The Marvel 616 universe has been around since 1961, and the Ultimate 1610 universe has been around since 2000. To end both of them simultaneously in order to relaunch the Marvel Comics universe is extremely ambitious. For a writer to pull this off flawlessly is nearly impossible, but not unlike God Doom himself, Jonathan Hickman seems to be the hero we need.
In fact, there are many parallels between what Doom is doing in the book and what Hickman is doing in reality. The Beyonders are colliding these two universes together in order to end all we have loved and lived for – which is basically Marvel and their plans for a universe reset. God Doom and his chosen disciples pick up the pieces and hold what remains together in this final chapter of Marvel’s long standing canon – much like Hickman and his team. And the life-boat full of survivors are the untouchable heroes that will definitely return for more monthly adventures on the other side of this event. The point being, what Hickman is doing with Secret Wars is (as far as Marvel Comics goes) God’s work.
With some major crossover events the main book can lose its way for a couple issues in the middle, but with Secret Wars #4 that is not the case. Every emotional connection Marvel readers have to this universe is hit upon in this issue. Hickman has a special ability to deeply immerse his audience with science fiction rules and occurrences without losing the casual fan’s interest in the highly detailed design. The story only keeps getting better with each issue, as major players are sharing different roles and evolving with each turn of the page.
Hickman introduces his cast in each issue of Secret Wars similarly to how Wes Anderson does before one of his films, and not without reason. This showcases the delicacy and importance of each character’s role in the panels that follow, while also serving as a refresher for the more minor names. This simple act alone illustrates how much care and attention is given to each member of this specific plot.
Hickman handles his players like no other and always has. In his previous work, Hickman showed how well he understood Doom and Reed Richard and made their characters extremely fun. Now that he has been given the chance of a lifetime with those two characters at the center of it all, he flexes that muscle once again.
Visually, each page is as epic as the story it is illustrating. Beautiful drawn and masterfully colored, Secret Wars #4 and the world it contains are full of depth and spectacle thanks to Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina. The action is conveyed in a way that is easy to follow but also bursting with complexity. The moments of discussion and drama put a sense of tension onto the reader as you can feel each panel’s emotion.
As action packed as it is thought provoking, from beginning to end Secret Wars #4 has it all. Both visually stunning and with an epic story to end all epic Marvel stories, this is event is another home run.