Secret Wars: The Slipping Grip of Doom

A strong week, not least of which because Devil Dinosaur appears in TWO books, but before we get to that, I'd like to note how impressed I am with the editorial end of Secret Wars. At first, I was a little mystified by the release schedule. That, somehow, new titles are still being released (four new #1s just this week), and the way these books are essentially monthly, but might be biweekly on what appeared to be a whim... But it really feels like Editorial tracked where the core book would be on any given month, and at least attempted to release the tie-in books - otherwise free of any continuity - so as to fit the big picture.

This month, for example, Secret Wars #4 came out. In that issue, the survivors of 616, including the #Official Reed Richards confronted God-Doom for the first time, and we got a sense that the latter's grip wasn't as tight as he liked to pretend. He did create Battlewold, but he wasn't omniscient or omnipotent. That has filtered through the tie-ins. Not that anyone knows about Reed and Doom, but the stories timed to come out this month have more than their fair share of Doom heresy. She-Hulk/Thor in Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders (a good book for Judge Dredd fans as well, check it out) keeps warning people that she should be punishing their heretical comments, but everyone is haunted by dreams, or rather, memories of the 616 Marvel Universe (that Doom actually takes a hand in their punishment shows he's not yet powerless or completely distracted). In Carol Corps, heresy leads the heroes to go to space. In Korvac Saga, people who remember the real universe go mad and turn into monsters. In Guardians of Knowhere, Gamora seems to know things she shouldn't. If Doom has cast a spell on his citizens, it seems to be breaking apart. And even in books not so concerned with heresy, rebellion is in the air. The mutants of Years of Future Past think nothing of destroying Doom-bot Sentinels, and there are revolts and attempted coups in Armor Wars, Attilan Rising, Siege and Hail Hydra.

Had these issues come out earlier in the event, I'm not saying they wouldn't have worked, but they might have undermined Doom's power in the core series. We might have asked "have these writers not been told what Jonathan Hickman is doing with the core series, or are they in open contempt?" Those were concerns I had with DC's Convergence. Not to say Secret Wars doesn't have books that seems to fly in the face of its own continuity - Garth Ennis on Where Monsters Dwell keeps referencing countries and history that no longer exist, and I'm never entirely sure if short stories in Battleworld actually happened - but the set-up is much more flexible, so even these make it work. Editorially more consistent while simultaneously offering a whole lot of variety. I'm still sold.

Now for my Top 5 Moments of the Week, and while there are spoilers ahead, I've made an effort to avoid naming any ker-pow moment on any given issue's last page (even though Defenders' and Silver Surfer #13's certainly deserved a spot - check them out for yourselves):

5. James Stokoe's two-page spread in Siege #1. Nice idea to have guest artists do the "flashback" spreads in this book, and this one's a real eye-popper.
4. Tony and Arno Stark, brothers in Armor Wars, share a particularly brotherly moment after they fight.
3. Devil Dinosaur vs. Lockjaw (ridden by cowboy Deadpool)? I'M NOT MADE OF STONE!
2. The Phantom Eagle wants a trial by combat and gets it. BWAH-HA-HA!
1. In the utopian domain of Yinsen City, She-Hulk is the assigned Thor. Why does she only carry a small gavel?

What were YOUR ker-pow moments this week? And how long do you think Doom can keep any kind of control on the world he created?


SallyP said...

You have to admire Doom in a roundabout sort of way. He never wins, except in the short run, but darn it, he never lets his terrible track record stop him from trying.

Siskoid said...

Or from smack talking everyone.

Best smack talker in comics. Maybe all of fiction.

irenicObserver said...

The hulked out Wolverine on that cover speaks to me.
I'm conceiving an entire au around that.


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