In Review: Secret Wars #7

This series continues in fine form as this begins the climax.

The covers: Good luck, Marvel zombies, there are six covers to collect if you’re a completeist. The Main cover is by Alex Ross who has created yet another cover that will be discussed and beloved for years to come. This features Doom as a god, equal in size and power to that of Galactus. He’s glowing in luminescent violet with his hands outstretched as several Marvel characters fruitlessly attack him. There are several treats in this image, with two comical characters in the upper right and the Lou Ferrigno version of the Hulk in the bottom right. The epic scale of this cover is matched by the epic details one can find within it. The first Variant cover is by Simone Bianchi & Simone Peruzzi. This cover is another piece of the massive nine connecting frontpieces, with this one featuring a non-godly Doom, a lot of webslingers, the classic Fantastic Four, the Red Skull, the Silver Surfer, and the about two-thirds of the side of Spider-Man’s head. This is a great cover when combined with the previous pieces, but on its own it’s very empty. The next Variant is by Stacey Lee and focuses on Cyclops standing among the ruins of a city. The image is framed on the side by black bars with red energy rippling between them and the illustration. The image is okay, but I don’t know why Lee didn’t just do a full bleed to each side of the image. Tomm Coker’s Variant cover is one heck of tease, showing a gigantic Thing, exploding with energy from his chest and arms, about to pounce upon Doom’s castle. I like the image, though the coloring is a bit dark, but, even worse, this is nowhere in this issue! This is how things ended in the previous issue, but this plot thread is not addressed in this installment. Curse you, Coker, for raising my hopes! The outstanding John Tyler Christopher mirrors the classic Secret Wars action figures from the 1980s, this time with Magneto. These covers are kitschy cool. The final Variant is by Paul Gulacy & Rachelle Rosenberg focusing on three martial arts characters from the Marvel Universe: the Master of Kung Fu, Iron Fist, and an individual at the bottom I don’t recognize. Nice, but I’ve never been a fan of these characters’ exploits. Overall grades: Main A+, Variant Bianchi C+, Variant Lee B-, Variant Coker A-, Variant Christopher A, and Variant Gulacy B

The story: The Prophet has lead his army to Castle Doom to cast out the man who considers himself a god, and Doom has sent his considerable army down to battle them. The Prophet takes off his mask to reveal himself as Maximus, and the fight is on. Doom watches from on high, not willing to go into battle to keep new acolyte Swan from giving way to her anger and smiting all. However, consort Sue Storm feels that there is something different about this battle and Doom agrees. He demands that the Thors be summoned. A major player in the battle falls, signaling Sinister to betray one of his fellow generals, and chaos begins among the forces of Doom. Writer Jonathan Hickman does a good job in slowly beginning to pull apart all that Doom has worked for. The desires of his nefarious generals have finally appeared and battles are breaking out everywhere. Added to this are the members of the Cabal, with Apocalypse playing a major role. The loyal Thors are thrown into disorder, and there is a major turning point for some of its members. The last six pages show the traditional heroes of the Marvel Universe in action, with the Black Panther getting the most time, and he deserves it since he’s wearing the Infinity Gauntlet. This was a fun issue, but a transitional issue. The events that transpire are necessary to have the bigger battle prepared and to move things to a climax. Fun, but not great on its own. Overall grade: B+

The art: I can’t condemn any portion of the art by Esad Ribic. Every page is justified in being called art. I’m a huge fan of thin linework, so Ribic’s style is right in my wheelhouse. The opening page is as dramatic as any visual can be with a super shot of the Prophet raising his staff before his followers, leading to how he recruited his minions, and their arrival at the base of Castle Doom. The bottom panel of this first page is epic with the massive tree in the background and the band making its way to it. When Maximus takes off his mask it’s an incredibly strong moment. Page 3 is the interior of the castle, showing how advanced Doom is to the rest of his created world. The battle scenes below the castle are great, with every variety of character one could find in the Marvel Universe. Ribic’s interpretations of key characters are great, such as the Goblin Queen, Sinister, and the Maestro. Two of my favorite pages involve the chaos among the Thors and when they decide to enter the fray. The final two pages feature a supporting cast who have appeared in other Marvel titles, most recently in the Red Skull spin-off trilogy. I loved the look of these characters and eagerly await what Ribic does with them next issue. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Ive Svorcina does an excellent job on the coloring on this book. Look at the expertise in which the first page is done: the characters in the foreground are much brighter than that of the background, making them stand out against the settings. Additionally, the cooler colors for the backgrounds give the entire fight a more fantastical flavor, as if the battle is shrouded in fog, giving it a classic epic feel. When bright colors do appear, it’s often during panels of extreme action or sound effects, which explode in volume due to their shadings. I also like that colors are used for some individuals’ speech, setting them apart from others. Excellent work from Svorcina. Overall grade: A+

The letters: Narration and dialogue (the same font), yells, screams, sounds, scene settings, Thor speak, transmissions, and the “To Be Continued…” are crafted by Clayton Cowles. Several sounds might have been added by Ribic into his work, but there a few that look to be Cowles’. I wanted the narration and dialogue to be a different font, but this is a minor quibble in a good job. Overall grade: A

The final line: This series continues in fine form as this begins the climax. 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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