Thursday, June 07, 2012

COMICS THAT MADE ME A FAN: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars #1

I'm just going to say it; I liked Marvel's Secret Wars more than DC's Crisis on Infinite Earths. Back when both landmark series initially came out, New Zealand stores were having a distribution drop with DC Comics, so Crisis was hard to track. However our Marvel comics came from two sources; Marvel U.S. and U.K., so Secret Wars was available in a variety of formats (as shown here), you couldn't miss it.

The first issue lived up to that 'unmissable' tag by getting into the action instantly. All the core Marvel heroes assembled in space, watching a force known as The Beyonder destroy a universe and create a composite planet from it's remains. 

While it was a sad fact Ghost Rider and Daredevil didn't rank high enough to get an invite, Spider-Man alongside The Fantastic Four turned Fantastic Three (Sue was on earth - apparently the Beyonder didn't want her giving birth all over his shiny new world), The Avengers and The Hulk made it mind-blowing enough for me. Oh yeah, and those peeps I'd heard about but never read until then; The Uncanny X-Men. 

With the heroes sorted, Cap noticed another team on the playing field;

What, just TWO Spidey-foes? Even now that still seems a crime!

Drawn by one of the top artists of the 80's and beyond, Mike Zeck, each panel was so packed with characters, it reminded you Secret Wars was the ultimate team-up with every panel. That is, if you managed to steal your eyes away from Zeck's stunning cover. Easily one of the best comic covers of all!

The visual characterisation skills Mike brought through pose and expression, writer Jim Shooter nailed in words. My man The Thing grabbed many great lines, including his introduction of the the F.F. And while Mike's Nightcrawler made you wish he could draw the character indefinitely, Jim's Captain America actually felt like a leader of a force under fire - despite Wolverine's reluctance to agree. 

As both teams rallied to the Beyonder's challenge of "slay your enemies and all you desire shall be yours", the infighting on both sides was as sweet as when good and evil actually collided. The heroes faught over Magneto's place on their side, while Ultron tried to wipe out the lives of his evil allies, until he gained the attention of Galactus...

... then having handed out the best two panel b!tch-slap of the 80's, Galactus confronted the Beyonder, leaving Doom to seek the assistance of long-time arch-rival Reed Richards.

Cyclops vs Captain Marvel, Wolverine vs Captain America, Kang vs Dr Doom, this first cosmic issue set the mantra for the series that no alliance was safe. If the Beyonder's prize was to be claimed, uneasy bridges would have to be built. And as all good Marvel fans know, the strongest bridge of all is the one that leads to Doom.

Well Doom and that cover that is.


  1. I don't know, I like both. Both maxi's were revolutionary for their time, and pretty much set the pattern/mold to follow for future comic events and crossovers.

    CRISIS was a good read with a killer villain(literally) that was ideal for continuity nuts(well maybe not towards the end, nut...)

    And Secret Wars was a good read that didn't require to have to know who belonged to what Earth. It was ideal for the new or casual reader.

    To me it's like comparing apples and oranges, they're similar, but not the same.

    I need to get the Secret Wars trade myself, as I have only a few individual issues, but do own the nice CRISIS trade w/ the sweet Alex Ross cover.
    Nice post Danny boy:)

  2. Sorry for misspelling, and leaving out words. I swear I'm not dyslexic!:)

  3. Exactly Dale, I'm not saying Crisis was horrible - far, far from it - but just in general I liked Marvel's smaller cast a little bit better. Crisis won on it's endings though ;D

    Glad you liked the post. As for that Alex Ross over George Perez Crisis cover I cringe every time I look at it - awesome for sure, but to draw or to paint it must've been a mission and a half! Does make me miss old Brainiac's flying tentacled head though.

  4. F$%&! yeah this series was classic Marvel 80s. i pretty much have total recall on every panel and line on each page for all 12 issues. if i live long enough to grow senile i may forget my own name but i want forget that series ever.

  5. Now that is sad Shlomo, funny and cool for a comic fan, but stil sad:)

    Glad you're back champ!

    -Dan, me too. Shit like that is why I hate what the new reboot with a passion! There's nothing to fix, just bad writing. But now that seems to be the problem with this new universe as well....mostly. "Revolutionize the industry" huh? Sure it did, that's why sales are only slightly above what they were. I'm surprised they haven't really nose-dived, now that the new car smell's gone away.

  6. well i wouldn't say i'm back just yet. i've still got several more names on my kill list to get to. i just wanted to see what you guys were up to.

  7. Hey Dave - awesome to see you back mr!! I don't have all the panels down pat yet, but I do know a few key touchpoints. "And they call me the Easter Bunny!" been my favourite! In between filling out your hit-list, what was your favourite moment?

    As for that reboot Dale, I'm actually doing a 'State of the Nation' post now, where at the end of the month I'll post how I feel on the current state of the big two and their competitors. Suffice to say it's odd that a reboot where hardly anything has actually changed still locks Marvels regular titles out of the top ten. The only Marvel top ten books currently in the age of 'Avenger-mania' are series created for the mini series Avengers vs X-Men. What does that say?

    Anyway hope you will like the posts when I get to post them at the end of the month, and will add your thoughts on the day too.