Rambling Review: Marvel’s Secret Wars (2015) – The Beginning of the End

Rambling Review: Marvel’s Secret Wars (2015) – The Beginning of the End

Hello true bel…uhm…hello.

Welcome to the new weekly series of comic book recaps RIGHT HERE on ghostza.co.za.

For the last decade or so superhero films have been at the centre of the Hollywood blockbuster molestation through mediocre on-screen adaptations  of beloved stories that serve the capitalist purpose of lining studio @#$%#%$%$%$ shit… apologies. I’m getting carried away. Ok fine.

Basically, viewers watch comic book movies and love it or hate it, there are some who read the source material and have been influenced by it for years. These have special, personal and often emotional bonds to the rich stories and characters. Often it is these viewers who are asked, “it’s just a popcorn movie for entertainment, why do you take it personally?” whenever they criticise a film.  And the answer to that is. “How would you feel if they made a movie and portrayed Jesus in a way that goes against everything you think you know of him?” It is the same with comic book characters for me and millions of others.

The purpose of these articles will thus be to explain how the comics are more than just mindless entertainment but far deeper and expansive with epic philosophical motifs and deep commentaries about the human condition (such as Civil War and it’s subtext regarding the paranoid societal intolerances which continue to plague Post-911 America). Comic books are now what the literati call textual, and they deserve more respect and more attention than what your typical Zack Snyder-type is able to convey. A perfect example of this is the new Ms. Marvel and the stories that are happening in the “background”, the brother who is too religious for the western world, the parents who want him to join the capitalist mainstream soul-sucking….where was I?

Comic book arcs for noobs can be a bit daunting at first glance, as often trying to jump into a storyline that’s been reset or rebooted dozens of times, can get freaking confusing. But therein, also rather beautiful (Flashpoint Paradox – mother of god!!).

So, this is not a detailed review but rather a broad overview of what occurred during various titles that make up certain story arcs and events. – Yes, there will be spoilers but not in depth details. The intention is to present (as best I can) a contextual understanding of various story arcs, how they fit together in the broad scheme of things and inspire more folks to start engaging with the immense universes that are our beloved source materials.

MARVEL’S ‘SECRET WARS (2015)’ Overview

Now down to business. The first series that will be covered over the next couple of weeks will be Secret Wars (2015), as this would be the perfect place to start for those interested in starting to follow Marvel Comics seriously.

In 2012 Jonathan Hickman took over writing The Avengers and New Avengers. And was given the task of bringing everything to an end. Marvel had decided to streamline their catalogue and bring everything into one continuity. (The writers of Web-Warriors, basically said F*&% that noise and just continued to do their own thing after Secret Wars ended….those rebels). Also Marvel wanted to capitalise on popular alternate versions of characters that had become standouts in their own right, like Miles Morales as Spider-Man (Note the hyphen), Gwen Stacey as Spider-Woman, Old Man Logan and most recently Gwenpool (Because female Deadpool cosplayers lost their collective minds upon seeing an alternate cover for a Deadpool comic), and get rid of comic series that were performing poorly.

 

The Unbelievable Gwenpool 001-000                                                   Old Man Logan (2016-) 001-000

Marvel again attempted to out do DC by taking the premise of one of their stories and doing it better. In this case, they once again used the “Infinite Crisis” story that DC was running at around the same time. Exactly the same way Marvel did in the 80s.

There is a huge amount of source material to cover for this storyline (the prelude, main story and tie-ins and Epilogue all amount to 180+ comics).  So I will be concentrating on the “Main Storyline” and will point you guys in the direction of Tie-ins which add to it and will improve some back-story. If you guys want me to cover tie-in stories of the Secret Wars let me know in the comments below.

LAYING A FOUNDATION – background references for that extra detail so you can sound like a true believer at the next Hollywood release of *Insert whatever you’re salivating for here*.

 

TL:DR Universes are colliding. People are trying to stop it. S&*% goes down.

The following events are covered in New Avengers volume 3  #1-24 and  Avengers Volume 5 # 29

 

Events known as “Incursions” are taking place. This is the contraction of the Multiverse. This contraction has caused universes to collide with the contact point being Earth of the various Universes. (New Avengers Vol 3 #2-3).  These collisions mean the two universes effectively obliterate one another, initiating a chain reaction of sorts, that serves to speed toward the next incursion event.

On the main version of Marvel’s Earth (616), the Illuminati is reformed (please note that nothing ever goes well when this happens and if you guys want I will do an article on this group of “Superheroes” with a God complex….anyway read New Avengers Vol 3 #1) in order to find a solution to this problem.  What  they come up with, is to sacrifice the alternate Earth for the preservation of their own. Which, if you think about it, is condoning genocide on a global level (YOUR HEROES, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN!!!!).

However, they decide that this course of action will only be discussed further if all other peaceful means fail.  They go as far as to use the Infinity Gauntlet to push the approaching Earth and Universe away, buying them time. This works….once….as the Gems and Gauntlet shatter. (New Avengers Vol3 #2)

They proceed to come up with ways to destroy planets. Captain America does not condone this and has one of the best monologues ever. Sadly for Cap, it was ironically like being the only non-military guy in the room, when the president is only listening to the Generals telling him to Nuke somebody.

“I know you people. You’re going to build a machine or some kind of weapon without thinking if you should… Just because you may need it. And then the debate will turn from should we build this to under which doomsday scenario is it acceptable to use the thing? And then slowly, one by one you will convince yourselves. “We’re doing this for the right reasons.” “There’s no other choice.” “It’s the lesser of two evils.””

The Illuminati, annoyed by his self-righteousness wipe his mind and kick him out (I mean really what does Cap really know…am I right??)  (New Avengers Vol3 #3)

As the next incursion takes place, the Illuminati refuse to use their weapons without at least attempting to save the population of the other earth. Luckily (Or unluckily) for them, Terrax the Truly Enlightened (Herald of Galaktus – an alternate universe’s Galactus..Earth-13054 to be exact) arrives and is told to lead the world eater to destroy the Earth in order to save their Universe. The Illuminati don’t like this, and attack Terrax and take him captive whilst Galaktus destroys the Earth anyway.  (New Avengers Vol3 #4)

At the next few Incursions, it turns out that the alternate Earths are dead, so the Illuminati have no issue destroying these. (New Avengers Vol3 #6) However, this was not the case down the line, when an incursion occurred with a “Living Earth” and again the Illuminati could not bring themselves to use the weapon. Except for Namor of Atlantis who activates the weapon after he states, “How dare you put your lives…Your damned morals…above the lives of every living thing.”

The Illuminati are not happy with this (EVEN THOUGH THEY MADE THE DAMN WEAPONS AND KICKED CAP OUT BECAUSE HE HAD THE SAME RESERVATIONS!!!!!) and kick Namor out (Because he’s basically Aquaman and nobody likes Aquaman). (New Avengers Vol 3 #21-22.) I reckon that one of the best bits of this particular segment is how the Illuminati – especially Black Panther – tries to justify their innocence in destroying the planet.

While all this is going on, the Original Sin event takes place. (I will cover that at a later stage if you want but it just adds more back story to a bunch of comics that will be rebooted anyways.) During this event, Captain America learns what the Illuminati did to him and confronts Iron Man (Avengers volume 5 #29). Cap asks the Avengers to hunt the Illuminati down (AGAIN). However an incursion is taking place, and since they have been outed to the superhero community and with the decision made that they will not destroy another Earth (A little late there boys) they all decide to spend one last day with the ones they love.

All, that is, except Namor, who has other ideas and refuses to allow the universe to end because of the Illuminati’s “weakness”. He teams with Maximus the Mad of Inhumans fame and frees villains that the Illuminati have taken prisoner (This includes goddamn THANOS!!). ‘Speedo Aquaman’ asks them to help him destroy the approaching worlds. This leads to the Formation of a new Cabal (New Avengers Vol 3 #24) – a nice little nod to the Dark Reign storyline.

Now that we have some background, we can start the build up to Secret Wars. I would like to point out that a lesson to be learned here is that if a decision needs to  be made by a group and there is a dissenting voice and the group decides to follow that course of action anyway. Then the group should follow through 100% and not half-assed. If not then rather put it to a public vote and have everyone live with the decision if the group cannot handle the responsibility.

Thanks for reading and let me know what you guys think in the comments. I leave you with the words Namor  used to request the help of the Cabal.

“Everything dies. You. Me. Everyone on this planet. Our sun. Our galaxy, and, eventually, the universe itself. This is simply how things are. It’s inevitable… And I accept it. What I will not tolerate– what I find unacceptable– is going quietly, like some mewling child, before my time. There is something out there, coming for us, trying to kill us all– And I would do to it what it would do to us. Brothers. Sisters. All the angels have fallen, and we devils are all that remains… So I ask you… Will you help me kill worlds?”

 

AUTHOR: Ricky Rhodes



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