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Secret Wars: Battleworld #1 [Review]

secretwars_battleworld001Soldier Supreme; M.O.D.O.K. Madness

Writers: Joshua Williamson, Ed Brisson
Artists: Mike Henderson, Scott Hepburn
Color Artists: Jordan Boyd, Matt Milla
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover Artist: Paco Medina
Editor: Jon Moisan
Published by: Marvel Comics
Cover Date: July 2015
Cover Price: $3.99

This issue gives us two stories set in Battleworld. The first is a skirmish between a Punisher merged with the spirit of Dr. Strange, Sorceror Supreme and The Infernal Four (a Hulk, Ghost Rider, Wolverine, and Spider-Man). The battle seems to shift things from one status quo to another, perhaps a transitional/origin type thing for stuff either to come or as a side-story to put a reference “on-panel.”

The other story shows us a bunch of M.O.D.O.K.s brought together by a “prime” MODOK who has realized it might be best to work with himself rather than others. Of course, this really turns out to be a poor plan, as MODOK(s) tend to have a bit too much ego to not try to be THE leader of any group instead of following.

I was good with the art for both stories. Though I’m not particularly familiar with the visual team, I had no real issue following along and was simply able to take in the story as I turned the pages. The stories themselves, similarly, were simply what they were. Essentially half-issue length done-in-ones to offer us glimpses of different characters that might not otherwise get a spotlight in Secret Wars.

Opening the issue and seeing that there were two stories, I was immediately disappointing, mentally flashing back to the “extended fight-scenes” nature of AvX: Vs from several years ago and assumed this was that series’ counterpart. Actually reading the issue I was pleasantly surprised to find something that while still basically “just” fights, at least a little more plot-driven and developmental for Secret Wars.

I could see enjoying this series for the glimpses of characters not otherwise overly spotlighted, but I’ve also been “trained” to be used to (and even prefer) the multi-issue/several-issue stories. Given that, these seem to (by simple pagecount) lack something to be more engaging and interesting for me.

All in all it’s not a bad issue, and well worth reading if you enjoy MODOK or the Sorceror Supreme…or if (like me) you’re simply delving into Secret Wars and want to see characters from different (former) realities interacting. This should also work well as a “companion” book to expand on the main Secret Wars book running through the event.

Battleworld does not seem (yet) to be all that ESSENTIAL…just kinda fun-ish and “worthwhile” to read if you so choose. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll continue with the series…it might depend on how much clustering there is the week the next issue is out and whether I feel like adding it to the stack.

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Marvel Universe Series IV Revisited, Part 20

This page of cards is a bit more interesting looking back, as being a bit more relevant to comics I was reading at the time, or within a couple years of this set.

Ghost Rider vs. Blaze, Hulk vs. Hulk, Spider-Man and Cardiac, Punisher and Ghost Rider, Wolverine and Omega Red, Cable and Deadpool all grab my attention just by concept. Hulk vs. X-Factor grabs my attention now due to knowing both were being written by Peter David at the time…though that was something I had not yet come to notice in 1993. At the time, other than perhaps the Superman books’ writers and Alex Ross on Marvels, I really didn’t have much concept of specific writers and artists.

In 2013 with the internet and such, it seems rather silly to have a checklist card, when one could likely very easily look up a “checklist” online for what cards exist. Back in ’93, though, this was an extremely valuable resource for knowing how many cards there were and what they were, in the holes in my collection. The checklist card was–outside of seeing cards for sale at the comic shop–the only real means of seeing the set as a whole.

Nowadays I would certainly feel a certain bit of disconcertment over having a “wasted slot” in a card pack taken up by a checklist.

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Marvel Universe Series IV Revisited, Part 19

While informative, I don’t have all that much to say about this page of cards, except that I probably referred to the Warlock vs. Man Beast card when I got into the Warlock character a couple years later; and though I’m aware of some of these conflicts, they don’t particularly interest me on the whole.

Still, I definitely like that these cards had a bit of informative substance on the backs rather than simply listing an issue # of battle and leaving it at that.

Some of these are a bit of “history” that’s held to this day, I think…while others have mostly faded to just being objects of their time.

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Marvel Universe Series IV Revisited, Part 17

There’s not really a whole lot to say about these cards, except that they were among some of the most informative cards of the set, for me, detailing the various conflicts, which included background on some of the characters and their relations to one another.

I think of these nine, my favorite cards are the Spider-Man vs. Carnage, Cable vs. Stryve, Wolverine vs. Sabretooth, and Spider-Man vs. Venom.

Additionally, the War Machine card reminds me that I have yet to read the issue and “experience” Iron Man of this period rather than being aware of Iron Man of this period.

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Marvel Universe Series IV Revisited, Part 10

This is another fairly generic image that doesn’t really do much for me. I can’t recall ever being “familiar’ with Hardcore, though I recognize “Marvel‘s Scarecrow” from an action figure or such, and the name Terror, Inc from somewhere through the years.

I can’t even begin to think of how She-Hulk got a car up to a rooftop or who she’s actually planning to throw it at. Punisher seems ready to attack Falcon, and Scarecrow doesn’t seem all that concerned about all these anti-heroes and such behind him.

I definitely would not have been familiar with Cage and Iron Fist at the time, though I’ve seen a lot with them in the years since; Cage being through the largest changes visually between Alias and the Marvel Max Cage mini around 2001/2002.

Not much else to say about these characters as they appear here, unfortunately; though Hardcore bugs me for some reason–probably looking so generic and being such a clear product of the early ’90s, at least in name and my own lack of further exposure to the character.

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