Secret Wars #8
Arguably the best issue of the entire series as we have Franklin killing Ben Grim/The Wall. The Horde of Annihilus invading the battlefield alongside Thanos, Thanos killed by Doom in a Mortal Kombat manner, Starlord destroying Castle doom and taking control of Ygdrassil by bringing back Groot, The hordes of the dead at T’challa’s command entering the fray while T’challa has an Infinity gauntlet pointed straight at Doom’s head. This issue had it all, it’s just a pity it was delayed and also a pity I could not find the time to review it before now. Esad Ribic’s art is superb and expertly crafted on every single page. This was a very action heavy issue as the story races to its conclusion. Dr. Doom is portrayed as immensely powerful easily decimating Thanos the Mad Titan. Thanos does however point out that Doom has not used his powers as a true God but instead he’s been shacked by his own mortality and limited scope.
Secret Wars #9
Chartbusting creators Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic march toward the end of their grand saga as the final battle against God Doom rages on! Battleworld teeters on the brink. The Shield has fallen. Armies march on Doomstadt. As Battleworld gives way to a new Marvel Universe…no one will come out the other side unscathed, if they come out at all. Who lives? Who dies? Find out when the penultimate chapter!
What I thought
Secret War #9 starts in epic Black Superhero glory with T’challa the Black Panther, Infinity Gauntlet on hand takes the fight to Dr. Doom. It is a glorious scene that has been a long time coming. This one scene brought back so many Doom vs. T’challa memories for me, Doomwar though naturally first springs to mind. Esad Ribbic is officially the artist of 2015 because no one else has been this consistent despite the delays.
The scenes with Reed Richards and his family who Doom had taken as his own were touching and long time fans of the Fantastic Four will no doubt feel the most resonant.
For me it was all about T’challa who quite easily stole the show fighting Doom! While Marvel treats Doom as the penultimate/preeminent mind/villain in their Universe T’challa has outsmarted him a bunch of times and this issue he does it once more, providing a distraction for “God” while Reed Richards got to Owen Reece/The Molecule Man. I also enjoyed the betrayal of Reed by his doppelganger “The Maker”. It was expected but I did not see the resolution coming. That was an unexpected twist. Doom vs. Reed was equally entertaining as they have since the beginning been portrayed as flip sides of the same coin. Both raise interesting points about their conflict and how each saved existence itself. In the end Reed even restores Victors damaged face much to Victor’s amusement.
The Resolution also found T’challa surviving the finale remake of reality in a rather cool way. Fans of Hickman’s run on the Avengers will be left both amused and slightly confused. Did the whole run not happen due to the remake? Or did T’challa travel back in time and prevent some of those events from taking place? The Fantastic Four have also been removed from the play field but in a non slap in the face manner. It’s rather poetic actually since they were Marvel’s first family.
What Secret Wars did for Black superheroes was restore Wakanda and all its potential to life in a grand, Marvel is pushing the brand now kind of way. T’challa is front and center as the baker/creator of the Alpha Flight satellite which is now central to both Captain Marvel and the Ultimates franchises. We get Miles Morales in the new Marvel Universe, his mother restored and him swinging on the webs alongside Peter Parker. He now has a mentor….but are foes like Venom and his uncle Prowler back? I sure hope so!
Jonothan Hickman’s swan song for his Marvel work was epic in its finality though it lacked a certain something because we already knew Victor would have his face restored, Wakanda was back and Miles would be folded into the new Marvel Universe. Sure we though that Reed Richards would be killed but that did not happen.
The most shocking thing in this story was how Doom snapped Cyclops/Phoenix’s neck and he just never returned to life nor did he show up again in the story. This was disappointing on many levels. Secret Wars was an entertaining read for sure. In the end I am grateful that marvel held the line and did not water down the finale product by using fill in artists. This will holdup just as well as Joss Whedon’s Astonishing X-men, especially in motion comic form. Both covers look good but It is Secret Wars #9 which shows Reed vs Doom that truly takes my breath away.