Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Greetings from Battleworld: Secret Wars Week 21

After a couple weeks away, and on the eve of All New, All Different Marvel, we return to Battleworld for some more Secret Wars reviews. Dan Grote looks at the final issues of MODOK: Assassin and X-Men '92, and I read the final issue of Inferno...

MODOK: Assassin #5
Story: Christopher Yost
Art: Amilcar Pinna, Terry Pallot, & Rachelle Rosenberg

The biggest drawback to living in Battleworld is that God Emperor Doom forbids most people from crossing the borders of their respective territories. As such, word appears to travel slowly from Doomgard to the rest of the world, even when you’re the baron of a domain.
Baron Mordo was convinced he could draw Sheriff Strange to Killville to, well, kill him and take his place at the right hand of Doom. What he failed to bank on was that a) Strange was busy at the moment with the plot of the main Secret Wars book, b) that Strange would be dead in a little bit anyway (this book takes place before Secret Wars #4), c) the reason his archnemesis is sheriff is that he was there when Doom re-created the multiverse in his image and d) Doom probably don’t give a f@&% about Baron Mordo.
Also, as MODOK rightly points out when Mordo finishes explaining his plan like a basic Bond villain, “This ‘plan,’ and note the sarcasm as I call it that, is filled with logic errors. >>>Stupidity.”
After dispatching so many notable characters with glee over the past five issues, MODOK tries defeating Mordo rather than killing him. His love for Angela-Thor makes him want to be something more than a killing machine, though even in describing her, his love appears to be based on her capacity for murder. Finally, though, he gets tired of hearing Mordo rant and rave and liquefies his brain, with the same eyeball-popping, lavender glow the art team has made its trademark in this series.
For uncovering Mordo’s plot and saving the life of a Thor, MODOK is made the new baron of Killville. And really, after these past five issues, who’s a better fit for the job? Forget Wolverine. MODOK is the best there is at what he does.
Does he get the girl? Oh, Hel, no. Angela whacks him across the face with her axe for even puckering his fat, split lips at her. But Battleworld’s greatest killing machine does have a sweet new job and an appreciation of his capacity for love. “For in the end, what else is there? Killing … and love. >>>Just those things.”
Marvel, if you’re listening, if a couple of your 60-some-odd All-New, All-Different titles don’t work out and you’re looking for a replacement, you could do worse than to make this an ongoing.

X-Men ’92 #4
Story: Chad Bowers & Chris Sims
Art: Scott Koblish & Matt Milla

I could not have been happier when I found out X-Men ’92 is returning as an ongoing series next year. Chad Bowers and Chris Sims have created a fantastic book around the premise that your favorite cartoon from 20 years ago was both amazing and terrible at the same time, and based on how this miniseries ends, they’ve barely scratched the surface. And while Scott Koblish proved himself the right man for the art job with his 10-headed Sentinels and chariots pulled by Warwolves, I’m very much looking forward to what the ongoing’s artist, Alti Firmansyah, brings to the table. Her work on Star-Lord and Kitty Pryde made that mini another of my favorite Secret Wars books, and we already know she draws a great, expressive, creepy Gambit.
Back to the issue at hand, though. To steal an expression from Saturday Night Live’s Stefon, this book has everything: a 10-headed Sentinel; multiple people in optic visors; gay subtext; telepaths who pass out after using their powers; a female superhero whose clothing is strategically ripped; old catchphrases (“Za’s Vid,” anyone?); someone ordering a falling character to go limp; Onslaught with Phoenix wings, a giant gun and a bloody huge scimitar; Jim Lee’s gatefold cover to X-Men #1; a kinetically charged motorcycle; new Horsemen that don’t make any sense; the sound effect “BRAKABRAKABRAKA”; jokes about lasers; and Joseph.
The issue’s three endings (a little Lord of the Rings-y, but who cares?) make it clear the creators are already planning for the future in glorious ways, re-introducing old characters from the cartoon and from the ’90s in general.
But I’m gonna ask again: Where’s Morph?

Story: Dennis Hopeless
Art: Javier Garron & Chris Sotomamayor
Last week I finished reading Essential X-Men Vol. 8, a massive collection that wraps up with the original "Inferno" crossover, so it seemed fortuitous that the final issue of the Secret Wars mini-series that tied into the crossover should come out this week as well. The Darkchylde now rules the Inferno Domain, both through force of arms and by decree of Doom, and all the forces who oppose her are gathered ion the Morlock tunnels: the X-Men, Goblyn Queen and her army of goblins, and Mr. Sinister and his army of Boom-Boom/demon hybrid clones (and only in comics would that statement appear and make perfect sense). But these three groups have their own axes to grind with each other, and pretty soon they're not only battling Darkchylde's demons but each other. I was hoping to see a grand last stand for our heroes, but mostly they fall under the onslaught, and it comes down to Colossus and Domino against Darkchylde. This whole series has been about Colossus coming to terms with the fact that he lost his sister, and even to the final battle, he is hoping that he can somehow save her. It's a great battle too, with swords drawn and no quarter given (at least by Darkchylde). The ending is at best bittersweet, as Colossus does finally accept that his sister is gone, and it's his love for Domino that allows him to finally do what must be done. But by the time this has happened, pretty much everyone else is dead, and so Colossus, Domino, and Boom-Boom, our core cast of heroes, use the Soulsword to teleport away from the crumbling Domain. It's interesting to see how many of the different Secret Wars tie-ins are ending with Domain hopping, and it makes me wonder if certain characters are being positioned for appearances in the finale of the core series. While I kind of doubt it, I would love to see these versions of the characters again. Colossus maintains his nobility while being haunted, and Dom and Boom-Boom are fun, balancing out the darkness of Colossus. Major kudos go to artist Javier Garron, who populated every fight scene with tons of cameos of mutants from various eras. His art was outstanding throughout the series, and I'd love to see on an ongoing soon. The final couple pages tie up one last loose end, dealing with Madelyne Pryor and her son, the ten year old Cable, who is still my absolutely favorite part of the series. Like Dan said above with MODOK, Marvel, if you're listening, a Goblyn Queen and young Cable mini-series or ongoing spinning out of this series would totally be a book I would buy.

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