Complete Marvel Secret Wars Reading Order

2015 Secret Wars Annotated Reading List

Secret Wars begins, which can only mean one thing: Everything dies!

It has been a long fantastic build to Secret Wars in the pages of Avengers and New Avengers, and if you’d like that background, I highly recommend checking out my Secret Wars prologue reading order.

Otherwise, below you’ll find an ongoing event guide and reading checklist. Please note that Marvel Unlimited links are included for relevant issues, but it will likely be until November 2015 until these issues are added to the library.

Secret Wars Reading List

Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #1

A fun, and appropriately ridiculous look at how Deadpool was secretly a part of the original (1984 – 1985) Secret Wars. This book has nothing to do with the actual ongoing Secret Wars, so I’d only recommend if you’re a big Deadpool fan, or just like reliving the original Secret Wars (check and check).

Issue #1 also comes with a bonus Deadpool insertion into Marvel’s Contest of Champions (a 1982 event that functions as something of a precursor to Marvel events), and it’s surprisingly enjoyable.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This? Negative 10 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.0 out of 5

Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #1!

Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars #2

It’s no secret that the Original Secret Wars is kind of a hoot, and Deadpool is the perfect modern insertion (teehee) to convey the 80’s-ness of it all. Cullen Bunn sticks to his gags here in issue #2, paying off with Deadpool’s extreme case of shield-envy.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This? Negative 10 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.0 out of 5

Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars on Marvel Unlimited!

Howard the Duck #4

Literally described as “NOT a Secret Wars tie-in” on the cover, so don’t go in expecting too much. Nonetheless, it’s sort of an original Secret Wars tie-in (for, like, 3 pages), and Chip Zdarsky’s Howard the Duck has been very funny and enjoyable to date.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This? Negative 10 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.2 out of 5

Read Howard the Duck on Marvel Unlimited!

The Last Days

Captain America & The Mighty Avengers #8

I was prepared to pass on this series, but Cap and The Mighty Avengers works as a surprisingly effective prologue and synopsis of the events before Secret Wars hits. It’s particularly enjoyable to see Steve Rogers explain his involvement in New Avengers #1 through #3 to a group of outsiders. If you’re already following this series, or a little fuzzy on the details of Secret Wars, I recommend giving Cap and the Mighty Avengers a look.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This? 8.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.1 out of 5

Captain America & The Mighty Avengers on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Captain America & The Mighty Avengers #8!

Black Widow #19

Very light tie-in, as this issue occurs prior to any incursions and references Black Widow’s involvement helping Reed Richards and the Avengers. For the most part, Black Widow #19 is a flashback to one of Natasha’s Red Room missions in Cuba. If you like Cold War espionage, this is a solid series.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This? 3.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.8 out of 5

Black Widow on Marvel Unlimited!

The Main Event

Secret Wars #0

If you’ve been reading Avengers: Time Runs Out, this Free Comic Book Day issue probably didn’t help much, but for everyone else, it sets the stage. Universes colliding, no time to talk, everyone fight! And hey, it’s always nice to see Valeria Richards and the Future Foundation.

Find a copy of Secret Wars #0!

Secret Wars #1

The Multiverse is dying. Only two universes remain. Today, Earths collide.

And with that we’re off to 2015’s Secret Wars!

I enjoyed this issue quite a bit, bursting with payoff building up from Jonathan Hickman’s Avengers and New Avengers. Speaking of: There’s been a lot of talk that you can read Secret Wars without having read the build-up. Marvel’s even put together a Secret Wars: Prelude trade to suggest you can prep in fewer than 10 issues!

This is a bit of malarkey. (Cap: “Language!”)

While Hickman uses some impressively economical expository dialogue in this first issue, I strongly, strongly, Hulk-strongly recommend you read at least “Time Runs Out” before diving in to Secret Wars. The event will be a lot more satisfying, and a lot less confusing. Here’s the Comic Book HeraldSecret Wars reading order if you’re so inclined.

Otherwise, this is a great start, Esad Ribic is going to be a blessing on art in this series, and I’m excited to see where we head next.

Universes Encountered: Ultimate Universe, Earth-616

Secret Wars on Marvel Unlimited!

Secret Wars Collected Trade

The Last Days

Loki: Agent of Asgard #14

The second to last issue in Tom Ewing’s solo Loki series definitely works best if you’ve been following Loki for the soon to be 15 issue series. We get a glimpse into how Asgard and the non-Midguard realms are dealing with the collapse of the multiverse, although there’s significantly more focus on Odin than Loki here.

By the end of the issue there are some memorable moments that could only occur in the wake of Secret Wars, but as a whole everything is riding on issue #15. It’s possible Future Loki and present day Loki will come up with some scheme or story that will impact Secret Wars at large.

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 5.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.3 out of 5

Loki: Agent of Asgard on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Loki: Agent of Asgard #14!

Loki: Agent of Asgard #15

All out Asgard war, and although Secret Wars is hanging over the issue, it isn’t very directly involved with the plot. Again, worth reading if you’re a huge Thor / Loki fan or have been keeping up with this series for the full run. Purely for the Secret Wars ride, you don’t need much of this so far.

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 3.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.5 out of 5

Loki: Agent of Asgard on Marvel Unlimited!

Captain America & The Mighty Avengers #9

The final moments of the Mighty Avengers during the incursion taking place in Secret Wars #1.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This? 6.5 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.6 out of 5

Captain America & The Mighty Avengers on Marvel Unlimited!

Ms. Marvel #16

Even in the final moments of Earth-616, you have a heart-broken Kamala getting cut off from hot dogs by a vendor like a drunkard on the final legs of a bender. Just like that I’m reminded how funny, charming, and enjoyable Ms. Marvel can be which makes the end of this series by G. Willow Wilson and Adrian Alphona all the more impactful.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This? 7.5 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.3 out of 5

Ms. Marvel on Marvel Unlimited!

Magneto #18

Another great issue in Cullen Bunn’s run on Magneto, and if this is the end, it’s a worthy penultimate issue. There’s a line from Magneto describing homo sapiens watching him use his powers as the world ends: “They don’t want to see me save anything. They want to see me extinguish an entire planet.” As the ultimate universe barrels down on Earth-616 this is a fitting bit of meta-commentary for the Secret Wars fan. I am hoping against hope that Magneto can exhibit one last power surge to save us all.

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 7.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.4 out of 5

Magneto on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Magneto #18!

Magneto #19

Bunn’s take on Magneto’s Last Days is so strong I’m finding myself legitimately wondering if Magneto can prevent the collapse of the multiverse, knowing full that I’m through Secret Wars #3 at the time of publication. We know how this ends, and yet it’s fascinating to watch Magneto to sacrifice himself (and others) by any means necessary to achieve his goals.

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 7.8 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.1 out of 5

Magneto on Marvel Unlimited!

Punisher #19

Disappointing “Last Days” entry from the Punisher team. Given Frank Castle’s scene stealing cameo in Secret Wars #1, I had very high hopes, but Punisher #19 skips past that appearance and dives into… an overseas adventure? It’s mildly interesting to see the world outside of Manhattan during the incursion, but this issue is really just a by-the-numbers Punisher without much acknowledgment of the world-at-large.

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 2.1 out of 10

CBH Score: 2.9 out of 5

Punisher on Marvel Unlimited!

The Main Event

Secret Wars #2

The opening three pages of the second issue in the event are so fantastic I ran 3 miles down the block yelling “Rabum Alal!” before I even remembered I had the rest of the issue left.

Secret Wars #2 does not disappoint. Nobody in comics does Dr. Doom justice like Jonathan Hickman, and Esad Ribic continues working on another level.

I truly could not be more excited about this issue and the direction it means for Secret Wars.  I didn’t know I needed a Game of Thrones / Marvel Universe mash-up, but seven hells is it sweet.

Universes Encountered: Doomgard, High Avalon, Utopolis, Bar Sinister, The SHIELD

Secret Wars on Marvel Unlimited!

Secret Wars Collected Trade

Battleworlds

Battleword: Ultimate End #1

Our first look at what happened to the Marvel Ultimate Universe and Earth-616 after the end of Secret Wars #1. The heroes of both universes (well, some of them) meet to discuss what they should do about the new world of Doom.

This series appropriately reads like an Ultimate Universe event book, which is no surprise coming from Ultimate Spider-Man creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley. There’s a lot to potentially get excited about with this series (the Marvel U we’ve known and the Ultimate U mashing up Spider-Men style!) but holy hannah do I have a lot of questions.

The single biggest one: Last we saw, in Secret Wars #1, the Ultimate Universe was unleashing a genocidal attack Earth-616 to try and prevent the collapse of the multiverse and stow the incursion. And now the two universes are having relatively peaceful meetings in nice towers? Wha… Huh?

Hopefully all this is cleared up more as the series proceeds. For now, this is clearly one of the more closely tied-in books of Secret Wars.

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 7.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.2 out of 5

Read Ultimate End on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Battleworld: Ultimate End #1!

Secret Wars: Battleworld #1

Two stories showcasing life inside Doom’s newly created Battleworld, and the first story is a blast. We encounter a Frank Castle Punisher who has had a Dr. Strange’s astral form graft to his presence. While sneaking through Marvel 2099, Dr. Punisher encounters 4 emissaries of Inferno: Hulk, Ghost-Rider, Wolverine, and Spider-Man. Highly entertaining, creative battle, with a glimpse into Dr. Strange (Earth-616) and his management of Doom’s realms.

The second story is more overtly comical, with every MODOK ever gathering to take over Battleworld. The end result is predictably violent and dysfunctional, if largely juvenile (I’m such a snoot).

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 7.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.8 out of 5

Read Battleworld on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Secret Wars: Battleworld #1!

Secret Wars Battleworld #2

The Battleworld short stories continue to offer some of the most pure Marvel fun around, with an opening story about Blade the Vampire-Hunter hunting the Drakula of Quack City, and brawling with Howard the Duck in a bar. You may not write your literary dissertation on this one, but it’s pure comics joy.

The second story takes a darker turn as we get to know a General Ross who has turned himself into a Terminator-style War Machine for Arcade’s Killiseum. Due to Captain America’s involvement, we know this issue must be before Planet Hulk, despite publication after Secret Wars #3

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 7.8 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.8 out of 5

Read Battleworld on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Secret Wars Battleworld #2!

Battleworld: Master of Kung Fu #1

I was pleasantly surprised with this entire issue, with Haden Blackman and Dalibor Talajic crafting some convincing kung fu myth-making over a very short period of time. I didn’t know I needed a Shang-Chi and the Morlocks team-up (I saw Shang-Chi and the Morlocks for the first time at CBGB), but everything here works brilliantly, from the ten rings to K’un L’un.

As we make our way through the first wave of tie-ins, I’d not here that I’m entirely clear what makes Master of Kung Fu a “Battleworld” and not a Warzone. The first two series made sense since they’re mashing universes, but Master of Kung Fu seems to just be the region of K’un L’un. I suppose we’ll see.

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 6.2 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.2 out of 5

Read Master of Kung Fu on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Battleworld: Master of Kung Fu #1!

Warzones

A-Force #1

She-Hulk is Baroness of an island nation full of women warriors. America Chavez punches aMegalodon over The SHIELD. I really shouldn’t need to keep going at this point with incentives.

A-Force showcases some tie-ins to both Sheriff Strange and the Thors, as well as highlighting the rule that there is no crossing borders in Doom’s Battleworld. Potentially big implications for A-Force’s impact on Secret Wars at large in the surprise ending!

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 6.8 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.0 out of 5

Read A-Force on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of A-Force #1!

Planet Hulk #1

My favorite of the Warzone reads. Again, there isn’t a lot I can say that Matt didn’t capture in his review (see the link above!), but God Emperor Doom sends Captain America / Devil Dinosaur on a mission into the Greenlands to take out a Hulk. 12 year-old me is still high-fiving strangers in a past timeline, and he has no idea why.

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 7.5 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.2 out of 5

Read Planet Hulk on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Secret Wars: Planet Hulk #1!

Spider-Verse #1

The final read from the batch of 5/20 books introduces some very odd elements. The reality of Spider-Verse is exceedingly muddled, and can potentially offer the clearest glimpse into where this series is heading. Within Spider-Verse #1, we see that Spider-Gwen and other assorted spiders are aware that things are not quite right, but can’t really remember what exactly is missing or off. As a result, we have Spider-Gwen in a world where she’s aware Gwen Stacy was killed by Norman Osborne, and yet she’s alive, well, and working at an Ozcorp facility owned by Mayor Norman Osborne.

This could actually help explain why Ultimate End #1 feels so out of whack with what we know from Secret Wars, but it’s a bit jarring. As we proceed, though, I’m concerned that this selective memory angle is going to take precedent as heroes start “waking up.” This feels inevitable, and is far too reminiscent of the ending of House of M. Nonetheless, Hickman hasn’t had a misstep with the primary series yet, so until that time, In Hickman I Trust.

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 6.2 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.7 out of 5

Read Spider-Verse on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Secret Wars: Spider-Verse #1!

Battleworlds (Wave 2)

Inhumans: Attilan Rising #1

Charles Soule has been doing excellent work for Marvel over the last year-plus (Death of Wolverine, Inhumans), and Attilan Rising is no exception. Well-paced issue that adds to the scope of Battleworld. We learn about the resistance to God Emperor Doom, as a band of rebels led by a Ghost Rider embark on a mission in the Hulk-ridden Greenlands. Doom entrusts Baron Medusa and her New Attilan of Manhattan to quell this resistance, meaning an appearance of non other than God Emperor Doom himself! This series appears on pace to play a significant role in the world of Secret Wars.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 7.8 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.2 out of 5

Read Inhumans: Attilan Rising on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Inhumans: Attilan Rising #1!

Inferno #1

Despite the Battleworld designation, Inferno is very much confined to the realm of sassy demons. The first issue is a what-if story where the X-Men don’t save Illyana Rasputin from demons, and Colossus and a band of X-Men embark on a mission every year to save her. One of the weaker tie-ins so far unless you’re either super into Inferno or writer Dennis Hopeless’s Marvel NOW X-Force.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 3.5 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.1 out of 5

Read Inferno on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Secret Wars: Inferno #1!

Warzones (Wave 2)

MODOK Assassin #1

I was hesitant after the half-cocked M.O.D.O.K. throwaway story in the back half of Battleworld #1, but MODOK Assassin is really, really fun! I didn’t realize until I saw the title font that this series would be playfully alluding to Elektra: Assassin (you know, the most ambitiously psychotic graphic novel Marvel ever released), and it’s a great fit. MODOK lives in Killville (perfect). Yost and the creative team do the best job of any issue so far establishing the regions of Battleworld, with MODOK explaining the neighboring countries, including House of M and a region composed entirely of Sentinels.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 7.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.3 out of 5

Read MODOK Assassin on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of MODOK Assassin #1!

Infinity Gauntlet #1

The Walking Dead meets Annihilation wave bugs.

It’s a blast.

I had no idea what an Infinity Gauntlet warzone would look like (Thanos has killed everyone?) but the creative team made the right decision. It’s an Earth ravaged by Annihilation, and now the Thanos Quest for the infinity stones begins!

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 6.5 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.4 out of 5

Read Infinity Gauntlet on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Secret Wars: Infinity Gauntlet #1!

Old Man Logan #1

Another continuation within the continuity of the source material, Old Man Logan is very much artist Andrea Sorrentino’s show. This issue is beyond packed with kinetic action scenes, frequently wordless and visceral. All in all, I found it an enjoyable reintroduction to the Old Man Logan universe, and fits in well with the Secret Wars universe as a whole as Logan goes searching for answers.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 7.2 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.9 out of 5

Read Old Man Logan on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Secret Wars: Old Man Logan #1!

Secret Wars: 2099 #1

Disappointingly predictable 2099 entry, in a story that could be titled Avengers 2099 and have nothing to do with Secret Wars.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 3.1 out of 10

CBH Score: 2.8 out of 5

Read Secret Wars 2099 on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Secret Wars: 2099#1!

Secret Wars Journal #1

One part Young Avengers in 1602, one part X-Men in Egyptia (one of Secret Wars weirdest regions… entirely Moon Knight based?), both parts tepid. Journal is just an excuse to showcase more Battleworld regions, which I have zero problem with. Unfortunately the stories just aren’t very interesting. That said, the Young Avengers story sets up Siege #1, giving this a higher necessary tie-in factor.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 7.1 out of 10

CBH Score: 2.6 out of 5

Read Secret Wars Journal on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Secret Wars Journal #1!

Where Monsters Dwell #1

While this is undoubtedly a Garth Ennis comic (there’s a character named ‘No-Balls’), it’s a pretty restrained Ennis delivering a fun intro to Secret World’s Monster Island.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 4.1 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.8 out of 5

Read Where Monsters Dwell on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Where Monsters Dwell #1!

X-Men ‘92 #1

Ending on a positive this week with the X-Men ’92 digital infinite comic. It’s a fun return to the TV series that is a huge reason why I even love comics in the first place. Writers Chris Sims and Chad Bowers take the television series to its logical conclusion (horrible war with Magneto, resulting in his death) and a post-Sentinel mutant/human society! Well… at least that’s the way it seems.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 6.2 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.9 out of 5

Read X-Men ’92 on Marvel Unlimited!

The Main Event

Secret Wars #3

Captivating conversation to open the issue in which it is confirmed that Doctor Doom and Doctor Strange both remember what the world was like before the incursions. Not surprising for Doom, but slightly more interesting for Strange. I also love that Hickman continues to draw from Game of Thrones in his myth-making, informing us that there was a time in which Battleworld had to round up the Marvel Zombies and Ultrons and keep them behind the SHIELD. Doom didn’t merely create things that way, and we now know Secret Wars takes place 8 years into the existence of Battleworld.

Note: This read creates some continuity confusion with Ultimate End #1. It was my understanding that Ultimate End #1 was supposed to included Earth-616 Peter Parker Spider-Man, and yet here he is in Secret Wars #3. Making a note of this now, and will update as we have more information.

Universes Encountered: Doomgard, The Hidden Isle of Agamatto, Utopolis

Secret Wars on Marvel Unlimited!

Secret Wars Collected Trade

Battleworlds (Wave 3)

Secret Wars Battleworld #2

Placed in the reading order above, included here for those following along with publication date!

Master of Kung Fu #2

The greatest Kung Fu story in Secret Wars continues with an excellent second issue. I’ve praised Hickman’s core Secret Wars for its depth of world, but Master of Kung Fu is doing just as brilliant a job on a micro scale. We get complete histories of this K’un L’un and the order of the Ten Rings, alongside Shang Chi’s inevitable journey to fight the evil emperor otherwise known as his father.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 4.6 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.3 out of 5

Read Master of Kung Fu on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Master of Kung Fu #2!

Warzones (Wave 3)

Years of Future Past #1

Very strong continuation of the classic Days of Future Past X-Men story arc. A lot of nice Marvel Universe easter egg touches, including a Doom-centric one to close the issue!

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 6.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.2 out of 5

Read Years of Future Past on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Years of Future Past #1!

X-Tinction Agenda #1

Definitely one of the deep cuts for Secret Wars worlds, X-Tinction Agenda #1 features the domain of X-Topia, led by Baron Grey (Rachel Grey as the Phoenix). More importantly, the issue focuses on Genosha and an island of mutates threatened by a plague that could wipe out all mutants.

Definite uphill climb for the issue to make me care much about a team led by Havok and Wolfsbane, but the story does a surprisingly effective job.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 5.4 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.5 out of 5

Read X-Tinction Agenda on Marvel Unlimited!

Giant-Size Little Marvel: A vs X #1

If you like Skottie Young’s art, and a mini Blob walking down a street saying “I could eat” is about the most adorable thing you’ve ever heard, then you’re going to love Giant-Size Little Marvels. All your favorite Marvel characters reimagined as cute little kids. It could be disastrous, but instead it’s Calvin and Hobbes meet the Marvel U. Now officially the highest rated comic on this list.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 1.1 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.8 out of 5

Future Imperfect #1

Peter David back writing the Future Imperfect world he created in the early 90’s, although it’s a shame George Perez isn’t on hand to draw the evil Hulk, Maestro, Baron of Dystopia. Much like X-Tinction Agenda, I’d argue that this is a more enjoyable tie-in if you’re familiar with the source material, although I suspect both twists are fun surprises either way.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 6.1 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.9 out of 5

Read Future Imperfect on Marvel Unlimited!

Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1

Near perfect early 90’s throwdown between Spider-Man and Venom, with plenty of Avengers and only-in-Secret-Wars action thrown in. Dan Slott never fails to create intriguing new concepts for Peter Parker, and we have a doozy on our hands here. What trumps great power?

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 6.1 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.6 out of 5

Read Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows on Marvel Unlimited!

Armor Wars #1/2

Only available at Toys ‘R Us as part of a promotion. If you happened to pick up this issue, let me know what you think in the comments and I’ll add it here on Comic Book Herald.

Armor Wars #1

What if everyone not only had an Iron Man suit, but had to wear the armor to survive? That’s the world of Technopolis, led by Baron Tony Stark, seemingly trying to do the right thing. Intriguing start to the series.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 6.3 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.0 out of 5

Read Armor Wars on Marvel Unlimited!

Find a copy of Armor Wars#1!

Battleworlds (Wave 4)

Battleword: Ultimate End #2

You know that feeling when you’re reading a comic and you feel like you’re missing huge chunks of the story? That feeling that Comic Book Herald is like 90% dedicated to erasing from new comic book readers?

That’s how Ultimate End makes me feel.

I seriously do not understand what is happening in this book, or how it can possibly work alongside Secret Wars as a whole. It is the biggest continuity question of the entire event, by far.

Thing is, I want to enjoy this series. I really love the Ultimate Universe, and mashing it with Earth-616 has some potential for greatness. Sadly, right now this is not that book.

So essential to continuity? Yeah, it seems like it has to be. A good comic? Oh boy, no. Hopefully we’ll get a better sense of how this is supposed to fit next round.

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 7.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 1.4 out of 5

Read Ultimate End on Marvel Unlimited!

Inhumans: Attilan Rising #2

The Voice Unheard resistance against Doom continues with some fun, cross Battleworld domain espionage, and a special Inhuman: Attilan Rising version of a fan favorite.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 6.8 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.8 out of 5

Read Inhumans: Attilan Rising on Marvel Unlimited!

Inferno #2

If Inferno was your jam, then by all means carry on with this tie-in. As is, it’s an oddball Colossus / X-Force alternate reality story that I never wanted. Not poorly done, but certainly not necessary.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 3.5 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.1 out of 5

Read Inferno on Marvel Unlimited!

Secret Wars Journal #2

Misty Knight being completely bad-ass in a casino brawl in Killville. That’s the first story. It’s mostly fun but nothing special.

And then the second story hits and it’s the best short story I’ve read in Marvel Comics since Jason Aaron’s “The Man in the Pit” on Wolverine. In “Hell’s Kitchen,” Simon Spurrier and Jonathan Marks take all the compelling villainy of Mr. Sinister and blend it with the Daredevil & Elektra doomed love. Somehow it works better than I could have imagined. A perfect story, worth the price of admission.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 7.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.6 out of 5

Read Secret Wars Journal on Marvel Unlimited!

Battleworld: Marvel Zombies #1

Beautiful. Weird. Beautifully weird.

If you weren’t in love with Elsa Bloodstone before Marvel Zombies #1, you will be by the end of the issue. Simon Spurrier and Kev Walker deliver the best Game of Thrones “Wall” episode since “Hardhome.” Zombie Doc Ock, Zombie Juggernaut, and our first inside look at the SHIELD of Battleworld.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 8.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.5 out of 5

Read Marvel Zombies on Marvel Unlimited

Battleworld: Ghost Racers #1

Fun concept, as we get to spend an entire issue inside the Killiseum (just outside the capital state of Battleworld, Doomstadt). Arcade’s assaulting arena features “Ghost Races” in which all the Ghost Rider characters, well… they race. That’s it.

Ultimately it’s a rather disappoint read, with equally disappointing art from Juan Gedeon. Again, this is a fun concept, but I can’t help but think it would translate a lot better in HBO’s inevitable adaptation of Secret Wars. On the plus side, I’m all in for more Arcade / Killiseum plots.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 5.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 2.5 out of 5

Read Ghost Racers on Marvel Unlimited!

Warzones (Wave 4)

X-Men ‘92 #2

Another strong entry in the digital only 90’s animated cartoon nostalgia party. Issue felt very by the numbers until the creative team took a Grant Morrison concept and twisted it beautifully within the confines of X-Men the Animated Series. Definitely recommend if you were a fan of the show as the character work and relationships are spot on with how I remember them.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 5.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.1 out of 5

Read X-Men ’92 on Marvel Unlimited!

Weirdworld #1

Beautiful. Weird. Beautifully weird.

Jason Aaron and Mike Del Mundo go all out on Weirdworld, the illogical planet of magic and fantasy where phrases like “Next issue: Apelantis” make a surprising amount of sense. Loved this intro.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 6.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.8 out of 5

Read Weirdworld on Marvel Unlimited

Spider-Verse #2

A new Spider enters the scene as the Spider-Verse heroes meet their very own collection of Spider villains. Issue doesn’t much deal with the cognitive dissonance of Gwen somehow living in the reality in which she was murdered by Norman Osborone, but presumably that will come.

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 5.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.6 out of 5

Read Spider-Verse on Marvel Unlimited!

Secret Wars: 2099 #2

If you love the 2099 Universe, then this is really a functional new ongoing series starring the 2099 Avengers. If you’re just here for the Secret Wars, I don’t have a lot to love here.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 3.2 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.0 out of 5

Read Secret Wars 2099 on Marvel Unlimited!

1602: Witch Hunter Angela #1

I’ve never been that into the Marvel 1602 Universe, and I’m still vaguely unfamiliar with Angela, so this is a tough sell of a book. Fun if you like old-timey English and witch hunting (who doesn’t?!), and I have to admit I’m excited for the team teased in issue #2.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 6.1 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.7 out of 5

Read 1602 Witch Hunter Angela on Marvel Unlimited!

Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps #1

Deconnick and company find a nice way to tie in Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps to the Secret Wars narrative at large. Many of the tie-ins have been perfectly content to exist within their own realm – frequently in enjoyable ways – but Carol Danvers and her fighter pilots seek answers beyond Battleworld. What’s in the sky? Where are the stars? It will be interesting to see how these questions fit with the narrative of Secret Wars.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 7.7 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.0 out of 5

Read Captain Marvel and the Carol Corps on Marvel Unlimited!

Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos #1

Better than I expected, although if you consider this is a comic with Dracula commanding a team of monsters called the Howling Commandos, there’s a lot in its favor. A better read if you’re familiar with Gerry Duggan’s run on Deadpool during Marvel Now! (there’s always the Comic Book Herald guide for that!).

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 4.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.8 out of 5

Read Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos!

Battleworlds (Wave 5)

Thors #1

A police procedural with interdimensional Thors. A police procedural with interdimensional Thors.

Oh and there’s a Groot-Thor that says “I am Thor!” I can’t endorse this enough.

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 7.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 5.0 out of 5

Read Thors on Marvel Unlimited!

Warzones (Wave 5)

Old Man Logan #2

Bendis and Sorrentino take an interesting route with Old Man Logan in which Wolverine apparently has no knowledge of Battleworld or Doom. This appears to be common knowledge in any other region, but Wolverine climbs into the Age of Apocalypse region (our first glimpse) and both sets of players are completely baffled. Fun merger of X-Universes, but the absence of Doom is strange.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 6.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.9 out of 5

Read Old Man Logan on Marvel Unlimited!

Armor Wars #2

I continue to appreciate the unique world James Robinson and the creative team have established here in Armor Wars. It’s a truly Iron Man centric Marvel Universe in a way the comics have never really been able to pursue before. I still need a bit more detail on this overarching mystery, but so far it’s worth pursuing for Stark fanatics.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 6.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.8 out of 5

Read Armor Wars on Marvel Unlimited!

Squadron Sinister #1

Particularly interesting entry in the Secret Wars canon, simply because DC told their version of this story during Convergence with Crime Syndicate. As a result Squadron Sinister felt occasionally predictable, but was reasonably strong throughout. If you’re a fan of the Squadron Supreme universe, this is undoubtedly worth a look, although you may not like what you see.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 6.5 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.5 out of 5

Read Squadron Sinister on Marvel Unlimited!

Runaways #1

Not at all what I expected, in the best way. For starters, there’s only really one Runaway here from the classic lineup (welcome back, Molly!). Otherwise, Runaways is Marvel’s “Morning Glories” or “Deadly Class” set in Doom’s Battleworld. If not wholly original, it’s an extremely fun concept, and combines an oddball hodgepodge of Secret Wars realms in one comic in a way that most books do not. This gives Runaways added importance to the overall narrative (students are training for Doom’s honor guard), and the headmaster’s revealed identity only adds to the tie-in relevance!

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 7.5 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.2 out of 5

Read Runaways on Marvel Unlimited!

Battleworlds (Wave 6)

Battleworld: Age of Ultron vs. Marvel Zombies #1

Less of the knockdown dragout brawl I expected (although Steve Pugh gets plenty of chances to show off brawling zombies and Ultron variants), and this series is better for it. James Robinson finds the story in a child’s toyset, giving us an old-timey Hank Pym dropped outside of the SHIELD. The SHIELD still harbors some of the most intriguing mystery and potential in the Secret Wars universe, and much Game of Thrones, there’s an indication it’s only a matter of time before the forces beyond the wall impact the world at large.

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 8.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.0 out of 5

Read Age of Ultron vs. Zombies on Marvel Unlimited!

Warzones (Wave 6)

Infinity Gauntlet #2

Extremely cinematic and continuously satisfying take on an Infinity Gauntlet story. This is a great bizarro Nova movie from an alternate universe.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 6.5 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.1 out of 5

Read Infinity Gauntlet on Marvel Unlimited!

MODOK Assassin #2

MODOK falls in love in the most charming Secret Wars tie-in this side of Giant-Size Little Marvel. One of my favorites so far.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 7.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.5 out of 5

Read MODOK Assassin on Marvel Unlimited!

Planet Hulk #2

I’ve voiced this occasionally throughout this guide, but the way that Secret Wars opens up the possibilities of the Marvel Universe we’ve come to know is absolutely splendid. Restrictions are completely wiped away, and there is only the imagination of the creators and their stories.

In the case of Planet Hulk, this means a Steve Rogers, Devil Dinosaur, and Doc Green traversing a dangerous gamma-infected world. Gamma-plants, Gamma-bulls, and a world of green and angry options. Issue #2 is a bit more by the numbers than the exciting opener, but it’s still a story worth pursuing.

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 6.5 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.9 out of 5

Read Planet Hulk on Marvel Unlimited!

Where Monsters Dwell #2

While this is undoubtedly a Garth Ennis comic (there’s a character named ‘No-Balls’), it’s a pretty restrained Ennis delivering a fun intro to Secret World’s Monster Island.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 4.1 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.8 out of 5

Read Where Monsters Dwell on Marvel Unlimited!

E is for Extinction #1

Secret Wars has been oddly short on some of the more relevant mutants so far, but that’s hardly an issue with E is for Extinction. If you liked Grant Morrison and Frank Quitely’s New X-Men, you’re in for an alternate reality version of that run where Professor X killed himself to stop Cassandra Nova and now Magneto runs the school. So actually it’s not that different from a whole bunch of alternate reality X-stories, except Beak, Angel, Glob, and Quentin Quire are totally main characters.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 5.5 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.1 out of 5

Read E is for Extinction on Marvel Unlimited!

Korvac Saga #1

The Korvac Saga is one of my least favorite Avengers “Classics” so I’m glad to see Dan Abnett and co. have given the Secret Wars version some legs. Much like the Carol Corps, we have a domain realizing that there are no stars in the sky, and recognizing something has changed. The original Guardians of the Galaxy definitely offer an appropriate investigative unit.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 7.5 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.0 out of 5

Read Korvac Saga on Marvel Unlimited!

X-Men ‘92 #3

Continues to be a completely enjoyable continuation of my favorite cartoon of all time.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 5.2 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.0 out of 5

Read X-Men ’92 on Marvel Unlimited!

The Main Event

Secret Wars #4

Well, the Doom Gauntlets come off this issue. There’s a showdown of all interested parties, and for the most part issue #4 finally sets the core plot in motion, as the heroes inevitably rally to upheave Doomgard.

I have mixed feelings about this. On one hand, it was inevitable that Secret Wars pick up the pace and set the stage for a Reed Richards and Doctor Doom showdown. On the other, I’ve been enjoying Battleworld so much that I’m disheartened to see even an inkling of its end.

This is the least excited I’ve been after reading a core issue of Secret Wars, as there just aren’t those beautiful “only in Secret Wars” moments like Franklin Richards playing on the hand of a Galactus while Doom and Sue look on. And I won’t spoil anything, but there are some other character moments that are disappointing (albeit understandable). Nonetheless, Secret Wars #4 highlights a crucial element of what this story is really about: there’s one man in the universe that God Doom fears, and he’s back.

Universes Encountered: Doomgard, Utopolis, Island of Agamatto

Secret Wars on Marvel Unlimited!

Secret Wars Collected Trade

Battleworlds (Wave 7)

Secret Wars Journal #3

Last issue I lost my mind over the greatness of the Daredevil/Elektra/Mr. Sinister story, and this week that award goes to “Who Killed Tony Stark” by Frank Tieri and Richard Isanove. It’s an Oldtown murder mystery, with noir detective Wolverine, vigilante Frank Castle Jr., and a surprise “only in Secret Wars” twist. Loved this story and would continue reading a series based in this setting.

The third issue in this look inside Battleworld comes from Comedy Bang Bang’s Scott Aukerman. It’s a look at a Leonard Sampson trying to keep together his psychiatry practice in the Hulk-infested realm of Greenland. It’s a funny concept that offers some pretty genuinely helpful advice in a nice ending.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 7.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.3 out of 5

Read Secret Wars Journal on Marvel Unlimited!

Battleword: Ultimate End #3

I grabbed my favorite beer. I sat in my favorite chair. I read Ultimate End #3.

It didn’t help.

I’m just going to go read some Ultimate Spider-Man and pretend this comic isn’t happening.

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 5.6 out of 10

CBH Score: 1.8 out of 5

Read Ultimate End on Marvel Unlimited!

Battleworld: Red Skull #1

Our only new series launched this week and it’s a great concept. The idea that Red Skull would have resisted Doom’s sovereignty and been exiled beyond the SHIELD is pitch perfect, and blending it with a Secret Wars Suicide Squad is one of my favorite ideas so far in the event. It’s a crazy fun issue with some beyond the SHIELD Marvel Zombies warring, and one of the best final splash page reveals in Secret Wars.

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 7.6 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.5 out of 5

Read Red Skull on Marvel Unlimited!

Warzones (Wave 7)

A-Force #2

A-Force #2 took quite a few steps back, but it remains an interesting thread within Secret Wars. The A-Force is slowly developing some methods for inter-realm travel, which could prove very compelling as the series progresses.

How Essential Is This Tie-In? 7.2 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.4 out of 5

Read A-Force on Marvel Unlimited!

X-Tinction Agenda #2

If you like X-Men fighting X-Men and the immensely dense continuity of mutants, this is your comic.

For everybody else, keep on trucking.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 4.0 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.0 out of 5

Read X-Tinction Agenda on Marvel Unlimited!

Years of Future Past #2

Very strong continuation of the classic Days of Future Past X-Men story arc. A lot of nice Marvel Universe easter egg touches, including a laugh out loud awesome final splash page!

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 6.6 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.0 out of 5

Read Years of Future Past on Marvel Unlimited!

Future Imperfect #2

Goes from a by-the-books fisticuffs smashfest to a surprisingly (potentially) important book within Secret Wars. There’s not much to this if you weren’t a fan of the original Future Imperfect, but for those who love them some Maestro, it remains worthwhile.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 7.1 out of 10

CBH Score: 3.5 out of 5

Read Future Imperfect on Marvel Unlimited!

Giant-Size Little Marvel: A vs X #2

An absolute blast, pure child-like comic book enthusiasm.

How Essential a Tie-In Is This: 1.1 out of 10

CBH Score: 4.6 out of 5

Read Giant Size Little Marvel: A vs X on Marvel Unlimited!

The Future (Week of 7/1/15)

A-Force #2

Future Imperfect #2

Giant-Size Little Marvel: Avengers vs. X-Men #2

Red Skull #1

Secret Wars #4

Secret Wars Journal #3

Ultimate End #3

X-Tinction Agenda #2

Years of Future Past #2

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s