Marvel has a pretty strange approach to ending its long standing universe and launching a new one simultaneously. It’s been a while since the main Secret Wars tale unfolded, with their focus shifting to all the new #1’s that have been pouring out of Marvel each week. There have been a few patches of confusion, as readers are a couple issues into series taking place after the end of Battleworld; all while God Doom’s rule still hasn’t come to an end in the Secret Wars series. There must have been some sort of scheduling dilemma, or not enough books to come out as the company waited for the conclusion to their giant crossover event.
One would think they would fear that people would lose interest in Secret Wars now that the re-launch is in full effect. And that might be the case if it weren’t for Jon Hickman and the perfection he and his team have churned out thus far. The first six issues of Secret Wars have been perfect in every way, and that alone should keep fans interested in the conclusion.
Secret Wars #7 opens with the Prophet marching a giant army to the gates of God Doom’s doorstep. This prophet reveals himself to be Maximus, as the army begins its final and deadly assault against the forces of a god they now believe to be falsely appointed. Doom watches with his loyalists as the battle begins to unfold, he and his faithful are shaken as this seems to be something different and not just another empty threat. Doom fears his charade may soon come to an end.
The Barons of various regions and their respective armies are summoned to fight the battle for Doom. Captain Marvel convinces Sinister to join her in an effort to betray the retaliation against Maximus’ rebellion. Apocalypse shares his displeasure for betrayal while sharing his admiration for the battlefield. The scale of the battleground and opposing sides gets larger and more interesting with each turn of a page.
Doom summons his Thors, but they too have decided to rebel against what they now believe is a false god. The Thors are a more divided group on the subject, but they too join the massive battlefield. Another late arrival to the festivities is Baron Maestro, and the arrival of he and his forces is truly an awesome sight.
Elsewhere the two Reed Richards continue to butt heads as they approach their inclusion in the action. There’s also a great panel with a classic Star-Lord moment and readers will likely hear the dialogue in their head as spoken by Chris Pratt himself. Secret Wars #7 concludes with an exchange between probably the most interesting rivalry in Marvel comics – Namor and Black Panther.
There isn’t actually much unraveling of a story in this book, which is uncharacteristic for something written by Lord Hickman. The issue serves mostly as an epic set up to the epic finale that will take place over the two remaining issues. The lack of progression, however, does not diminish the enjoyment of this book, as there is a lot to get excited about within these pages. The conclusion promises to be an epic battle to beat all epic battles in the realm of huge crossover events.
Another element that keeps Secret Wars #7 from being like so many other set-up issues is the awe-inspiring art. Readers will be immersed in the front lines of the battlefield as the action jumps off the page in all its layered beauty. It’s a rarity when Alex Ross does the cover art, and the art inside is just as good if not better thanks to Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina. The grand scale of the events unfolding in this book would not come across as well as they do without the art accompanying the story. Maestro arriving at the battle with his army in tow is a one of a kind set of panels, truly something readers will remember.
Secret Wars #7 may pale in comparison to the other six entries in this series, but it’s still worlds above most comics coming out right now. Marvel is onto something with the way they are concluding and introducing these two worlds of canon. There would be cause for concern with the execution if Jon Hickman weren’t at the helm, connecting these two major Marvel chapters together splendidly. With Secret Wars #7, readers are given a chance to catch their breath before the big finale; which cannot come soon enough.