In Review: Secret Wars #6

This is one series that lives up to the hype. Marvel has delivered the goods.

The covers: Brace yourselves, True Believers: the House of Ideas have created seven covers for you completists to seek out, but no images of them within. The Main cover is by Alex Ross and it has Thanos fighting all the dead Marvel super-villains. He’s trying to mow the animated corpses down with energy from his fists, but there are just too many of the monsters. Babs Tarr has created a fantastically fun cover with Star Lord in zero gravity, upside down in a space ship, his mask, some clothes, and an open bag of chips swirl about him. This is a great cover with perfect coloring. I wish my store had had this cover available! John Tyler Christopher continues his action figure covers, this time focusing on Daredevil. You’ll definitely want this if you’ve bought the others. Simone Bianchi & Simone Peruzzi continue their connected covers. This cover features Galactus in profile, Doctor Doom, Loki, Captain America’s leg, Spider-Man, the Punisher, and Mister Sinister. You’ve got to get this if you have the previous variants. Gabrielle Dell’otto has created an interesting variant: it shows four of the survivors of the Life Raft, just emerged — Spider-Man, Mister Fantastic, Ms. Marvel, and the Black Panther. This is a bold cover with it’s strong colors and green background, but I don’t like the way the wall crawler looks. I know, picky picky. Ron Frenz (one of my favorite all time Spider-Man artists), Sal Buscema (one of my favorite all time Hulk artists) & Chris Sotomayor have created a classic retro cover for the final official variant. Posed like the promotional art for the original Secret Wars series, several heroes are racing forward, among them Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, Juggernaut, and female versions of Wolverine and Captain America. I can’t name the rest of the heroes, but they look cool! I also found online that there’s another John Tyler Christopher cover, this one an exclusive for Midtown Comics that features Tony Stark striking Robert Downey Jr.’s arms spread pose from the first Iron Man film, surrounded by several versions of iconic armor. Great image with spectacular coloring. If you’re an Iron Man, this is the cover for you! Overall grades: Main A, Variant Tarr A+, Variant Christoper B+, Variant Bianchi B+, Variant Dell’otto B-, Variant Frenz A-, and Midtown Comics Exclusive B

The story: In Castle Doom, the God Emperor hears the latest report from Valeria, who has been sent to find the killer of Stephen Strange (who was killed by Doom last issue). She reports that there’s been little success in finding the murderer, however Apocalypse has discovered two individuals that she’s brought before her master: Corvus Glaive and Proxima Midnight, both surviving members of the Black Order, generals of the tyrant Thanos. Susan Storm, consort to Doom, demands that Black Swan, who knew the true identities of the pair, tell Doom what she knows of Thanos. The God Emperor interrupts her saying, “Forgive me, Susan, but that is secondary to primary concern. At the moment, I only care where these rebels are now and that they are brought before me.” Unfortunately, Valeria cannot read either of the unconscious individual’s minds to learn that information. The scene moves on the fourth page to the Foundation, where Doom’s best minds are assisting him in running Battleworld. Valeria admits to one its members that she has concerns…It was neat to see both Reed Richards working together, though their methods differ greatly. Also neat was seeing both Spider-Mans work together, with the dialogue fantastic from Jonathan Hickman. I liked how different factions inside and outside of Doom’s network are conspiring to bring him down, with the question open as to who will be the first to do so. The highlight of the issue was what the Black Panther discovers on the hidden Isle of Agamotto. I’ll admit to giving a high pitched screech when the device is revealed. The best moments in stories are when the obvious is revealed, and this was an obvious inclusion into this book and a masterstroke by Hickman. A hero stands tall on the final pages as this series inches closer to its conclusion. Overall grade: A

The art: Beautiful artwork on every page by Esad Ribic. The look of every character, no matter how major or minor, is superb. Valeria is an early stand out in the issue for her face before Doom and the face she uses when speaking with the individual in the Foundation. This person she’s consulting with also has an outstanding emoting, with his close-up on 5 excellent. Some strong work is also done on one Reed Richards, whose silent panels communicate so much about his character. The character that the Spider-Mans meet is wonderfully insane and he almost steals the book visually. However, that distinction would have to be held by Mister Sinister and Thanos who look amazing, as is Black Panther’s reaction at the bottom of Page 18. The final three pages re-introduce a hero that’s been AWOL since Battleworld was formed, but Thanos has awakened him and big things are going to happen because of that next issue. Every page will have readers rejoicing in Ribic’s work. Overall grade: A

The colors: There is a great variety of color work on this book by Ive Svorcina. The interiors of Castle Doom are as sinister as one would expect, but they’re offset by the illuminated blue tubes that contain Apocalypse’s finds. The exterior of the Foundation is a smart orange for the sandy wasteland it inhabits. The holographic technology in use creates a cool blue field similar to that found in the Star Wars films. The pair of Spider-Mans begin in a dark exteriors but end up in the brightest of interiors, inhabited by someone who is positively radiant. The work done on the Black Panther and the final hero of the issue is also awesome. I also really liked the flashback panel on the penultimate page, whose colors harkened to a brighter past. Outstanding work. Overall grade: A

The letters: Scene settings, dialogue, Richards and Miles from another world speech, and the “To Be Continued…” are created by Chris Eliopoulos. Every choice he makes is perfect. There are also sound effects in this issue, but I think they’re done by Ribic directly onto his art. I could be wrong, but these, too, look excellent. Overall grade: A 

The final line: This is one series that lives up to the hype. Marvel has delivered the goods. Overall grade: A

Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” and he’s reviewed comics for TrekWeb and TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for five years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.

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