By Jonathan Hickman, Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina
Let it be known that regardless of whatever kind of Victor Von Doom Marvel had in the past, that ever since Jonathan Hickman got a hold of him, he’s been an absolutely amazing character. Here in Secret Wars, it’s like Hickman has made an effort to up not only the badass factor, but also to make someone like Doom more human, even in light of his newfound God status. After a few issues of watching Doom sit back and play the role of an Emperor God over this new Battleworld, Hickman finally gets Doom off his metal-plated arse and into the action and you know what? It’s f^&#ing awesome.
Sure, there’s a death at Doom’s hand (one that it might be safe to say most won’t be too sad about) and he does everything with such ease and grace you can’t help but imagine and be frightened at the prospect of Doom’s new powers and abilities. He’s by no means just an all-knowing creator; he most certainly has some of that same old Doom we know and love and, of course, the right mix of destruction and anger bubbling just below the surface. Thus far, with only four short issues behind us, this one might be one of the most exciting. It really is a perfect mid-point in this series and sets up so much for what’s to come. The lines are being drawn, familiar faces are being revealed and slowly we’re learning more about how Doom and Doctor Strange patched this world together.
This issue felt like a step up not only in the action department and in the forward momentum of the story, but also in the art department. Esad Ribic and colorist Ive Svorcina have been killing it on this series so far, no doubt, but something about the work here just takes all that and pushes it aside so these two can reach the next level. Maybe it’s the badass script with Doom getting his hands dirty, who can really say, but both Ribic and Svorcina are on fire here in Secret Wars #4. Ribic’s faces and expressions are beyond stellar, particularly when it comes to Strange and even in just Doom’s eyes while Svorcina’s color work, particularly when it comes to the Thors and the accompanying lightning effects or even to the Phoenix’ed-up Scott Summers and Doom himself. At every turn Ribic is surprising and he continues to raise the bar from his previous work. It’s hard to imagine where he’ll be by the time we complete this journey… hopefully he’s not too burnt out and we’ll get more work from him in the new Marvel status quo because not only has this guy earned it and more than proven that he deserves it, he’s also just so damn good that one series here and there is not enough. More Ribic, Marvel!
After an issue like this, it’s hard to predict just how Hickman and Ribic will top themselves. Rest assured, though, that they will. Hickman is not the kind of guy to let his faithful readers down, especially after playing the long, long game like he has with his time at Marvel. Plus, Ribic and Svorcina are absolutely perfect for a mega event like this, so stay tuned, true believer, because guaran-damn-teed there is going to be so much more to come with only four issues remaining. Marvel is at a high that is hasn’t seen in a while and there is no better time than now to jump in with both feet.