Warning: This has some spoilers

secret wars

Secret Wars is finally all finished.  After countless delays, the ninth and final issue came out this Wednesday.  So now we have the resolution behind the big event that was billed to be changing the Marvel Universe forever.  Did it do that?  Was the wrap up to the story worth the wait?  And just how was the whole thing, as far as events go?  My answers to those questions are as follows:

  • Yes, and no.
  • It depends
  • It depends

What do I mean?  Well, let’s hit the first question.  Yes it did change a lot of things.  The Ultimate Marvel Universe is no more, the Fantastic Four is no more, and Doctor Doom has undergone a major change.  That’s all I’ll give you without spoiling the whole thing.  At the same time a lot of the individual series in the ‘New’ Marvel Universe, which picks up eight months later, are continuing with the exact same storylines and continuity that they were in before Secret Wars began.  And I’m ambivalent about that.  On the one hand I’m happy that a lot of books that were only a few issues in aren’t ditching what had been established.  But on the other hand….what in the hell?  Every book is starting with a new number one issue, even the ones that had less than ten issues in the can before Secret Wars, so to pick up right where you left off story-wise but with a new number one issue….Aaaarrrrggghhhhhh!!!!!

Now on to the more ambiguous answers of mine.  I said ‘it depends’ because I really feel like your assessment will be based on how deep your are into the Marvel books.  If you’ve read all the classic Fantastic Four stories, the Marvel events that served as the backdrop for all the crossover miniseries, the Jonathan Hickman FF run, and the Hickman New Avengers’s run that led up to Secret Wars then you will unequivocally love issue nine and the whole series.  If that’s you any argument to contrary will be invalid and rightfully so.  This is a Marvel devotee’s masterpiece hands down.  The only question really is where you place it alongside the original Secret Wars, Infinity Gauntlet, House of M, etc.

And even if you’re not in with Marvel like that there are some really awesome sights to behold.  The Alex Ross covers, the Thors serving as Doom’s global police force, the no-one-is-safe moments that saw some pretty important people get taken out in short order, the whole concept of Dr. Doom achieving a seemingly final triumph over Reed Richards while presiding over a world that had been, well, Doomed.  And the final showdown between the perpetual rivals Doom and Richards did not disappoint.  They did all the things I look for in an event: raise the stakes, introduce things we hadn’t seen before, require the heroes to take things up a notch in order to win, and deliver a good finish.

But I didn’t find it without some shortcomings.  I felt like they could have told the same story in fewer issues; some things were dragged out longer than they had to be.  And of course that was done to sell more books, which I totally understand, but when you factor in the delays the length of the series became an even bigger issue.  The early issues were easy to follow even if you hadn’t read any of the lead in stories or the crossover books, but once we got to issues seven and eight there was a lot going on that required you to have dug into some of the connected books to understand.  Again that’s for business reasons, and it is what it is, but to me it hurt the reading experience.  It’s understood that with these large scale, universe wide events that you’re going to have spinoff stories that are taking place at the same time but in my opinion you should be able to read the main story by itself without having to go to any of those.

My final assessment?  If you’re a big Marvel fan then this is one of the best things ever.  If you’re not it’s still a damn good story even with the things I mentioned.  So kudos to Marvel for pulling off this huge undertaking.


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