Monday, March 8, 2021

Marvel Immersion Project: Secret Wars #7-12

I'm moving on from Marvel soon.  All of those Star Wars comics on Marvel Unlimited beckon.  Before I go, a quick acknowledgement of the highlights from my tour over the past year+, not necessarily in order of preference:
  • The Amazing Spider-Man, always but especially The Deaths of the Stacys
  • Frank Miller's Daredevil
  • Silver Surfer and Galactus
  • Alpha Flight
  • Wolverine - certainly the character and especially the original solo series
  • The Inhumans, especially Black Bolt
  • Howard the Duck
  • Man-Thing
  • The Beatles' appearance in Strange Tales #130
via Wikipedia

Mike Zeck was the lead artist for most of the Secret Wars series.  He was born September 6, 1949 in Greenville, Pennsylvania.  He attended the Ringling School of Art in Florida - yup, named for that Ringling family.  Most of Zeck's work has been with Marvel but he's dabbled with DC as well.  Apart from Secret Wars, he is best known for his art in Captain America, Master of Kung-Fu, The Punisher and Spider-Man.

My Recent Reads

Secret Wars #7
Originally Published November 10, 1984
Writer: Jim Shooter
Artist: Mike Zeck

  • Spider-Woman is introduced.  Marvel has actually had several Spider-Woman characters over the years and this one is the second, alias Julia Carpenter.
  • I have to admit, I'm not too impressed by the series at this point.  I'll share crucial details as/if they come up but for now, it's pretty reasonable to sum up once again with...
  • The fighting continues. 

Secret Wars #8
December 10, 1984
via Spider-Man Wiki

  • Spider-Man gets his black costume.  This is actually the most important long-term narrative development for the series - yup, a new costume.
  • I find myself descending into snark in regards to Secret Wars.  It's not a terrible series.  However, it is lacking in dimension - all style, precious little substance.  Dare I say, it's more like DC than Marvel.
  • Gasp!
  • Okay, there are a couple of rather interesting storylines running which I have not, to this point, addressed.  Both are important as the series nears its end:
    • Thing's powers keep flicking on and off - Ben-Thing-Ben-Thing-etc.  Neither he nor anyone else understands why. (Though we later learn Reed has suspicions - 'cuz he's like that.)
    • There is a race of humanoid beings on the planet whom our heroes encounter.  One of them, Zsaji, is a healer and also quite a beautiful woman.  Her healing powers are essential to the story.  So is the love triangle that develops between her, Johnny Storm and Colossus.  At the moment, Colossus is getting the worse end of the deal.
  • Something I've realized in this series: Reed Richards, Scott Summers and Captain America are all essentially the same character.  Or at least, they all serve the same basic narrative function within each team.  They all employ the same arrogant approach to leadership, too - Cap least annoyingly, Reed the most.  There are other parallel characters within the teams: Thing-Wolverine (Beast, originally)-Hulk, for instance.

Secret Wars #9
January 10, 1985
  • The fighting continues.

Secret Wars #10
February 10, 1985

via Marvel Database

  • #10 might be the most interesting issue in the series as it includes a detailed Dr. Doom backstory, including the story of his mother, the witch Cynthia Von Doom.
  • Galactus, prevented by the heroes from eating Battleworld must consume his own worldship.
  • The energy generated by this meal is somehow absorbed by Doom who is now more powerful than ever.
  • Doom defeats the Beyonder and, removing his mask (gasp!), declares the Secret Wars over.

Secret Wars #11
March 10, 1985
  • Doom has stolen the powers of the Beyonder and, among other things, the scars on his face have healed.
  • The other baddies believe that Doom has betrayed them so, of course...
  • The fighting continues.
  • Doom assures the good guys that his intentions are benevolent.
  • Colossus finally confesses his love to Zsaji and she seems to reciprocate.  Nightcrawler worries about the implications for Colossus's relationship with Kitty Pride (Isn't she like 15 at this point?!!!) back home.
  • The heroes vote unanimously that they must still fight to destroy the new more powerful Doom, despite his claim of reform.  Colossus is the final clinching vote.
  • The instant the decision is made, there's a blinding explosion and everybody dies!

Secret Wars #12
April 10, 1985
  • Okay, not really, obviously.  As we learned from The Princess Bride, there's a difference between all dead and mostly dead.  Colossus barely survived because he changed to his armored form at the last moment.  He revives Reed who is also merely mostly dead.  Together, they bring back everyone else.  But boy, Doom sure made his point!
  • Long story short, the good guys win and everybody gets to go home.  Surprise!
  • Molecule Man turns a Denver suburb into a spaceship (long story) and flies all of the baddies home.
  • Reed reveals he's had the power to get everyone home all along.  Gee thanks, Glinda.
  • Spider-Man makes a ruby slippers joke.  
  • Zsaji dies.  For real.  Colossus is heartbroken.
  • The Thing decides to stay on Battleworld for a while.  Since our last check in, he's discovered he can switch back and forth between Ben and Thing at will and he wants some time to himself to figure things out.
  • She-Hulk takes his place on the Fantastic Four during his sabbatical.
  • In a thought bubble, Reed notes his suspicions but decides not to share his theory with Ben.
  • Gee thanks, Glinda.


  1. Well, Spider-Man's costume is more than a costume. :P
    And Colossus is only like 17, so it's okay that Kitty is 15. Or something like that. They're teenagers.

    1. Yes, I know (re: Spidey)... still! The substance is hard to come by. I thought there might be more of a moral lesson in the ending but no. The Beyonder as a concept was decidedly less interesting than Galactus, for instance.

      Oh well, we move on.

      Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away...

  2. Did I miss your observing how nearly every word bubble ends in an exclamation point!?!??

    Also, reading in real time, having all the changes happen but not seeing why lead to such a build, the series was sure to be a let down.

    Even DC’s recent attempt at One Year Later and 52 showed that even with planning and breathing room the results can be...underwhelming.

    1. Ha!

      Yeah, it really isn't very good. As we've discussed, I'm not a huge fan of the cast of thousands stories to begin with and this series did little to endear me. But man, did it sell!