Secret Wars #8
Written by Jonathan Hickman
Art by Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina
Lettering by Chris Eliopoulos
Published by Marvel Comics
Review by Justin Partridge
‘Rama Rating: 8 out of 10
Secret Wars occupies a weird space in Marvel’s current line. Marketed as a blockbuster finale for "All-New Marvel NOW!," Secret Wars has lingered well beyond that crop of titles, slowly rolling out even as Marvel has shifted its focus to its "All-New, All-Different" titles. As the series moves into its final issues, the real question we should be asking is this: does this event still matter, now that the main line of Marvel titles has passed it by?
Fortunately, despite its lengthy delays, Secret Wars #8 proves that this event still has some life left in it. Writer Jonathan Hickman and artists Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina make this penultimate issue as explosive as possible, almost as if to make up for all the navel-gazing the series engaged in at the beginning. Doom may still be the god of this world, but time is running out, and Secret Wars #8 is Hickman and Ribic sending out Doom’s utopia with a bang.
After months of setup, Hickman is unleashing hell in the shadow of Castle Doom. Call it the Battle of Five Battleworld Armies, as a giant Ben Grimm arrives on the scene to to smash the Maestro’s helicarrier out of the sky before facing off with Franklin Von Doom and his pet Galactus. The scale is as high as the stakes, but Hickman also manages to inject genuine pathos into this battle royale, particularly as Ben finally realizes the extent of Doom’s deception after facing down his former nephew. But Ben isn't the only hero to get the spotlight, as Hickman continues to make great use of his very large cast, with characters like the Reeds, Valeria Von Doom, Star-Lord, Groot, and Doom himself all getting some great moments.
While Jonathan Hickman props up his script with strong characterization, Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina make sure that the action sequences look as sharp as possible. Using fiery oranges throughout, Ribic and Svorcina scorch the ground around Castle Doom, with the blazing wreckage of the Maestro’s helicarrier dominating the background as the Thing and Franklin’s Galactus have their larger-than-life showdown. Ribic and Svorcina also nimbly switch gears back with dark, heavily shaded panels during a throne room face-off between Peter Quill and Black Swan, leading to Secret Wars #8's most exciting character reveal. Only time will tell if Secret Wars will truly be worth the wait, but Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina’s pages are definitely a compelling argument.
Readers have been understandably frustrated with Secret Wars all throughout its run. From the inaccessible early issues to its seemingly neverending solicitation delays, Secret Wars has drawn more than its fair share of complaints. However, this penultimate issue shows that even though Marvel has moved onto other things, Secret Wars still has an important story to tell. Jonathan Hickman, Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina go big and loud for #8, proving that Secret Wars still has some fireworks left before its long-awaited finale.