Earth-616 and Earth-1610 heroes found alive on a world created by Doctor Doom: Battleworld! No longer just Doctor Doom, he’s now God Doom! How will God Doom react when he sees Reed Richards alive? Probably not well. The review for Secret Wars awaits after the jump!
Previously in Secret Wars: With the power of the Beyonder, Victor Von Doom created Battleworld, a planet composed of pieces of worlds that no longer exist. A group of survivors of the Final Incursion have been found aboard giant life rafts, from both Earth-616 and 1610. Stephen Strange has found the 616 heroes which include Reed Richards and now God Doom is aware of the survivors.
SOME MID-STORY LULL…THEN BOOM!
Secret Wars has hit the halfway mark with issue four and with that comes a bit of a lull. It is usually found in event comics, with so many things spread out the story can meander. While some of that is true with Secret Wars #4, Jonathan Hickman manages to save it from getting boring. Doctor Strange reveals what I and others have expected for a while: he and Doctor Doom (and possibly Molecule Man) killed the Beyonders and stole their power. It’s a mystery that needed to be answered and I’m glad Hickman didn’t wait. From there the group go and meet the survivors from Earth-1610, resulting in some good old-fashioned brawling. This catches God Doom’s attention and when he sees Reed Richards, he decides to intervene. It’s here that the story gets exciting, ending with a conclusion that was surprising. While some of the dialogue between Doom and Valeria drolls and Doctor Strange’s is nothing than mere exposition, Hickman saves it by having some great lines and reactions from characters. There is some gold within the weaker parts, which aren’t horribly weak to begin with.
What really changed my opinion of the issue was the last ten pages. God Doom demands the heroes kneel before him, which of course they don’t, leading to a demonstration of power levels that Doom has acquired. Cyclops, who is now in control of the Phoenix force, begins to melt Doom. Suddenly, Doom grabs Cyclops by the throat and SNAP…neck broken. It’s a bit of a shock, even if it does suffer from the wrestling motif of “take out the strongest player to prove how much stronger the new one is.” What I didn’t expect was God Doom’s reaction to Strange teleporting everyone away. It seems like Stephen has had a change of heart and knows that it is pointless to try to get Reed Richards and company to kneel. Strange knows Richards will not stop at finding a way to beat Doom. “Even with all this power, you’re still afraid of him. Well, you know what, old friend? You should be.” They’re some great last words from Doctor Strange as God Doom completely obliterates him, leaving a smoking pile. It’s a great conclusion, one that left me with a bit of shock and definitely wanting to read more.
BEAUTIFUL LINE WORK
There isn’t much more that can be said about Esad Ribic’s gorgeous pencils. Everything has an otherworldly feel to it and none of the line work looks heavy. Much is light in tone and some even appears as if it isn’t inked at all. Shading in areas such as Doom’s hood have the cross-hatch style pencils and seem like they popped right off the sketch pad. It goes against what we’re accustomed to seeing in mainstream comics and there is rarely a moment that shadows are solid black. The coloring is light as well, which works most of the time but others looks out-of-place. Ribic’s detail is amazing as always but I continue to dislike some of the facial features he gives certain characters, making them look odd at times. None of it is a deal breaker and this is top of the line work, perfect for an event of this size.
BOTTOM LINE: WORTH IT JUST FOR THE ENDING
Even if some of Secret Wars #4 drags, Hickman never lets it get boring and the issue makes up for it in its climax. It’s a great shocker and shows just how powerful Doctor Doom has become. While this issue suffers from the mid-story slump and isn’t as strong as the previous two, it’s still worth grabbing. It looks like things will really pick up and I’m dying to see how Doom is stopped. Secret Wars continues to impress and I’m continuing to be cautiously optimistic about the event.
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