REVIEW: Secret Wars (Crossover) #1

Marvel Comics – Secret Wars #1 – Cover by Alex Ross

The following is a full written review of Secret Wars #1 – Written by Jonathan Hickman, with art by Esad Ribic – Release: May 6th 2015.

Since 2013 my number one Marvel Comics book has been Jonathan Hickman’s New Avengers, and having followed his run on both New Avengers and Avengers I know how he’s going to be writing. Every story of his that I’ve read has had an epic scope to it – and, I’ll be honest, at times it can be tough to follow.

Expect some spoilers from Avengers (Vol. 5), New Avengers (Vol. 3), and from the issue itself.

I’ve been really excited about how Hickman’s ‘Everything Dies’ storyline would all end. The thing is, though, not every reader of Secret Wars will have read each and every Hickman issue. That alone will be a huge problem. They explain some things, but if you don’t have an understanding of the Time Runs Out-act, then I don’t think you’ll be able to keep up with the story.

The most interesting thing about this event is that we will finally see people like the Ultimate Universe Iron Man square off against, say, the Avengers of the Marvel Universe. Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, and Namor have been some of the best characters in Hickman’s Avengers-run so far, but as the event begins these aren’t the characters that stand out. Instead take note of the classic Hickman stars: the Fantastic Four and the Future Foundation.

Yes, this story, so far at least, is still focused on the Reed Richards-characters. That’s for the best, though, as he is one of the only heroes (in the Marvel Universe, at least) with family and close friends in the crossfire. And as the universes are to collide, heroes are lost. Yes, plural.

That’s all I’ll say about the story elements. Good job, Hickman – very entertaining. But we have to talk about Esad Ribic. I, personally, would’ve wanted Mike Deodato or Stefano Caselli to do the art in this event – due to the fact that they’ve been great in Hickman’s time on Avengers and New Avengers – but the art works.

Here’s the thing, though. Esad Ribic’s art does have one big problem. I don’t think he masters faces of astonishment. When characters gasp, their faces are sub-par. One panel is incredibly problematic, in that Reed and Susan Richards both look… Weird when gasping.

All in all, though, this is a promising start to a huge Marvel event.

Final Grade: B+ – For fans of the Hickman Avengers-run this is a great issue, but if you go in with no knowledge of the run, you probably won’t be able to keep up. For full list of Comic Book Review grades go here.

I’m Jeffrey Rex

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