Thursday, January 21, 2016

Secret Wars #7 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

OK, the wheels come off the bus a bit here.

Let's start with the parts that I followed.  It's revealed that Maximus is the Prophet and that the plan is for him to distract Doom with a frontal assault while the Reeds and Star-Lord sneak into Doomgard to "steal the most valuable thing that's left of the Multiverse."  (I'm assuming that it's Molecule Man, but we'll see.)  Meanwhile, Black Panther destroys part of the Shield and, as King of the Dead, convinces the zombies to follow him through the Siege Courageous.  (I had to re-read my review of last issue to remember that he and Namor conveniently found it on Strange's hidden island.)

However, we have all sorts of other developments that Hickman presents as faits accomplis despite the fact that I don't recall seeing them happen (in spite of the numerous tie-in series that I'm getting).  For example, Thor has somehow convinced the Thors that Doom isn't God, recruiting them -- in just one conversation -- to join the forces fighting Doom.  (I'm assuming that we might see the background to that conversation in "Thors" #4, also released this week.  If we don't, you'd think that they could've at least given us an editor's note explaining where we can get more information.  After all, it's a pretty significant development.)  Separately, Swan is seen as working with Doom, even though I don't have any idea when that happened.  Similarly, Captain Marvel is working with Sinister in his betrayal of the other generals, but I don't even know which Captain Marvel it is.  Ditto, Apocalypse:  he's alive and well here, despite the fact that he was very much dead at the end of "Age of Apocalypse."  Is it yet another Apocalypse?

Now, I'll admit that part of my problem was that I read this issue two months after I read issue #6.  As I mentioned earlier, I was initially outraged that I had no idea what Black Panther and Namor were doing...until I read my last review and realized that I had just forgotten.  But, a faulty memory doesn't explain all the moments where I found myself thinking, "Wait, when did that happen?"  In fact, I feel like we're still missing the moment, the moment where the heroes come together with a plan.  Sure, we see the Reeds talking amongst themselves, but, ever since Dr. Strange dispersed the heroes, we've got no sense of how they could possibly be working together.  We seem to have a lot of uncoordinated events, even though Hickman seems to want us to believe that they're actually coordinating with each other.  But, since we never see them standing in a dark, dreary room committing themselves to the cause, it lacks a certain impact.

Hopefully it was just an awkward transition period as we move to the battle royale.  But, either way, the Big Two really need to consider bringing back editor's notes, particularly to help guide us through these sprawling cross-over events.  This issue would've been a lot easier to follow with some narrative nudges.

** (two of five stars)

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