Best Shots Review: SECRET WARS #7

Panel from "Secret Wars #7"
Credit: Esad Ribic/Ive Svorcina (Marvel Comics)

Secret Wars #7
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina
Lettering by Clayton Cowles
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by Justin Partridge, III
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10

Spoilers ahead.

After a few inert installments, Secret Wars #7 finally delivers on the war teased by its title. Led by the mysterious Prophet, the hordes of Battleworld have now risen up and are seeking to overthrown the god Victor Von Doom. While that battle rages, the survivors of the old 616 universe are setting the board for a final push to win the day. Jonathan Hickman, a writer who can pack a punch when the story requires it, casts off all the ponderous world-building that mired previous entries and goes into full-blown action mode aided by some fantastic artwork by Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina, making Secret Wars #7 the most propulsive and fun issue to date.

After literal months of table setting, Hickman finally gets to all the good stuff, with all hell breaking loose in Battleworld and more than a few armies converging on each other in bloody combat. While Ribic and Svorcina handling big crazy action is always fun, Secret Wars #7 also excels by allowing the big personalities as play shine. The traitorous Mister Sinister finally gets to flash some of that dark charm that makes him so compelling; the Maestro makes a huge, and curt entrance, siccing his Worldbreakers on Castle Doom from the confines of a rusty S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier;  and Namor and T’Challa get to continue their tenuous but fun alliance as they work quickly to take advantage of a zombie horde let loose by the battle. While a certain degree of world-building is expected in a title like this, it is nice to see that once that is done Jonathan Hickman is willing to focus on the action in front of him as Secret Wars barrels into its finale.

But like I said before, while Secret Wars #7 may be a step in the right direction, it still isn’t quite perfect. Much of that imperfection is due to who all is missing in this issue. Secret Wars #7 does absolutely nothing with last month’s cliffhanger featuring a gigantic Ben Grimm leaving the Shield, nor does it further exactly what the Spider-Men plan to do with their discovery of Molecule Man. While seeing the former barons of Battleworld and the Thors all slug it out for the honor of killing Doom - not to mention the fun-buddy cop dynamic of T’Challa and Namor - is entertaining, it is disappointing to see the other developments completely ignored in Secret Wars #7

While Secret Wars #7's action-packed script gives it legs, it is Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina that continue to be the series’ main selling point. The seventh installment of the event plays directly into Ribic’s strengths as an artist, prompting him to render dense battle scenes and hard-hitting action. Each page is either filled with some of Ribic’s amazing facial expressions or some new example of his eye for scene blocking and sometimes a bit of both, like the scene of Mister Sinister attacking Madeline Pryor and then promptly getting his head cut off. Svorcina’s richly gothic colors also put Secret Wars #7 over into truly beautiful territory. While Ribic handles the heavy lifting of the pencils, Svorcina properly captures the fog of war with heavy grays and smokey whites poured over the bright colors of all the costumes. Its not exactly breaking news that Ribic and Svorcina are a great team, but it is nice to see that Secret Wars #7 gives them much more to do than just render people standing around giving speeches this month.

Secret Wars #7 may not be perfect, but it is a vast improvement over some of the lackluster previous installments. Though the All-New All-Different universe that Secret Wars spawned is starting to make its debut across the whole line, Secret Wars #7 shows that the story that got us there still has some surprises still up its sleeve. While the jury is still out over whether Jonathan Hickman, Esad Ribic, and Ive Svorcina will stick the landing, Secret Wars #7 shows that at least for now, this event has its feet firmly planted underneath itself.

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