Secret Wars #5: Review

CAUTION: Spoilers Ahead for the Secret Wars series. If you’re behind, be warned. With all the focus lately on the All-New, All Different Marvel that comes after Secret Wars, we can almost forget that there’s a big event going on at Marvel. Secret Wars #5 continues the exploration of what exists after everything ends and what’s left in a world where Doctor Doom is God. The last issue saw some major developments with the emergence of survivors from the mainstream Marvel Universe and the Ultimate Universe. It also Doom take revenge on Doctor Strange for interfering in his elimination of these new threats. That’s about all I can say without dropping serious spoilers.

secret wars #5Secret Wars #5

Writer: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Esad Ribic
Cover: Alex Ross
$3.99 / Rated T+ / Release Date:8/12/2015

Solicitation:
OWEN REECE DIED FOR OUR SINS!

Review:
I’ve really been enjoying the main series in the Secret Wars event. Some of the spin-off titles have not been to my liking, but the main series has been a very intriguing story. I really like seeing Doctor Doom explored as the hero of his own story. Doom sees Battleworld as him saving reality and the only thing he asked for himself was to be acknowledged as God. Not since John Byrne showed us a day in the life of Doom as ruler of Latveria, has a writer really managed to make Doctor Doom a fully rounded character. Too often he becomes the megalomaniac villain. What makes Doctor Doom so great is that he is indeed the hero of his own story.

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Esad Ribic handles the artwork beautifully, rendering the characters very naturalistic style, but very unlike how it has been done with other artists that try to over-render figures with meaningless lines. Ribic also has the benefit of Ive Svorcina coloring over his work giving a much more illustrative look to the artwork. I strongly urge you read the article on Marvel.com about his approach to coloring Secret Wars. So much of this issue is done mono-chromatically, but in a way that looks completely natural.

The artwork and writing blend best in those moments where Hickman lets silence speak broader than any thought balloons or captions could. We also see the emergence of the Valeria Doom as the character she was in the previous universe, much more mature than her years show. She may just play the most important role in the book and her scene with Doom is the highlight of Secret Wars #5.

If there’s a flaw to the issue it’s the feeling that we’re missing some of the story, and what has happened elsewhere is summarized here. Secret Wars is a large scale story, and I think it needs more cohesion to work in the best way possible. I think when the event is over, Secret Wars and its eight issues will be able to be read alone, but still have this feeling that it would be richer with some of the other tie-in series.