Secret Wars #1 (2015) Retro Review

Writer: Jonathan Hickman

Art: Esad Ribic, Ive Svorcina, Chris Eliopoulos, and Alex Ross

Price: $4.99

Release Date: May 6, 2015

After months of build-up to this event, as well as years of Marvel Comic’s History, SECRET WARS #1 was released on May 6th, 2015 with nonstop action, intensity, and heart-racing drama that this reviewer hasn’t seen in a comic since. Everything in this issue felt important, had weight, horrific consequences, awful heroic choices, and felt like it’s impact to the Marvel Comic landscape would be felt for years to come. Ultimately, every reader wants to feel like what they’re reading is validated and important. After this issue, there is no doubt all Marvel Comic fans will feel the gut-punch straight from Jonathan Hickman himself. So, let’s dive into this first issue and see what the fuss is all about!



Before we completely submerge ourselves in this issue, let me take a moment to catch you up as quickly as possible. Someone (This reviewer knows who but I don’t want to spoil it completely for you) has been causing parallel Earth’s to basically crash into each other. This is called an Incursion. Basically, once an Incursion happens between two multiversal Earth’s, only one Earth can survive. Each Earth has about 8 hours to destroy the other. If one Earth is not destroyed, then both will be blown to smithereens!

Picture a pool table with each ball being and Earth. “Someone” hit the white pool ball into the red solid ball. The white ball and red ball have a choice; both die or one survives. If both do nothing, the explosion will send a shock wave pushing all the Earth’s closer to one another in various locations causing multiple Incursions all over the “pool table” (multiverse). Or, the one Earth could die causing a minor explosion, or ripple, pushing that surviving Earth into just one other multiversal Earth. In turn, that would slow down the destruction of the multiverse and buy more time to find a solution. Furthermore, the assumption to this point was that only one Earth could remain. Well, readers, that’s where our story kicks off!


There can be only one (said in your best Christopher Lambert Highlander voice)! The Ultimates Earth and “our” Earth 616 are all that remain out of the countless multiversal Earth’s that once existed. This issue centers around the high-octane battle between the two Parallel Earth’s and for readers to see which Earth survives. But, herein lies one of the best parts of the issue… readers are led to believe that this entire epic event will focus on the battle between these two worlds. However, Jonathan Hickman instantly throws a curveball into the mix ultimately showing fans by the end of the issue, that the battle was already done with 8 issues left! Actually, Hickman ends the entire 616 Universe that began back in 1961, as well as the Ultimate Universe. Technically, after SECRET WARS # 1, Marvel doesn’t exist! So, now what? The next issue will tell the tale for sure. However, for the time being, let’s hit the highlights of Hickman’s epic first issue.


Doctor Doom, Molecule Man, and Doctor Strange open the issue by finding God. Can an issue open with much more gravitas than that? For new readers jumping immediately into this issue, they’re unaware of Doom’s part in this war, especially only seeing him as the issue opens and barely as it closes. Later, readers will see the key role Victor plays and so much more. That said, the first take away readers should have is that there IS a God, or better yet, a “creator” of all the Marvel Universes as a whole, which “may” come back as important at the end of all of this.


Hickman has everyone involved from Nick Fury, to Doc Green/Hulk, and every super team you can think of between from both universes. Additionally, the Ultimate Universe has its counterparts involved as well as Thanos, Namor, Terrax, and the Maker (Villainous Reed Richards from the Ultimate Universe). Hickman leaves no stone unturned and brings out all the heavy hitters to open the issue giving fans a Marvel event that we could only dream would one day make it onto the big screen. Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, Hickman leaps out of the gate showing the sheer importance of the event and makes readers feel the severity of the issue, as well as the series at hand. What more could fans ask for? How about a meaningful story? Well, hang in there because this series will only get better and better!


Let me continue by saying, this reviewer could go into detail with a variety of different directions, nuances, and diatribes. However, the best thing you could all do is simply read this issue. There is absolutely no way you’d be disappointed in what Hickman has orchestrated. That said, let this fan focus on some of the remaining key highlights of the issue. As one universe has its Reed Richard’s (The Maker) focus on what appears to be destroying the 616 Universe, “our” Reed Richard has realized that the plan for true survival lies within a lifeboat outside of time and space that will survive even the Big Bang itself.

Two similarly brilliant minds with two different ideas of saving their world are the initial focus of this event. One Reed looks like he’s giving up while the other fights for survival. One Reed that values every life and the other who values his own over all others. How could the two worlds be so different? That said, Hickman nails these characters flawlessly while giving them each true, realistic motivations and as readers will see, gives the characters room to grow. Furthermore, Jonathan Hickman’s dialogue fits each character, not just the Reed’s, and lays out the rules for new readers to jump right in and catch up. Sure, fans arriving to SECRET WARS without back up material may feel a bit lost and ultimately will be missing some huge plot threads. However, Hickman makes this single issue a reasonable spot for all fans to dive right in while this reviewer gives his assurance that all will be revealed in the end.


Readers find out that “our” Reed Richards was correct and there was no saving two huge forces bend on planetary destruction of billions at the expense of countless others. However, fans see the man who has a plan for everything fail for the first time EVER. The smartest man in the world that has NEVER let “our” world down, finally collapsed under the pressure. It was in this monumental moment that this reviewer was truly hit the hardest in this issue. Fans watch Reed Richard’s confidence and faith in himself diminish while his family literally slip through his fingertips. By far, this was one of THE BEST endings to any issue this reviewer has ever read and again I truly recommend this issue, as well as this series to ANY comic fan.


With the release of HOUSE OF X and POWERS OF X, some fans of the X-Men have been confused, troubled, and unclear as to the direction of the franchise and wondering if Jonathan Hickman is the right person for the job. Well, look no further than one of this reviewers favorites, SECRET WARS. This event is by far my all-time favorite Marvel event EVER! This issue opens creatively and captures the reader’s attention immediately without the overload of heavy dialogue or confusing backstories. The stakes couldn’t be higher and the stage is set moving forward with some of the most fantastic art by Esad Ribic and his creative team. What more could fans want from a comic? Pick this issue up if you ever get the chance. Otherwise, this reviewer strongly recommends buying the trade. Readers can thank me later.


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