Secret Wars: Is It Me or Does Marvel Often Go to War?

With DC it's one Crisis after another, but Marvel's first large-scale event was a "War", so I guess that's the tradition, right? Secret Wars, Secret Wars II, Evolutionary War, Infinity War, Magneto War, Secret War (singular), Civil War, World War Hulk, Secret Invasion (ooh, I didn't see that one coming), War of Kings, Messiah War, Chaos War, Revolutionary War, Ultimate War, and Secret Wars again. Events named "Siege", "Atlantis Attacks", "Onslaught", and all those Versus books further hammer the theme home.  It's part of Marvel tradition as a whole, anyway. Famously, Marvel heroes tend to fight one another in the first act, before teaming up against a common foe. But can't we all just get along?!

Is the violence getting to me? I know the planet is called Battleworld, but there is a sameness to some of the books created for Secret Wards, very similar conflicts playing out in different domains. Perhaps it's the (I don't want to say unavoidable, but definitely predictable) abundance of X and Spider books, three of each this week, but more where that came from. Age of Apocalypse is yet another variation on mutants vs. mutants vs humans, which we already have plenty of. Civil War, while not mutant-based has the very same feeling. Squadron Sinister is about one domain attacking an annexing the surrounding domains. The Spider-books are really all variations on an absent Peter Parker Spider-Man - he hides but needs to return in Renew Your Vows, he's a mystery to the Spider-Men of Spider-Verse, and he's dead in the new Spider-Island (which imagines a New York where they couldn't cure the spider-plague, with Flash Thompson Venom as the hero).

One thing a lot of the "never-ending war" books have in common is that they're unfolding "what ifs" taking place in some version of "the worst timeline". I much prefer it when Secret Wars takes the "Elseworlds" route and reinvents the Marvel universe in some other genre. This week, the event adds 1872, a brilliant western starring Steve Rogers as the sheriff of the town of Timely, controlled by land baron Wilson Fisk. In Secret Wars 2099, Peter David continues his cool future Avengers story. Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos fires on all pistons as a horror comedy. Ghost Racers continues its dynamic anime racing adventure, while Master of Kung Fu is pure Shaw Bros. goodness. And for all my moaning, two of the X-books really do try to give us something different despite their mutant-on-mutant violence - Inferno is more sword & sorcery than supers, and Runaways has a neat high school confidential atmosphere, even if it does get a bit Battle Royale in its second chapter.

A strong week for Marvel, I'd say, with the big winner being 1872, and  Age of Apocalypse the still readable loser. Before getting into some favorite moments, I want to apologize to the makers of Giant-Size Little Marvel - AvX, which came out last week, something I failed to notice, or else a couple of ITS moments would have found their way in the Favorites list. If I can redress the error here, there's a funny bathroom joke, but I'll go with this creepy moment because it took me a second to recognize what was happening.
THIS is a "war" book I don't mind reading.

So what are My 5 Favorite Moments of the Week? Let's see... and watch out, there WILL be spoilers:

5. It's Cloppering Time! There are a lot of good jokes in Howling Commandos, I'm not sure I can explain why this is my favorite. Probably just the diabetic centaur action.
4. 2099 Hercules and Sub-Mariner play a drinking game. Love the banter.
3. In Ghost Racers, Arcade knows his booky real well, and calls him out on it.
2. Click on the pic to get a full-sized version of the gorgeous map of Timely... So great.
Flash's plan to save Spider-Island involves freeing spidered heroes by turning them into different kinds of monsters instead. He's written very smartly proving he will always be the best Venom.
That's it for me this week, but you might have other ideas... Let us know in the comments section. You know the way. It won't turn into "Opinion War", I promise.


SallyP said...

I have to admit, the Watcher and Hercules and Namor bits were quite amusing. I still don't want to read this Secret War book however.

Siskoid said...

I think the nice bit about this Secret Wars is that yes, there's a big rearranging event going on in the main book, but to date, it's pretty much been possible to ready ANY of the other books in isolation. They all tell their own stories, often without even a mention of any other domain on the map.

Tony Laplume said...

I haven't read the new 2099, and don't plan to (I mean, as far as I'm concerned, 2099 is relevant as an X-Men or Spider-Man platform), but I love how Hercules is involved. If I wanted to read it at all, it would be because of that.

Dale Bagwell said...

A roach being a bookie? Sounds legit;)
Gotta' echo those comments about how funny and old-school that future Namor/Hercules bit is. If David keeps that up, I could see this being the spirtual counterpart to DC's JL 3001 series.

Cool map btw. Lots of references if you're an old fan who knows his history.

Likewsie, it'd be nice if Marvel settled down with all this war stuff/events for awhile, but I doubt that'll happen since its still profitable to keep this shit going for as long as it has.

Siskoid said...

At least they're fairly easy to ignore, especially if you don't mind cutting out certain lines like X-Men or Avengers, or else are fairly self-contained.

Even Secret Wars. Each mini can be pretty much read without referring back to the core series, and few monthlies are actually crossing over into it.

Obviously, the aftermath will have an impact on whatever series you're reading, but I think far less than the abominable New52 did.


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