Monday Morning Secret Wars 8: It’s All-New, All-Different


1602: Witch Hunter Angela

That's Angela killing Wolverine with a stick.
That’s Angela killing Wolverine with a stick.

I haven’t read the Marvel 1602 series in a number of years, so I cannot say whether or not this book is consistent with that world. But I can say that this book stars famous playwrights Christopher Marlowe, Ben Jonson, and William Shakespeare,. That has to mean something, right?

This is basically an X-Men book in disguise. Angela (the character that Neil Gaiman got from Todd McFarlane in his lawsuit settlement) is a hunter of Witchbreeds, 1602-slang for mutants. She also hunts something called Faustians, and I’m sure that maps to something in the Marvel U, but I don’t know what. Either way, she spends the book hunting and killing these things, until she has an encounter with the 1602 Enchantress full of foreboding.

It’s incredibly ironic that two of Neil Gaiman’s creations (the 1602 world and Angela) have been mushed together into this book. Marguerite Bennett and Kieron Gillen come up with a cute script that appealed to the AP English survivor in me. I’m curious to see what they continue to do with the concept, especially as we’re promised the Guardians of the Galaxy (!) in the next issue.

Verdict: THUMBS UP.

Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #1

Sometimes, it’s very hard to come up with a winning concept for these Battleworld areas. Sometimes, though, it’s not.

When Kelly Sue DeConnick revamped Carol Danvers a few years ago, she made it clear that Carol wanted nothing more than to be a pilot and to hang with other pilots. Here, Carol Danvers heads up a squadron of women pilots protecting their Battleworld area from border incursions. But she cannot protect her squadron from their gnawing suspicions that the science of their world doesn’t make sense. Even though questioning their environs means committing blasphemy against God Doom, Carol and her squadron must pursue the truth.

David Lopez draws the heck out of the concept, and probably has one of the nicest Secret Wars covers so far. This is a must-buy for Secret Wars fans.

Nice cover!
Nice cover!

Verdict: THUMBS UP.

Ghost Racers #1

So…who’s your Ghost Rider? Is it the original, Johnny Blaze? Is it Danny Ketch from the 90s? Is it one of the new ones, Alejandra Blaze or Robbie Reyes? Or is it the old cowboy, Carter Slade? Doesn’t matter- you get all of them here!

The high concept is that Arcade has set up an arena for these Ghost Ride– er, Ghost RACERS to race in a trap-laden arena. It’s a bit weird, especially when you see Slade as ghostly centaur taking on three cyclists and Reyes in a deathmobile, fighting each other and the various M.O.D.O.K.s, Sentinels, and other hazards in the arena. Think Mario Kart, but more supernatural and a bit crazier.

The entire concept is way over-the-top; while champ Reyes lives the life of luxury, the other four are kept chained in a basement by Arcade, who now plots to defeat Reyes, too…because he’s “too good for his own good”. This could have been a better book, but I’m not sure it has enough gas to make it to the finish line.



Inferno #2

Someday, someone is going to explain to me how this book got approved.

Don’t take it the wrong way- I really don’t have anything negative to say about Inferno. The writing is clever, the art is dynamic and sexy, and it will appeal to a lot of the Secret Wars audience. But why this crossover? Why did Inferno get a book instead of, say, Operation Galactic Storm or Mutant Massacre or Acts of Vengeance? Why no love for Maximum Security?

I was reminded just how weird and confusing the original was by this joke:

Heh. Nice.
Heh. Nice.

Yes, it took me a full minute to remember that Madeline Pryor was, in fact, Cable’s mom. And now I have the song lyric Cable’s mom/Has got it going on in my head. The sacrifices I make for my audience.

Verdict: THUMBS UP.

Inhumans: Attilan Rising #2

Hey, there’s a continuity glitch! See these guys?


Yeah, they’re the sons of Banner from the original Old Man Logan. Thing is, they were killed in the original book. In fact, all of the Hulks from that book were killed. So how are they alive and trying to get into The Quiet Room? I know we’re a little helter skelter continuity-wise, but this seems to be a big deal. I might have to write to Marvel and see if I can get a No-Prize or something. (More likely, a punch in the nose from some poor, abused assistant editor for pointing out the error.)

I really do still dig this story, though. I haven’t read the Inhuman series or Ms. Marvel, but this book really makes me want to go back and see what I was missing, and I didn’t feel like I was in the dark too much. Glenn and I had a discussion on GAR! the other week where he stated his opinion that a good book should be immediately accessible to anyone who picks it up. I feel differently- a book should be good enough that the reader wants to go back and find the source material.

There’s nothing as visually tasty as the Ghost Rider from the last issue, but the Quiet Room is a nice concept, a gathering area for people travelling between the regions of Battleworld. And I loved Dave Johnson’s cover. Really nifty.


Verdict: THUMBS UP.

Battleworld: Marvel Zombies #1

So apparently, Ulysses Bloodstone is the worst parent in the Marvel Universe.And as a result, his daughter, Elsa, must go out and kill zombies, and lots of them.


Elsa Bloodstone was a great character in Nextwave: Agents of H.A.T.E., and Spurrier throws her into the impossible challenge of surviving the zombie horde that lurks outside the Shield in Battleworld.

That's a LOT of zombies.
That’s a LOT of zombies.

No matter how good this book is, this will probably end up being second in quality to author Simon Spurrier’s incredible zombie story Crossed: Wish You Were Here (which you can read for free here). That doesn’t mean this one isn’t good- it is. I always like artist Kev Walker, and he’s really good on this book. The art’s crisp and dynamic, and this book really is a lot of fun.

Verdict: THUMBS UP.

Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Zombies #1

I did read this book. Really.

But I didn’t read the rest of Gerry Duggan’s Deadpool. I tried it, because I’m a huge Deadpool fan. I’ve been a fan since Joe Kelly’s run in the 90s, and also really liked Daniel Way’s long run. I just didn’t connect with Duggan’s run.

And I don’t think I’m going to connect with this run, either. The “Mrs. Deadpool” character doesn’t do much for me, and the Howling Commandos- basically just Marvel’s normal monster squad of Werewolf By Night, Man-Thing, The Living Mummy, and Frankenstein, with a Venom-like minotaur thrown in- also left me cold. When you’re pulling out not one, but TWO “Man-THING” jokes in the same issue, you’re not winning me over.

Here's a tip- read this book, Mrs. Deadpool, and you'll get there pretty quick.
Here’s a tip- read this book, Mrs. Deadpool, and you’ll get there pretty quick.


Secret Wars 2099 #1 and #2

So according to The Beat, this is how Spider-Man 2099 sold before Secret Wars:

07/14 Spider-Man 2099  #1  -  90,690  
08/14 Spider-Man 2099  #2  -  47,512 (-47.6%)
09/14 Spider-Man 2099  #3  -  43,418 ( -8.6%)
10/14 Spider-Man 2099  #4  -  40,755 ( -6.1%)
10/14 Spider-Man 2099  #5  -  40,880 (  0.3%)
11/14 Spider-Man 2099  #6  -  38,634 ( -5.5%)
01/15 Spider-Man 2099  #7  -  38,455 ( -0.5%)
01/15 Spider-Man 2099  #8  -  37,484 ( -2.5%)
02/15 Spider-Man 2099  #9  -  34,374 ( -8.3%)
03/15 Spider-Man 2099 #10  -  33,528 ( -2.5%)
04/15 Spider-Man 2099 #11  -  31,665 ( -5.6%)

SPIDER-MAN 2099 VOL.1 TPB: 2,556

That’s not a good sales pattern. Granted, The Beat doesn’t include things like foreign sales or Comixology numbers, but it doesn’t appear that this is a book that was keeping its audience before the mega-crossover.

Peter David is a smart cookie; he worked in Marvel sales before starting his comics writing career. He knows when a book isn’t selling well. So I don’t think it’s a surprise that Spider-Man 2099 isn’t a key character in Secret Wars 2099. Instead, we get…the Avengers 2099!

So why wasn’t this book called Avengers 2099? Dunno. But when the book focuses on the adventures of a corporately sponsored Avengers team in 2099, and the Avengers are the hottest thing going, wouldn’t you think that Avengers 2099 would make for a more attractive title than Secret Wars 2099? Ah, what do I know.

It is a fun book. I particularly enjoyed the addition of Hercules, and the weirdness of a brainwashed Captain America. I do wish Will Sliney’s art would show more creative layouts. There’s a few sequences where the camera angle he uses in continuous panels stays static, and there’s a maddening scene where the Black Widow pops a barely-visible claw that’s nearly impossible to see.

The camera angle is too static here...
The camera angle is too static here…
And here. This needed a close-up.
And here. This needed a close-up.

Sliney has great linework, but does need to work on his layouts. But overall, I enjoyed Aven- er, Secret Wars 2099.

Verdict: THUMBS UP.

Secret Wars Journal #1 and #2

Love this cover image for issue 1.
Love this cover image for issue 1.

The bad news is that this is another Secret Wars anthology book. The good news is it’s actually good! I couldn’t tell you why this one is better than the other, but SWJ has much stronger material than the Secret Wars Battleworld book.

Issue 1 has a lovely Young Avengers story that’s meant as a lead-in to Secret Wars: Siege (another book named after a mostly forgotten crossover. Seriously, why not Secret Invasion or Dark Avengers? With Dark Avengers, Doom would have some buddies to hang out with). The back-up story’s a little weak, unless you ever wondered what would happen if the X-Men ever confronted Moon Knight diety Khonshu and his band of Werewolves By Night. (Seriously, there’s a lot of Werewolves By Night in Secret Wars. Was there a group discount? Did they lose a lawsuit and now want to monetize the settlement? I’d love to know that.)

Issue 2 is FANTASTIC. The first story, “The Hunt”, pits Paladin and Misty Knight in Killville (home of M.O.D.O.K. Assassin), and everything’s given a Miami Vice patina. If this is Marvel’s idea of a post-Secret Wars Heroes for Hire book, count me in.

"Misty and the Paladin." Book it, Marvel!
“Misty and the Paladin.” Book it, Marvel!

And the second story is easily one of the most memorable in the entire Secret Wars catalog, an O. Henry-style Daredevil and Elektra tale where he’s forced to take the exotic animals she kills for their masters, the legion of clones of Mister Sinister, and make tasty dishes to serve every night. It’s a riveting tale.

Well, you might not think it's tasty, but Mr. Sinister does.
Well, you might not think it’s tasty, but Mr. Sinister does.

Seriously, if the Marvel editors keep up the quality on the rest of SWJ, this could be the best Secret Wars book.

Verdict: THUMBS UP.

Come back tomorrow where we finally get caught up!

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