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Secret Wars #9: Review

Jan 2016
Jonathan Hickman, Esad Ribic

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3 stars

Secret Wars #9 Review by (January 17, 2016)
Review: So is this thing finally over? Did anyone still care? This year's Marvel event was drawn out with an added ninth issue and publication delays until most of the “succeeding” series have appeared, rendering it a moot point at best. And the point was a bit obscure: A plethora of odd characters, and it was difficult to keep track of who is on whose side. Everyone seemed like a bad guy at times—so who do we root for? Since this is an alternate take on marvel history, none of these characters are “real” so why should we care of anyone lives or dies? I think Marvel overestimated the public’s interest in a complicated fantasy. And it ends on an ambiguous note. Hickman's writing, while good, failed to make sense at many points. Characters appear just to disappear quickly, there was comparatively little for anyone to do, other than to support the plethora of “what-if?s” that comprise the tie-ins. The Prophet was teased as an important figure but he was introduced in ish #6 and killed off in ish 7, so why was he there? Similarly, the beloved Thing showed up at the end of #6, omitted from #7, and killed in #8, similarly the Cabal just seemed to bleed off into the margins of the story. The saving grace is Ribic's appropriately gritty art, looking better than his Thor run. As I've been saying all along, this was a lot of trouble just to get Miles Morales into #616. PS: I realize I am out of step with the majority of reviewers who simply loved this series. Perhaps it's because I wasn't following Hickman's Avengers or FF runs, having become largely disappointed in the last few years of Marvel offerings. I'm sure it's all brilliant but the whole thing felt totally unnecessary to me, even more so than the pointless AXIS. As always, your mileage may vary.

Secret Wars #9 Review by (January 17, 2016)
Black Panther uses the Infinity Gauntlet to go back to replay the beginning of Hickman's New Avengers #1. Even then he was talking about Wakanda taking the lead in space exploration. But this time the rumble they hear doesn't presage the 1st Incursion. Instead it is the launch of a rocket called Alpha Flight.
I guess this is the founding of the Alpha Flight space station that Captain Marvel and her Alpha Flight will operate from in her post-SW series.

Molecule Man says he owes Miles Morales a favour for giving him a burger in #6. So that's why Ultimate Spider-Man survives into the new universe when the other Ultimates disappear, and gets his dead mother back too as seen in Ultimate End #5 and referred to here. His friends get carried over too.
And they're not the only people to survive from the Ultimate Universe. Maker is an ongoing villain in New Avengers, and #5 suggests that inside his suit he's still in slices like Molecule Man leaves him here. But we don't know why Moley chose to save *him*.

Mr Fantastic and Molecule Man create whole other universes that Franklin invents, and the composite Molecule Man gets to split his selves between them. MrF, Invisible Woman, Valeria, Franklin and the rest of the Future Foundation will get to explore these universes.
That explains why the only members of the FF horde left on Earth are Human Torch and Thing. But it doesn't explain what Johnny and Ben *think* happened to the others. And anyway apart from Reed Richards we have been led to believe that the others aren't the *real* characters. Maybe in MM's new reality they are?
And where are those characters based at the end of this issue? According to ANAD Point One Maestro occupies the remains of Battleworld in Contest of Champions.

Dr Doom with his face healed at least explains why he's living without his armour in Invincible Iron Man. And maybe why he's (apparently) a good(-ish) guy now.

Black Panther goes back in time to NAv#1 but the rest of the end scenes happen '8 months later'. That time-gap was also quoted between NAv#23 and #24, and that suggests to me that the new universe takes up where the old 1 left off. But things in the intervening months are different from what they were, either because of Molecule Man's recreation or BP's time jump. (The arguments are already starting on the fan forums.) Marvel seem to not have an overall plan for what happened in the gap, and are leaving it up to individual writers to fill in the blanks as and if they want to.

1 big question is did the Incursions still happen in this new reality, and were the Beyonders still out there to be dealt with?
Some have assumed that the Incursions still happen, but Panther will lead the Illuminati down a better path to stop the Beyonders. But if so what happened to the 1st Incursion that BP doesn't see when he returns to NAv#1?
On the other hand in the new Uncanny Inhumans Black Bolt remembers the Incursions, and remembers giving his son Ahura to Kang to save him from the end of the multiverse. He now wants Ahura back.

There are other things that happened since NAv#1 that have happened at least similarly. Steve Rogers has still handed over Cap-ness to Sam Wilson. And Jane Foster has still superseded the Odinson as Thor, which involved Original Sin. In Uncanny Av Rogers is still angry with Stark, but 1 would hope that BP stopped the Illuminati business breaking their relationship. And in UAv#5 Steve says their prime task is get Prof X's brain back from Red Skull, so the lead-up to Axis still happened, and maybe Axis itself.
Which leads me to the open questions in the Iron Man series. Did Axis lead to Superior Iron Man? And what's the situation with Pepper Potts and Arno Stark?

Then there's the little differences that *have* crept in like:-
Dennis Dunphy was killed as Scourge in Captain America (2011) #14 published before NAv#1, but is alive again in CA:Sam Wilson #1. But Secret Wars Too says he was resurrected just before the end of the multiverse, so arguably he was resurrected again in the replay too, and this time it's stuck.
Foggy Nelson was diagnosed with cancer in Daredevil (2011) #22 which was published in the same month as NAv#1. In the new DD he doesn't appear to have it. DD#22 could be placed chronologically after NAv#1 and the cancer be wiped out in the reboot. But also Foggy was getting Ant-Man to help cure him in DD(2014)#5, and that could have worked.
The message to be taken away here is that almost anything can be explained away in the comicverse.

Another subject to be considered is the new series that are following on from Battleworld tie-ins. For instance how do the back stories of A-Force and Red Wolf's new series cope with the previous Battleworld settings. The answer in these 2 cases is very different. In A-Force Singularity transfers from Battleworld and starts to rebuild the team only she remembers. Red Wolf only retains the fact that he succeeded Steve Rogers as Sheriff of Timely in 1872, and even that seems to be thrown away by #2.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Secret Wars #9 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro
Doctor Doom confronts Black Panther and Sub-Mariner, at the head of an army of the unliving. Doom promises to raise Wakanda for the Panther; T'Challa, wearing the Infinity Gauntlet, would prefer to do it himself. The Panther turns Doom into brittle metal and Namor shatters him with a lance. Doom pulls himself together and fights back.... 

On his way to talk to Molecule Man, 616 Reed Richards encounters Sue Storm and Valeria, promising to put everything right again. He descends into the secret chamber with the Maker (Ultimate Reed) to find the source of Doom's power. Maker traps Reed in a temporal bubble and regresses him to ape-hood. Molecule Man steps in and slices up the Maker as if he were so much bologna.... 

As Doom stands over the fallen T'Challa, he realizes this was all a distraction. He hurries to Molecule Man's prison where he is met by Sue who has learned the truth about her lover/god Doom. Below, Doom confronts Reed and they bicker about what Doom has done and how Reed would have been better. Owen Reece removes Doom's power so that the two longtime enemies fight on equal terms; Reece resolves everything by recreating the world as Reed would have done it.... 

[A whole lotta big flashy pages follow....] 

In Wakanda, the Black Panther plans his country''s space program.... 

Owen Reece sends Peter Spidey and Miles Spidey off together.... 

The reunited Richards family uses Owen's power to create and launch new world that they plan to visit an explore from now on.... 

And Doctor Doom is without his mask because he no longer has scars to hide....

Esad Ribic
Esad Ribic
Ive Svorcina
Alex Ross (Cover Penciler)
Alex Ross (Cover Inker)
Alex Ross (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

Invisible Woman
Invisible Woman

(Sue Storm)

> Secret Wars : Book info and issue index

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