Friday, October 23, 2015

Top 10 'Secret Wars' Comics

This October, the all-new, post-Secret Wars Marvel Universe officially begins as several titles set on it have started their runs (I’m personally enjoying the new Amazing Spider-Man status quo). Oddly, the Secret Wars event hasn’t technically ended yet.  A couple of Secret Wars tie-in titles are still ongoing, and the last issue of the main book – on which we’ll only get to see how the new Marvel multiverse is created – is scheduled on December.  Nonetheless – though I find it hard to construct this top 10 since there’s a variety of terrific titles to choose from (yep, I’ve read them all) – I feel that I can already comfortably list down my most favorite Secret Wars comic book titles at this point, and that no matter how the remaining ongoing stories will eventually end, there won’t be any real effect on the titles in this list and their rankings.


There are actually other titles that have more substantial stories than this.  But I’m just a big fan of Spidey and Agent Venom that I enjoyed Spider-Island more.  Same as the original story that it’s based from, every single person in Manhattan gains spider-powers.  But this time around, they became susceptible to the mind-control powers of the Spider Queen, turning them into her minions as a result.  The book’s star is Venom (Spidey’s in it, but he’s just a supporting character), serving as the de facto leader of the resistance made up of characters immune to the Spider Queen’s influence.

My favorite part is the way the heroes “cured” their friends from the spider mutations – in order to remove the Spider Queen’s control over them – and that is, to mutate them into something else.  Hence, Captain America becomes a werewolf, Tony Stark becomes an Iron Goblin, Hulk becomes a Lizard-Hulk, and Captain Marvel becomes a vampire.  It’s a lot of weird fun.

Plus, the book has a bonus Mayday Parker as Spider-Woman (after ditching the name “Spider-Girl” post-Spider-Verse) story in it.


Siege focuses on one of the two Battleworld places which I find the most fascinating (the other one is Knowhere as the planet’s moon!): the Shield.  The Shield is a ring of wall at the lower part of Battleworld that keeps massive hordes of Ultron machines and zombies out, protecting the southern domains.  Manning the Shield are exiles from the different domains of Battleworld, who have been assigned there after committing offenses that God-Doom has judged to warrant such sentence (it could be worse, they could had been sent outside the walls).  Though not totally original, I nevertheless find the whole set-up refreshing and intriguing.


This is probably the most hilarious comic in Secret Wars – rivaled only by Garth Ennis’ Where Monsters Dwell.  It’s basically Avengers vs. X-Men, but in an adorable cartoony, kindgarten tone.  “G” humor is involved here, but an in-depth understanding of X-Men and Avengers mythology is required to thoroughly appreciate the clever gags.

7.) 1872

I love reinterpretations of the Marvel Universe set in different historical eras.  This is one of the best ones I’ve encountered of such concept.  It succeeds in giving an imaginative spin on Marvel mythology as a gritty Western.  Set in a Wild West town called Timely (clever, eh?), Steve Rogers is the Sheriff and Wilson Fish is the corrupt mayor; understandably, a critical clash is inevitable.


Here’s another version of the Marvel Universe set in a different era.  This time, it’s Elizabethan England.  It’s a charming fantasy story that centers on Angela as she journeys around England, hunting “witchbreeds” (the mutants of this world), and encountering interesting 1602 reinventions of Marvel characters, including the Guardians of the Galaxy, who, in this world, are a travelling troupe of eccentric performers.


Weirdworld is a straight-up fantasy adventure with minimal allusions to the Marvel Universe.  It follows a Conan-like character named Akron, who is in a desperate quest to go back to his home.  I’m honestly not familiar with most of the references in this book, which are taken from Marvel’s obscure fantasy comics of the past.  Nonetheless, I love every single panel of Weirdworld – pretty epic – and I’m happy that it’s getting carried over to the new Marvel Universe (could be the new Savage Land?).


This is a treat for everyone who hates one of the dumbest comicbook storylines ever, “One More Day” (so, basically, just everyone).  This story explores a world where Peter and Mary Jane stayed married and had a daughter.  Despite having an original premise – wherein this domain is conquered and ruled by a supervillain named the Regent, who hunts down super-powered individuals to absorb their powers – it manages to hit all the familiar feels of a traditional Spider-Man story.  I also get to love the Parker family – all have great, shining moments – that, no matter how cool the new status quo is, I kind of wish that this had been what the status quo for Spider-Man turned out to be  post-Secret Wars.


This tale isn’t set on this Secret Wars, but on the original, classic 1984 crossover that started it all.  It tells the story of what really happened during the first Secret Wars according to Deadpool, who was apparently in it but everyone had forgotten.  Still, it’s Deadpool we’re talking about here, he’s such an unreliable narrator that we can’t really tell if this account is true or simply a figment of his warped mind.  Either way, the result is an extremely funny and entertaining book.


Of course, the main title gets a spot on this list.  This comic book event is a legitimate epic, and this is the title that is telling the central storyline.  And through its narrative, I became more fascinated on Battleworld and its different domains, compelling me to learn more about them through the various tie-in titles.


Many of the Secret Wars tie-in titles are basically retelling of well-known Marvel Comics events and storylines.  Civil War is the best of such.  It tells of a “Civil War” that never ended – escalating into the country being torn apart between Steve Rogers’ Blue and Tony Stark’s Iron.   Everything about this book is gripping and imaginative.

It features characters that have reinvented themselves amidst the conflict.  Peter Parker still has his powers and web-shooters, but he’s no longer wearing a Spider-Man attire, but instead, a wing harness similar to that of the Falcon.  Logan has become a Hulk.  Clint Barton has become the new Venom.  Kingpin installed Doctor Octopus’ mechanical limbs on himself, but the AI on the limbs didn’t like it, killed him, and kept his corpse as their host.  Tony Stark has Iron Sentinels.  Steve Rogers’ enforcers are called “Punishers.”  It’s a crazy world.

Next to the mindblowing reveals in the main Secret Wars comic, Civil War is the most thrilling aspect of this mega-event.  Particularly, though short, the climactic final battle between the Blue and the Iron – and it’s not only between two super-groups, but involves actual armies –  is fantastic.

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