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 “1872″, “Runaways” 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 And The Carol Corps #4
Written by Kelly Sue DeConnick & Kelly Thompson
Illustrated by Laura Braga & Paolo Pantalena
Reviewed by Alice W. Castle
This is the part where I regret that my review of this issue will be stuck in this article because there’s so much I want to write about this issue. “Captain Marvel” was the comic that I can trace a lot of who I am now back to. It’s a comic that changed me, viscerally. It’s emotional, then, for me to consider this issue Kelly Sue DeConnick’s send off to that character, but, wow, what a send off it is.
DeConnick has become somewhat infamous for the earnest power she is able to imbue the emotions of her writing with. What might come off as hokey or on the nose from other writers feels like it comes from a very true place when written from her pen. That’s what makes this issue special. As a conclusion to both this story and DeConnick’s extended writing on the character, this issue blends action with heartfelt writing and an ending that ends on a perfectly ambiguous note. While it wasn’t the ending I expected and I’m sure some will think it ended a page or two too early, the way the comic almost cuts to black before the real resolution feels, to me, like the perfect answer to what’s truly in the void.
This isn’t just the Kelly Sue DeConnick power hour, though, as fair credit must go to Kelly Thompson. As co-writer, there can’t really be mention of how good the writing is on this issue without talking about her. Same goes for artists Laura Braga and Paolo Pantalena who made an amazing impression with this issue as the action is lightning fast and full of intensity. It should be impossible to create such a sense of fluid movement from flying in a comic book, but somehow Braga and Pantalena pulled it off.
Final Verdict: 8.9 – It’s sad to me that Kelly Sue’s farewell must be somewhat hidden within this event, but she at least made sure to leave with a bang.
Years of Future Past #5
Written by Marguerite Bennett
Illustrated by Mike Norton
Reviewed by Jess Camacho
Unlike “Inhumans Attilan Rising”, “Years of Future Past” didn’t quite nail the ending. This was a post apocalyptic X-Men story that reflected a post 9/11 world but it never quite got it all together. This issue found many characters kicking the bucket and the world maybe or maybe not being changed. That’s the problem, we never really find out. The issue ends abruptly and I ended up getting online to find out if there was going to be another issue. There isn’t; this is just how it is. Bennett wanted to leave us with an open ended feeling because a world like this isn’t fixed in just one moment. However, there is a point where an open ended finale can feel incomplete and that’s what happened here. A great premise and some great character work just got kind of dropped at the end without any payoff. Norton’s art is just as solid as it has been the entire series. The action here moves very nicely and there’s a lot of great emotion coming through the character expressions. Plascencia’s colors add a great washed out, 80’s vibe to the series and I really like how he layers the silver and greys in regards to Chrissie’s power set.
Final Verdict: 5.0 – The art is great but the story just doesn’t feel complete despite the creative team saying it’s over.
Written by Jason Aaron
Illustrated by Mike del Mundo
Reviewed by James Johnston
I’m saying this as someone whose life is being ruined by “Secret Wars” and its refusal to end, but I don’t want to see “Weirdworld” go away. It’s charming, brutal, and everything right with comics. Not only has it impressed in its first couple issues, but it finds new ways to escalate its own stakes. And it introduced Swamp Thing! Multiple Swamp Things! And a woman who controls them whose name is literally Kale! She controls good vegetables and is named after a good vegetable.
As irreverent as I’m making “Weirdworld” sounds, it manages to hit some nice emotional beats. The land of Weirdworld itself is confusing as it is beautiful, which makes the downward spiral of Arkon all the more believable. And having the Sqamp Queen come in and test Arkon’s fear really helps push the state of Arkon’s mental health in a way that fits in beautifully with what Weirdworld has set up. And speaking of that wonderful land, I need like twenty pages a week of whatever Mike del Mundo wants to draw. The man’s a beast and there’s not really many comics that look quite like his.
Final Verdict: 8.8 – Aaron and del Mundo have told a crazy story in “Weirdworld” that manages to connect to some real places. It’s a shame they won’t be together once “Secret Wars” is over, but I’m looking forward to the final issue of this volume and the reboot with del Mundo and Sam Humphries.
Written by Gerry Duggan
Illustrated by Nik Virella
Reviewed by Alice W. Castle
It’s continually surprising just how well the telling of the story of the Marvel Universe as a Western has turned out. This feels like the kind of comic that should feel hokey and yet Gerry Duggan has created a story built on a very grounded and emotional narrative and seeded that narrative with Marvel characters in ways that make sense. Cameos don’t just show up out of the blue, instead they are placed in the story with measure and reason and they all contribute something.
This issue sees Red Wolf, Black Widow and Bruce Banner strike back against Wilson Fisk and Roxxon and while that could very easily be an interesting story as told in the Marvel Universe proper, the setting change makes it all the more interesting. As does the artwork by Nik Virella, who illustrates very Marvel-like fantastical action, but with a bit of a Western flair.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – Continues to surprise with how well put together this comic is despite how easily the idea could have been a joke.
X-Tinction Agenda #4
Written by Marc Guggenheim
Illustrated by Carmine Di Giandomenico
Reviewed by Jess Camacho
“X-Tinction Agenda” provides yet another downer ending but that doesn’t come as a complete shock given how bad things have been for the X-Men the last few years. The Genoshans and Rachel Grey’s X-Men team up to take down the recently back from the dead Cameron Hodge. This issue is a huge action sequence that sends this zone into chaos. Guggenheim doesn’t let his artist do everything and gives us some, at times, funny dialogue and there’s a lot of heart in what’s happening. The problem with this issue is that there isn’t a true sense of closure. We aren’t coming back to this version of Genosha after “Secret Wars” so why not leave us with a true ending? Di Giandomenico’s art is at it’s strongest in this issue. He really nails facial expressions and the characters don’t come off as muddled as they have in previous issues. Woodard’s colors bring everything together very nicely. He has a big range and gets the blending of yellows and browns, which could easily be ugly, makes for a unique looking dystopia.
Final Verdict: 6.0 – Some humor, some great action but not a great ending.
Written by Noelle Stevenson
Illustrated by Sanford Greene w/ Noelle Stevenson
Reviewed by James Johnston
“Runaways” hit that sweet spot between “not what I expected” and “still pretty darn good”. I expected a bunch of teenagers on the lam (running away, if you will), but the power dynamic with Valeria Richards, Winter Soldier, and the Runaways themselves made this one of the more interesting tie-ins. That and the sweet characters, fast-paced plot, and youthful energy. We complain a little bit in the Final Thoughts section about how redundant it is for so many of these titles to try and leave themselves open ended, I would genuinely get excited for a “Runaways” team with the same vibe as Stevenson and Greene.
That’s not to say “Runaways” is flawless. In all its excitement, the art can feel a little sloppy at times. Not distressingly so, but enough to make you concerned as to what’s going with Amadeus Cho’s face. Still, minor flaws like that when moments like Valeria’s reaction to Winter Soldier… yeah I’m not spoiling that part. Just know that even if “Runaways” doesn’t look like the most visually top notch show, it’s unshakably confident in its aesthetic and knows exactly what it’s looking for.
Final Verdict: 7.3 – A good ending for a series that I wouldn’t want to see directly continue. That said, I’d love to see what Stevenson and Greene and o once Dr. Doom’s done being King of the World or whatever.
Inhumans Attilan Rising #5
Written by Charles Soule
Illustrated by John Timms
Reviewed by Jess Camacho
Spoilers ahead! “Inhumans Attilan Rising” has been one of the best tie-in miniseries of “Secret Wars” and unlike another miniseries that ended this week, this one doesn’t leave us with nothing. This one leaves us with a display of how powerful God Emperor Doom is and raises a lot of questions. Medusa has turned on Doom and the Thors and is aiding Black Bolt in rebelling. What follows is a ton of action but it’s the ending that’s worth discussing here because of the implications. Medusa and Black Bolt get to the room where the Terrigen Mists are held and he is exposed, leading him to turn into the powerful character we all remember. Once powered up, he accidentally kills Medusa with his voice and it’s revealed that Doom has been resetting this domain over and over hoping for a different result. The last page is a restart of the series with Medusa and Black Bolt’s roles reversed. A gutsy finale, right?
My biggest complaint about these tie-ins is how they’ve felt ultimately pointless. “Inhumans Attilan Rising” never completely felt that way. There was something holding it to “Secret Wars” in a tangible sense and with this finale, Doom’s power is on full display. Charles Soule has been doing some solid work with the Inhumans but here, he gets you thinking about how “Secret Wars” is going to end. Doom’s world altering power clearly didn’t go away when he created the Battleworld. Maybe this is how the Marvel Universe gets out of the Battleworld set-up. As a whole, the miniseries was a fun, espionage tinged adventure that at times got a little romantic and delivered a finale that almost gets me believing in the entire event again.
John Timms’ art is once again a strong effort and a great stylistic choice for this story. He creates some great looking action scenes with huge fight scenes that flow nicely. The Inhumans’ powers come across very nicely with the highlights being Black Bolt’s yells. The facial expressions are very good with each character being designed with a science fiction and superhero sensibility. D’Armata’s colors are bold and captures superheroic action similar to that of the films.
Final Verdict: 8.0 – A very cool finale to one of the best “Secret Wars” tie-ins.
Jess: I really liked how “Inhumans” ended but I’m getting a little annoyed at some of the other endings. My understanding is that we aren’t seeing these worlds again, so what purpose does an open ended ending serve in a tie-in? Just finish the story and don’t make me feel like I’ve wasted my time.Continued below
James: I’d love it if more tie-ins end with Battleworld just exploding. Like, “Runaways” should have had everyone standing tall, ready for the future, only to get wiped out be an anti-incursion or whatever they’re using to end “Secret Wars.”
Alice: I kind of echo what the others are feeling in terms of how the endings to many of these series feel somewhat unsatisfying. Sure, I loved the ending to “Captain Marvel And The Carol Corps”, but I don’t disagree that many of these stories feel ultimately rather pointless in the face of the upcoming return to status quo for the Marvel Universe. It’s the kind of thing that feels strangled by the nature of comics in that, as much as I dig “1872” as a comic, I know in my heart that the Marvel Universe must march on with a much more accessible main universe. Still, I’ve enjoyed the time I’ve had with most (or more like some) of these titles, but it’s a shame that they’re still victim to the biggest problem with events: everything has to go back to a somewhat normality afterwards.