Secret Wars #9 (of 9) (Marvel Comics)
At long last, the finale of Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic’s Secret Wars has arrived. The long delayed concluding chapter has the inenviable task of wrapping up a major event and setting up the status quo that Marvel fans have been aware of since October. And for the most part, Secret Wars succeeds. It definitely feels a little rushed, but when compared to other Marvel events (Age of Ultron, I’m looking at you), Secret Wars is one of the better event stories that Marvel has published recently.
Much of this issue comprises of a battle between Reed Richards and Dr. Doom, with the fate of Battleworld and the former Marvel universe at stake. Jonathan Hickman’s script jumps around quite a bit, and thankfully there’s only a few moments of “Hickman speak” that has plagued his runs on Fantastic Four and Avengers.
However, this jumping around comes at a cost to the story, and unfortunately one of the things that suffers is the confrontation with Doom and Reed. What Hickman’s written is fine, but it feels a little rushed, as the two long time enemies resort to fisticuffs in front of Molecule Man. After such a long build up (both in the story and in the reality of waiting for this comic), the way things are “put back together” seemed a little cheap. Despite this, there’s still plenty to like in this issue, especially when viewed as a finale of Hickman’s entire work at Marvel.
It’s not known if Esad Ribic was the cause of Secret Wars’ tardiness, but if he was, it was definitely worth it. As crazy and maddening as it was to see a bunch of tie-ins wrap up and a new jumping on point begin while we waited for this final issue, Ribic has done a phenomenal job, and getting a fill in artist would’ve really hurt the story. Ribic is on fire in this issue, his art melding perfectly with Hickman’s script. It’s so good that you’ll never want Hickman to work with any other artist ever again.
Secret Wars was drawn out, both in story development and release dates, but in the end, the event was more worthwhile than I was expecting. Of course, any series that features a Jonathan Hickman penned Dr. Doom will get my attention, but it’s incredible how Hickman weaved in story points from his entire tenure at Marvel. As a set up for the “All-New All-Different Marvel Universe”, it’s all right, but as a conclusion to Hickman’s body of work, Secret Wars is great.