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Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #4: Review

Aug 1984
Jim Shooter, Bob Layton

Story Name:

Situation: Hopeless!

Review & Comments

3 stars

Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #4 Review by (June 27, 2011)
Galactus sets himself apart from the rest. His most recent history has been in Fantastic Four. In #243-244 Mr Fantastic saved the life of Galactus weak with hunger, and then found him 6 uninhabited planets to consume. Human Torch's girlfriend Frankie Raye also became Galactus' herald Nova. In #256-257 Galactus ate the Skrull throneworld. In #262 he appeared as a witness for the defence when alien races put Reed Richards on trial for saving him to continue destroying planets.

Dr Doom is the natural leader of the villains. He too has been recently in Fantastic Four. In #258-260 he gave the Silver Surfer's power to Galactus' ex-herald Terrax and sent him against the FF, but in the end Tyrax seemed to kill him. But in a later issue #288 it will be revealed that Doom escaped by swapping minds with a bystander. #288 occurs during Secret Wars II and the Beyonder restores Dr Doom and that bystander to their proper states, and then sends Doom back here to take part in Secret Wars I.

Ultron is an enemy to all, including the other villains. That's why Doom got Molecule Man and Galactus to destroy him in #1. But he's powerful and usually indestructible. That's why Doom rebuilt him in #2 as a programmed enforcer. The history of Ultron is of continuous redesign with new Mark Numbers. Sometimes he recreated himself. Sometimes (like the last 2 times) he's destroyed but has pre-programmed a way for himself to be rebuilt. Ultron-9 was created by brainwashed Iron Man in Avengers #201-202. He was brought back in Marvel Two-In-One #92-93 as Ultron-10 by programming built-in to his creation Jocasta, but destroyed again. Now Beyonder has recreated him as Ultron-11. But The Iron Age #1 later inserts another version before this series, an offshoot from Ultron-6 (the 1st Ultron to have an adamantium body from Av#66-68) who called himself Ultron Omega (so as not to upset the existing numbering scheme). But he got destroyed as well.

Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #4 Review by (June 27, 2011)
Comments: After this issue, Kang is not seen again until issue #11. Explanations: Iron Man is Jim Rhodes, Hulk has Bruce Banner’s mind, Professor X can walk.

Review: Full review appears with issue #1.

Rob adds:-

Enchantress had her eye on Thor from her 1st appearance in Journey Into Mystery #103. So far he has resisted her enticements, but he has shown his attraction to the goddess type with Sif and Moondragon. However she will eventually become his lover in Thor #491 until he disappears into Heroes Reborn.

Last issue I considered the heroes (and Magneto). This time I'll look at the villains.

Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #4 Review by (June 27, 2011)
Molecule Man is the most powerful villain (maybe except Galactus) but doesn't realise it. Doom wants him kept alive to be used. He accidentally gained his power to affect molecules in FF#20 and it went to his downtrodden head. After a brief but convoluted history he was convinced by Tigra in Av#216 to go straight and get counselling.

Time-travelling Kang the Conqueror is the only 1 who would challenge Doom's leadership. I think that's really why Doom gets Ultron to get rid of him this issue. With a convoluted backstory (involving time-travel and multiple identities and alternate versions) that keeps getting added to, I can only say that the most recent recorded appearance was in Av#141-143 set in the Wild West. He was supposedly killed then, but later it will be claimed that he transferred his mind to a cloned body in another time. So this could be the same Kang, or 1 of the many alternates.

Enchantress mostly does her own thing here, which sometimes coincides with what the others want to do. After various bouts with Thor and the Avengers Enchantress has lately seemed like becoming Dazzler's resident villain. She was the opening villain in Dz#1-2 and in her latest app returned for a rematch in #16. In between she had a bit part in Thor #313 and a major role in Defenders #107-109 (another return engagement).

Lizard has also wandered off, and just wants to be left alone. But he will be eager to befriend anyone who shows him kindness, and ready to defend them. This is totally unlike the Lizard we've seen elsewhere. It seems to me more like Hulk used to be. Lizard is a long-time Spider-Man foe whose alter-ego Dr Curtis Connors sometimes helps Spidey as in his latest apps in various issues of Spectacular SM plus Amazing SM #243. The most recent app of the actual Lizard was back in SSM#33-34 battling his accidental creation the Iguana. So Beyonder must have abducted Connors and forced the transformation into Lizard.

Dr Octopus tends to be the leader when Doom's not around. Doc Ock is another long-time Spider-foe, who *doesn't* help Spidey in his spare time. He's just come off a long run in SSM#72-79 in a gang war against the Owl. He was captured by the police at the end of that so Beyonder presumably sprung him from prison and reunited him with his tentacles.

The rest of the villains are just muscle:-

Absorbing Man is another Thor foe who also was most recently seen in Dazzler's book in #17-19. In #1 of this series he says Beyonder freed him from prison so he was presumably also incarcerated there. Immediately before that in Hulk #261 he transformed into an island!

Wrecker is yet another Thor foe, but he's never been in Dazzler's series. He was last seen back in Thor with his gang the Wrecking Crew in #304. The most significant event after his origin, where Loki accidentally gave him and his crowbar Asgardian power, was in Defenders #17-19 where an accident shares his power with the Crew.
The Wrecking Crew are Bulldozer, Piledriver and Thunderball. They stayed together after they were formed until Th#304. (And Wrecker stayed with them too except when Puppet Master sent him alone against the FF in their #168.)
But Thunderball struck out on his own after Th#304 where Wrecker and the other 2 were captured. In Iron Man #171 he was James Rhodes' 2nd opponent. He may have escaped from that encounter but left his wrecking ball behind, because in ASM#247-248 he retrieved the ball and Wrecker's crowbar, but was defeated and imprisoned again.
So Beyonder presumably found all 4 characters in jail.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars #4 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

The victorious villains detonate explosives, destroying the heroes’ citadel. They spy the heroes regrouping on a nearby plain and Molecule Man exerts his powers to pick up an entire mountain range and drop it on them. Meanwhile, miles away, Thor and the Enchantress are speaking immortal-to-immortal and as she lures him into a kiss, the ground shakes from the impact of the mountain range and they return to find the villains standing over the wreckage of the citadel. Doctor Doom explains the fate of his comrades and demands that Thor, as the last surviving hero, surrender. The Thunder God refuses and attacks against the odds, causing havoc among his foes until Ultron blasts him with a disintegrator beam, leaving only his helmet and shredded cape behind. Their next mission is to wipe out the X-Men but first Doom has some unfinished business: vengeance against Kang, who tried to kill him (issue #1)—so he has Ultron destroy the time-traveling villain.

Elsewhere, the X-Men arrive at Magneto’s fortress, where the Master of Magnetism is playing gracious host to Wasp. Professor X suggests forming an alliance independent of Captain America’s group, and Magneto outlines his plan: rather than a defensive action like Cap and his team, Magneto proposes attacking and destroying the villains, and, if they object, the other heroes. This way they can use the Beyonder’s powers to create a golden age for mutants on Earth. Wasp, who was just playing along with Magneto until she learned his true aims, takes her leave, fighting off the X-Men on the way. Making her way to the landing bay she hijacks a small ship and heads for the heroes’ citadel to warn them; Magneto intends to destroy the ship with her in it, but Professor X stops him, pleading that they must not use such means to further their ends.

But what of the heroes? Beneath the massive mountain range, they are safe, as the Hulk is holding up the entire mountain to provide them a small area of safety. Mr. Fantastic rigs up an energy converter from Spider-Man’s web-shooters so that the power of Captain Marvel and the Human Torch can be channeled into Iron Man’s armor, enabling him to blast his way out. Thor, who escaped from the villains in a flash of lightning while Ultron was trying to disintegrate him, was on the outside trying to smash his way in. Captain Marvel flies off to gather food and medical supplies and discovers a small village inhabited by an alien race. The heroes are brought to the village where at first the inhabitants are afraid of them, but a lovely young woman, the local healer, persuades her comrades to help them. Ben Grimm spontaneously turns back into the Thing, and while Reed is bemoaning their plight, he is shocked to see what Galactus is doing….

Bob Layton
John Beatty
Christie Scheele
Bob Layton (Cover Penciler)
Bob Layton (Cover Inker)
(Unknown artist) (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.


(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)

(Peter Parker)

(Ben Grimm)


> Marvel Super-Heroes Secret Wars: Book info and issue index

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