The purpose of a tie-in is to flesh out stories when the main event doesn’t have time to. In a way, the solo hero Marvel movies are tie-ins and the Avengers movies are the main event as Avengers dictates the direction of the universe. Or maybe I have that backwards? Either way, a tie-in serves a purpose, but should stand on its own while fleshing out a bigger story. I take a look at what Marvel is calling an essential tie-in; is it good?
Secret Wars Journal #1 (Marvel Comics)
It’s quickly becoming obvious to me there are two types of Secret Wars tie-ins. There’s the, “Oh I see how this fits” tie-in and the “what the hell is going on?” tie-in. This comic falls in the latter category. The problem is it doesn’t do a thing to set things up, which in truth can be invigorating and interesting, but when we don’t know the time, place, or who these characters really are it’s a bit of a mess to sift through the story. Reading this issue I found myself trying to piece things together on the fly whilst also enjoying the action and dialogue. It was tough. This issue is broken into two stories: one that focuses on Hawkeye set in King James England, and the other set in the boundary known as Egyptia with a bunch of mutants serving as slaves.
Michael Rosenberg writes the first story and it’s not half bad. The characters are lively as they try to break into a Doom Cathedral and also on the run from the Sheriff, aka Punisher. It’s a fun Robin Hood type story and it fits considering the bow and arrow characters. I wasn’t exactly sure who the Billy character was, but Kate and Hawkeye are easy to know. This is a fluffy sort of story that’s fun, but not necessary to understanding anything in the universe.
The art by Ramon F. Bachs is quite good and is somewhat reminiscent of J. Scott Campbell. This may be in part because Kate is in some random sexy poses while in action and in pretty tight clothes with a small waist. The color really pops in this section as well, helping solidify it as a fun sort of story.
Looks like Nightcrawler is a pirate again.
The second story is written by Prudence Shen and opens on the mutants who have been enslaved. Again, I was a bit confused and felt like I was behind from the get go trying to figure out the character dynamics and their situation. The general jist is understood, but it felt a bit hollow since I knew nothing and was just dropped into the story. I will say this though, the addition of Moon Knight is compelling and should be something to look for in the future. Basically this story feels like an excuse to give us a taste of Egyptia but not much else.
Ultimately I’m not sure why this series has ‘Journal’ in the name. I was expecting something like Frontline with reporters but this just feels like a blip of story in an anthology type way.
The art by Luca Pizzari is good, but darn if it isn’t the exact opposite of the first story. It’s dark and muddy yet etched with detail. In a sense it reminds me of Paul Pope’s work (a good thing), and it helps set the tone of a downtrodden mutant population.
He has good taste.
Is It Good?
Overall a disappointing first issue that fails to tell us why it’s worth reading. The action scenes are nice, but it all feels unnecessary.