I usually avoid spoilers in comic book reviews, but this completely challenging to do with the Marvel world being born anew. Small spoilers ahead.
writer: Jonathan Hickman / artist: Esad Ribic / Marvel Comics
Congratulations, you’ve made it to New Marvel folks! If Secret Wars #1 was the end of everything, then the beginning of everything afterwards is Secret Wars #2. And what is Hickman the best at, you ask? Why, that would be world building, so the fact that this is literally building a new world fits right into his wheelhouse. You can look at this on the surface and it looks like a crazy mashing of Marvel characters in completely foreign scenarios that we have grown accustomed to. But it’s not random. Where their counterpart in DC’s Convergence feels a little random and auto-generated in it’s main storyline, everything “New Face in a New Place” for Secret Wars feels intentional and with logical conclusions. It makes sense that Thors are the “world police” in a sense. It makes sense that Galactus stands watch over the capital. All the details, the roles that former heroes and villains have in this new Battleworld really do answer the “what if Marvel started over” question.
It also makes sense where the worst of the worst have ended up. One imagines that we’ll get more mileage the next time someone of stature is sentenced to “The Shield” when they are forced to survive hordes of the discarded that threaten this new world. One spoiler I can hold back lies in the end, which merges this new world, with the old world in an unexpected way. This is of course the biggest threat or biggest source of salvation for this newly created world, but I doubt we’ll get a straight line there.
I should also take note that Ribic’s pencils were a substantial upgrade from the first issue as well. What plagued him previously with the blandness or obtuse faces of characters isn’t present. Overall, this is a very good looking issue, one that handles the talk heavy segments (for which there are plenty) and the action sequences as well.
The world has been made brand new for Marvel and it is jarring to see it play out. Which doesn’t mean it’s bad. Quite the opposite actually, it’s fascinating. I get the sense that we still have no idea where Hickman’s grand plan will traverse before we near it’s conclusion, but this issue just made this series a mandatory read.