Finally! Secret Wars is back with #6! As Marvel launches a handful of #1’s this week, the story of Battleworld still continues.
There’s a lot going on right now within God Doom’s kingdom of alternate realities, but the focus here is on those within his clutches and those who escaped it. Valeria, head of The Foundation, is charged with finding the incursion survivors that were aboard the life raft. Stephen Strange in his last act, scattered the heroes across Battleworld as they are the last hope in stopping Doom’s reign as a god. Doom killed Strange, which not only forces Valeria towards some realities and truths she may not be ready for, but also removed Doom’s own most trusted council.
Valeria isn’t the only one investigating the secrets behind Doom’s power and the world he created; both Reed Richards and their teams of survivors are pursuing answers as well. Ultimate Reed Richards, or “The Maker”, has developed a diversion and recruited The Prophet and his or her’s army to march towards Doom’s throne and the World Tree. Reed of 616 is focused on how Doom came to possess the power of a god, and has a plan in place as well. Both Reeds’ share a different solution to Doom – The Maker plans on destroying him, while 616 Reed plans to stop him in a more conservative manner. The dynamic between the two is reminiscent of classic Magneto/Xavier exchanges with their differing views on the situation at hand.
Reed’s plan in discovering how Doom came to power involves both Spider-Mans, Parker and Morales, to investigate the source. Their paths cross with Valeria who is there seeking the same answers, but is afraid to face facts as she is still a child. The Spideys push on to uncover source of Doom’s power – The Molecule Man. All the character duos in this issue are strong, especially these two. Having both Spider-Mans together is always a blast and their dialogues are fun and exciting.
Another interesting duo is that of Black Panther and Namor, who have set off on their own quest to Dr. Strange’s secret Isle of Agamotto. One of HIckmans’ best story lines during his run on New Avengers was the rivalry between these two. It was Atlantis versus Wakanda, where the two deceived each other over and over and much blood was shed. It’s awesome that Hickman has these two sharing panels again, allowing them to discuss what was and what’s now.
Doom collects his Barons and devises a plan to stop The Prophet’s impending attack. Without spoiling anything else, things are piling up against Doom. Everything points towards his god status falling apart, with Thanos has been doing his part to spoil Doom’s plans. And Doom starting to show signs of weakness and fear, but only to us, his trusted collection of super-villain barons remain unaware.
Hickman delivers another hard sci-fi trip into the science of religion of Battleworld with Secret Wars #6. There is no more consistent writer in comic books, and Hickman knows exactly how far to push the elements that make or break comic book stories. He takes his complex worlds and ideas and serves them to his audience as an easy to swallow and highly exciting platter. There is a lot going on in Battleworld, but it’s not overwhelming or confusing.
Esad Ribic and the art team stay on target when it comes to bringing Hickman’s world to life with beautiful and intense visuals. What Hickman is doing for iconic Marvel stories, Ribic and company are doing for iconic Marvel art. They compliment each other so well in bringing these complex scenes to life in such detailed panels. The grand scale of this event is perfectly illustrated and given such depth, while also conveying a sense of intimacy when necessary.
There isn’t a single negative thing that can be said about the six issues of Secret Wars thus far. Marvel should never let this creative team split up or leave – they do wonders for their characters and the worlds they inhabit. If the final three issues are on par and deliver a worthy finale, this crossover event could easily be one of Marvel’s all-time best.