Reviews Of Old Comics: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #2
With the second coming of Secret Wars currently reshaping the Marvel Universe, it seemed like a good time to revisit the one that started it all. For some background, you should know that the mini-series stands on its own, as it was intended as a tie-in to the toy line and Jim Shooter, the Editor-In-Chief of Marvel decided that he would write the mini-series. In one month, at the end of their comics, all of the heroes walked into in huge construct in Central Park and in the next issue came out, some with new costumes and some as part of a new team, and readers had to read the mini-series to see how all of the changes happened. Unfortunately, by the time the last issue of the mini-series was published, most of the changes were moot. The most lasting change was Spider-Man’s black costume which became the basis for the character Venom.
However, we’re not here to judge the series itself or its effects. We’re here to talk about the second issue with one of the more striking covers of the series, unquestionably topped by issue #8, but in contention to be one of the best covers of the series.
The heroes are being attacked by the assembled villains. In the opening attack, several heroes are taken out of the battle. Meanwhile Doctor Doom, flies to try and convince to join his cause to defeat the Beyonder that brought them all to the strange Battleworld, after being betrayed by the other villains and rejected by the heroes. Galactus rises and walks off, ignoring Doom as beneath his notice. Doom returns to the villains’ base, easily defeating the robotic sentries left behind and coming across the drained husk of Ultron.
The heroes turn the tide thanks to the power of Thor and the Hulk. She-Hulk especially is successful in felling the Enchantress and a smaller group of villains flee the battlefield as the heroes take prisoners. Storm scouts and finds the heroes an immense base by a waterfall, while it is noticed that Lockheed the Dragon is missing following the battle. After securing the prisoners and healing the wounded using advanced machinery in the base, Captain America holds a meeting to discuss strategy, and establish patrols in case the villains attempt another attack.
Magneto has secured his own base in another section of the Battleworld, and the four remaining villains arrive back at their base to find it commanded by Doctor Doom with a wholly subservient Ultron as his enforcer. Doom briefs Doctor Octopus on Galactus, but Doctor Octopus is wary of Doom’s real motives and goals.
Magneto sneaks into the heroes headquarters, as the heroes settle into their situation, but as Magneto attacks their power core as a distraction for his real goal, Spider-Man is alerted by his spider-sense. The Human Torch alerts the rest of the heroes, but Magneto is capable of holding them at bay as he escapes. The Wasp and The Thing attempt a capture, but Magento captures her in a sphere of scrap metal, and the Thing finds himself transformed back into his human, non-powered form of Ben Grimm. Many of the heroes want to chase after Magneto, but Reed Richards informs them that they’re about to have their hands very full with other matters.
The story is simple which is all right, especially for a story that has to stretch for ten more issues. Many motives are still a mystery, but even the discord among the heroes is far too cliché and Shooter simply didn’t have a full command of the voices of many characters, resorting instead to the hackneyed portrayal for many of them. However, he is a master of cramming a ton of action and development into twenty-three pages.
Mike Zeck sometimes resorts to stereotyped body types for the characters, such as his Doctor Octopus looking very athletic, and his Wolverine sometimes appearing too tall, but he’s good at believably telling the visual story in a way that a reader can follow without becoming confused. Sometimes his faces become very uncharacteristic, especially on the female characters, but his renditions of the quieter scenes are very nice and moody, and he really makes the different bases unique in this issue.
This issue has been collected in Secret Wars (ISBN #0785158685). This is one of the issues in the series that gets a little easier to find at an affordable price, especially at conventions. Currently it’s seeing an increase in prices, but I recommend not paying too much for the other eleven issues in the series so you can have the money to land issue #8, currently selling for around fifty to a hundred bucks.
FINAL RATING: 7.0 (out of a possible 10) It’s a little too simple for my tastes, but seeing as this was essentially a comic to promote a toy line, it’s better than it has any right to be. In retrospect, the series has become more important than it was intended to be.