Marvel Comics Review & Spoilers: Secret Wars #5 By Jonathan Hickman, Esad Ribic, Ive Svorcina. Sheriff Strange Sanctified! Val Vows Vengeance! Molecule Man Muses! Doom Does Diddly!

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SECRET WARS {3rd series} #5 (of 8)

Writer & Designer: Jonathan Hickman
Artist: Esad Ribic

Color Artist: Ive Svorcina

Letterer: Chris Eliopoulos

Covers by: Alex Ross; Simone Bianchi & Simone Peruzzi; John Tyler Christopher; Tomm Coker; Sophie Campbell; Pat Broderick & Chris Sotomayor

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Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99

“Owen Reece Died for Our Sins” (20 pages)

A funeral of the highest distinction is held for Sheriff Strange. An elder explains that God Doom was responsible for the origin of the universe with his right-hand man Stephen. The Thors raise their hammers in honour of the fallen man. Thor (Jane Foster?) asks the new Thor recruit to explain matters. He promises answers in due time. This is a private service. Sue Storm organized it for her ‘husband’. Franklin uses his powers to put a wreath of lotuses around the statue’s neck. He vows to tear apart the culprit limb from limb.

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Valeria sincerely mourns Stephen’s departure. The two butted heads but she held the utmost respect for him. The precocious phenom also feels some guilt regarding his quarantine of the heroes’ life raft. She is wiser beyond her young years. Val outmatches her ‘father’ Victor. She demands retribution for the wrong-doing. She presses Doom to point her to the murderers. He remains calm and unfazed. He delivers the excuse of maintaining his planet intact. Given her determination to get to the truth and her thirst for justice, he sends her off like a bloodhound to fetch the guilty ones who will be brought before him. He gives her the extra nudge by acknowledging her status as his ‘offspring’.

Universal truth:The high cost of living is death.” – Doom to Valeria

Bide your time:Undying love and eternal patience are not the same thing, child.” – Doom to Valeria

Doom curses Stephen for his bullheadedness. He gestures and enters a realm unseen by others. It is located below the Molecule Man’s statue. Owen Reece is a chatterbox. He has many hard truths to express to his ‘master’. He is ravenous since he has consumed everything. Victor neglected to bring him some nourishment. Doom tells MM that Strange has passed away. Owen thinks it was cancer which is the number one cause of death but Victor informs him that it was something far worse: doubt.

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Trust not what you hear:Like most things that perceive, our ears lie so much.” – Owen to Victor

Master of your domain:We have the appearance of peace…of being whole…but I think it all might just fall apart if we are not careful.” – Molecule Man to Doom

The secret origin of the Molecule Man is re-presented!! [Note: this is an extension of what was relayed in NEW AVENGERS {3rd Series} #33] Stephen was the Omega. Victor was the Alpha, in a manner of speaking. The Beyonders are the originators of reality. Their status as creators started to dull them. They became death-bringers. The Molecule Man was made as an agent of destruction, chaos, annihilation. One universe was insufficient. Multiple MMs were conceived across the multiverse. No one thing can be truly perfect. The major flaw in design was that Molecule Man became an actual man with free will. Owen chose Victor Von Doom to be his plaything!! Not the other way around! Doom delayed the simultaneous detonation of all the human bombs. Cloning is a copy of a copy – each subsequent product inferior to the former. Owen was infinitely divided [literally and figuratively]. He and Doom created the religious order of the Black Swans, killers of the faulty shaper of reality. The task took a toll on Owen’s sanity. Stephen then joined the twosome. The joint efforts were in vain since the Beyonders were on to their prodigal’s plot. They could not be deterred but they could be distracted. Doom dared defy them.

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Limited vision:Our eyes are like our ears. They lie too, don’t they?” – Owen Reece, the Molecule Man

How to lessen an explosion:Blow the primer to diminish the charge.” – Doom to MM

The slaughter of the myriad MMs led to the storing of their vast power. The sole survivor acted as a receptacle and conductor. The overflow of the world-shaping ability would be manipulated by Victor and Stephen. Strange admitted ineptitude in this nigh-impossible endeavour especially because of his conscience. Doom had no such qualms. Doom confesses to killing his dear friend. MM was already aware of this. Owen believes that Victor set off a chain of events that will lead to the ultimate end. Doom in his quest for godhood is both catalyst and casualty. Victor lashes back that maybe MM will be the trigger. Owen laughs it off.

Valeria has gathered the Justice Division of the Future Foundation. Priority number one is to hunt down and imprison Sheriff Strange’s ‘murderers’. Alex Power and Dragon Man provide their report of the crime scene to Doom’s Daughter. Latverion (Battleworld) is replete of Doom’s own energy which Alex has labelled God particles. The Thors’ enforcing creates spikes in the field and allows for easy detection. Night Machine and Psycho Man find the information irrelevant and unordinary.

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Val speaks up and states that Stephen Strange’s magic acted independently of God Doom’s power. In fact, it was always antithetical. Alex has named it dark matter. The question is why the Sheriff dispersed the rebels rather than arrest them. Nostradamus is about to make a dire prediction. Val has a worse forecast. She demands that the group’s findings stay secret. No one outside the closed circle is to reveal anything. Val has six simple objectives to fulfill. The most important is why her lord father is deathly afraid of these opponents. Thanos appears at the bottom of The Shield. His evil grin is unmistakable.

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High and mighty: Doom’s life essence is a science unto itself.

Sore about Thor: Bentley-23 is definitely not a fan.

By this halfway mark, I was hoping to see the opposing sides gather and begin to engage in combat. In light of last issue’s shocker, it makes sense to have the good Sheriff laid to rest and given tribute. I have always predicted that Thanos and Doom will slug it out in the very end. The Infinity Gauntlet will undo all of Victor’s vainglorious efforts. Why else would Mr. Hickman transport the Cabal to Battleworld? He is the master architect of this entire opus. No single character is misplaced nor used as filler. I’ll admit my anxiety in seeing the heroes act accordingly. Enough talk! Time for action, and plenty of it!!

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Another burning question is buried into my brain: have the Beyonders been truly extinguished or are they put on ice? The cameos of the Black Swans mean their role has yet to be carried out to the fullest. Owen Reece will solidify and reappear, acting as an ally in overthrowing the emperor. Enjoy your slice of heaven while it lasts Doomsie, because it will all crash down in three more issues!

Esad Ribic is an outstanding sculptor. Stephen Strange’s statue is life-like! Its stern stance is reflective of the sorcerer supreme with the weight of the worlds on his shoulders. Some close-ups and profiles of Doom reveal his humanity despite his delusions. Molecule Man is a Marvel take on the Distinguished Competition’s homicidal maniac. Owen is less threatening but off his rocker due to multiple killings of his other selves.

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Ive Svorcina’s colours shine once again especially in the nether-realm where Molecule Man finds shelter and sanctuary. The Sheriff’s statue is a fitting charcoal grey. The violet energy cast by and surrounding the Beyonders raises the higher state of reality.

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Chris Eliopoulos gets to condense the Beyonders’ speech. The all-caps imply magnificence and potency. He also amuses himself via the green captions for Owen Reece’s recounting of events.

The universe is (mainly) infinite in its size and composition. Scientists estimate that 1078 to 1082 [between ten quadrillion vigintillion and one-hundred thousand quadrillion vigintillion] atoms comprise our definition of reality. Thus, in honour of the Molecule Man who ‘died’ to keep us all alive: I give this book 7.500 [seven to the fifth power = 16,807%].

Big Bang with Thinker

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