The Marvel multiverse has been remade into one world under the hand of a singular god, and his name is Doom.
After meeting with the Beyonders in the first issue of Secret Wars, it seems the Doctor has finally obtained the godship he’s always desired. Now ruling supreme over Battleworld, Doom has split up the land into various kingdoms given over to barons. A police-force made up of Thors enacts Doom’s justice, bringing barons to judgment if and when they happen to disobey one of the supreme laws.
Doom, however, decides to question Brian about the Silent Chambers — a hotbed for dissenters and radicals looking to overthrow Doom. When Jamie steps in and admits he is the one helping them, Doom sentences Sinister to a public lashing sends Jamie to the Shield where he must survive zombies and supervillains.Secret Wars #2 follows one man’s journey as he passes the test of Mjolnir. Being found worthy by picking up the hammer, the newest Thor enters Doom’s service and completes his first task — calling Mr. Sinister to court. Baron Jamie Braddock of Higher-Avalon has accused Sinister of conspiring against his kingdom and committing libel against his lord-brother’s wife, Meggan. Sinister calls for a duel against Brian Braddock and wins.
Secret Wars #2 constructs a new world built from the ashes of the old Marvel multiverse. Kingdoms ruled by Summers, Apocalypse, and Hyperion give a glimpse as to what sort of contents and constituents Battleworld contains, and readers must acclimate themselves quickly to a new status quo where Doom reigns as a god, even over Galactus who now exists as a sentinel protecting Castle Doom.
It’s all conceived and constructed with plenty of thought, and the execution is precise. I didn’t find it too jarring thanks to Jonathan Hickman’s approach to the narrative which, as heavy as it is in explication, comes across naturally and with function through well-written dialogue and active descriptors. Hickman knows how much information to give through text and how much should be portrayed through the visuals. A lot of trust has been put in artist Esad Ribic to provide well-composed panels that show us familiar things in unfamiliar positions.
When Doom passes judgment on Brian Braddock, it’s Sue Storm who calls for mercy. From the text, we know it’s Susan, but Ribic’s artwork conveys everything else we need to know about Doom’s relationship with her and the position of things in this new world. Ive Svorcina’s colors on top of Ribic’s work gives the scenes more credibility through a finish that colors its scenes in the appropriate shades and tones. Doom’s court is a ghastly and sterile green while Bar Sinister is bathed in a lustful and aggressive red.
The artwork also gives us great action sequences that have a grand sense of scope and cinema. When the crashed ship opens, one of the Thors is brutally killed by spear after spear. The appearance of the Cabal heightens the tension and adds a new variable to Doom’s world by bringing in greater threats. With the creative team producing such quality work, Secret Wars #2 succeeds in expanding and creating something fresh from the old Marvel multiverse.
Though it might seem strange to describe Secret Wars #2 as Marvel meets Game of Thrones, that’s probably the best way I can explain the issue. It’s not a bad thing — the writing is stellar, the visuals are beautiful, and the plotting has depth to it. Having Doom choose to rule as an Asgardian-influenced All-Father makes for something compelling in its own right, and I’m looking forward to seeing how the Cabal influence things now that they’ve entered the world.
The Secret Wars are building up, and so far I’m pretty sold on the crossover. Don’t take that to mean I’m all for reconstructing the Marvel multiverse — but if this continues, it might all be worth it.
Secret Wars #2 (2015)
Words: Jonathan Hickman
Art: Esad Ribic
Colors: Ive Svorcina
Letters: Chris Eliopoulos