There are likely those that think that the well of ideas for Secret Wars might already be exhausted, between the new material and the inspiration from previous crossovers or other inspirations. If thinking only inside of Marvel, then they might be right, but Red Skull #1 proves that there is still some more distance to go in this massive crossover. Although it draws upon characters from across Battleworld, this series is one which is at home in the heart of the Deadlands, the realm of the crossover title of Marvel Zombies vs. Age of Ultron. The setup is not like anything from Marvel though, as it is essentially a Secret Wars version of the Suicide Squad. This group of supervillains only has one job, to travel to the Deadlands and to prove that the Red Skull died after being exiled there.
The team is made up of an unlikely grouping of villains, similar once again to the Suicide Squad comparison – Electro, Moonstone, Magneto, Lady Deathstrike, Jack O’Lantern, and Bucky Barnes, seemingly acting in the Rick Flag role. They are recruited by Crossbones, a one-time loyal follower of the Red Skull who has given him up for a blind allegiance to Doom. He leads the team to the brink of danger before stopping to stand guard over the portal from which he expects them all to try to instantly escape. The remainder of the story comes across as a bit of a juvenile wish list, with zombies, robots and dinosaurs, but the action never lets up in this exciting issue as the team get pretty close to discovering the source of their mission.
This issue proves that there are still some fresh ideas floating around in the somewhat constrained world of Secret Wars. This has proven to be a winning formula elsewhere, and works well here too. The combination of characters is broad, but it seems like they fit well together, even if they don’t have much of a chance yet at this point. With so many other Secret Wars inspired series being born after this crossover, it would be nice to see one inspired by the same concept as presented here. Many people will look at the title for this series and likely not give it a chance, but for those that do, they will find something pretty fun and probably what will become one of the highlights of the entire crossover.
Story: Joshua Williamson Art: Luca Pizzari
Story: 8.9 Art: 8.9 Overall: 8.9 Recommendation: Buy