Welcome back to the MC2, Multiversity’s panel of noted Marvel experts. The three of us (MC3 sounded weird) are covering Marvel’s straight up CALVACADE of “Secret Wars” tie-ins! This week, we tackle “Thors”, “Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars”, and more whilst giving up our own thoughts on the event as a whole! Feel free to join in the conversation in the comments and let us know what you think about Marvel’s latest crossover. Spoilers below!
Written by Jason Aaron
Illustrated by Chris Sprouse
Reviewed by James Johnston
What I really like about “Thors” and the whole concept of the Thors Corp is just how quickly it turned into the television show Blue Bloods. Specifically, how the Thor Corps, a gathering of Nordic gods, all act like they’re pop culture’s idea of what police are. There are dead partners, renegade cops, and a case that will shake this precint to its core. There’s also a scene of the Thors straight using “enhanced interrogation” on suspects so hey, just like real cops.
What I like about “Thors” is that it helps humanize the force in some ways, giiving meaning to the all the other Corpsmen flying around the Battleworld tie-ins. Every Jane Foster is being murdered, and only the Ultimate Thor can track down their killers, and clash with the renegade Unworthy. Weirdly enough, the entire thing gives me a Green Lantern Corps vibe, especially with the inclusion of supporting characters like Thrr and The Frog of Thunder. Like GLC, “Thors” has the promise of a lore behind it that we’ll never see. Nor will we really need to. It feels lived in, much more than many other of the tie-ins we’ve been covering.
“Thors” #2 also feels more emotionally compelling than some other tie-ins and I think that may be the work of Chris Sprouse. His art can go from somber funeral scene to all-out war in no time. These characters exist in situations of insane violence, but they’re still people. Sprouse nicely captures that feeling, especially in moments like the Thors’ stand-off in the rain.
Final Verdict: 7.7 – “Thors” #2 is a tie-in with personality, intrigue, and a frog in a lab coat. So yes, I would recommend it.
Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #3
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Matteo Lolli
Reviewed by Alice W. Castle
For most of this issue, I kind of hated it. When I talk about this event, I usually do so by talking about how most of the tie-ins don’t seem to have anything to do with, well, anything, really, and this issue encapsulates that for the most part. If you’ve somehow missed it, the main gist is that Deadpool has been inserted into the original “Secret Wars” events because reasons and the original event plays out for the most part unchanged except for Deadpool making jokes in the background.
This is the kind of story that will only matter to people who already love the character involved. If you don’t care about Deadpool, this isn’t the story for you. If you think Deadpool is overexposed and any and all humour has long been bled from this stone (like myself), this issue is going to be grating. Cullen Bunn’s writing marries recreating the original event with splicing new scenes with Deadpool into the story, which is really only going to grab as a reader if you know the original event and know what’s happening and if you like Deadpool as a character enough to want new scenes with him. Matteo Lolli is perhaps the best part of this book as his style is very clean, but has an exaggerated and cartoon-y edge to it that makes it perfect for this blend of retro-Marvel-meets-new-Marvel story.
However, for all that, the issue ends on a poignant note that reminded me of the potential of Deadpool’s character. It’s a scene that shows that there is still depth to Wade Wilson behind all the jokes and fourth wall breaking and that there is humanity here. The character isn’t just a walking joke machine and you can have pathos and even tragedy. Bunn clearly knows that as a writer and I can only wish this issue balanced more of that along with the humour instead of just tacking it on to the end of an issue that was like pulling teeth for me.Continued below
Final Verdict: 5.0 – This isn’t for me, but it will probably be more well received by people who like the character. I just wish I had gotten more of the character glimpsed on the final page throughout the book.
X-Men ’92 #2
Written by Chris Sims & Chad Bowers
Illustrated by Scott Koblish
Reviewed by Alice W. Castle
As someone born in the 90s (1993 to be exact), this comic should be my jam. This series is, after all, supposed to be a love letter to the X-Men from the early 90s. However, while it may be a love letter to that era, it also embodies many of the traits that made that era laughable in hindsight. While this issue is much more tolerable than the last largely because things are actually happening, Sims and Bowers continue to write the series as an ode to Chris Claremont. This means the issue is full of purple prose, narration captions that are entirely unnecessary and monologues on just about every other page. The novelty of this wears off incredibly soon and the issue becomes a slog to read through. The pace is so slow and the dialogue goes on for so long without actually saying anything that I almost felt myself skimming the dialogue in some panels.
While the writing became pretty tedious as the issue went on, Scott Koblish’s art was entertaining all the way through. Koblish’s artwork is something of a love letter to Jim Lee in the same way the writing is a love letter to Chris Claremont, but it does a better job of standing on its own merits. It helps that most of the issue takes place in a mental projection and this allows Koblish to mess with the boundaries of reality and create some pretty trippy layouts. However, because this issue was originally released digitally as an Infinite Comic, the translation to print isn’t always smooth. Some of the pages that definitely worked digitally feel stunted in print because without the motion created by the digital format there’s very little in the way of actual flow. This is especially apparent in the pages where the figure in the foreground is the same for multiple panels while the background and dialogue changes. It may work for digital, but in print it’s just a couple pages worth of the same panel of a closeup of Storm’s face while the background changes around her.
All in all, while I really wanted to like this book, it didn’t a lot for me. There was some neat ideas like Cassandra Nova’s motivation being that she wanted to neuter the extreme-ness of the 90s X-Men in order to make something more safe for the kids, but it was lost under the weight of trying too hard to emulate the comics of the 90s X-Men. In trying to relive the best parts of that era, the comic is burdened with the worst parts too like stiff dialogue and overly long narration that just tires the reader and artwork that feels stiff and motionless.
Final Verdict: 5.5 – Sadly, just how cool this idea was couldn’t save it from itself.
Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #2
Written by James Robinson
Illustrated by Steve Pugh
Reviewed by James Johnston
I take many simple pleasures in life. A rousing game of chess. A glass of wine. Eleven glasses of wine. But what manages to be better than all of that is the lead character of “Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies”: simple cowboy scientist Hank Pym. in “AOU vs. MZ”, Pym has found a safe haven for artificial beings. Or “ARTEEFISHAL” as Pym says. Apparently, the word didn’t exist back in 1872. I’m sad Dusty Rhodes passed away, because he would voice 1872 Pam in the cartoon adaption.
All fascination with sensible scientists aside, “AOUVMZ” is turning out to be a better tie-in than I anticipated. For one, it’s exploring parts of Battleworld that are actually parts of Battleworld. “Secret Wars” threw out the whole “hey, there are Ultrons and Zombies over there” nugget but every other tie-in is about a Mormon Moon Knight teaming up with the Spaceknights. It’s just nice to have one comic that picked up on the main series’s cool thing and expanded on it. Especially with a genteel scientist who… calls Chinese people “celestials”? Was that really a racial slur? I fully expected Pym to see his first black person and call them an Eternal. Oh god. I don’t want to know what he thinks an Inhuman is.Continued below
“AFJEIOUAf” sees “All-New Defenders” creators James Robinson and Steve Pugh reunite to once again bring the spotlight to that book’s hero, Jim Hammond. As such, there’s a couple of Golden Age flashbacks which have an incredibly cool filter recounting how Ultron’s empire came to be. There’s a couple of details that are missing, like how everyone is just cool with there being multiple Pyms from different timelines and zombie versions of their friends. If you can get past those details, there’s still a lot of fun to be had with “ASOIAF”, especially with characters like Puritan Punisher. I should have just written the words “Puritan Punisher” and called this a day.
Final Verdict: 6.8 – A pretty fun issue that’s hurt by a lack of details.
1602 Witch Hunter Angela #2
Written by Marguerite Bennett and Kieron Gillen
Illustrated by Stephanie Hans
Reviewed by Jess Camacho
The first issue of “1602 Witch Hunter Angela” left me feeling very excited for what’s to come. It was an issue that felt like a natural continuation of the Angela solo series and played up the 1602 setting perfectly through the use of language and adapted characters. Thankfully, despite my growing ambivalence towards “Secret Wars” as an event, this issue gave me a bit of hope that this miniseries will be enjoyable all the way throughout.
“1602 Witch Hunter Angela” #2 sees Angela and Serah setting out to kill more Faustians (Inhumans adjace) but also struggling with what the Enchantress told them. Angela will kill 3 creatures but after the third, something will happen and Serah will die. After discussing this a bit and Angela’s fears about losing Serah, an explosion stops them in their tracks and they end up fighting off a threat with help from The Gardiner’s Men, the 1602 version of the Guardians of the Galaxy. After introductions, the group goes to a wedding involving Anne Weying and Edwin Brocc where chaos ensues.
I like that Bennett and Gillen are going a simple route with the script. This is a straight action adventure story that isn’t trying to do too much. It doesn’t need to tie into everything happening with “Secret Wars” and it’s not trying to undo any of what’s happened. It’s as if “Angela: Asgard’s Assassin” never ended. The dialogue is snappy and quite funny but the vocabulary used is in line with the time period as close as it can be. It’s very Shakespearean in both language and exaggeration of the characters. This is closer to a fun stage production than a serious drama. The relationship between Serah and Angela is just so cute. They’re very similar to Xena and Gabrielle but not as coded. The 1602 versions of the Guardians of the Galaxy see some big changes but you see each of their personality traits coming through very well. The only one missing much of his personality is Rocket but that’s mostly because a talking animal is a big stretch for this particular world.
Stephanie Hans is an artist that should be on everyone’s radar. If she wasn’t before, then she needs to be now. The work she’s been doing this year has been breathtaking. Her art stylistically similar to that of J.H. Williams III as it’s big in scale, almost ignores traditional panel placement totally and each panel is a painted work of art. This is comic art taken to a higher level and I love every bit of it. Last issue I remarked on how dark things were but this issue is a bit better as far as the coloring goes. I love the emotion in each character and the body language is completely on point. Irene Koh does the illustrations for the story that Serah tells and it’s a significant departure from what Hans does. Koh has a much more animated style with big, exaggerated reactions from characters and with Bellaire’s great color work the sequence is very cute.
Final Verdict: 8.5 – “1602 Witch Hunter Angela” #2 is a really great issue and one of the few tie ins that hasn’t let me down yet.
M.O.D.O.K. Assassin #3
Written by Christopher Yost
Illustrated by Amilcar Pinna
Reviewed by Jess Camacho
“M.O.D.O.K. Assassin” #3 is absolute mayhem from start to finish. In all honesty, aside from a brief intro in the first issue, this whole mini has been just absolute mayhem. Set in Killville, Angela, a member of the Thor Corps has fallen and the rest of the corps is unable to find her. M.O.D.O.K. has been helping her all while falling in love with her and now they’re under attack by pretty much every assassin living in this part of the Battleworld. “M.O.D.O.K. Assassin” #3 is a giant fight scene with Angela and M.O.D.O.K. fighting off the hoard of killers. The two of them work very well together and it makes for a fun time but it’s a tough sell. I don’t think you could fully enjoy this if you didn’t like M.O.D.O.K. and he is a divisive character. Some love the more humorous approach and others do not and that opinion is going to decide whether you can enjoy this series.
“M.O.D.O.K. Assassin” #3 eases up a bit on M.O.D.O.K.’s lust for Angela and that makes this a lot more fun. They’re more of a team here and Angela begins to warm up to M.O.D.O.K. just enough to keep things from being creepy. Yost avoids the pitfall of automatic love and lets the two of them organically become friends. The problem again is that there’s not much meat to this miniseries. It’s fun but it’s just a lot of characters fighting each other and the humor isn’t fully there. M.O.D.O.K. is a lot more likable in this issue but there’s very little development of the other characters.
I really enjoy what Amilcar Pinna is doing on art and it’s become the highlight of reading this. This issue has some nice looking action scenes with huge super powered moments and a ton of movement. Angela’s muscles can occasionally look a little weird but the way she fights and the way she reacts is great. Rosenberg brings something so crucial with her colors because without the vibrancy and fun they embody, this whole issue would take a much darker tone. She mixes pinks and purples so nicely with M.O.D.O.K.’s power set and the flames that pop up on almost every page have the right blending of reds and oranges.
Final Verdict: 6.0 – This issue has great art but just isn’t working as a whole.
Jess: So again this week I don’t have a whole lot to say. I did have a chance to read everything this week but the standouts for me were definitely “Thors” and “1602 Witch Hunter Angela”. Those two series are only two issues in but they’re really doing it for me. Everything else was fine to bad again killing my excitement for this event as a whole. It’s harsh but I’ll say it, I think Marvel is phoning it in with these tie-ins. It reminds me a little of “Convergence” to that extent. I just want these stories to be strong on their own but so many of them aren’t that.
Alice: Much like Jess, I didn’t think much of this week. Sure, I’m thankful that we’re not all covering four or five books each, but I wish the quality of the ones we were covering was better. Because of the delays between issues of the main series, this week really does feel like a filler week. Outside of “Thors” and “1602” there wasn’t a whole that I actually liked. Most of the other books either had interesting concepts and didn’t do much with them or where just downright boring to me. I can’t believe I’m saying this after how much we complained about the larger weeks being too much to cover, but I want things to pick up again.
James: Can’t write a final thought this week because I’m writing my pitch for a mini-series about the Puritan Punisher from “AoU vs. MZ”, Labcoat Frog from “Thors” and MODOK being forced to*record scratch* raise a baby?!