Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Secret Wars #8 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

Honestly, I don't have that much to say here.  Hickman seems to have given up explaining the motivations of the characters, so this issue is really just a blur of blasts and fists.

To recap the events (mostly fights):

- The Thing destroys Maestro's ship full of Hulks but then allows Franklin (controlling Galactus) to destroy him when he learns that he's Susie's son.

- After crash-landing into Castle Doom, Star-Lord is left to repair the ship while the Reeds head to Owen.  Black Swan confronts Peter on Doom's behalf, and Star-Lord injects the World Tree with the last remnant of Groot, creating a souped-up version of him.

- Doom confronts Thanos as he leads the Annihilation Horde, but we're not really given an explanation of how he took control of it, since it didn't happen during "Infinity Gauntlet."  At any rate, Doom destroys him and orders Annihilus to compensate for his treachery by taking on the rebels.

- Black Panther and Namor arrive with their army through the Siege Perilous, and Doom seems more scared of them than I think that he should be.

- The Reeds arrive at Owen at the same time as Valeria, who's brought Susan with her to show her that they've been living a lie.

With only one issue left, it seems unlikely that we're going to address some of the larger questions hanging over this series.  First, we've never really sorted out the various doppelg√§ngers enough to know exactly who we see rebelling against Doom here.  Didn't Apocalypse die in "Age of Apocalypse?"  Didn't Sinister die in "Inferno?"  Are the same characters fighting Doom here the ones that we've seen in those series?  If so, how did they get resurrected?  Second, we've never really gotten a good explanation of why they're rebelling.  How did Jane convince the Thor Corps to turn against Doom?  Why is Black Swan siding with him?  In the case of the Thors, I'm still hoping that we learn that Jane was able to turn the Thors because Doom's power was waning.  But, I'm just guessing at that.  It goes to my main problem with this series, that we never got to see the moment, the moment that explains how and why Doom began to lose control.

At this stage, I think the minimum bar that Hickman has to clear in terms of explaining the events of this series is answering the following two questions.  First, how did Battleworld get created in the first place?  Second, did Doom really need to have the control over Battleworld that we've seen here to save the Multiverse?  The answers to these questions go to motives, whether Doom was just Doom trying to grab power or if he's really a misunderstood hero.  After all, Reed didn't save the Multiverse.  If we get at least those answers, I think that we could be OK.  Sure, it would've been nice to get a better sense of the dynamics of Battleworld and how the various actors related to each other.  But, if we can at least get down the motives and physics of this event, we can call it a day and move onto the new era.  (Of course, that "new" era already started a few months ago, but I won't get into that.)

** (two of five stars)

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