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Thoughts on This Week’s Secret Wars #2, Mythic #1 and X-O Manowar #36

Doing something they haven’t done in AGES, Marvel had a book out this week I was eagerly looking forward to, that drove my going to the comic shop on my lunch break despite construction and traffic and extending the break to read the entirety of the issue before getting back to work.



Given the ending of Secret Wars #1 last week I was eager to see what this new “Battleworld” would be and how the sections would actually be depicted, so of course I had to get #2 as soon as I could, and read the thing as soon as possible after that.

It proved to be a bit of a letdown in that regard and truly felt like a new #1, an introductory issue to some world, with a fair bit “teased” but not much actually shown. I know it’s still only the first chunk of story and all, and “only” the “core” where there are oodles of tie-in issues and tie-in mini-series and all that still coming in the next few weeks and MONTHS, but I was still hoping for something more.

On the other side of things…despite the aforementioned hope, there was also the expectation of something a lot worse. I WANT to dislike this specifically because I’m consciously aware of it being a Hickman book. Unfortunately, I can’t find the same fault and feel in it that I would EXPECT of a Hickman book, and instead read the thing, turning page after page just wondering where stuff was going and if anything would be some overly blatant lead-out to other stuff. But it didn’t feel that way.

I enjoyed the issue on the whole, and am actually more disappointed to consciously realize the thing is not a weekly, and my brain is too caught up in DC’s thing being “only” 2 months…while I fear this Secret Wars thing is gonna be drawn out for half a year or so now.


While it wasn’t pulled for me–its “promo pricing” being $1.99 instead of the usual $1-or-under threshold–seems I was the first one to actually buy a copy of the thing anyway, despite the shop having been open for at least a couple hours before I got there. And it is definitely the pricing that caught my attention for the book along with being a #1.

But reading the thing, it just doesn’t grab me. I got to the end of the issue, and actually went back and counted the story pages, sure that this had to have cut off around 16-18 pages, but no…22 story pages. Which is NOT bad for the $1.99 cover price…but getting to the end of the issue and simply wondering what the heck I’ve just read (not in a good way) does not bode well for me.

The issue’s not horrible or anything, by a long shot…but it just doesn’t grab me. It’s “another” reality-vs-fantasy thing showing that what “should” be fantasy is “true” while all the fiction and “magic” is real, and just feels cliche to me. None of the characters truly grabbed me, nothing to the visuals stood out, and even the cover seems…tired? Overly basic and generic?

Seems that EVERY SINGLE WEEK there’s a new #1 from Image out there, with one “high concept” or another, and though lately I’ve been more willing to try some of ’em instead of ONLY waiting for a paperback, they have incredibly high standards to live up to–even if I can’t exactly articulate some checklist of what those standards are.


Dead Hand part three. Aric failed to save Loam, but vows that Earth will not be destroyed the same way. He puts out a call to other armors around the universe, summoning them to his side to take the fight to Dead Hand even as Earth begins to realize the threat it now faces so soon after the Armor Hunters.

As usual, the art for the issue is good, and the story doesn’t suck. Unfortunately, I have a growing trepidation toward Valiant in general lately over stuff due for this summer–particularly the “Incentive Series” Legends of the Geomancer that has been advertised as part of the Book of Death stuff and yet simultaneously explained as not being needed to “get” and enjoy Book of Death.

Reading this issue I found myself contemplating whether or not the next issue would be my last, ast least in this format or for awhile. Instead of simply enjoying the story, the experience was tainted despite wanting to read this in and of itself.

Ultimately, a couple of good splash pages left me ready for the conclusion, and thinking about how we had an 18-part giant Armor Hunters event last summer…and in this third chapter of four we have stuff going on that seems like it’s supposed to all be so much bigger than the Armor Hunters but the story is given a fraction of the scope.

Despite negatives, though…this marks 37 monthly issues of X-O Manowar that I’ve kept up with…something I don’t think I’ve done with any title from any publisher to this extent in most of a decade.

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