Secret Wars #2

Background

All of Marvel's big heroes and villains disappear from Earth, to find themselves on Battle World, where the God-Like Beyonder tells them to battle. Whichever side wins gets whatever they want. Magneto is placed on the heroes side, and the villains think they've killed off Doc Doom and Ultron. Let the war begin!

Story Details

"We're under attack!" Reed Richards announces as the villains storm the unsuspecting heroes with a tripod and laser guns. "Good!" Wolverine says, and we all think we know where this is going. Well, I for one was kind of surprised when the little mountain they're all standing on gets blown to smithereens right under their feet, knocking out about half of the heroes.

Even the Hulk is taking serious hits, and Colossus is already unconscious. Kitty Pryde's dragon Lockheed starts shooting fire at the villains, while Cap rallies the heroes to destroy the tripod. No problem for the Hulk, he'll just pick up a really big boulder and throw it at them. This, unfortunately, does not work, and the tripod splinters the rock and sends the pieces flying. Spidey's worried about what will happen to the people who are about to be hit by the pieces, but Reed Richards covers them. Mr. Fantastic is a little stunned that, with one tripod canon blast, half of the team have gone down.

Bang! Bang! Nightcrawler and Iron Man get blasted out of the air. Only Kang is still a little worried that the tides might turn without Doctor Doom, who he dubs 'an unfortunate victim'. And you thought super villains don't have feelings!

Doctor Doom is alive and well, and he conveniently recaps last issues story in about half a page. Doom circles back to Galactus, who is still unconscious. Not for long, it seems, as Galactus merely floats to his feet (Doom explains it by being surprised at how he didn't just clamber to his feet like a mere mortal.) "Hear me, Galactus! Hear the words of Doom! Let us take council, great one, and... Galactus? Galactus!" Power hungry Doom is too insignificant for Galactus to really give a darn, so he walks off.

Doom's a little miffed, but decides to take advantage of the situation. Heading back to the villains base provided by the Beyonder, Doom destroys the security systems, and then sees Ultron's empty husk (Ultron, you'll remember, got the power sucked out of him by Galactus in issue 1). Smiling as best a guy in a metal mask can, Doom starts working on a plan.

The heroes are still getting K.O.ed, but Thor and Hulk turn the tables, knocking Kang, Lizard and part of the Wrecking Crew unconscious, and crushing the tripod. "Nice work, Hulk! Mind if I pitch in a high impact optic blast?" Hulk doesn't mind; the hard work, he says, has already been done. She Hulk and the Enchantress scuffle a bit. Enchantress makes short work of She Hulk, but when the green lady realises she doesn't have to pull her punches, the fight is over in seconds.

The Wrecking Crew (minus the Wrecker), Kang, the Lizard and the Enchantress are taken prisoner as the rest of the villains retreat. The heroes find a base bigger than fifty four pentagons, and they take it as their own. Colossus is worried because Kitty's dragon has disappeared, and he doesn't want to return to Earth without him. Wolverine isn't even counting on returning home, and tells him not to worry. Reed places the prisoners in stasis holding cells, and apologises for taking so long. Its okay, says Cap; none of the others could have done it at all. Another line from Spidey, who says that the new Hulk-with- Bruce-Banners-mind probably wouldn't want to hear that. "He's so touchy, lately!"

Captain America lays out the battle plan: Stay in the base. I thought it was a bad plan, too, and so did Wolverine. But Cap says the planet is too big to risk scattering themselves, so for now they'd need to find supplies from the base. Magneto, meanwhile, has found his own base of monolithic proportions, and wonders if the humans are feeling the same awe as he is at the moment. He didn't think they could.

Returning to the base, the villains find that it has been renamed Doom Base, and that Doom has a new and improved Ultron as his body guard that none of them can defeat. They were going to fight, but I guess having an Ultron standing over them was reason enough to just let Doom lead them. Doom, though leading, gives Molecule Man a great room and great treatment. Wrecker thinks he's just sucking up because even though Molecule Man's a wimp, he is the most powerful of all of them. Anyway, Doom and Doc Ock discuss what they're going to do next. They don't really know what Galactus is doing (other than standing and looking at the sky), and Doom says he's got their battle plan all figured out. Ock suspects that Doom has another agenda.

Meanwhile, Magneto is sneaking into the heroes base. Note, sneaking, so I doubt he's planning on joining with them and fighting for their cause. Various other characters express slightly corny, cranked out emotions: She Hulk and Wasp bond about how they both feel they're seconds away from despair, Reed and Cyclops both wonder if they'll see their wives ever again, and Thing broods that he'll never see his girlfriend again. Amidst all this brooding, no one has taken notice that Magneto is now in the fuion core of the base, and is trying to do something that will attract the heroes.

Spidey and Torch are talking. Torch is cool with being here, since he's a member of the FF and they always do crazy, otherwordly stuff. Suddenly, the two are drawn to the fusion core room. Sending Johnny to get backup, Spidey leaps into action--

-- to be tossed out almost instantly by Magneto. The other heroes minus any of the X-Men hurry into the room to try and stop him. This isn't going as planned for Magneto, so he traps all of the heroes under big metal machinery. The Thing and the Wasp break free and hurry after him. Magneto realises Wasp may be a potential difficulty, so he traps her in a metal ball with no way out, then takes the ball with him. Before Thing can leap to the rescue, he suddenly turns from his big, rocky, orange self to his human form, Ben Grimm!

The other heroes get out from under the machinery, and Captain Marvel notes that none of the X-Men came to help. Reed is stunned by Ben's transformations, but Cap says they have bigger problems: A huge storm, Galactus, and the villain base! It looks like Cap and Hulk have a theory.

General Comments

This story moves things at a much faster pace. In the first few pages, we have more action than all of last issue, on a real blown out level. The short fight at the end with Magneto is pretty cool, too.

The dialogue is really flawed in this issue, though. Each character sounds in character, but there are some really corny, Arnold Schwarzenegger reject lines that just don't fit. For example, Cyclops says: "Nice work, Hulk! Mind if I pitch in a high impact optic blast?" C'mon, who says that? Its a problem I have with a few super hero movies, too, when the character makes a joke that would not be funny at all unless it were in exact context of another characters powers.

The attempt at characterisation seems a little rushed, and not really believable or sympathetic. There were some pretty good moments with Doc Doom and Magneto, and believable moments with the Human Torch, but other than that it was a bit like an action movie trying to cram in a love plot at the last second.

Thankfully, there's more Spider-Man this issue, though he is still pretty low on the Doing-Anything O Rama. A scuffle with Magneto, though, is pretty cool, and calling the Hulk touchy was funny, not to mention watching the Hulk topple a tripod (Tom Cruise never got that far in War of the Worlds).

Overall Rating

Its not really worse than last issue, in fact, this issue was probably better. But a few lame quips and failed character bonding is enough to drag any average down. The action was great, though.

Footnote

At this point, its Heroes: 1 and Doc Doom: 0. Luckily, with ten issues left, there's bound to be a little scale balancing.