Sunday, October 18, 2015

Korvac Saga #4 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

I've mentioned in reviews of this series and other ones how "Secret Wars" lets the authors put everything -- even a terrible ending for the heroes -- on the table.  As the tie-in series begin to draw to a close, we get our first taste of such an ending here.

With Korvac revealed, Doom sends his troops to destroy Korvac and "cleanse" the Forest Hills and the Holy Wood.  Before they get there, the Guardians are able to convince the Avengers to stop attacking Korvac, allowing Starhawk enough time to show the two teams the origins of Battleworld as he saw it on the Astral Plane.  (I think that we also learn that the Astral Plane itself was essentially Korvac's hidden telepathic powers.)  Now fully in charge of his powers, Korvac realizes that he hid his powers from himself in the hope of eventually overthrowing Doom.  (Here, I think that Korvac is talking about his full powers.  I think Abnett is saying that even the "unrestricted" version of Korvac that the world saw during the Ultron Wars - before he pledged to Doom that he would limit his powers in exchange for the baronship - was less powerful than it could've been.)  In other words, he was hiding his powers until he was strong enough to take them back and defeat Doom.  Unfortunately, he may have the powers now, but he doesn't have the strength to take down Doom and remake the universe.  As such, the Thors are able to defeat him, as well as the Avengers and the Guardians.  His last act is to resurrect the Guardians, as he did the Avengers at the end of the original "Korvac Saga."  They're now the guardians of the truth about Battleworld.

This series is one of several -- "Amazing Spider-Man:  Renew Your Vows," "Spider-Verse," etc. -- where a character (usually a villain) sees Doom as a threat and wants to gain enough power to overthrow him.  What isn't clear yet is whether Doom is really a villain.  Hickman has taken a sympathetic view of him in "Secret Wars," as the man willing to take on the power and responsibility necessary to save what he could of the previous multiverse.  Sure, he put himself on a throne, as Mr. Fantastic accused him of doing in the main title, but it's just as clear that he did so to keep Battleworld together.

In other words, no one's proposed a viable alternative to what Doom did to save the multiverse...until possibly now.  In explaining the nature of Battleworld, Stakar says that Korvac wanted to use his powers to remake the lost multiverse, but Doom didn't want him to do so, because he wants to keep the power.  It's a more cynical view of Doom than we've seen in the main title, but we also know that the main title is running late.  This series seems to posit a scenario where Doom had some other option than create Battleworld, but he did so specifically to keep the power.  If it's true, then I can't wait to see what the heroes do to him in the main title.

In the meantime, Abnett allows Korvac to be the good guy that the Avengers didn't allow him to be in the original "Korvac Saga."  Stakar holds out the possibility that Korvac also saved himself at the last minute, and you've got to wonder what role he, and the Guardians, might play in the denouement of this event.  Looking at this series itself, though, I'd consider it one of the essential tie-in series of this event.  It's not only a good series in and of itself, but it's also the one that fleshes out the details of the main event in the most interesting way.  If you pick up one tie-in series, it should probably be this one.

**** (four of five stars)

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