Marvel Comics Universe Re-Defined – Secret Wars Spoilers & Review: Secret Wars #1 By Jonathan Hickman, Esad Ribic & Ive Svorcina

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SECRET WARS {3rd series} #1 (of 8) Spoilers & Review
“The End Times” (34 pages)
Writer & Designer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Esad Ribic
Colorist: Ive Svorcina
Letterer by: Chris Eliopoulos
Production by: Idette Winecoor
Covers by: Alex Ross; Simone Bianchi & Simone Peruzzi; Jim Cheung & Justin Ponsor; John Tyler Christopher; Amanda Conner & Paul Mounts; Butch Guice & Andy Troy; Esad Ribic; Skottie Young; Chip Zdarsky
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $4.99

Worlds War is in full effect!! The much-hyped event that has been teased for an unbearable eight months has finally hit the shelves.

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The first three pages recap the last six pages of NEW AVENGERS #33. Dr. Doom, ever the pompous ass, tries to flex against the Beyonders and is wiped away from existence. The same applies to his crony Molecule Man and his occasional ally Dr. Strange.

Earth-1610, the Ultimate Universe, has Nick Fury at the helm. The Maker has presented him with the problem and orders him to save their reality. General Fury is no fool but he has no alternative but to follow the evil genius. The Maker has held back one vital piece of the puzzle: the Incursion will happen in less than an hour, not eight. Thanos sneers at humans’ need for deception. He whole-heartedly believes every being should embrace Death.

The heroes take to various tasks to avoid the end of everything. The powerhouses are on the frontlines. The brainiacs drum up some solutions. The stealth go on recon. Manifold seems to be the key given his teleportation powers. Black Panther has envisioned two scenarios. One involves a resurrection team. The other is the opposite but Manifold will sacrifice his life for the Earth.

Iron Man-1610 is in the midst of the foray. He astutely observes how outnumbered he is when he spots the 616’ers. He is easily taken down as is his back-up. The strongest in the bunch, Colossus and Doc Green, topple the Triskelion.

Some of the 616’ers vanish. They are Black Bolt, Star-Lord, Thor, Spider-Man, and Captain Marvel. The resurrection team of Black Widow and Spider-Woman perish.

***Totally random, eyebrow-raising interlude*** Punisher crashes an end-of-world party hosted by Kingpin. Shades of Scourge come to mind.

Cyclops takes extreme measures by touching the Phoenix Egg. Upon contact, he becomes Dark Phoenix once again. He materializes into the midst of the missing heroes who were teleported by Mr. Fantastic.

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Reed and T’Challa try to breach the shield from the 1610. All seems lost when the carrier section is destroyed but Sue has erected a force field to spare her and her loved ones from an untimely demise. The raft has a rupture in the hull. Reed has a five-second window to reach out and power down the shield. Sue’s indomitable ability isn’t enough. As she buckles, the window expires and Reed loses his elastic arm.

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Reed narrates his insurmountable sadness. His undying hope in everlasting life was a fool’s paradise. His belief system is shot and the void is closing in.

Memorable moments:
• Fastball special — Colossus launching Doc Green. [page 13]
• Miles Morales’ presence is so small-scale and he’s also flabbergasted. [page 17]
• Iron Man-1610 hitting on Captain Marvel as she’s hitting him. LOL [page 23]
• Planet Earth cracks in two. [page 31]
• Doom’s faceplate is prevalent in the White Event. [page 32]

Significant speech:
• “You humans and your unseemly theatrics. There is no honor in running from death…People should know when their time is up.” – Thanos
• “Reed Richards is a thousand-year-old megalomaniac boy genius who wiped out most of Europe on a whim, Hawkeye.” – Nick Fury-1610
• “I am Groot.” “I do remember when comic books were only a dollar. A dollar’s worth of crap!” – Rocket Raccoon
• “Listen to me…You can’t kill an idea. It always comes back. Resurrected. Or reborn into a different form.” – Cyclops as he transmogrifies into Dark Phoenix
• “My entire life I believed in better days ahead. I believed in tomorrow. I hid that belief in my heart: a stronghold against a world that devours hope. But now the walls have fallen. I have been overrun. And I hope, I believe, in nothing.” – Reed Richards

Meta-commentary:
Rocket Raccoon despises cheap comics? Perhaps crossovers too? Did you know that SECRET WARS #1-11 cost 75¢ apiece with the final issue going for one whole dollar!!? The sequel has issues 1-8 costing three quarters with the last one hitting the $1.25 mark! You’ll never see those prices again!!

Blast from the past: [Pun-isher intended!]
As I mentioned earlier, Punisher intercepting Kingpin’s invite is Christmas for him. Santa made his day. This harkens back to the slaughter of lame-o villains by Scourge but there’s a real twist here with the major players in peril.

RSVP: [Registered Super-Villain Provider]
I got a kick out of reading these outrageous e-mail addresses. Let’s see if you can determine who’s who, True Believer.
• lizard@coldblooded.com
• hitthetarget@hit.com
• who@whocares.com
• oz@amazinghair.net

Make mine Marvel?
How bold is it to have obituaries for the Marvel Universe and its bolder counterpart the Ultimate Universe?!? Is this legit? For serious? The clock has stopped ticking!!

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Mr. Hickman’s opus has unveiled its introductory piece. The top tier of the Illuminati are focused on a bit more than the mad scrambling of their heroic compatriots. More on those two will follow. The Maker looms over Thanos as the Big Bad. This is telling since intellect trumps muscle each and every time. Mr. Hickman presents snippets of action through a tri-focal lens. The essence remains. Reed is the hub, the kernel, the core of this saga. In other words, it’s a fitting end since Mr. Hickman’s first major work was FANTASTIC FOUR and one can equate the writer’s ambitious ideas to those of the FF’s founder.

Esad Ribic deftly drafted this lengthy opener. His hands must have been cramping by the end! His attention to detail is admirable. It’s a massive chore! The best scenes are Miles’ perplexed nature, Doom’s face in the centre of ‘vaporization’ and the loss of Reed’s extended limb.

Ive Svorcina is a new player on the scene, at least to me. Research shows that he has collaborated with Esad on THOR: GOD of THUNDER and is on tap for the first three issues of this mini. His pastels are quite earthy (no pun intended!) as the Incursion takes place. Either way, he had an easy end to this première with the blending and absence of light.

Chris Eliopoulos’s work never suffers. I don’t know if he had to recreate the logo but the epitome of it all is the e-mail composed by Wilson Fisk. Plus, he does a bang-up job [natch;-)] with the explosion, authenticates the artificiality behind The City and Iron Man-1610’s speaker, and stresses the dismay in Reed’s voice.

This is the second time Idette Winecoor’s name pops up on my reading radar. I’m still intrigued by her role in this issue. She is credited as being a letterer but the repertoire she has established leaves me trying to process it all.

Jonathan Hickman. To all fans of his œuvres, the pay-off begins here. Personally, I feel that the event-building that encompassed the seventy-seven issues of AVENGERS and NEW AVENGERS could have been condensed to one-third of that. While I myself am extremely thorough and point out the littlest things, his premise of creating this crisis is extremely simple despite the complex explanations behind it. Mr. Hickman has confirmed that this is his last hoorah with Marvel for a good while. Thus, he has the opportunity to really shake up things. He may go down in notoriety for his actions. As previously iterated, he is Reed Richard’s spokesperson. Every minituæ points to and comes from him.

Things are only going to worsen for the entire MU but should appeal to us readers. Taking the number of the first maxi-series and the second, then dividing it by this third incarnation, I give this inaugural edition a 7 out of 10.

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