The final chapter in Jonathan Hickman’s masterpiece, Secret Wars arrives with issue #9. The hardest thing to do, especially with Marvel, is have an ending to such a large scale crossover live up to the expectation set by the brilliant beginning. The stakes were even higher here as Secret Wars was ending all of the Marvel universe in order to create a new one in such a way that it redefined the standard for epic crossover experiences. But does the ninth and final entry in the Secret Wars story leave readers satisfied?
Secret Wars has been such a fun ride. Battleworld provided a seemingly endless supply of stories and situations, but none as compelling as the main story. The tale of God Doom’s world and how it came to be is a vast and carefully intertwined exploration of science fiction and comic book drama. The ending to this journey was no different than the eight issues that came before it.
Readers may find themselves in two different factions upon finishing this book – those who do and do not think this was a worthy ending to such a long and beloved canon. The fact that the all-new and all-different Marvel universe has already launched and is well into its series already may turn some readers off; or just straight up confuse them. Others may not enjoy the fact that there are still unanswered questions about what has ended, what has already begun, and everything in between; but those answers will likely come in big moments at some point during the current ongoing series.
After all Doom had accomplished and created, in the end it all came down to him and Reed Richards. Their epic battle comes to a close with a memorable and powerful moment between Victor and Reed that basically sums up what their relationship has really been all along. Molecule Man was at the forefront of this entire series and gets even more great character moments by the finale. Jonathan Hickman’s character study approach to these Marvel all-stars concludes with a deeply intelligent touch that may not even sink in until a second reading of this series.
As with the previous eight issues in the Secret Wars, the artwork does wonders for adding layers to the deep storytelling on display. The only way to portray an epic on such a grand scale is to provide visuals on par with the story, and this entire series has set a new standard for comic book crossovers. Fluid movement and warm colors grab readers close and drag them through this gigantic finale. There is a particularly memorable page taking an interesting and beautiful approach to illustrating the struggle between Doom and Richards that provides a perfect example as to how innovative Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina really are.
Hickman wrote us the masterpiece that we readers had hoped for. There may be minor damage to its lasting appeal due to the Marvel universe going forward before its conclusion, but Secret Wars will definitely be remembered as a must-read for any Marvel fan.