Secret Wars (1984) – A Comic Classic Review

Cover to Secret Wars (1984) #1!

Cover to Secret Wars (1984) #1!

Alright, maybe I use the term “classic” loosely but it certainly counts as something if, 30 years later, it’s still floating around in the Marvel Comics consciousness. This was Marvel’s first big “event,” where heroes and villains from across their titles ended up together in the same place dealing with the same situation.

And it shows – there are a lot of moments with people introducing themselves and clearly meeting for the first time. By today in the comics, the X-Men have fought Avengers numerous times, and half of everyone has been a member of the Avengers, there have been team-ups, and other big events have happened… there’s a whole lot less of the characters not knowing each other!

So quick synopsis: what the heck was a “Secret War?” Well, a handful of Marvel heroes (like most of the Avengers and X-Men, Spider-Man, most of the Fantastic Four… oh, and Magneto) and villains (like Dr. Doom, Ultron, the Wrecking Crew, Absorbing Man, Doctor Octopus… oh, and Galactus) find themselves whisked away across the cosmos to separate space stations. Down below, they watch as a new planet is formed – formed with pieces of other planets, a patchwork planet that comes to be called “Battleworld.”

Oh yeah and a galaxy is destroyed. Don't worry - I think it gets better.

Oh yeah and a galaxy is destroyed. Don’t worry – I think it gets better.

Then, after showing off its power, a voice speaks to them all: battle to the death, and they will be rewarded with their greatest wish. To top off the show of power, Galactus – his greatest desire being to stop wanting to eat planets – just goes straight for the voice and the glowy spot in space that is its source (the Beyonder). And Galactus is struck down.

What follows is 12 issues (a year) of the villains selfishly – and then following Doom’s orders – working to win the battles, and the heroes not quite getting along to fully stop the baddies. There are civilians, alien technology, and all sorts of things on the different patchwork pieces of the planet. So each fight is different, with new stakes or toys at their disposal. Galactus tries to eat the planet, Doom comes up with a scheme and gets the Beyonder power and loses it… and yeah, end result, not too much happens.

Although for a while, Doom has a face again. Cover to Secret Wars #11

Although for a while, Doom has a face again. Cover to Secret Wars #11

Okay, there are a few results. Some of the people summoned sound like they were dead in the comics and come back. Some new heroes and villains are created. I would say the biggest result was really Spider-Man finding the Symbiote suit, which would come to be known as Venom…

Dat headline...

Dat headline…

This was Marvel just getting started with events. Part of the idea is that “relevant” things should happen, character resurrections or deaths, suit changes, stuff like that. Big stakes, and seeing how the characters deal with them. And then usually a big reset button to return almost everything to normal. Marvel would get better at this, and one of the best is probably still the Infinity Gauntlet for stand-alone all-powerful-villain events, or else the Age of Apocalypse for alternate-reality-creating impact.

The creation of Battleworld!

The creation of Battleworld!

So why am I talking about Secret Wars? Well, more than anything, because they’re returned to Secret Wars in the comics. The first Secret Wars was the result of a single, all-powerful Beyonder having a whim to be entertained. The current Secret Wars is so much bigger than that – it’s the result of every Beyonder working together. Instead of a Battleworld built out of a few scraps of planets, the new Battleworld is built out of the last scraps of the entire multiverse – of all of the Marvel alternate universes. It’s an event which is seemingly taking apart the entire Marvel Comics universe, with the idea that it will for real and true never be the same again.

So how did they get there? That’s a post for another day – so I’ll be back soon with Time Runs Out!

Images copyright Marvel, and captured from the Marvel Unlimited service.

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Happy Holidays, All You Comics Fans!

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Batman-2004-DC-holiday-card-thumb-550x394-78358We’re just not posting many of our valuable words on Christmas Eve or New Years’ Eve. But you know we can’t let a Wednesday go by without a comics post.

This is a Christmas card for all you nice people who stop by week-in and week-out for comics. We appreciate your support. This would be a very different blog without you.

michael-cho-a-kirby-christmas-dare-devil-super-hero-holiday-kwanzaa-hanukkah-anti-lifeWe wish you all a safe, happy, and peaceful Christmas. And a fabulous New Year.

We’re taking Thursday off. I’ll have weekend music Friday and our revised April A to Z plan on Saturday.

Spidey_How_the_Grinch_Sto_____by_DeadlydelmundoMichael Cho Happy Holidays image via Not A Punk Rocker. Batman and Spidey images discovered at Fashion and Action.

Random Thought Generator Episode 1, Comic Book Influences

This is cool. It’s the debut of Therefore I Geek’s bi-weekly podcast. I just listened, and I thought they did a fine job. Jeremy will have a post about comics here tomorrow, and we’re hoping have a big discussion about feminism here on Friday. If you’re interested in that, see my last post.

Therefore I Geek

Comics

In the inaugrual episode of Random Thought Generator, Therefore I Geek’s Andrew and Tracy (that’s us!) discuss those comic books and strips that have influenced them. Starting from our earliest memories and moving on to more recent discoveries, we cover a wide variety of titles.

Links

Calvin and Hobbes

Zits

Dagwood

Garfield

Pearls Before Swine

Far Side

Tin Tin

Asterix

Amazing Spider-Man

Batman: The Dark Knight Returns

X-Men

Cable

Star Wars: Clone Wars

Watchmen

V For Vendetta

Atomic Robo

Saga

Transmetropolitan

Preacher

Pax Romana

Ready Player One

Amazing X-Men

Serenity

Lock & Key

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5 Classic Marvel runs since 2000

Daredevil_red_by_damien62130

By Jeremy DeFatta

(These are in No Particular Order)

Daredevil – Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev, and various other artists

I have to say, I love it when the perfect character, writer, and penciler are united on a title. A great example of that is the Bendis/Maleev run on Daredevil. Say what you will about Bendis’s recent work; this may have actually been his prime. This also has some wonderful thematic crossovers with the other titles he was working on for Marvel at the time, namely New Avengers, Alias, and The Pulse. If you’re a big Matt Murdock fan like me, this is a must-read period in the character’s history. While I love Waid and Samnee’s current run on the character, this is a much darker and grittier version of Daredevil whose darkness and grittiness won’t make you roll your eyes in disgust.

Astonishing X-Men – Joss Whedon and John Cassaday

Not long after the idiotic cancellation of Firefly but years before Marvel entrusted the fate of their entire Cinematic Universe to him, Whedon had a roughly four year run on an X-Men title. I have to say, if you haven’t read it, you should. It is a work of genius with great character moments, the usual smattering of witty Whedon dialog, and great casting choices. With a team including Cyclops, Wolverine, Beast, Emma Frost, Kitty Pride, and Colossus, how can you go wrong? This is definitely worth a read and will make you wonder what else Whedon could do with the characters Marvel no longer has movie rights to.

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