Travelling Man's Blog

Review: Secret Wars Issue 6 by Travelling Man

sectet wars issue 6










Written & Designed by Jonathan Hickman

Art by Esad Ribic

Colour art by Ive Svorcina

Lettering by Chris Eliopoulos

Production by Idette Winecoor

Cover by Alex Ross



This is an odd issue. As Secret Wars begins to hurtle towards its conclusion, Hickman puts lots of balls in the air, sets a few on fire, turns one or two into doves and lays out the endgame. It’s never less than ambitious, often very successful but feels cold and distanced in a way that previous issues haven’t.

Part of that comes from this being a pretty solidly Doom-centric issue. We get a lot of stuff with, well, God and his family that’s really impressive and more than a little chilling. If there’s a character who’s been well served by this series it’s definitely Valeria Von Doom and she has two or three of the best moments here. The equal of her parents’ intellect but more aware of the world around her than they think, Val’s a fun, smart lead and her scenes here really pop.

Likewise there’s a fantastic scene where Peter and Miles infiltrate Castle Doom. That works partially because there’s a ton of Val in it, partially because Peter and Miles are always fun and partially due to what they find out. Their meeting with Miracle Man looks set to be one of the hinges the final act turns on and it also contains the best, and in fact possibly first, joke in the series.

Which brings us to the problem. Thus is a cold, bleak story that has, for me, never quite nailed the humanity of its characters in the way the spin-off miniseries have. There’s a perfect example of that here with an almost throwaway moment between Sinister and Captain Marvel that just doesn’t work. Not only do we get the only mis-step in Esad Ribic’s art with a frankly disturbing take on Carol but the scene itself just feels off. Sinister attempts to flirt with Carol, Carols beats him up until he gives in and then…honestly I have no idea. Read one way its borderline abusive foreplay, read another it’s Carol beating an asset into line. Neither works and for one of the pivotal character beats in the book that’s not good.

Secret Wars has been one of the oddest things Marvel have ever done. It had absolutely no right to work as well as it has and some of the mini-series in particular are amongst the best work the company has put out in years. Similarly, the ‘Last Days of’ story for Ms Marvel is some of the best work Marvel has EVER put out.

But the lead series has never engaged emotionally the way those miniseries do. Maybe it’s the scope, maybe its Hickman’s cold, architectural writing style. But, for all Ribic’s amazing art and Svorcina’s subtle, bleak colour choices, this is the first issue of the series that really hasn’t worked for me. Here’s hoping the end game turns things around.

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