As a guy reared on DC, I’ve decided to read and review Marvel’s Secret Wars — and selected offshoots — through the lens of a relative neophyte. Will I be able to enjoy something so clearly geared to the advanced reader? More importantly, will you? Let’s find out!
I imagine that this is what it would feel like if a Marvel fan picked up Grant Morrison’s Multiversity.
Where Secret Wars #1 gave us a relatively straightforward end-of-the-world story, Issue #2 was all about world-building, and turning historic Marvel tropes upside down.
We’re led to believe that Doctor Doom is now the king of the world, only more — he’s God among men. He rules over a feudal society with his iron fist and a legion of Thors at his command. His “sheriff” is Stephen Strange and he has a political enemy in the Braddock family.
It reads very much like Game of Thrones in the Marvel Universe, only with some Planet of the Apes-like science/religion/dogma/heresy themes thrown in, as well.
There’s much more, both obvious and opaque; I’m certain there were probably 15 references to Marvel lore that went right by me. As I expected, this story is the deep end of the pool.
Only at the end do we get our strongest notion of the breadth of Battleworld — and it seems to me that while Doom is leading his minions to believe he is the center of the universe, there are other lands that are very likely to view Doomgard in the same way that the prior Marvel Universe regarded Latveria.
The Battleworld map has been out for awhile — I even have my heavy cardstock foldout — but it’s given much greater weight when it’s presented in the story. I spent a lot of time reviewing it and playing some guessing games, especially since it’s no longer redacted. (This Westchester resident is glad to see Westchester is its own region or kingdom or state on Battleworld.)
So yeah, it’s not exactly Marvel 101 but I really enjoyed it. Even though I knew there were references and Easter eggs that were lost in me, I didn’t really care. The story was fun to read and I’m really curious about the universe that writer Jonathan Hickman is creating. And Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina‘s art is stunning. Maybe it’s because we’ve been on a Moebius kick of late, but I saw the French master’s fingerprints all over this issue.
I’m not only ready for Issue #3, I’m really looking forward to it.