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The MC2 Presents: Secret Warriors, Week 15

By , and | August 28th, 2015
Posted in Columns | % Comments

Welcome back to the MC2, Multiversity’s column 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 “X-Men ’92”, “Civil War” and more whilst giving up our own thoughts! Feel free to join in the conversation in the comments and let us know what you think about Marvel’s latest crossover. Spoilers below!


Captain Marvel & The Carol Corps #3
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Kelly Thompson
Illustrated by David Lopez
Reviewed by Alice W. Castle

Simply put: “Captain Marvel & The Carol Corps” #3 continues the title’s streak as one of the most enjoyable “Secret Wars” tie-ins. This issue is high octane action from cover to cover and thanks to the fantastic writing by Kelly Sue DeConnick and Kelly Thompson, it’s also filled with varied and layered characters who are instantly recognisable as individuals. Alongside David Lopez, who manages to bring a fluid grace to the dog fights in the comic (who knew dog fights would translate well to comics?) and brings a lively feeling to the action. While this issue isn’t exactly heavy on plot, it goes hard on action and is a hell of a fun ride.

Final Verdict: 7.4 – This title has yet to disappoint.

Civil War #3
Written by Charles Soule
Illustrated by Leinil Francis Yu
Reviewed by Jess Camacho

“Civil War” #3 picks up right where the second issue ended. Spider-Man and his covert team are in Tony Stark’s territory and things aren’t going great for them. Meanwhile, Jennifer Walters, in her non Hulk form, has been caught and a big ending changes the entire game for “Civil War”.

I really like “Civil War”. The first issue was way too heavy on exposition to the point that the characters were giving monologues about their ideals. “Civil War” #3 defines the series as the political thriller that it always had the potential to be. The two separate storylines are handled very well by Soule and thanks to the unpredictability of “Secret Wars”, the danger feels real for all these characters. This is a very dark story but I don’t subscribe to the idea that all superhero stories need to be light or even redeeming of the characters involved. These heroes all chose to take part in a political issue and this is the fallout when people full of literal power (not the power that comes with position) and it’s why it’s become a tie-in I’m genuinely invested in.

Yu’s artwork is very dependable for this kind of story. He creates these huge, almost action movie scenes with lots of crazy explosions and violence that might upset some more violence sensitive readers. It’s the right amount of darkness to go with the writing. The character designs continue to be very good and Jennifer Walters’ non Hulk form is kind of a representation of her take no prisoners attitude.

Final Verdict: 7.3 – “Civil War” is enjoyable but it’s dark and that’s not going to make for a good read for every fan.

Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #4
Written by Cullen Bunn
Illustrated by Matteo Lolli & Matteo Buffagni
Reviewed by James Johnston

This may sound harsh but “Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars” is everything I don’t want in comic books. Okay, that’s not fair. The art has a good way of emulating an 80’s art style and it’s, uh, grammatically sound but everything else about it is just kind of exhausting. This entire issue feels less like a wacky exploit of Deadpool and more of a character assassination on The Wasp. Apparently, she felt so bad that she thought Deadpool was ugly that the Beyonder fulfilled her wish and made all the Avengers forget about him. WHAT. Between the offhand comments about her fling with Magneto and Deadpool constantly talking about how much of a better person Zsaji the dead alien girl was. I fully expected Wasp to just be replaced with a high school yearbook photo of one of Cullen Bunn’s exes at some point.

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Picking up on that Wasp thread may sound nitpicky, but it’s genuinely one of the only noteworthy things from this comic. The reenacted “Secret Wars” scenes are overcast with this weird vibe where, for whatever reason, Deadpool just fucking hates the Wasp. Like they are in the middle of a battle and Deadpool’s just like “Sorry I’m SOOOO hideous!” At least Zsaji would appreciate me!” It’s note even wacky Chalupa Deadpool either. It’s the sad one who wants to remind everyone that there’s a MAN underneath all these scars. Ugh.

Final Verdict: 4.3 – There’ve been much more entertaining Deadpool comics, even ones written by Cullen Bunn. “Deadpool’s SJW” meanwhile was just unremarkable when it wasn’t being gross.

Hank Johnson, Agent of Hydra #1
Written by David Mandel
Illustrated by Michael Walsh
Reviewed by Jess Camacho

What if Curb Your Enthusiasm or Seinfeld took place in the Marvel universe? You’d get “Hank Johnson, Agent of Hydra” #1. Hank Johnson is a typical guy who just happens to be a henchman for Hydra. This one shot follows him in his every day life including getting beat up by Steranko-era Nick Fury, dealing with three unruly kids and making nice with other dads in the neighborhood.

I wasn’t expecting to find so much to like in this issue. It’s a very funny story because it’s so mundane. Hank Johnson is just another guy who does a job to make ends meet and support his family. Hank isn’t fully happy but it is clear that he loves his family and does is best to take care of them. Mandel brings in his experience on the aforementioned television shows and so the entire issue reads like a sitcom. However, that’s also where it fails a little bit. Hank’s wife is the nagging wife stereotype and Viper is the overly sexual boss that makes unwarranted advances on him. Hank gets all this development but the two of them end up just feeling flat and while not offensive, they do deserve a little bit better.

Walsh’s art is perfect for this story. The first couple of pages are totally silent and the 8 grid layout is the perfect way to show the action happening. Walsh excels though at the character moments. Hank’s expressions are always great but the places where he’s disinterested while chaos is going on around him at home are the best. There are also some very funny moments featuring M.O.D.O.K. but the best is him singing Amazing Grace at a funeral. Walsh adds such a lot of visual comedy that the story definitely needed to work. Matt Wilson’s colors, as expected, are very good. He does a great job switching things up from ultra bright to washed out, reflecting the way Hank’s week goes.

Final Verdict: 8.0 – Some stumbles but this is one of the most unique stories of the whole event.

E Is For Extinction #3
Written by Chris Burnham
Illustrated by Ramon Villalobos
Reviewed by James Johnston

And in the most shocking twist of the month, I’m kind of over “E Is For Extinction”. I gushed over the series when it first began and it seemed to be based off the feel of Morrison and Quietly’s “New X-Men”. Now, it’s just straight up a super condensed version of that series. Characters like Dark Beast, Sublime, and Cassandra Nova get thrown in for no reason save them being a part of the original comic. Is Fantomex going to make a one-page appearance? Because I would genuinely lose my cool for that.

It’s a shame that “E Is For Extinction” has become so focused on rehashing “New X-Men” since it felt like a proper spiritual successor. Villalobos’s art captures the aesthetic of the series while being its own thing and Burnham was really coming into his own as a writer. But now it just feels like they’re going through the checklist of storylines that wrapped up a decade ago.

Final Verdict: 4.3 – I’ll turn this score into a 10.0 if the next issue features Skylark and Rover.

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M.O.D.O.K. Assassin #4
Written by Christopher Yost
Illustrated by Amilcar Pinna
Reviewed by Jess Camacho

“M.O.D.O.K. Assassin” has not been one of the strongest tie-ins of this entire crossover because it’s been pretty inconsistent from the get-go. By now, the relationship between M.O.D.O.K. and Angela is, dare I say, sweet. They’re two people who like to murder and together in Killville that’s what they get to do. Yost has a really basic premise here but it’s amusing and M.O.D.O.K. doesn’t come off as unbearable as he did in the early part of this series. Pinna’s art continues to be really, really fun and this issue is total carnage. M.O.D.O.K’s constant evil smile is so bizarre but adds to the offbeat feeling of this entire miniseries. It’s not the best tie-in in this event but it’s really grown on me.

Final Verdict: 7.0 – A very enjoyable penultimate issue. M.O.D.O.K. and Angela make for a good team.

X-Men ’92 #3
Written by Chad Bowers & Chris Sims
Illustrated by Scott Koblish
Reviewed by Alice W. Castle

I feel like I should love “X-Men ’92”. It’s literally a comic about Cassandra Nova trying to sanitize and make the extreme and violent X-Men of the 90s into more palatable PG-Rated heroes. It’s like the villain is just Vince McMahon circa 2008. However, I think because of the comic’s fate as an Infinite Comic, it’s ended up bloated and stiff. The panels, because they have to fit the half page, animated style of the Infinite Comics, don’t have a flow to them that would make the action exciting. Instead, the action seems boring and it makes the long tirades of dialogue that every goes on feel even longer and more tedious. What should be an action packed blast of a comic feels sluggish and like a chore to read.

Final Verdict: 5.5 – There’s still some enjoyment to be had from seeing these interpretations of the characters again, but the Infinite format did this no favours.

Old Man Logan #4
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrated by Andrea Sorrentino
Reviewed by Jess Camacho

“Old Man Logan” has basically turned into Logan’s tour of the Battleworld without the commemorative t-shirts. Logan is now in the Deadland where he’s fighting off zombies and all other sorts of monsters. Then he gets moved to a different area. That’s the formula of this miniseries and that’s why my interest level has dropped. I’m all for a slow moving series if it feels like it’s going somewhere. This really doesn’t feel like that at all but it has been a great showcase for artist Andrea Sorrentino.

Sorrentino’s work on this series has been absolutely mind blowing. From the opening scene, the pure rage of Logan comes right through the page. The violence in the Deadlands is designed so well with tons of gore and excellent character expressions. The grid breakdowns Sorrentino uses undoubtedly give him more work but he excels in creating tiny moments in each panel that add to Logan’s struggle is such beautiful way. Marcelo Maiolo’s colors are really surreal and almost like looking at a photo negative. The two of them combine for the most interesting looking book in this entire crossover.

Final Verdict: 6.0 – Most of these points are for the art…and She-Hulk.

Where Monsters Dwell #4
Written by Garth Ennis
Illustrated by Russ Braun
Reviewed by James Johnston

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that I enjoyed “Where Monsters Dwell” for being tongue-in-cheek. The man trapped in a society of Amazonians isn’t the best old-school adventure trope to fall back on but it can be done well. In fact, it can even be done in a not creepy way (just look at “Amazon Women In The Mood” from Futurama). “Where Monsters Dwell” #4, however, takes the cheeky plot from last issue and just goes full on insane with it. Insane to the point where it’s kind of disturbing. Like a Marvel character calling women bitches and sluts and raising a racist man from 1930’s ideas of what tribal peoples look like. This book is depraved and not in the fun way “Preacher” was. I’ve got no idea who it’s for except serial killers and people looking to line the bottoms of their hamster cages with torn up paper. Frankly, I’m super surprised that Marvel published “Where Monsters Dwell” alongside its biggest crossover ever. On the other hand, I’m not surprised Garth Ennis wrote it.

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Final Verdict: 3.2 – I get that Karl Kauffman isn’t supposed to be a big hero, but him raising an army of little brown people that immediately follow his will in order to attack a camp of women is something I’m not signing up for. Also, has another Marvel comic ever used the word “slut”?

Marvel Zombies #3
Written by Si Spurrier
Illustrated by Kev Walker
Reviewed by Alice W. Castle

“Marvel Zombies”, by all rights, should probably be pretty terrible. However, thanks to Si Spurrier being one of the most underrated and one of the best writers currently working for Marvel and thanks to Kev Walker being a simply fantastic artist, it’s somehow not. A lot of the reason why “Marvel Zombies” #3 is so good is the mix of dry wit (I’m British, what do you expect?) and the emotional resonance of Elsa Bloodstone’s past. This isn’t a book that’s just about the murderisation of zombies or even about the zombies themselves. It’s more of a character piece about what happens when a woman who was born and bred to be a loner and a hunter is forced to take care of a child. It’s “Lone Wolf And Cub” except the Lone Wolf is an English redhead with emotional baggage for days and she’s protecting the kid from a horde of zombified Marvel characters. It’s kind of amazing and it’s thanks to Spurrier and Walker that that idea, as far fetched as it may be, has an emotional punch that makes it a joy to read.

Final Verdict: 8.0 – This issue has really no right to be as good as it is

Final Thoughts

Jess: Some stuff was really good like “Hank Johnson, Agent of Hydra” and “E Is For Extinction”. By this point you’re either dedicated to this thing or not. I kind of wish Scarlet Witch would show up and whisper “No More Tie-Ins”.

Alice: With the announcement that Marvel will be adding a ninth issue to “Secret Wars”, meaning this event will be lasting all the way into December, I can feel the last of my patience running out. While there are a few gems here and there, I think the majority of the Battleworld titles just don’t cut it and have no reason to exist, honestly. Marvel’s decision to to pretty much only publish titles tying into “Secret Wars” has lead to an event that feels way too broad for its own good and is now collapsing under it’s own weight.

At this point I’m just exhausted.

James: When this event is over I’m never reading a comic book ever again. I feel like Forrest MacNeil.

//TAGS | The MC2

James Johnston

James Johnston is a grizzled post-millenial. Follow him on Twitter to challenge him to a fight.


Jess Camacho

Jess is from New Jersey. She loves comic books, pizza, wrestling and the Mets. She can be seen talking comics here and at Geeked Out Nation. Follow her on Twitter @JessCamNJ for the hottest pro wrestling takes.


Alice W. Castle

Sworn to protect a world that hates and fears her, Alice W. Castle is a trans femme writing about comics. All things considered, it’s going surprisingly well. Ask her about the unproduced Superman films of 1990 - 2006. She can be found on various corners of the internet, but most frequently on Twitter: @alicewcastle


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