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Review: Secret Wars #5

Secret Wars #5 CoverIssue five of Secret Wars, takes place immediately after the death of Sheriff Strange. Godking Doom does his best to explain away the circumstance of his death and reinforce the mythology of Battleword’s founding, however the irreversible consequences still reverberate and those within Doom’s circle of influence are beginning to ask questions most notably Valeria.  To me Valeria has always been an underrated character, mostly because of her youth despite her precocious intellect. We are treated to some of her cosmic sleuthing, as she and her science division investigate what really happened prior to Sheriff Strange’s death.

It has been some time since writer Jonathan Hickman‘s Fantastic Four run, and this issue made me remember Hickman’s brilliance on it. I may have mentioned this elsewhere but Hickman’s plotting is very intricate, whether or not you enjoy this may depend on personal preference and perhaps patience. During Hickman’s FF run I really enjoyed the long form writing, and foreshadowing, but since his Avengers run and beyond, I feel he’s been encroaching the limits of that. With all the intricate plotting and the timeline flash-forwards, it’s kind of hard as a reader to navigate the context. I did follow the recent New Avengers story, but even as one who followed as best as I could, the panel explaining the metaphysical backdrop (presumably a refresher/intro for new readers) was a bit confusing.

Eagle eyed readers and fans of Hickman’s other series will appreciate some notable characters. For example Nostradamus and Dr Tesla make appearances. This was a real treat for me as I was (and still am) a die hard fan of Hickman’s SHIELD series, which if you haven’t already, you need to stop everything and go check it out. The tone of Hickman’s SHIELD is an intricate Dan Brown-esque journey that dives deep into the mythos of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the larger Marvel Universe by extension. The inclusions of these characters is appropriate in this respect as Secret Wars shares much of the motifs of the series.

There’s an underlying theme of knowledge seeking vs heresy, in this issue that really fleshes out the mythos and intrigue of Secret Wars. Again I am reminded other idyllic utopias showcased in the Marvel U that crumbled so quickly with a small inquiry into the truth of matters. Although at times convoluted and a bit dense narrative wise you can really tell that secret wars has been a labor of love for Hickman. I can’t help but respect that, and personally it fuels my own interest as well. The house of cards is slowly beginning to crumble and I am anxiously awaiting to see how this chapter ends, and shapes the future of the new Marvel Universe we have gotten glimpses of already.

Story: Jonathan Hickman Art: Esad Ribic
Story: 8 Art: 8 Overall: 8 Recommendation Buy