SECRET WARS #2 Retro Review (2015)

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Art: Esad Ribic, Ive Svorcina, Chris Eliopoulos, and Alex Ross

Price: $4.99

Release Date: May 13, 2015

Click HERE to catch up on the review for SECRET WARS #1

As the last issue came to an end, fans saw a valiant effort by Reed Richards 616 to save his family, as well as many scientists and figureheads of ”their” Marvel Universe to repopulate the human race. However, Reed’s lifeboat was ripped apart sending his family to their death inches away from Mister Fantastic’s fingertips. Additionally, all parallel world’s have been destroyed and a bright nothingness is all that remained, except for one image as issue one ended… the image of Doom! With at least 7 issues to go, what’s next in the story with absolutely nothing in existence? Let’s go take a look!

WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!

COLD OPEN

The immediate question everyone should have is, where are we? Is this Asgard? Or better yet, when are we? Is this the past? Readers dive immediately into the issue with what appears to be a scrawny-looking Thor attempting to pick up Mjolnir beside the All-Father Odin. However, these questions are short-lived because the big reveal as the story opens is that Doom is somehow the All-Father and the room is filled with hundreds of Thor’s wielding their own hammers!

At this moment, this reviewer’s jaw dropped. Readers went from the end of everything to Doom being a God in one issue. This event is simply nuts! Jonathan Hickman is telling a tale that instantly comes off as cleverly prolific. As a comic fan always craving a new, out of this world story that has never been told before, Hickman comes up smelling like roses as this issue opens. This reviewer was expecting a war between two universes and somehow after reading only a handful of pages into issue two, the story is entirely different than this fan could have ever imagined. Very few writers can manipulate their readers the way Hickman is able to with such success and aw. However, my appetite for more information grew exponentially with the simple turn of a page and a leap from one issue to the next.

CREATION

Hickman follows up the shocking cold open by using the Thor’s to explain the creation story to the readers. Instead of leaving fans out in the wilderness, Hickman uses the opening scene as a tool to give fans just enough information for them to move forward in the narrative. Not only is this part well-written, but Hickman explains the creation story of this “Doom World” by replacing God with Doom. So, for readers circling this idea that Doom is somehow responsible for what happened… you’d be correct. However, this reviewer would love to take the time to point out Hickman’s parallels to the creation story of Christianity and Judaism to that of Victor Von Dooms.

According to the King James Version of the Bible, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” Hickman uses the Thor’s to state, “there was nothing followed by everything. Swirling, burning specks of creation that circled life-giving suns. God Doom created the light.” It doesn’t completely sound similar until readers tie in the art which opens with a void of darkness. According to the Bible, God then created light, which is exactly what Doom did next. Additionally, the Bible portrays the stars in the sky as angels just like each Thor’s hammer anointing power and justice across the land… similar to the angels of God. The genius of Hickman behind each page connecting humanity’s creation story and drawing parallels to our “new” Marvel Universe is stunning, to say the least.

KEY FINDINGS

Without going into too much more detail, here are some of the amazing little nuances that Hickman intertwined throughout this issue. The first item to focus on was man’s willingness to question where they came from and why. Doom could have “worked” this out of existence. But, he didn’t. God gave humanity free will and ironically enough, so did Doom.

Remember, Dragon Man was searching in secret and uncovered the remains of a lifeboat. This idea is something that has always haunted humanity since it’s conception; the search for answers, power, and knowledge. Additionally, notice where Alex Powers and Dragon Man are walking… on a giant “rock” hand. Does that look familiar to anyone? It should!!! There will be more to come with that later!

Furthermore, notice the power of Doom. The older man on the “Thor Court” who appears to be guiding this tour of Doom World appears to look like Odin. Moreover, Doom has Galactus standing guard outside Castle Doom. Somehow, whatever Victor did made him in control of the Devourer of Worlds and the All-Father of Asgard. Readers need to genuinely comprehend the magnitude of power it would have to take for Victor to achieve this feat. He controls the power of the Gods and an entity that existed since the dawn of creation. That’s just crazy!

The next point of reference is the similarities between Doom and the capital G God of the Bible. God created humans in his image to “rule” and share in His creation. Even after the Fall, humanity was still able to govern, control, and create their own Kingdom until the God of the Old Testament would intervene. Technically, Hickman is showing Victor doing the very same thing at the World Tree.

One of the best lines in the issue was from Jamie Braddock before he was sentenced outside the wall. Jamie said, “there are no great men above reproach, just God and His whim last to which we are mercy.” Humanity craves power and knowledge. Our thirst can never be completely quenched and oftentimes, our pride and greed trump our ideals and happiness. Regardless of what we may strive for, the final say is God’s will. No matter how good or bad, God has the final say and always will. In this case, Hickman hammers home the point that Doom is law. Doom is God. This little line from Jamie still leaves this reviewer to ponder over a strong cup of coffee.

THE EPIC CLIFFHANGER

Leave it to Hickman to take the obvious direction and reveal for the ending of this issue and turn it upside down. Readers were led to believe from the beginning of the issue that the lifeboat Reed created was probably what Alex Powers found at the beginning of the issue. Sure, a lifeboat was found but it wasn’t “our” Reed’s lifeboat. It was the Maker’s lifeboat. Furthermore, Thanos, Terrax, Proxima Midnight, and Namor all found a way to survive as well. This reveal completely floored this reviewer and caused me to instantly pick up issue 3! Holy cow! Is Hickman the master of a cliffhanger or what?!

FINAL THOUGHTS

Jonathan Hickman does it again but this time without the nonstop action and epic Battle Royale. He uses suspense, imagination, originality, and innovation to seduce readers deeper into the narrative. The issue is extremely well-paced and packed full of comparisons to Christianity, Judaism, and Creation/ Garden imagery. Esad Ribic’s realistic tone to every character was beautiful, including characters like Dragon Man, while his Galactus was drawn with such fiery radiance that this reviewer could stare at those pages for hours. If you’re interested in an epic event that will keep you guessing, ensnare your attention, and elevate your level of excitement for the characters you love, this issue is for you. Pick this up if you can, otherwise grab the trade as soon as possible.

9.6/10

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