Marvel’s Last Days branded Secret Wars tie-ins are supposed to give us the stories surrounding “What will our heroes do with their final hours before it all ends?” Unfortunately, most of these books have very little to do with Secret Wars. While some deal with the final incursion and its affect on people across the globe, most just deal with wrapping up storylines from each solo title.
After the break I’ll look at Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #9, Punisher #19, Punisher #20, Ms. Marvel #16, Magneto #19, Magneto #20 and Black Widow #19 and their wildly varying degrees of tying into the main event.
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: Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,7.
Captain America and the Mighty Avengers #9
This issue actually ties in pretty heavily to Secret Wars #1. The final incursion has begun and there is less than an hour to live. Monica Rambeau has a plan. Moving at the speed of light she races towards the 1610 Earth and intends to hit it as “hard light”. If it works, the intruding Earth will be shattered to rubble and the 616 universe will be saved. But her conscience prevails and she can’t live with the death of billions that she would cause. She hesitates and is captured by Ultimate Reed Richards.
The rest of the issue counts down to annihilation and gives us glimpses of the Mighty Avengers team doing everything they could to help. Then things get all meta…
The comic attempts to make you a character. You are in a hospital after being rescued by Luke Cage and Iron Fist. The doctor doesn’t know your name but you were carrying a Mighty Avengers card. The doctor shows you his card, he was a Mighty Avenger as well. As the end comes the doctor assures you that “We were all Avengers. Every one of–”
Remember that scene in Secret Wars #1 where the Kingpin, Wilson Fisk, has gathered all his super villain buddies in a bar to have a beer and celebrate the heroes defeat at the end of the world? The scene ends with a locked and loaded Punisher entering the bar.
Issue #19 of the Punisher’s solo title picks up where that story leaves off, but doesn’t really show much of anything besides the bar getting blown to hell and the Punisher walking out unscathed.
I combined these entries together as the next two issues are Frank heading to the Middle East and doing Punisher type things as even at the end of the world, people need to be punished. After Frank has killed pretty much everyone in sight, he is severely wounded and near death, but it means little as the world is swallowed up by the final incursion.
Ms. Marvel #16
Much of this issue deals with storylines that only a regular reader of Ms. Marvel (which I’m not) would really get into. When the final incursion occurs Ms. Marvel has to make her way back to New Jersey to protect her family and friends.
There is quite a bit of rioting and unrest as people try to make their way to Kamala’s school for safe haven. When she finds herself overwhelmed with it all she heads to the roof for a breather. Where she also finds reinforcements. One former Ms. Marvel, Carol Danvers.
Magneto has had quite a few Last Days issues. I previously looked at Magneto #18 way back in Part Two, and the upcoming #21 will also be a tie-in. And upon first glance Magneto’s story seems to be core to the whole Secret Wars event.
Magneto knows the final incursion is coming (as foretold to him in issue #18 by Namor) and is doing everything in his power, and beyond, to prevent the destruction of the 616 Earth. He’s already using a Mutant Growth Hormone to supplement his waning powers, but has his supplier mix in a batch of Hypercortisone D (whatever that is) to make it stronger, but risk a brain aneurysm.
Magneto then acquires some mobile power amplifiers from The Sugar Man. Magento thanks him for these upgrades by killing him.
As is typical with these books, a good portion of them (particularly issue #20) deal with trying to clue up existing storylines, in this case involving Erik’s ally Briar Raleigh and his daughter Polaris.
As the incursion is occurring, Magneto uses all of his reinforcements to battle the 1610 Sentinels and to try to destroy their Earth. Polaris is of great aid to him until the end of issue #20 when he steals her powers and casts her aside. He does this out of love of course as he and he alone should carry the current burden and he is pretty sure he will die trying. He didn’t want his daughter to die with him.
I started this section by saying this story “seemed” to be core to Secret Wars. The biggest problem with it is that we know Magneto fails. I know, I know, the whole “journey is greater than the destination” bit, but this would have been a lot more powerful leading up to Secret Wars #1, not rolling out month after month after. And speaking of Secret Wars #1, it does not show or make mention of Magento’s efforts, also taking away from the importance of these issues.
Black Widow #19
I’ve never read an issue of Black Widow. And feel like it could have stayed that way. This issue is fine, but has almost zero to do with Secret Wars. In fact, outside of one scene, it doesn’t even deal with the incursion or Black Widow’s “last days”. The majority of the issue is a flashback to Natasha’s first (?) mission for the KGB.
The only part of relevance here to Secret Wars is the first page. Sam Wilson, current Captain America, tasks Natasha with flying the ship to go pick up heroes that will eventually be saved in the liferaft in Secret Wars #1.