Story: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Esad Ribic
What They Say:
The Final War!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The whole Secret Wars experience has been interesting and while I find it succeeding on certain levels, I’m also finding it a failure on others. While I cannot know what it is Marvel is truly after and whether it truly succeeds for them, I can view it from my own fan perspective and far too many years of reading a range of Marvel books. This event is one that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed with this core book since it’s essentially a non-starter for new fans and really is a massive long song for the Fantastic Four, a group that is seemingly exiled for a host of reasons that may or may not be true. Each issue has been a fascinating read (and a real read, not a skim it and get the gist of it event) with some fantastic artwork and layouts that draws it all together.
But at the same time it’s a slow moving, plodding experience. It’s telling a tale and providing examples of what’s going on, but apparently these important events are all playing out in the supporting books and what we get here is the summary and nods towards them. I’ve only read a handful of the supporting books and while I’ve enjoyed them, I haven’t found them compelling towards the larger goal. None of the things referenced going on in here have occurred in books I’m reading, so this is my first nod towards this Prophet that’s raiding across the lands, several kingdoms of which are in chaos because of the various events playing out and how some of those from the Raft or the Cabal are causing trouble.
It’s all very interesting and coming from the perspective of someone not invested in any of this (and seeing most of the new books as jumping off points simply because it’s pricing me out of the market), I’m really enjoying it. Doom’s conversation with Black Swan reveals small details, we get some intriguing time with Valeria as she deals with our two Spider-Man, who in turn discover that Owen Reece is powering this entire world. I’ve long loved the relationship Reece and Doom have going back to the original Secret Wars, so seeing it play out here like this is great. I even loved the bedtime story Sue tells Franklin here about how they came to be in this world and what happened. That in itself leads to a heartbreaking story of what really happened to Ben Grimm, which has Thanos playing the role of a consoling friend over it.
Honestly, there’s this sense that while things are happening here, the real events are all elsewhere. The main event book isn’t really containing much of the actual event. And after reading so many big event books for so many years, it’s weirdly refreshing. And being a Fantastic Four fan from way, way, back, I’m loving that they’re so central to all of this and playing at it in a weird way even while their own main books and even their theatrical/licensing side is in shambles. There’s a heart rending element to all of this with them, a deconstruction and rebuilding of who they are, as we see the true First Family of Marvel being put through the wringer unlike others in this Battleworld. Here, their existences are simply being wiped out.
While those far more invested in the Marvel Universe and all the Incursion events that have lead up to this may get a lot more out of it, I’m admittedly getting a more superficial view of everything. And I’m more than fine with it because this is just a treat to read and engage with with both the dialogue and the artwork. I have no idea what the real endgame here is because it doesn’t seem like there is one beyond a complete relaunch with some changes. This issue gives us a look at some good character material involving a few more truths of how Battleworld came together, some of the tricks of it, and some of the tragedies. It’s really intriguing and I love it – but I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.
Age Rating: 13+
Released By: Marvel Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: October 9th, 2015