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Spider Wars by Marco Manalac

The first two issues of Secret Wars bored me. The first issue set up a war between the Ultimate Universe and the Mainstream Marvel Universe, but the fight of the ages we were all waiting for never really happened. The two worlds collided, all was lost, and a new world was born. This new world has pieces and fragments from all sorts of different Marvel realities. It’s a concept that has been done before, most recently by DC in their similarly disappointing event Convergence.

The second issue of Secret Wars was even more disappointing. It was a long book going through the motions, describing the new Marvel Universe being ruled by the god-king Doom. I was never a huge fan of Jonathan Hickman. I always felt his stories took themselves too seriously. His books never felt fun. There was very little sense of marvel in his Marvel stories.

But Secret Wars issue 3 finally stepped up and showed some promise for the universe-wide event. Finally, we see the heroes who survived the end of the world, and who will become the champions to reclaim their universe against the currently ruling Doom. Doctor Strange, the right-hand man and personal consultant of Doom, has now discovered that many heroes of the Ultimate and Mainstream Marvel Universes have survived their worlds’ collision. We have fan-favorites like Star-Lord, the female Thor, Black Panther, Mister Fantastic and Captain Marvel emerging from their cosmic rafts. But most importantly, Miles Morales and Peter Parker survived. And we all know that at the core of every Marvel Event, Spider-Man is at that center of the web.

It’s such an exciting experience seeing Miles Morales and Peter Parker working together again. Secret Wars now has the two greatest heroes from their respective realities, joining forces to save the day and bring down the rule of Doom. But Doctor Strange is cautioning all the surviving heroes. After getting scolded by the survivors for not releasing them any earlier, eight long years to be exact, Doctor Strange explained that Doom saved their universe, acted as a worthy god-king, and thus he was afraid to do anything to undo the work of his leader. Doom was doing fine, by Strange’s standards, so he didn’t see any reason to risk it and bring any wild cards to the table.

But it was a good thing that Miles Morales snuck into the ship of Thanos, Namor, Black Swan and the rest of the Cabal. This sinister, powerful, and angry group of villains built their own raft to survive the end of the world. And they made their statement, arriving at Doom’s world, killing his Thor-sentries, and escaping into the wilderness. It was this arrival, and Miles Morales staying behind to be caught, that sparked Doctor Strange’s interest, and caused him to free Peter Parker and the rest of the Marvel heroes who lived through the end of their worlds.

The most pitiful of the survivors is Reed Richards. He is obviously traumatized from his experience of losing his entire family to the end of days. He saw, before his very own eyes, the tragic and brutal death of his loved ones. The survivor’s remorse has currently gotten the best of Reed Richards, and I guess we’ll be seeing very soon if he is able to recover from such a loss. Perhaps Peter Parker and Miles Morales can lend him some of their light-hearted aura. Right now, Miles Morales is more confused than anything else. He’s also just pretty grateful he made his way into the spaceship of the Cabal.

Now that the players on board are all set, I think that Secret Wars can finally make some progress and begin with the actual wars. I don’t know if the Marvel heroes will team up with the Cabal to fight Doom. Possibly, the Cabal might not even want to win their universe back, but rather, just take over what already is. I’m not too sure on the dynamics of this marvel rendition of Game of Thrones, but it promises to be an action-packed thriller all the way to the end.

One reason I was so disappointed with DC’s Convergence was because at the end of it all, nothing much changed. Sure, a bunch of new universes were born once again, but there were no real changes or drastic effects on the company’s favorite characters. It felt like an event that would lead to major changes, but it never really accomplished the impact that it vowed to its readers. I hope that is not the case for Secret Wars. I’ll be glad to finally see Miles Morales and Peter Parker sharing a universe permanently. It’s about time the Spider-Family grows together. But I’m hoping that a truly new Marvel Universe is born after Secret Wars, so the publisher can have a fresh start, and begin telling good, solid, stand-alone stories once again.

(When he’s not out on the streets saving the world from made-up villains, Marco Manalac is usually surfing the internet. Follow him on Twitter @marcomanalac. Email him at marco.manalac@gmail.com)

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