The Multiverse was destroyed. The heroes of the Marvel Universe and Ultimate Marvel were powerless to save it. Now, there is only… Battleworld! Your Major Spoilers review of Secret Wars: Battleworld #1 awaits!
SECRET WARS: BATTLEWORLD #1
Writer: Joshua Williamson/Ed Brisson
Artist: Mike Henderson/Scott Hepburn
Colorist: Jordan Boyd/Matt Milla
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Jon Moison
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Secret Wars: Battleworld: With the destruction of the multiverse, the few remaining survivors are stuck on Battleworld, a huge patchwork planet made from the bits and pieces of destroyed worlds, all under the thumb of iron fisted ruler, Doctor Doom. Each hunk of planet is a separate domain unto itself, the better to remind you of destroyed worlds that we still have under trademark! It’s totally not just like Convergence!
THE FAR-FLUNG FUTURE OF 2099
The first part of our double-feature starts in the year 2099, where Frank Castle finds himself on the run from Doom’s forces, and also a host for the consciousness of a Stephen Strange who lost his body to a vampire attack. It’s a bit confusing to me (especially since a Doctor Strange is also the sheriff of Battleworld, as seen in the main Secret Wars title), and only gets more so when the “Infernal Four” (Hulk, Spider-Man, Wolverine and Ghost Rider, or at least versions thereof) arrive to take him down. Frank, using Strange’s magic, gets to wield his glowing red magical guns again, as seen in his Angel Punisher days of the 90s, and makes short work of the Four, murdering them all with hybrid variations on his and Strange’s usual battle plans, such as a mystical grenade called the Weapon of Watoomb. It has its clever moments, but some very rough art, and ends with an appearance by the aforementioned Sheriff Strange, leaving me shaking my head. There is a twist ending, sort of, and certainly it might appeal to Punisher and New Fantastic Four fans, if you can get past the general sketchiness of the art job.
MENTAL ORGANISM DESIGNED ONLY FOR KICKBALL
Our second tale is the story of a MODOK, tired of living under the rule of Doom, who uses his technology to gather his own duplicates from around Battleworld, to form a Legion of MODOKs and overthrow their dictator. It’s really a one-joke story, and that joke is “Hey, MODOK sure has a big head! Wouldn’t is be cool if there were other big heads around?” Nothing much really happens in this half of the issue, save for a lot of bickering and an ending that really isn’t particularly amusing (to me, anyway.) The art is much stronger on this segment, though, and the appearance of a couple of Thors at the end is really well-drawn. Also, I think one of them is Hercules. Bygones… Still, for all the humorous intent of the story, it’s just sort of meh, and really underlines the unpleasant fact that a reader is going to be paying four dollars for a couple of stories that don’t even make a great deal of sense, instead stacking bits and pieces of things we recognize together (such as a MODOK wearing Spider-Man’s mask) and expecting it to cohere into an entertaining story all by itself…
THE BOTTOM LINE: FOR COMPLETISTS ONLY
I actually found myself enjoying the main Secret Wars titles the last couple of weeks (though my favorite SW issue thus far has to have been A-Force #1), and the concept behind this miniseries could have a lot of potential, but this issue makes a couple of crucial missteps. The first story doesn’t really make use of any of the concepts fully, using multiple versions of the same character without room to explain, and takes several different bits of comics history and mashes them together without making any of them interesting. The second story stretches one joke way too long, with no payoff. Secret Wars: Battleworld #1 doesn’t get the balance right in either story, and is really only necessary reading for those who want to have ALL the crossover stories for their collection, regardless of the quality of the issues, earning a fragmented 1.5 out of 5 stars overall. There are a lot of interesting pieces in play, but they don’t build to anything like a satisfying reading experience…