What has become one of the most dragged along summer events in recent memory is here with another edition. Can this series pick up some steam and deliver a story worth telling, and is it good?
Secret Wars #6 (Marvel Comics)
Last issue was good as far as characterizing Dr. Doom, but damn near nothing happened! Okay, there were some cool flashbacks as to how this new world was created—something people who followed Hickman’s Avengers run would have already known, but still—and a big reveal as far as Molecule Man. This issue opens three weeks after the last and Doom has his people hunting the heroes and villains who arrived on Battleworld via rafts.
Why does this comic book matter?
Besides it being the major Marvel Comics event of the summer? That’s a tough question to answer since a number of #1 issues came out this week from the “All-New and All Different” post-Secret Wars Marvel universe. Does this event even matter? Who cares what happens if everything is going to change anyway? Well, for starters, it has made for great storytelling in regards to Dr. Doom. Plus anyone who loves the alternate reality characters from the 616 are digging seeing the once thought done and dead characters back to life. There’s that!
Why does this annoy me so much?
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
First and foremost there is an interesting character introduced known as The Prophet. He’s been inserted by the evil Ultimate Marvel universe’s Mr. Fantastic to give Doom a new headache. Who this character is remains to be seen, but it’s a nice mystery as we wait for all of these chess pieces to bring down the hurt on Doom (because we know that’s where it’s all going). Another reveal involves Black Panther and Namor which should get folks giddy for the impending fight.
It’s also very cool to see what Hickman has done with Doom and his control over other characters. He clearly wants to keep Sue away from the fact that Mr. Fantastic is her ex hubby, but he does it in a subtle way. He also reigns supreme over a lot of villains who have given the 616 hell in the past. To say Hickman has crafted the ultimate story arc for Doom is an understatement.
Esad Ribic continues to render this event in a painterly sort of way, reminiscent of the great painters of the past. Some of these issues have looked a little sketchier but this one shines through very nicely. Faces and expressions on these characters look lifelike.
Evil Mr. Fantastic has to know good guy Mr. Fantastic has a plan to stop him, right?
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Sadly no it can’t. It’s not even close to perfect. This issue feels like yet another bridging issue for Hickman. There are big reveals sure, but it’s all culminating to an obvious conclusion. There’s nothing building besides the obvious big battle. He has the opportunity to build on Valeria in particular who clearly has doubts, but it doesn’t feel earned. She just has them; Hickman seems to think giving her an inquisitive and super smart mind is all that requires it, but there’s a scene where she basically double crosses her father and God that doesn’t make any sense. She doesn’t know these characters yet she’s basically helping them kill God himself?
Once again there are story beats afoot here, but they sort of just happen and then we’re privy to endless dialogue with characters not doing anything. Essentially Hickman is showing us moments that affect the tie-ins but that makes the reading of this series clunky. As if we’re seeing the outline of the event here when we should be reading what amounts to everything you need to know to get the story.
The art is good as I stated above, but there is one scene that doesn’t seem quite right. It’s a darker setting with Spider-Man and his costume just doesn’t look right. I suspect Ribic was having trouble with color since this scene should be in a pitch black setting with no light source.
Cute and weird.
Is It Good?
Almost but not quite. The series ties more to the Fantastic Four mythos than ever before, but it reads in a clunky outline sort of way where we get big story beats that aren’t earned.