It’s finally here, Secret Wars #9!
Let’s start off by being clear: I’m holding this issue to a high standard. This is the final issue of a huge, 9 issue event from the biggest comic company in the world. On top of that it’s a finale that is coming month’s after we, the fans, had originally been told it would be coming. So I think expecting a spectacular issue is pretty reasonable.
So how would I describe this finale of the massive crossover that affected nearly every title in the company? Two words: Good, but unsatisfying.
Before I get into the positive (and there is positive. As I said the issue is good) let me get the complaining off my chest.
Perhaps Secret Wars #9 would’ve been better if it weren’t for the fact that all sense of surprise was ruined by its lateness and already knowing some key things that were going to happen. The fact that issues that were already out a month ago made it clear that something ends up keeping Reed and Susan from being part of the Marvel universe made what happens to them seem lacklustre. Dr Doom’s face now being normal instead of scarred on the final page might left me surprised and wondering what comes next except I’ve already seen his normal face and what comes next in an issue of Iron Man.
Along with that are some parts of Secret Wars #9 that just aren’t consistent with things we’ve seen before. For example, the Infinity Gauntlet, once claimed to actually fit its name and given the bearer infinite power is yet again shown to have less power than it used to have without a reason why. Similarly, when did Molecule Man go from being highly powerful to be the most powerful force in the universe? Maybe that was explained and I need to go back and re-read to catch it, but using his power Doom managed to escape the destruction of all universes, managed to make himself God, and now overpowered the Infinity Gauntlet. Something like that really needs some solid plot explanation to justify in my opinion. But there is no reason in this issue, just some vague panels of conflict before the Infinity Gauntlet is overpowered.
Back to Reed and Susan Richards, the Marvel editorial has conveniently banished them from the Marvel comics universe. Despite their publicly denying that they were going to get rid of them from the comics because of their dispute with Fox over the movie rights, that is exactly what they’ve done (Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for it if it helps nudge things in the direction of Marvel getting the movie rights back). And while doing so they’ve also given the family a noble purpose outside of the universe from which they can conveniently bring them back if they ever get the Fantastic Four movie rights back (as some fans speculate will be happening very soon since the spectacular failure of the Fantastic Four movie with it’s estimated $60 million in losses to Fox).
But really, the creators of Secret Wars #9 deserve to also have the positive pointed out. Were it not for mostly everything in the issue being spoiled ahead of time the comic would have been better. The art is of course of the highest caliber, with action and intensity in all the right parts. And the characterization in the writing is a joy to read. You can feel the emotion of Reed and Sue, you can see the intensity of the hatred Doom has for Reed. For me it’s the highlight of the book.
In short, if you liked the rest of the event already and can get over basically already knowing what’s going to happen, then this issue makes a good conclusion.
As for it being the finale of such a large event Secret Wars #9 is good, but it’s not great. If I were to think of another Marvel event to compare it to The Infinity Gauntlet obviously comes to mind. The last issue of that event felt like an exciting and solid conclusion, with a logical sequence of events, and an ending I didn’t see coming. This issue doesn’t logically justify a number of points and you can see everything coming. It’s worth a read, but I doubt it will go down as a great event in Marvel history.