Sunday, 27 December 2015

Secret Wars #7 - Marvel Comics

SECRET WARS No. 7, January 2016
Responsible for this mini-series’ expansion from eight to nine issues simply because the comic’s narrative was “too big”, at least according to Editor Tom Brevoort, “King Of The Dead” proves an incredibly exciting reading experience, which must have delighted its 177,019 fans and shows no sign of the strain its creative team were under due to “the whole piece… [having] to be restructured.” Indeed despite the fact that Jonathan Hickman’s script required something far more than just “taking the issue and breaking it in half” as “scenes were moved around so the two issues worked as issues themselves”, this twenty-page periodical undoubtedly delivers the “massive chaos” of a planet-wide battle which its mid-Eighties forerunner could only hint at.

Admittedly the South Carolina-born author’s storyline still predominantly concentrates upon the actions of a select few members of the Marvel Universe, such as the duplicitous Mister Sinister, the Goblin Queen, the scheming Maestro and the Black Panther. But now they’re at the head of vast armies of hapless clones, wretched creatures of the night, green-skinned Hulks, and the living dead; and all of them, along with God Emperor’s Doom’s own super-heroic Thors and Maximus’ impotent peasants, are shown tirelessly hurling themselves against one another in the name of the ruler of Battleworld.

Incredibly, despite the sheer grandeur and splendour of his biblical-sized plot, Hickman also still somehow manages to provide his audience with some comprehension as to an individual character’s motivations. Baroness Madelyne Pryor’s astonishment at “the Army of “Sinister” switching sides, Apocalypse’s fury at the injustice of his having to “bow before God Doom” and T’Challa’s ominous farewell to his friend Reed Richards, are all insightful well-written moments framed within an infinitely larger context.

Equally as good a decision as to extend “Secret Wars” run, has to be Brevoort’s determination to stick with just Esad Ribic as the series’ sole illustrator and not succumb to external pressures to “bring in other artists.” Whilst the delays incurred as “the better part of a week or two” were spent “reshuffling stuff” for this publication were “not by any stretch of the imagination an ideal situation”, the Croatian’s pencilled panels are mouth-wateringly sublime and genuinely manage to convey a sense of raw power, savagery and scale to the battle scenes.
The regular cover art of "SECRET WARS" No. 7 by Alex Ross

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