With many of their company wide events, Marvel likes to publish a “Guide” book to help those that may be lost about what circumstances lead to the current crossover and who the main players are.
Even being the completist that I am, I almost never read these. The problem for me is the format. They are just page after page of very small text with the occasional recycled image added where appropriate.
But since I’m attempting to read all of Secret Wars, will I manage to read this as well? Answer: no. So the question becomes, should you? Find out after the cut. (Spoilers: no, no you shouldn’t.)
If you like these style of guidebooks, and there is no doubt you get a lot of reading for your money, go ahead and pick it up. It’s exactly what you are expecting in terms of format.
Here is my biggest problem with this issue though…check out the back cover for this book with it’s summary of what is inside…
Keep in mind that this book is branded as Secret Wars. So what have we got here? Age of Ultron? Ok. The Maker? Sure. Incursions? Definitely. Ultimate Universe? Makes sense. Teen Hulk? Um, who? Puff? The Magic Dragon? Obnoxio the Clown? WTF?
I know Secret Wars deals with the (temporary) end of the Marvel Multiverse, and as we saw with the preview of the cover of issue #7 of the main series, the return of some of these obscure multiverse characters can be quite fun. But…what the hell is this? There seems to be no rhyme or reason to the entries that have been chosen for this book. It will do very little to help you in any way to understand the current Secret Wars if you are lost.
Where is Doom? He kinda plays a small role. Secret Wars II is covered, which is ok, but you know what isn’t? Secret Wars. Original or new. No Reed Richards. No Molecule Man. Background on very few of the series that make up the domains of Battleworld. Just seems to be a completely random sampling of things from across the Marvel Multiverse.
There is no point to the book. The only angle I can kind of see is an introduction of aspects that are making their way to the mainstream 616 Marvel Universe that weren’t there before. Weirdworld. Old Man Logan, Miles Morales, The Maker. The Ultimate Universe as a whole is extensively covered. But that doesn’t really hold up for entries like Age of Ultron or Egyptia or Children of Secret Wars…unless all those things are also coming to the 616? I doubt it.
But that’s just me. Like I said, if you are interested in reading all this text and background on many people and places you may have never heard of and will likely never hear from again, go for it. For me, the only thing worthwhile about all this is the cover and it’s homage to the last issue of the original Secret Wars…