Having managed to grind through DC’s Convergence excuse of an “event” (click HERE for my review) I really wasn’t looking forward to reading Marvel’s version of the same thing. Was Secret Wars a poor excuse to reboot the comics to resemble the films? Was it just a reaction to DC? Does anyone care about anything any more?
Firstly, Secret Wars, the original Secret Wars was so awesome at the time it was unbelievable. Looking back now the story wasn’t brilliant but to see all these heroes and villains together was a big deal. In fact it was such a big deal that it has since been repeated and watered down to mean nothing.
So what does this new Secret Wars have to offer?
Earth 1610 and Earth 616 are on a collision course! It’s the Ultimate Universe Vs Marvel Prime! Who will survive? Will anyone?
It looks like Doctor Doom, Doctor Strange and The Molecule Man care enough to confront the Beyonders about it but it appears it will make no difference. Reed Richards cares. Both of him. We see Mr Fantastic (Earth 616) and The Maker (Earth 1610) both realise it is all going FUBAR and nobody will win so instead assemble groups for survival. The Maker grabs the Cabal, whilst Mr Fantastic gathers his family and a wide range of heroes who are either in or due a Marvel movie soon.
Both Earth’s battle, lots of heroes die, and on a nice sidenote Kingpin organises a little party via email for himself, Norman Osbourne, Bullseye, Absorbing Man, Sandman and Scorpion to watch the heroes die. This party is gate crashed by The Punisher who givess them all a severe bout of lead poisoning.
More heroes die, then on Mr Fantastic’s escape ship, a hull breach occurs, separating the part of the ship carrying Invisible Woman, Thing and most of the young Future Foundation. The Invisible Woman’s forcefield protects them for a few moments, but not long enough for Mister Fantastic to rescue them. Mr Fantastic watches on helpless horror as his wife, best friend and family are ripped to pieces by the forces of the Incursion. (Take that 20th Century Fox!)
The two Earths collide – all life is wiped out – we see Doctor Doom’s mask appears out of the white void, before the white turns to black. Finally, the lifeboat comes to rest on a mysterious rocky planet. Then just in case we are unsure what has just happened we get this page…
Issue 2 opens a millions miles away from the ending of Issue 1. Everything has now gone a bit Game of Thrones and we see a new young Thor lifting Mjolnir in order to demonstrate his fitness to join the Thors, a band of Nordic “green lanterns” who we are told, act as the executors of God’s justice.
This young Thor, hails from Higher Avalon, and through his eyes we learn how this world was apparently created by God Emperor Doom. Yep Doom is now god… surely this will not end badly?
Young Thor has an elder partner (the former King Thor of Earth-14412), together they travel to Bar Sinister where they are to bring the land’s Baron (Mister) SInister to Castle Doom, where God Emperor Doom holds court from his throne on the World Tree. Ned Stark was not present as far as I could see.
In the Kingdom of Utopolis, Minister Alex Power is brought to a site of discovery uncovered by an “earthquake”. The item discovered is the life raft that came to rest on the planet. Minister Powers orders it dug out.
Back in front of God Emperor Doom’s Iron Throne we meet his Sheriff of Agamatto aka Doctor Strange. A number of Barons are present who discuss the fact that Sinister has been charged by the House of Braddock (the rulers of Higher Avalon) with secretly and illegally aligning with Baron Hyperion of Utopolis in opposition to Higher Avalon.
Sinister of course dismisses the accusation as well as a charge of slander that he explains away as an innocent comment, but does not deny. Nonetheless, he is found guilty and sentenced to pay restitution.
Sinister instead chooses to exercise his right as a Baron to face his accuser in battle. Sinister defeats Brian Braddock but before Sinister can deliver a killing blow, God Emperor Doom intervenes. God Emperor Doom interrogates Brian, telling him that Higher Avalon is long rumored to be the most favorable conduit for reaching the Silent Chambers, a place where “heretics and thieves” work to depose Doom. When Brian denies any knowledge of it, God Emperor Doom declares him useless and orders that his eyes, tongue, hands and feet be removed. To save his brother, Baron James Braddock confesses that he has assisted those trying to reach the Silent Chambers. Enraged at betrayal by one of his barons, Doom orders the entire House of Braddock to be publicly executed. Susan Storm implores him to be merciful. This causes God Emperor Doom to banish James to the Night’s Watch at the Wall… sorry wrong book… he is banished to The Shield. The two Thors escort Baron James to the Shield where he is equipped with basic armor and a sword. James embraces his fate and jumps into the Deadlands where he takes some zombies down with him before dying in battle. Following this incident Brian is appointed to be High Avalon’s new Baron.
As the trial concludes, Valeria tells Sheriff Strange what Minister Power has found, including the fact that that carbon dating suggests the discovered object is much older than the believed age of the Earth! Which of course we know it is!
Sheriff Strange tasks the Thor of Higher Avalon and King Thor to enforce a quarantine around the discovery site. King Thor orders the lifeboat isolated, but one of the Moloid diggers inadvertently opens the craft. King Thor is killed by spears and axes thrown from within. The Thor of Higher Avalon flees to tell Sheriff Strange what has happened. As he leaves, the Cabal and Maker emerge from the lifeboat. Thanos asks one of the Moloids where they are. The Moloid tells him “This place? The High Born call it Latverion. Believers call it God’s Kingdom. But everyone else—we common folk—call it something else. We call it… Battleworld”. It would appear business has just picked up!
Alan Moore’s The Courtyard
JLA: The Tower of Babel (The Deluxe Edition)