Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Hail Hydra #1 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Ho boy, Ian is in t-r-o-u-b-l-e.

Of all the premises of the "Secret Wars" tie-in issues, this one is perhaps the most interesting.  Ian is on Battleworld not because he made the transition like everyone else, but because he jumped into Hydra's Infinite Elevator to escape death when Zemo's island exploded.  It seems like he was briefly outside time when the "change" happened, meaning that he's from the Marvel Universe, just like the folks on Reed's life raft.  As such, he's understandably disoriented.  He encounters a kid spraying paint on a wall and asks for help, discovering in the process that Hydra rules this New York with an iron fist.  Startled, he has to pull himself together quickly when Hydra attacks.  He manages to escape, only to go into the belly of the beast to save the kid.  But, it's a futile effort:  he saves the kid and other folks designated for "sanitation," but this reality's version of Ian, Leopold, kills the kid.

Remender does a great job of keeping the focus of this issue on Ian and his emotional journey.  Although I've been impressed with virtually all the "Secret Wars" tie-in series, the weaker ones are the ones that focus too much on the changes in the status quo and not enough on using those changes as a prism through which the reader can see the character(s) in a new light.  Remender uses "Secret Wars" exactly that way here, as Ian is confronted with the version of himself that he would've been had he chose another path (Zola's, not Steve's).  None of the other tie-in series that I'm readying has gone with this approach so completely, even though it's a fascinating one.  (It's mostly because of the rule that you can't cross into other domains, so no one seems to have confronted an alternate version of themselves.)  Moreover, this premise gives us the opportunity to spend some quality time with the adult Ian, something that we haven't really had yet.  So, color me a happy camper.

*** (three of five stars)

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