Well I’m the only one in the office today (because Canada), so I need to produce all our content, hence the day has been mostly filled with videos and pictures since I’m not Tom Kelly and can’t write columns in my sleep like that chick in Tommyknockers. That was a great book. Hey Watson, that’s a book I read. Jackass.
With that in mind, let’s fill this slot with a look at Wednesday’s Secret Wars #4. Keep in mind that after the break there will be spoilers. I’ll see if I can conference in Ryan and Tom for their thoughts as they drive to the Cape or the Hampton’s or Venice Beach or wherever it is the cool kids are these days.
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.
Secret Wars #4
Remember last issue when there was zero action (though still excellent)? Well, they make up for it with this one. It’s not wall to wall action but it’s pretty close. And the inbetweens are usually people yelling at each other, so the intensity doesn’t wane.
This issue starts with the Cabal verus some Thors, and things aren’t going well for Battleworld’s “police”. It is going so poorly that the handful of Thors on scene have to call for reinforcements and one of them takes it on himself to go directly to Doom and inform him of the situation.
Meanwhile, Dr. Strange is filling in the 616 liferaft survivors on what happened at the end of the multiverse. How he and Doom killed the Beyonders and took their power. Well, Doom took their power, Strange ran away like a little ‘fraidy cat. Doom then proceeded to scrape all the pieces of existence that he could find together to build Battleworld.
As Jerkclops with his new Phoenix Force starts to question Strange about building a new stronger world from the ashes of this one, New Recruit Thor (why is he there exactly?) is summoned to join the fight against the Cabal.
With the battle against the Cabal brought to his attention, Doom looks on from his castle. He finds it all beneath him, even after Strange arrives with the 616 liferaft survivors. That is until he notices one of the survivors is Reed Richards. Doom’s greatest foe, that he searched all of Battleworld looking for versions of and found none. And now here he is. And not just a carbon copy, the original. (Little does he know that Ultimate Reed Richards is also there, disguised by his ridiculous helmet.)
With this new variable in play, Doom decides he must personally involve himself in the action and transports to Utopolis. After a brief little chat along the lines of “Hey Reed old buddy, how you doing?” “Good Victor, yourself? Great planet you got here.” “You like? You can stay, but don’t forget I’m God and ruler.” “Hmm…there might be a problem here.”
But that problem is not actually Reed (yet I’m sure) but Cyclops who uses the Phoenix Force to attack Doom. He has designs to take over the world himself. He seems to have the upper hand for the slightest of moments…until Doom reaches up and snaps his neck like a twig. It’s a powerful death since this is technically the Scott Summers we’ve read the adventures of since 1963.
With that, Strange uses his magic to disperse everyone including the Cabal across Battleworld, leaving only himself and Doom. Strange then defies Doom when he demands the survivors be returned. Doom is getting upset. The final straw comes when Strange notes that even with all his power Doom is still afraid of Reed Richards…and that he should be.
I managed to get hold of Ryan for his thoughts…
jimmy: Have you read Secret Wars 4 yet?
ryan: I did. That escalated quickly.
jimmy: Yeah. Doom is not messing around.
ryan: I think the cover for next issue says a lot. Beyonders trying to escape Doom–he didn’t kill them, he trapped them. And he’s afraid Reed will figure out how to do the same.
jimmy: The cover is telling for sure. I’m sure it’s just imagery, but none of the Beyonders Doom “killed” looked like the 1980’s Ghericurl Beyonder.
ryan: What did they look like?
ryan: Little different. Cousins perhaps. Something in the forehead.
Why did Dr. Strange take the good guys from the life raft to battle the bad guys going up against the Thors? Strange knows what Doom can do–namely, handle these bad guys. There was no need to come and fight.
jimmy: And then turn around and send them all away so as to protect them from Doom.
Why rescue the Thors? Why fight the Cabal? Especially when he’s still trying to describe what’s happened. I mean, we know the Comic Book Reason. But there’s no good story reason there.
jimmy: I can only guess it was his way of letting Doom know they were there? Weak I know.
ryan: Other thing I wasn’t wild about: Strange’s description of choosing to walk away from omnipotence. That seems…odd. It’s one thing to say “I wouldn’t be able to handle it, I wouldn’t like what it would do to me but Doom was already that way so let him take the burden.” But instead he said “I chose not to take it, Doom took it.” Seems, dare I say it, strange.
You’re a hero, bub. If you need to become God in order to save people and prevent a known psycho from being God, then that’s what you do.
jimmy: I agree. But he seems to be on Doom’s side in any regard. Even when he is explaining it to the 616 crew he praises Doom as a great God and hopes it stays that way. And who’s to say his memory of things wasn’t alternated by Doom or the Beyonders?
ryan: True. Omnipotence. Memory wipes. Zones. Consistency and internal logic didn’t necessarily survive the incursion.
…and Tom for his…
jimmy: Have you read Secret Wars 4 yet?
tomk: I have.
jimmy: Doom is not messing around.
tomk: Well, he appears to have killed Cyclops/the Phoenix Force and Strange, so yes. But Strange was right. He is still scared/jealous of Reed, who is mostly just trying to understand what’s going on. At some point, Reed will probably find Ben, who wasn’t the Thing in Future Imperfect, a nice bait-and-switch from Peter David.
jimmy: I haven’t read Future Imperfect 2 yet…
tomk: I will say no more.
But it was clear there are other Thanoses on Battleworld from some of the talk before Doom gets involved.
jimmy: Yes. Though it wasn’t definitive if the Thanos in Infinity Gauntlet is one of those or the 616 Thanos, though I have my doubts it is. Strange spreading everyone across Battleworld lends itself to that theory though.
I wonder again how much control Doom had over all these things. If I’m creating Battleworld I sure don’t want one to many Thanos around. And definitely no Infinity Gems. And Doom talks about searching all of Battleworld looking for Reed and never finding him. Was he searching to make sure there was no Reed in what he created or because he had no idea if a Reed existed?
tomk: I am not sure he “created” anything. It looks more like he grabbed whatever leftover stuff he could get his armored hands on and smashed it all together to make a world.
But really, you’d think there’d be a Reed Richards in there somewhere. Or a Ben Grimm.
jimmy: Yes, you are right. Battleworld are the fragments that were left that he could cobble together. And I think there was even mention of some fragments not working and being discarded and replaced, but can’t remember that exactly.
So to your Reed and Ben comment, it does seem odd that all those fragments never contained any FF members. I don’t think we have seen other Sue’s or Johnny’s (or even the kids) elsewhere. Which seems odd since there are about 500 Spider-Man’s and 501 Wolverines around.
tomk: That is true. Shouldn’t there be another Franklin Richards in the Years of Future Past?
tomk: I think we still have a lot to learn about where Battleworld came from, and how many barons are Robert Kelly.
jimmy: I know he is the Baron of X-Men ’92. He appears in Years of Future Past…but is he Baron there?
tomk: He seems to be. Is he the only politician the X-Men know?
jimmy: He is president anyway.
tomk: Seems to be the same thing. Battleworld doesn’t seem to care how someone becomes a baron so long as somebody is. How they run their own districts is up to them.
jimmy: And Baron’s can be overthrown and replaced.
tomk: Given some of the zones, how no one has deposed a normal guy like Kelly is weird.
jimmy: It’s the first weird thing to happen on Battleworld.
tomk: Outside of Weirdworld, obviously. Everything there is weird. They probably elected Dogpool baron.
jimmy: I need to catch up on my tie-ins.
jimmy: Why did Strange bring the 616 heroes out of hiding to confront the Cabal, knowing Doom would likely be watching and then whisk them all away to protect them when Doom showed up?
tomk: That…is a question for the ages. Why did he show the new Thor the liferaft?
jimmy: I found that very odd. Here Strange is, casually talking about the destruction of the multiverse, the creation of Battleworld, that he could have been God, and telling all this to God’s mortal enemy…and new Thor is just standing there chilling.
tomk: New Thor has issues. I do wonder what happened to original recipe Thor and Hyperion.