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Secret Wars Paperback – December 28, 2011
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The Beyonder being is the plot driver and is yet another omnipotent being of which the Marvel universe has many. The difference this time is that the Beyonder is pictured as sort of a "Galactus' Galactus", i.e. a being as far above Galactus as Galactus is above us. He is a being, like God, whom desire is a completely alien concept; his merest whim is instantly reality. Writer Jim Shooter mostly succeeds in dealing with such a mind boggling concept although inconsistencies abound. For example, when Dr. Doom gains the Beyonder's powers *his* whims do not become instant reality; his mother is still a prisoner in Mephisto's domain and he is shown planning to do something about that. But all in all, the basic premise was dealt with well enough and did not derail the story.
There were a lot of nice character moments in this series. Dr. Doom steals the show in this regard but almost every character (and there were dozens) gets a chance to shine.
There were a lot of plot elements introduced in this series that played out later in other titles. Examples are Spider-Man's alien costume, Colossus' estrangement from Kitty Pryde, and the Thing remaining behind on the battleworld.
The art was underwhelming for such an important series, reportedly Marvel's counterpunch to DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths series going on at the same time. One gets the impression that penciler Mike Zeck was very rushed. I deducted a star for this alone.
As a collection this is a minimal effort. One gets just the 12 issues and nothing else. But it has a price point to match so if you have (or have read) the various lead ins to this series this is a cheap way to get the main event.
Despite shortcomings, the book is recommended. It was an enjoyable read. The series has been criticized as a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing but that is too harsh a judgement. One unfortunate fallout from the commercial success of this series and the aforementioned Crisis was the company wide annual mega crossover that plagues us to this day.
The book doesn't shy away at all from its origins, with an introduction by Tom DeFalco detailing the Mattel connection. There are even six pages of text, with photos, describing all of the action figures. Other extras include an article from Marvel Age #12 announcing the series and several pages of original pencil artwork from Mike Zeck, Bob Layton, and John Beatty, as well as cover art from previously published volumes.
The nicest extras, however, surround the story itself. There is an 18-page prologue featuring pages from eight different comic books, showing how all of the heroes were drawn to the Beyonder's mysterious fortress in Central Park. And a page at the end of the book describes what became of each of the heroes after their return to earth.
The story itself covers a typical comic book theme - good pitted against evil for survival and to save the universe. But there are plenty of twists and turns, including suspicions held by the other super heroes regarding the mutant X-Men, and the layered ambiguity of villains such as Magneto and Dr. Doom. The large cast of characters means any given hero may not get a ton of pages - some issues barely featured the X-Men - but every character contributes in different and significant ways.
The fact that it's a self-contained story with no cliffhanger or on-going interaction with other comics makes it an especially good read for somebody who just wants to read a fun story without needing a ton of backstory.
Marvel had always interwoven characters and storylines through some of its different comic series - the so-called Marvel Universe was well-established - and spinoff books and limited-run series were getting to be more and more commonplace in the early 1980s. Whilte the artwork and dialogue of Secret Wars may not be break any new ground, the idea of placing so many different heroes and villains into one smashingly cool story-line was new, and THAT'S what makes Secret Wars a groundbreaker.
Most recent customer reviews
One of the greatest story arcs in the Marvel Comic Universe!
The Secret Wars shows the complexity of the characters and, for the...Read more
Iron Man here is not Tony Stark and is actually Jim Rhodes.
Have a nice day :)