After his somewhat overlooked and rushed introduction in the previous issue, the identity of the mysterious Prophet is revealed. Along with the intriguing cliffhanger, issue #7 gets Secret Wars back on track after a long layover in action. Readers are finally starting to see the heroes plan come together, while Jonathan Hickman is slowly tipping his cards as to the miniseries’ grand finale. It’s an exciting mix of espionage, character dynamics, and revelations that, unlike the previous two or three issues, satiates reader’s hunger.
The newest issue of Secret Wars sees the story heat up with a massive battle not seen since the very first issue. The forces of the Prophet aim to overthrow the false god Doom, while the deity’s various kingdoms rush to defend him. Readers witness the civil war tearing through the Thor corps, an entire legion of Hulks rain from the sky, and Apocalypse wage war with his son. Seeing Holocaust in a comic should come as a neat surprise for anyone who grew up reading 90s comics. Finally, after seven issues, the gauntlet has been thrown down as Doom’s kingdom is beginning to tear itself apart amidst the chaotic throes of religious veracity.
As has been the case throughout the entire series, the character moments remain the shining points in this issue. The interactions between Mr. Fantastic and Maker are as strong as they’ve ever been, Apocalypse’s disgruntled subservience is spot on, and the identity of the Prophet makes tremendous sense once revealed. While this is a line-wide event, it could also be argued that the most pivotal character in Secret Wars and even throughout Hickman’s run on Avengers/New Avengers is Black Panther, whose decision factoring into the issue’s cliffhanger hearkens back to Hickman’s run on Fantastic Four. However, despite the overall strong character work, there are still a few instances where Hickman doesn’t quite capture the character’s voice. Captain Marvel’s allegiance to Mr. Sinister doesn’t make any sense at all, and in fact, Mr. Sinister sounds more like a haughty snob than a twisted maniac. Even Dr. Doom’s refusal to engage in the actually conflict seems strange, almost as if he’s inviting ruin. It’d been made clear that Doom is omnipotent, not omniscient, but still, his abstinence from the battle seems motivated more by stupidity than arrogance.
With actual action to draw, Esad Ribic turns in his strongest artwork since the beginning of the miniseries. Apocalypse still looks like a wrinkled potato, but Holocaust has never looked slicker or more foreboding. Although Mr. Sinister sort of looks like Prince, at least Mr. Fantastic doesn’t suffer from the dreaded “Dad Bod” as he did in previous issues. Also in the plus column is that everyone’s eyes are safely lodged in their sockets this time around. The most iconic scene from this issue however, remains the legion of Hulks dropping off from the skies and into the ensuing fray below. When given massive battles to draw, Ribic really shines, and with the majority of this issue depicting skirmishes, Ribic straighten outs some of the flaws plaguing the art during the middle issues of the miniseries.
Not only is Secret Wars #7 an enjoyable issue, it gets the train back on the tracks at such a crucial point in the miniseries. Questions raised in previous installments are answered, even if readers will feel at times as if they missed something between issues #6 and #7. It is safe to say however, with the cliffhangers of this and the previous issues, and with only two more issues to go before the miniseries concludes, Secret Wars is rounding out into form and promises to end with a boisterous bang.