Monday, 14 September 2015

Secret Wars #4 - Marvel Comics

Whilst “Secret Wars” is undeniably one of the most enthralling, compelling mini-series to be published by “The House Of Ideas” during the Modern Age of Comics, and is quite possibly a magnum opus of “Marvel Worldwide”. Its first few instalments have arguably had little in common with the original 1984 twelve-issue crossover title written by Jim Shooter. Indeed Jonathan Hickman’s vision of medieval courtroom intrigue and brutal politically-charged (in)justice would appear to have far more in common with George R. R. Martin’s fantasy-based “A Game Of Thrones” novels than the original run’s all-out battling superhero storyline which was tied to a “toyline from Mattel.”

“The Second Offense” changes all this however and finally sees the South Carolina-born author’s extremely engaging narrative start to ‘boil down’ to a simple ‘honest-to-goodness’ slugfest between the good guys and bad, as the Sheriff of Agamotto leads a team of protagonists who survived the creation of “Battleworld” up against the Cabal of Thanos, Black Swan, Terrax, Namor, Proxima Midnight, Maximus, Corvus Glave and the Maker. Indeed as the so-called God Emperor himself states whilst watching Spider-Man confront Galactus’ former-herald from the “planetoid Birj” and the Black Panther wrestle the savage Sub-Mariner, “there is something disquieting and familiar about all of this.”

In addition this twenty-page periodical will also have undoubtedly reassured its 221,041 strong audience that Victor Von Doom is still every bit the evil, maniacal sovereign who was ranked as the fourth Greatest Villain of All Time in 2006 by the entertainment and pop culture magazine “Wizard”. For having previously depicted the armoured Latverian genius as a supposedly benevolent, albeit brutal and disconcertingly intolerant, ruling deity. The Harvey Award-nominee finally has the merciless ruler show his true colours by first having him unblinkingly snap the neck of Scott Summers, after the Phoenix-empowered mutant had tried to permanently remove him from his throne, and then cowardly disintegrate his “old friend” and long-time confident Doctor Strange, simply because the Sorcerer Supreme refuses to call back the heroes and rogues he has saved from his monarch’s wrath by scattering “them to the wind”; “You will not test me, Stephen.”

All of this violent action and bloody betrayal is marvellously drawn by Esad Ribic, with the Croatian’s illustrations of the numerous Thors, “enforcers of Doom’s justice”, fighting the Cabal in the Kingdom of Utopolis, genuinely proving to be an incredibly dynamic thrilling visual treat. Although it is perhaps the panel depicting Victor’s omnipotent pitiless look, having decimated the man who aided his killing of the Beyonders, which will ‘haunt’ this issue’s readers the longest..?
The regular cover art of "SECRET WARS" No. 4 by Alex Ross

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