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Secret Wars #8: The Beginning is the End is the Beginning

Secret Wars #8 Written by Jonathan Hickman Art by Esad Ribic Colors by Ive Svorcina Letters by Chris Eliopoulos Published by Marvel Comics   Here it is, the penultimate chapter of Marvel’s best crossover in almost a decade, and boy does it crank everything up to 11!  This is the final battle that reader’s have been waiting …

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‘Secret Wars’ #7: Prophets of Rage

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.

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Howard the Human #1 is weird, goofy and awesome

Some arbitrary sci-fi geek stuff happened in the Marvel universe recently thanks to the Secret Wars event comic, resulting in really weird continuity that is going to last for the few months this event will need tie-ins to hit comic shops with. For nerds who want more pieces of the large, sprawling story, there are certainly tie-ins to fit their desires, but there are also straight up goofy releases that certainly don’t need Secret Wars to exist. Yes, tie-ins like Howard the Human aren’t even remotely anchored to the main Secret Wars storyline, simply using the messed-up-continuity angle to deliver a wacky What If? story.

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‘Secret Wars: Secret Love’ #1 is an adorable romance anthology

With four great stories and one mediocre one, Secret Wars Secret Love #1 is definitely worth picking up as it looks into a variety of relationships from platonic to struggling marriages and even ones that will make long time Marvel fans smile. This is a comic that will bring all generations of Marvel fans together and is filled with humor, heart, and a nice variety of art styles. (Gurihuru’s Danny Rand/Misty Knight is the cherry on top though.)

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Fight Comics as Event Crossover in ‘E Is For Extinction’ #2

E Is For Extinction #2, without any real revelatory character work or struggles, ends up being one giant fight comic. Villalobos and colorist Ian Herring choreograph a brutal fight, no matter whether the fight is verbal or physical. The pettiness of both the good and bad guys makes this comic just a fight about egos which seems exciting but ends up being a bit empty because for all of the bluster, it’s not really fighting for anything other than being just another tie-in to an event that has a massive amount of tie-ins.

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‘Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde’ #1 is a little fun, a little unnecessary

Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde #1 is maybe worth checking out if you’re a huge Star-Lord (not Kitty Pryde) fan and has a couple laughs and a shimmering color palette. But for the most part, it’s a tie-in with a quirky setting that doesn’t add anything new to the “doubt” plotline surrounding god emperor and inconsistently characterizes both its leads with a by the numbers plot.

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‘Siege’ #1 is short on plot, big on snark

As Kieron Gillen’s swan song (for now) from the Marvel Universe, Siege #1 has an exciting premise as versions of characters from books he’s written ranging from Uncanny X-Men and SWORD to Young Avengers and Journey into Mystery. A rag-tag band of warriors from all over Battleworld, including Abigail Brand (the protagonist), Ms. America, Lady Kate Bishop (from the 1602 universe), Ben Grimm, Leonardo da Vinci, Leah (Loki’s girlfriend in Journey into Mystery), and an army of Scott Summers clones must defend the Shield, which borders all of Battleworld from a variety of threats including Ultron knockoffs, giant ant zombies, and an even worst threat revealed in the comic. Basically, it’s like reading the Jon Snow POV chapters in Game of Thrones, but sassier. And Siege #1 has some of the problems that those early Jon Snow chapters had, such as some interesting bits of lore and characterization, but almost no plot. The comic reads like a prologue to the real action of the miniseries and takes it sweet time establishing the setting, cast, and some of Abigail Brand’s backstory. But it’s definitely not without entertainment value.

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Dan Slott knows his stuff in ‘Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows’ #2

Dan Slott is back, delivering a tale of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson’s struggle to maintain their family in the face of Secret Wars. However, references to Hickman’s massive event are non-existent. Instead, Dan Slott creates a dystopian world, reminiscent of the worlds of Orwell and Huxley, where supervillains hunt superheroes in the name of a despotic overlord. Despite the departure from the Manhattan that Spidey traditionally swings through, Dan Slott proves that he’s still more than capable of telling a story that puts the wall-crawler’s heart and determination on full display.

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‘Secret Wars’ #4: Mr. Doom and Dr. Fantastic

Overall, issue four proves to be the weakest installment thus far as it slows the plot down to a crawl and feels purely like a transitional issue meant to set up the final half of the miniseries. If this is a necessary sacrifice to ensure that the final four issues will be even better than the first three, so be it. At this point, there should be no cause for alarm as readers should trust Jonathan Hickman with his plans. After three astonishing issues, and one decent issue, Secret Wars is still on pace to be Marvel’s best event since Civil War.

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‘Runaways’ #1 is ‘The Breakfast Club’ of Battleworld

In Runaways #1, Noelle Stevenson and Sanford Greene take the bare bones premise of a teen film like The Breakfast Club or even the original Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona Runaways series of highschoolers from different backgrounds stuck together and adds more physical conflict, jokes, and a less white bread cast of characters. It’s nice to hear two teens have an honest conversation about being bisexual that sounds natural (and maybe a tad flirty) and not like an after school special. Filled to the brim with sparkling personalities and dialogue, comedic mayhem, and spot-on character designs, Runaways #1 is a great, non-traditional addition to the teen superhero genre.

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‘Future Perfect’ #1- Return of the King

For the most part it’s basically just a fight issue with David and Land re-establishing Dystopia and its ruler. Yet with the surprising reveal of Banner, since the first “Future Imperfect”, he set a trend with various writers such as Mark Millar and Jason Aaron playing with the aspect of an insane Banner in respective books. But with someone like David who has a history with the character, it’s going to be interesting to see how he competes against this.

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‘Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps’ #1 is a soul-searching war comic

Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #1 uses the characters and ideas brought up in Kelly Sue DeConnick’s seminal Captain Marvel run to tell a thought provoking and intense war story set in space with a diverse group of female leads. Each dog fight has a point as Carol Danvers progresses from soldier to possible revolutionary.

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‘Witch Hunter Angela’ #1 is a jolly, beautiful comic

Witch Hunter Angela #1 is a tasty cake with layers of Elizabethan style wordplay from Bennett, impeccable costume design from Sauvage and Hans, and puns and in-jokes from Gillen. Also, there’s finally a reference to Edmund Spenser of Faerie Queene fame and undergraduate toil in a Marvel comic. It is filled with subtle or not so subtle shots at everything from William Shakespeare (and a certain Marvel hero) being overused in pop culture to the fandom and good looks of a certain, once underrated character, but these shots are playful and not biting. And in its own winding way, it continues the arc of the friendship between Serah and Angela from the now wrapped Angela Asgard’s Assassin series. Come for the clever history, literature, and comics jokes and stay for a well-rendered and realized world courtesy of Marguerite Sauvage and Stephanie Hans.

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‘Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows’ #1- How perfect is too perfect?

For nearly every massively popular superhero, chances are there’s an equally popular love interest behind that hero. Iron Man loves Pepper Potts, Superman loves Lois Lane, and Spider-Man loves…okay, he’s loved a couple people over the years. Gwen Stacy, Peter’s first love, cared for Peter but hated Spider-Man, a dynamic that would have inevitably doomed the relationship, even if the Green Goblin hadn’t sent her to an early grave. Black Cat represent the dangerous, thrill-seeking side of Spider-Man’s life. She was the opposite of Gwen: Black Cat loved the Spider but had no interest in his Peter Parker persona, a fact that Peter himself couldn’t reconcile. Mary Jane Watson, however, was what many readers consider to be Peter’s ultimate love interest, who loved both sides of Peter’s identity, and ultimately married him.

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‘Secret Wars’ #3: My God is the Sun

The only misstep on Hickman’s part is the reveal of Doom’s face, something that should never be exposed to readers. The mystery of Doom’s scarred face should remain just that as readers should question whether his face is actually mangled and charred or if his face is only slightly scarred, but because of Doom’s own vanity he hides his imperfection completely. Overall, it’s a minor gripe in what is otherwise another exciting installment in Marvel’s most ambitious event.

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‘Old Man Logan’ #1 is a sad spaghetti western with superheroes

Old Man Logan #1 is a lot of things. A character study that captures the feral and peaceful parts of Wolverine through Maiolo’s shifting colors (The more violent the panel, the flatter the colors.) and Sorrentino’s layouts and close-ups of his well-worn face. It is also a chance for two of comics’ finest storytellers to place their mark on a classic genre. Even if you hate Wolverine, Old Man Logan #1 is worth picking up for its exploration of one man trying to find a kind of morally grey hope in a world bereft of it wonderfully rendered in a tapestry of blood, gunpowder, and desert sand. Leone, Morricone, and Eastwood would be proud.

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‘Secret Wars’ #2 welcomes us to Battleworld

On “Californication”, the Red Hot Chili Peppers observe that “destruction leads to a very rough road, but it also breeds creation”, a theory that Marvel apparently agrees with, as from the destruction of Earth-616 and Earth-1610 comes the genesis of Battleworld. Even though it’s about 30 years too late, Secret Wars is Marvel’s response to Crisis on Infinite Earths, and because of the sheer scope of the calamity at hand, this is the first time since Civil War that the actual crisis justifies a massive crossover event.

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‘Secret Wars’ #1 is an epic, fun, and bloated event comic

For the most part, Hickman and Ribic keep Secret Wars #1 from being too bloated with timely reaction close-ups of characters, and little jokes or insights into them, like Thanos being disgusted with humanity’s fear of death or the aforementioned Rocket joke. Esad Ribic’s storytelling makes this comic work as a pure work of superhero action with cutting panels for his sharp fight scenes. He also uses well-placed montages as the stakes continue to get higher as the comic progresses. Secret Wars #1 is a true superhero epic with wide-screen action, the occasional character insight, and real consequences even if it may be a little too expansive at times.

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