At long last, Secret Wars reaches the FINAL ISSUE, and The Walking Dead turns 150!
Secret Wars #9 (of 9) (Marvel Comics)
At long last, the finale of Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic’s Secret Wars has arrived. The long delayed concluding chapter has the inenviable task of wrapping up a major event and setting up the status quo that Marvel fans have been aware of since October. And for the most part, Secret Wars succeeds. It definitely feels a little rushed, but when compared to other Marvel events (Age of Ultron, I’m looking at you), Secret Wars is one of the better event stories that Marvel has published recently.
Much of this issue comprises of a battle between Reed Richards and Dr. Doom, with the fate of Battleworld and the former Marvel universe at stake. Jonathan Hickman’s script jumps around quite a bit, and thankfully there’s only a few moments of “Hickman speak” that has plagued his runs on Fantastic Four and Avengers.
However, this jumping around comes at a cost to the story, and unfortunately one of the things that suffers is the confrontation with Doom and Reed. What Hickman’s written is fine, but it feels a little rushed, as the two long time enemies resort to fisticuffs in front of Molecule Man. After such a long build up (both in the story and in the reality of waiting for this comic), the way things are “put back together” seemed a little cheap. Despite this, there’s still plenty to like in this issue, especially when viewed as a finale of Hickman’s entire work at Marvel.
It’s not known if Esad Ribic was the cause of Secret Wars’ tardiness, but if he was, it was definitely worth it. As crazy and maddening as it was to see a bunch of tie-ins wrap up and a new jumping on point begin while we waited for this final issue, Ribic has done a phenomenal job, and getting a fill in artist would’ve really hurt the story. Ribic is on fire in this issue, his art melding perfectly with Hickman’s script. It’s so good that you’ll never want Hickman to work with any other artist ever again.
Secret Wars was drawn out, both in story development and release dates, but in the end, the event was more worthwhile than I was expecting. Of course, any series that features a Jonathan Hickman penned Dr. Doom will get my attention, but it’s incredible how Hickman weaved in story points from his entire tenure at Marvel. As a set up for the “All-New All-Different Marvel Universe”, it’s all right, but as a conclusion to Hickman’s body of work, Secret Wars is great.
The Walking Dead #150 (Image Comics)
The behemoth that is The Walking Dead lumbers to issue 150, and Robert Kirkman and Charlie Adlard use the monumental issue to set up some surprising new status quos in the lives of Rick Grimes and his fellow survivors. After two years of peace, a surprising event convinces Rick Grimes to take action, regaining his trust in the people he’s been leading since Negan was captured.
Robert Kirkman’s script doesn’t have quite the giant revelations that issue 100 had, but the events that transpire in this issue are pretty big for those that have been following Rick’s attempts to keep the peace within his community after the discovery of The Whisperers. The fact that Kirkman pulls off this shift in behavior in Rick is fantastic, and goes to show just how well ol’ Bobby Kirks is at writing believable characters.
Just like any other issue of Walking Dead, Charlie Adlard rules. Adlard is a powerhouse of an artist, and this issue showcases all of his talents. Walking Dead #150 showcases brutal violence, tender moments, incredible action sequences, and pretty much everything else that Adlard has been known for as the artist of The Walking Dead.
While this issue doesn’t have a massive shocking moment like previous major Walking Dead issues, it’s still a pretty important moment, and has me excited to see what’s next for Rick Grimes (something that I haven’t felt in awhile to be honest). In fact, I commend Robert Kirkman for not feeling that he had to have a massive event happen in this book just because it was a major landmark issue. In the end, the characters are the stars of The Walking Dead, not the gimmicks, and that’s why Kirkman and Adlard’s zombie story has been so successful.