The Pull List: Secret Wars #1 Is Almost Too Big in Scope

Welcome to The Pull List, a weekly column where we check out a first issue of a new series and tell you whether or not to follow the comic based only on that. This week I’ll be taking a look at Marvel’s latest big publisher-wide event, Secret Wars!

Yes, that’s right, it’s that time already. Marvel has been teasing this one for a little while now. promising that Secret Wars will be the continuity reboot to end all continuity reboots. They’re compressing their traditional Marvel universe and the Ultimate Marvel universe (as well as, technically, all other alternate universes in the Marvel comics) to combine one single continuity.

If that sounds like a really big goal, then you’re absolutely right! keeping in mind that this is a story line that will inevitably play out over eight issues of Secret Wars, as well as individual series tie-ins, it still feel like maybe too big a goal. At least, from reading this first issue, that was the vibe that I got.

All the action happens at breakneck speed, and there’s so many concepts and ideas being tossed out per page, that it’s almost impossible to keep up with it all. The basic idea, though, is that the Ultimates universe and the Marvel universe are colliding with each other, and Ultimate Reed Richards has convinced/tricked Ultimate Nick Fury into using S.H.I.E.L.D. to attack the Marvel universe first. So it’s a no-holds-barred throwdown between the best of both worlds.

But because there are only so many pages in this book, but like a gazillion heroes in the Marvel universe(s), that means that we only get brief glimpses of heroes before having to switch gears super fast to focus on something else happening to someone else, somewhere else. As an example, the Punisher shows up for all of a single page, in a little bit that has literally nothing to do with anything else, and then is never mentioned again.

This entire event is “written and designed” by Jonathan Hickman, and while I love quite a bit of Hickman’s independent stuff (go check out Manhattan Projects and East of West, because they are both great), I’m not really sold on the idea that he can work cohesively with these big crossover events.

The last big event that Hickman helmed that I read was Infinity, which, much like Secret Wars so far suffered from idea overload. There is so much being handled and dealt with at any given moment, that it all threatens to become unintelligible nonsense. But that’s the threat with something this big, you’ve either got to say screw it and throw everything into the pot, or you’ve got to let it simmer for a lot longer than eight issues.

Overall, it’s hard to say whether or not Secret Wars seems like the right way to go about things. Honestly, I feel that the concept is going to be much more interesting than the actual execution. I’m more excited to read recaps once this whole thing is done – to see who wins, who dies, and who lives – than to actually dig through the nitty gritty and figure that stuff out on my own.


  1. Why do you read Comics anyway when you only want to know the outcome? why do you watch movies? why do you read books from the beginning? just read the last 2 pages. the whole review is pointless. you seem do dont like comics, why read them?

  2. Are you sure you read the same comic as me, because for me this is the best comic i’ve ever read.

    1. James, you need to read more comics. Lots and lots more comics. Hickman is cold and stiff, just like this and most of his superhero comics. He’s an ideas man, but his craft kinda sucks. Just like the other newbie fanboy darling of the moment, Scott Snyder.

      You want substance AND style? Mark Waid, Peter David, Kurt Busiek, John Ostrander, Garth Ennis, Alan Moore. Read more comics.

      1. Insulting him by telling him he needs to read lots more comics is just petty. I can play that game as well. Because I have read comics by all the greats you’ve listed, and they are undoubtedly great writers. Hickman is on my list of great writers. Along with Bendis. You probably hate him as well. So I’ll conclude that you are either living in the past, or simply have no taste. Because while Alan Moore hasn’t written any significant comics in years, East of West is doing quite well.

      2. I find it funny that all the bad reviews I can find of Secret Wars are of people who couldn’t keep up with the story, and were confused, yet they also mention how this is continuing the story of Avengers and New Avengers. It’s sad to see some people who don’t have the mental capacity to enjoy art like Hickman’s work. Maybe they should stick to Sunday morning comics? Or Convergence actually, that one seems easy enough to follow. Bad man makes good men fight.

    2. TL;DR

      I don’t like to read, so let’s give this book a bad review and wait until I can read a short recap of the entire series.


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