We know Doom is God and ruler of Battleworld and Stephen Strange is dead by his hand. But how did Doom become God and what happened to Owen Reece aka Molecule Man? Answered are revealed and Major Spoilers has your review of Secret Wars #5.
Previously in Secret Wars: During the collision of Earth-616 and Earth-1610 two spacecrafts created by Reed Richards made it out carrying heroes and villains. The survivors were found in their ships on the newly formed Battleworld, created and ruled by God Doom. When Doom demands that the new arrivals kneel before him they refuse, resulting in Stephen Strange teleporting them away to safety. Doom wasn’t happy about this, so he disintegrated Stephen, leaving nothing but ash.
FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T BEEN FOLLOWING ALONG
This issue is very much a recap for everyone who hasn’t read New Avengers and Avengers for approximately the last two years. As said reader, I very much appreciated the recap and think Hickman did a wonderful job condensing so much story into ten or so pages. While I still feel lost on some of the details but the important plot points are hit and revelations are made. After a memorial for Stephen Strange, God Doom tasks Valeria with finding the missing heroes that Strange teleported to safety. The interaction between the two is great and Valeria’s persistence at knowing the truth might be Doom’s downfall. Doom has great dialogue and the subtle threats he makes manage to keep him terrifying. Doom descends below the statues of Strange and Owen Reece aka Molecule Man and we find out that Owen is still alive, suspended upside down. We learn Molecule Man was duplicated many times by the Beyonders to be used as bombs to destroy the Multiverse. Doom and Owen Reece created an army of Black Swans to kill as many clones as possible to discharge the bomb’s power. Then Doom made his own “Owen Bomb” to kill the Beyonders with the help of Dr. Strange and saved as many parts of the worlds as he could. It’s a great recap for readers who haven’t followed Hickman’s run, but some of the dialogue seems forced. Doom only goes to tell (and possibly confess to) Owen that Stephen is dead yet the two end up recapping their exploits. I’ve talked to people who were a bit disappointed by this issue because of this and while I understand, you can’t expect your audience to have read years worth of stories before your big event. Issues like this are needed and while it draws out the story’s length, Hickman handles the problem well. The closer is interesting and I’m excited to see how Doom’s murder will be uncovered as well as how he’s stopped. Reece points out that Doom is the one holding the world together so if he goes, everything goes but I believe Owen is actually the glue. The last page is a head scratcher, and I think some familiarity with The Shield tie-in is necessary, which is unfortunate. Overall, this is a good issue that lays some more cards on the table in preparation for the big finale.
SOME OF RIBIC’S FINEST YET
While my problems with Esad Ribic’s artwork continue, mainly the stiffness, this issue is still some of his best. The detail is amazing and every drawing is packed with it. My favorite are closeups on Doom’s eyes. You can see the evilness behind the mask, all from the eyes and it shows just how good Ribic is with conveying emotions subtlety. I’ve also fallen in love with Doom’s cloak and there is something about the flow and folds of the fabric that get me. It’s one of the few images that has a look of motion and I really dig it. Coloring continues to be a bit muted, except for the interaction between Doom and Molecule Man which is bathed in a golden glow. It really helps brighten the scene up and is a stark contrast to the rest of the book. This is top shelf work and I can’t wait until Ribic gets to draw some more action.
BOTTOM LINE: A MID-STORY BREAK WITH ANSWERS
While Secret Wars #5 may be a bit of a lull in the story, especially for longtime Avengers readers, the answers and explanations provided for the less informed is appreciated. Hickman does a good job writing a story that plays catch up while remaining entertaining. It doesn’t hurt that Esad Ribic’s art is at the top of his game. Secret Wars #5 may not be the best issue of the event thus far but the clarification it provides makes up for the break in the story.
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