Review: Secret Wars #3

I really had not planned to review this issue. This is in the middle of the event, and it looks to me like most of the ancillary series kind of miss the mark on where this event is supposed to go, ultimately not really seeming to matter much in the end. However, after reading it, certain things happen and certain characters appear that really made me stop for a moment, give that internal squee of approval and decide that I had to write about this issue.

A word of caution, although I’m going to try to not spoil anything, I can’t guarantee that I won’t in some way ruin a moment for you. You’ve been warned.

SCWARS2015003_AlexRossSECRET WARS #3 (OF 8)

JONATHAN HICKMAN (w) • ESAD RIBIC (a)
Cover by ALEX ROSS
Variant cover by ESAD RIBIC
Connecting cover by SIMONE BIANCHI
VARIANT cover by MARGUERITE SAUVAGE
ACTION FIGURE VARIANT COVER BY JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
GWENDGE VARIANT COVER BY NICK BRADSHAW
VARIANT COVER BY BOB MCLEOD

Solicitation:
ALL THE DEVILS DANCE!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

Review:
This issue is broken up into parts, each with its own title page, but each part is so dense that I came away feeling like I had read a lot of comic. It features on Doom and Stephen Strange, the two people on Battleworld that remember what had come before everything ended, that is, until the Cabal arrived in the previous issue. We also get some fantastic story progression as the tension on Battleworld is amped up, even if Doom doesn’t realize it. There’s not so much exploration of the world, except what is absolutely needed to develop the story, such as demoinstrations that Doom is omnipotent, but not omniscient, and that Stephen Strange had no interest in being God in the new world that they created.

Secret-Wars-03-008The artwork is beautifully evocative, and so beautifully colored that I wonder how long this series was in the works. Esad Ribid has that very naturalistic style that’s so popular nowadays, but it wouldn’t anywhere near as impressive without Ive Svorcina’s coloring. Ribid may not have the best Beta Ray Bill that I’ve ever seen, but he’s able to convey the emotions of some very confused and distraught characters. He and Svorcina also make the reveal of Doom’s actual face look like something we’ve waited fifty years for.

The issue isn’t perfect, for much of Battleworld seems a little confusing still and I really felt like I needed my map to know where things were happening. The Thor Corps seem less like an organized police force that they were demonstrated as in the previous issues and more like the beginnings of a Gestapo. The origins of Battleworld’s sun seem like an obvious foreshadowing of a future story development, if not something pivotal, and obvious foreshadowing in a periodic comic book just smacks that the story is being written and might be intended to be read as a collection after everything is finished.

Secret Wars is everything Convergence was not. Even after it was done, Convergence didn’t feel like it had to occur, or that stakes were ever really that large. This has the feeling of a big event, something that most events haven’t had about them in a while. The last one might have been Civil War, but this one far surpasses that in its execution. I’m in for the duration, and might read a few more of the tie-in series.