I’m trying to read all the Secret Wars issues in the order they come out, but unlike what I’ve done with Convergence, I haven’t pigeon-holed myself. Hence the title of these posts is not “Week Two, Part Two” or something similar. Sometimes I just can’t resist the urge to jump ahead. Out of pure curiosity, or to avoid spoilers. It’s for that reason that this post sees a bit of a mish-mash between some of the first releases and some of the more recent.
Spoilers after the break for Planet Hulk #1, Loki: Agent of Asgard #14, Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1 and Secret Wars: Battleworld #2.
Also, if you are like me and haven’t read all of Johnathon Hickman’s Avengers run leading up to Secret Wars, be sure to take Tom’s Road To Secret Wars course at gabbinggeekuniversity.com. The reading materials are online here: Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five, Part Six and Part Seven.
Planet Hulk #1
I’ve read a lot of the big two’s crossover events over the years. But there are a lot I haven’t read as well. Planet Hulk is one of those. (Though Planet Hulk was more of a Hulk title centered event then company wide crossover.) As such, there are sure to be plenty of winks and nods to that original series here in this new series.
That said, I believe this is mostly related to that story in name only. We even get a back up story that gives the origin of “Planet Hulk”, which is not Sakaar but an alternate version of Earth where Amadeus Cho works at Bannertech Industries in Phoenix. Cho is experimenting with gamma radiation and Banner is not the Hulk.
When A.I.M. fires missiles carrying gamma bombs at all the major cities of the world and Bannertech, Cho leaps into action. While he can’t stop the missile he manages to modify it. So when the missile hits Bannertech, it doesn’t explode but releases a green gas. Everyone’s life is saved…but they also all turn into Hulks!
Just a slightly different origin than the story in the original Planet Hulk.
In the main story, we are introduced to the Killiseum and it’s new champions Steve Rogers and Devil Dinosaur. Devil Dinosaur is a bit of an obscure Marvel character, but all will be familar with Captain America. Or just The Captain as he is referred to here. He also looks quite different. While the red, white and blue remain intact Cap looks more like a cross between Russell Crowe’s Gladiator and Mad Max. Cap still wields a shield but it is not made of adamantium, and he carries the biggest axe this side of Odinson.
After Rogers unsuccessfully attempts to kidnap and interrogate Killiseum ruler Aracade about the wherabouts of his friend Bucky Barnes, he is brought before Doom. In lieu of Death, Doom makes Rogers an offer. There is a civil war brewing in Greenland (the domain of the Hulks). Doom requests that Rogers travel there and eliminate the Red King.
When Rogers asks why would he ever do anything to help Doom, Sheriff Strange informs him that Bucky Barnes is a captive of the Red King. It seems he was also given this assignment by Doom and failed.
There is a flashback to somewhere/somewhen that shows Cap and Bucky as the Winter Soldier fighting in some war or another. Cap still has his shield. It’s unknown at this point what has happened between then and Rogers ending up in the Killiseum. But if there is a chance to find Bucky he has to take it.
Rogers agrees and is sent off with Devil Dinosaur to Greenland. They are immediately attacked by giant insects. It seems it isn’t just the people of Greenland that were mutated by the gamma radiation. The insects are also “hulks”. Cap and the Devil are being overwhelmed by the insects when they are saved by Doom’s operative, who appears to be the ever loving Hulk we are familiar with.
Loki: Agent of Asgard #14
I’m not even going to attempt to explain what went on in this Last Days tie-in issue. It was one of the most confusing comics I’ve ever read. There’s young Loki and old future Loki and female Loki and Loki’s friend Verity. There’s Odin and Asgard and numerous Asgardians, but no Thors. If you’ve been reading Loki all along, you might be perfectly fine reading this issue. Otherwise, outside of showing the incursion and the 616 heroes heading to war, this issue can be mostly avoided.
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1
Taken from an alternate timeline than the 616, the domain known as The Regency features a Peter Parker that is still married to Mary Jane Watson. They also have a young daughter named Annie. (There is no mention if the events of the Clone Saga and the disappearance/”death” of Peter and MJs baby in the original 616 timeline occurred here.)
Heroes have be disappearing (Daredevil, Iron Fist) or turning up dead (Punisher, Moon Knight). Spider-Man swings by the Avengers Mansion and happens upon a meeting between The Avengers, New Warriors, Hulk and Namor wh0 have gathered to try to figure out what is going on. Interestingly, while all the heroes seem familiar, they also sport slightly different costumes or armor. Lends to the feeling that this is an off-kiltered view of the MCU.
Black Widow is also missing, but her last piece of intel points the heroes towards Agustus Roman. As they collectively prepare to confront him, Hawkeye reports that a full-scale breakout is occurring on Ryker’s Island. Captain America feels that Roman is the priority and the heroes head off after him. Spider-Man however heads home. He knows that one of the inmates of Ryker’s is none other than Venom.
When Spidey arrives at home he finds that Venom has Annie and MJ captured. Spider-Man frees them by hitting Brock like he’s never hit anyone before. MJ flees with Annie. When outside she heads towards a burning building knowing that one of Venom’s weaknesses is fire.
Meanwhile, the rest of the heroes arrive at Roman’s, who has been expecting them and says he would rather be called Regent. Captain America’s hunch is correct. He has been the one killing heroes, but he has also been stealing their powers. And now he also has the powers of the X-Men.
When Venom gets away Peter has to make a choice: chase Venom and save his family or help the Avengers. Figuring the Avengers “will be just fine”, he heads off in search of MJ and Annie.
He finds them again being attacked by Venom outside the burning building. Knowing Venom’s weaknesses, he forces him inside.
What happens next is like a scene straight out of Man of Steel and will undoubtedly have Spider-Man fans talking. MJ confirms with the fire department that the building is empty. She then yells that information to Spider-Man. And then Spider-Man, knowing that there is no one else inside brings the building down around Brock, killing him.
As Spider-Man is reunited outside with his family, he learns that all of the Avengers and the other heroes have died fighting Regent. Peter decides he should retire as well.
Flash forward a few years and Annie is a bit more grown up. Peter is full time dad and has moved on from being a crime fighter. As we see as he doesn’t bat an eyelash when Vulture steals some woman’s purse.
Peter and his family live in a world now controlled by Regent and to quote Peter: “It’s not a perfect world. But, I look after me and mine. And that’s…good enough.”
Secret Wars: Battleworld #2
Another issue of Battleworld already? That was quick.
Story one finds Vampire Hunter Blade hunting down vampires in…New Quack City. I’m pretty sure it is the first duck Vampire he’s faced.
As you would expect, Blade eventually teams up with Howard The Duck against Drakula. While Blade and Howard are fighting the endless hordes of vampires (because there is always endless hordes of them), Drakula is actually killed by a duck version of Blade who disappears as quickly as he appeared.
Story two returns us to Arcade’s Killiseum that we saw in Planet Hulk. It is at a point in time prior to the events in Planet Hulk as Steve Rogers is still a warrior there. The current champion is one General “Thunderbolt” Ross, who is not a Hulk, but a powerful cyborg named War Machine.
Meanwhile, Taskmaster, who has some role in running the Killiseum games, is not impressed with Arcade’s hero glorification of Ross. Taskmaster confronts Arcade at the Killiseum after party. He calls Arcade a clown and to finish his “story” with Ross and get rid of him.
The next day Ross is in the ring again, having been escorted out by Taskmaster. Arcade takes this opportunity to turn on Taskmaster, announcing to all that it was Taskmaster that killed Ross’ daughter (Betty I assume). Enraged, Ross attacks Taskmaster eventually leaving him battered and missing an arm. Until Ross feeds him to the Marvel Zombie that line the Killiseum like the lions in Gladiator.
Our friend Ryan also read this issue and had some quick comments:
ryan: Battleworld 2 was cool. Duck Blade. I guess all these issues are What If?s. Battleworld is two short stories not big enough for their own issue. That’s cool.
jimmy: Not What Ifs. New Quack City and the Killiseum are on Battleworld. Seems odd that Blade is there though, but I don’t know if the city is supposed to be all ducks or not. If it is, and Blade crossed borders, he’ll be picked up by the Thors shortly.
Blade does say “where I come from…” Which would imply to me he wasn’t from that Domain.
You can see more of the Killiseum, Rogers and his dinosaur over in Planet Hulk. Which I’d recommend based on the first issue.
ryan: I just mean the concept.