By Joshua Williamson, Mike Henderson, Jordan Boyd, Ed Brisson, Scott Hepburn and Matt Milla
Secret Wars, if you don’t know the premise yet, here it is: The Marvel 616 Universe plows through the Ultimate Marvel Universe and random pieces fall together to create Battleworld. Explanation over; let’s jump into this.
Battleworld #1 consists of two stories within the first issue each of which has a different writer, artist and colourist and is a very unique idea. The first story, which our main (still not sure if pro or antagonist) is the Punisher and Doctor Strange one body two consciousness thing. Something that while seems like a strange (unintended jokes) combination works well, amazingly well, incredibly well and could easily have its own story that I would happily read. These two compliment each other in ways that just work absolutely perfectly while fighting other Marvel…heroes…we’ll call them. The action starts right away and maintains a high pace until the fights conclusion where Wolverine reveals a little bit more information about Battleworld and who may be in charge.
The art in this first story, phenomenal. All that can be said about it really, the pencil work, the colours and how it all works together, simply amazing. The first few pages are even reminiscent of Black Science, with what can be described as stellar pencil work on top of a water-colour shaded background the characters and action look simply amazing. The panels flow smoothly together and seeing Castle work some of Strange’s powers while delivering his own brand of ass kicking is something to behold. Side note: Wolverine and Frank Castle’s outfits in this, really hope they catch on and are used more often. Wolvie looking like some kind of kung fu drifter ninja and Castle in a cape shooting astral bullets? Definitely a fan.
All that being said here we go with the second story within Battleworld #1. This is where the book hits a bit of a sour note. It’s 7 pages of watching M.O.D.O.K argue with alternate reality versions of himself which, when they’re introduced I thought that Skottie Young had been brought in to draw big head versions of M.O.D.O.K, and it was tough to get through. It basically devolves into a pissing contest of which is the best M.O.D.O.K, why they are the best and a whiny baby crying for Daddy. All this while A.I.M agents operate some kind of big piece of ‘insert plot device here’ technology. The issues saving grace is when our favourite Asgardians show acting what can loosely be described as some kind of police force, hopefully they play a larger role in upcoming Battleworld issues as this has great potential that can’t wait to be explored.
The colours in the M.O.D.O.K story are exceptional with a very high level of attention and detail put in which was astonishing. You can feel the emotion on characters faces even if they’re aren’t in the forefront of a specific panel. If there’s a reason this story was included it hands down, without a doubt, is because of the penciling and colour work. There’s a full-page that’s separated into 4 different panels in quite possibly the best way it could have been done. When all the action is over the colour scheme changes to a cooler scheme and the pencil work seems to convey a feeling of being slightly more relaxed to let us know that the storm is over, or we’re possibly in the eye of the storm before we’re swept back in for Battleworld #2.
For the book that’s supposed to introduce us to Battleworld it sure starts off strong with great promise, then takes a turn right away. This is a series that doesn’t follow one hero, villian or group at the same time, it follows multiple characters in their respective paths. It will be interesting to see where this goes but the good does not outweigh the bad in Battleworld #1 and leaves you with a feeling of, “…ok.” at the end.