If the title of this book has you thinking this is a new region of Battleworld where the Siege of Asgard plays out daily, with a new and different cast of characters…you would be wrong. With Secret Wars giving us new tie in books weekly, this title is not a re-envisioned look at characters and events, but rather a story taking place that could have dire consequences for all of Battleworld.
From an opening flashback. we’re introduced to Abigail Brand, who is in charge of The Shield, a 200+ foot wall that stretches across the entire planet, protecting all of Battleworld from the dangerous Deadlands and the various threats that dwell there. Brand is awakened by her second in command, Leah (who calls herself a shieldmaiden) and alerted to a threat that the forces of The Shield must prepare for. Anyone who is a fan of Abigail will see that she hasn’t lost her wit and sarcasm in this new world, and she quickly takes charge and begins preparing for the coming threat.
Called together to execute Abigail’s plan, we are introduced to a very eclectic assembly of heroes to take up the fight; Leah the shieldmaiden, Leonardo Da Vinci , Lady Katherine of Bishop, Ms. America, Kang the Conqueror and the Endless Summers (what appears to be a large squadron of what I’m guessing are clones of Scott ‘Cyclops’ Summers). We see Abigail interacting with the various members of this team, and through past entries of her ‘battle journal’ we see the various threats that have faced The Shield and how she has dealt with them. Kang questions Abigail’s ability to effectively led The Shield to victory, and with her smart mouth and straight to the point attitude, she points out that there is never victory on The Shield, they just can’t fail. Just then, another Kang warps in through a time field, badly injured he gives Abigail a dire warning before dying and disappearing in another temporal shift.
I didn’t really know what to expect when jumping into this book, but I am so glad that I did. I have always been a fan of Abigail Brand, and I was glad to see she was the same as I remembered her; smart mouth, fiery temper and ready to jump head first into action. I really enjoyed the cast of characters brought together for this story, seeing just how different they all are and how they interact. For the most part, they are all battle ready and grim, no doubt from their time on The Shield, but Lady Katherine and Ms. America were a brief breath of fresh air, bringing in a youthful, optimistic view of the coming battle. Kieron Gillen does a fantastic job of weaving this story, bringing the seriousness and dire tone to the situation, but as mentioned, able to break it up with a few lighter moments through characters. I didn’t mind Filipe Andrade’s art, though I found his characters were drawn with sharp, hard angles. I also found that the colours seemed to be muddy throughout (although, the guest artists who contributed to the splash pages of past battles did a good job, brightening up the pages with their work). An argument could be made that the sharp style and muddy colouring added to the tone of the story, but it definitely didn’t wow me or stand out.
Overall, I was thoroughly satisfied with this story, and I can’t wait for the next issue. I love the characters and want to see more from them, and the warning of what’s to come has me eagerly anticipating the continuation of the story and see how this band of heroes come together to face it.
Story: Kieron Gillen Art: Filipe Andrade
Story: 9 Art: 7 Overall: 8.5 Recommendation: Read