Comic Review: Secret Wars #4 – All Bow Before Doom | FanboysInc

Comic Review: Secret Wars #4 – All Bow Before Doom

By Jeff Ayers

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Artist: Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina


Marvel Comics

Here we are, at the half way point of the planned eight issue series. In Secret Wars #4, Hickman is doing his upmost to keep the energy and drama at heightened levels, but in this issue everything starts to unravel. Some major spoilers ahead, so read on at your own risk.

First of all, Ribic and Svorcina continue to churn out wonderful imagery, relying on the old and new versions of these characters now all thrust together in Battleworld. Both life rafts have been opened and revealed their inhabitants. The first being the one manned by “The Maker” , who is the Ultimate version of Reed Richards. He has the remnants of The Cabal, which includes Namor and Thanos among others. They immediately drew the ire of the Thors, Doom’s own police force. The second raft contained many heroes from the regular, or 616 universe, including Star-Lord and that version of Reed Richards, as well as a phoenix powered Cyclops and two Spider-Men (the original Peter Parker and the ultimate version, Miles Morales.)

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All of these players come face to face in this issue, with Doom himself descending from on high to weigh in on the “gnats that do not concern him”. Yet he is concerned, because these are variables he hasn’t planned for after reshaping reality into Battleworld. Also, his grip on his very subjects is at risk, as Susan Storm glimpses Reed Richards, and seems to have a memory spark from it. Also, Doom’s trusted advisor, Stephen Strange (formally Doctor Strange), isn’t as trusted as he might have been once, especially now that he has found friends from the time before Battleworld.


Now for the spoilers. As Doom puts his foot down at the in fighting between the Thors and these new characters, Cyclops steps up to oppose him. Powered by the phoenix force, he seems to have let it completely consume him, weighing the possibility of continued existence with Doom against the destruction of everything. Doom declares himself a god, and snaps Cyclops’s neck. The end. He even throws out the line that seems to constantly be said whenever a prominent X-Man dies: “The dream is over.” Then, after the smoke clears, Strange sends his former friends away so Doom cannot do the same to them, and Doom seemingly ends the life of Stephen Strange.

The “Best There Is”: I am still invested in this story, and the twists and turns of what is being presented are still fun to read and watch. The art is the true winner of this issue, because seeing Thanos, two Reed Richards, multiple Thors and a god-like Doom all on the same page is really fun to look at. I can only imagine what it must be like to draw sequences like that: that kind of dream job you only get once in a career.

The “Isn’t Very Nice”: Two things really grind my gears about this issue, and they are the “deaths” that are presented. First of all, killing Doctor/Sheriff/Stephen Strange loses all the weight and dire consequence it could have because of Marvel’s recent reveals of their comic lines moving forward after Secret Wars is over. Strange is totally getting his own line, and it is being hyped as one of the big guns rolling out in the 45 titles that have been announced. So, the killing of him here doesn’t seem too terrible, as he will be back. The argument can be made that it could be a different version of him/alternate reality/different dimensional version of the Doctor Strange we all know, but that remains to be seen. The death of Cyclops affects me, and the story, in a completely different way. It has already been hinted at that Cyke isn’t around after Secret Wars, because of all the promotional material that has been released and he has been absent from all of it. What bothers me more is the idea of giving Cyclops the phoenix force again, only to squander the possibilities. Why give it to him, just to have him killed off? Again, arguments can be made – he doesn’t die from it, or the phoenix force goes into someone else. But it seemed pretty important to the story when he gained the phoenix force in issue one, and then we really never got to see him flex those muscles. Unless this is rectified somehow, I feel that was a poor choice to facilitate a throw away moment in the story.

FBI Score: 7.5 out of 10. This issue found me missing the feeling of the first couple, and the few big “spoiler events” in this book felt lacking of true power. This is halfway point, so hopefully the story returns to its former glory in the next four issues.

Jeff Ayers

Both my parents instilled in me at an early age the awesome power and incredible wonder of the written word. My father sat with me when I was four years old and taught me to enjoy reading with classic comic strips like SPIDERMAN, PEANUTS, B.C. and, later, CALVIN AND HOBBES. My mother exposed me to such classics of literature as Poe, Tolkien, Stoker and Doyle, and I started my own comic collection with allowance money from mowing lawns. I liked Wolverine before it was cool, I watched as Superman died and returned, and huddled under the covers as I turned the pages of SANDMAN. Reading is like oxygen to me, and all genres and formats are welcome and devoured equally. I am the co-host of The DW and Incredible Jeff Show, CEO of Permian Productions, and a reviewer at Graphic Novel Reporter. I am 34 and live in scenic Saratoga Springs New York, where I haunt coffee shops and dive bars and the best comic shop anywhere, The Comic Depot.

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