.

Is it necessary: No, the glimpse of Technopolis in Old Man Logan is good enough.

Should you buy it: No, but it’s a surprisingly good issue.

Loki #17 (Last Days)

What happened:  After the final Incursion, Loki has escaped to the realm of Those Who Sit Above In Shadow (the gods who rule the gods), and he uses his power over stories to propose that if primitive man invented the gods to explain the natural world, then the gods invented Those Who Sit, and he threatens to unmake them. Then he finds the evil future version of himself and forgives him for being so bad.

Was it good: I have read maybe eight issues of Loki now. I have hated or disliked most of them. But this issue was great. It was almost easy to follow, the emotional beats moved my heart, and it made me sad that the rest of the book couldn’t have been this accessible.

Is it necessary: Nope, Last Days tie-ins seem pretty irrelevant outside their parent title.

Should you buy it: Not unless you read Loki regularly. And I can finally say I understand why that may be the case.


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, Secret Wars: Secret Love (for two stories), Howard The Human, House Of M, 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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