The fans have been turned to “high (or “hi,” depending on your fan model) and the poo-poo platter has been set. Now the two of them are bound for a wild collision as Doom’s regality is called into question from all quarters in Secret Wars #7.
Jonathan Hickman’s story hits a crescendo as Doom is faced with blasphemers all around. The scope of the tale contained in Secret Wars #7 is vast and the consequences are evident: this is the beginning of an all-or-nothing battle. Hickman makes it clear that Doom is at the heart of the battle, but he spins around the skirmish, checking in with the Thors, Mister Sinister, Apocalypse, Maestro, and various Raft survivors: Black Panther, Reed Richards, Captain Marvel, and the female Thor.
The writer’s choice to check in across the battle exhibits the conflict’s chaos and provides readers with a sense of scope as well as quick character samples. Maximus the Mad is still crazy as all get-out, Black Panther is regally valiant, Sinister is sickly conniving and mildly entertaining, and Doom refuses to yield. The consistency Hickman brings to this series is one of its greatest assets, and his ability to balance such a sprawling cast should be applauded.
That cast plays to artist Esad Ribic’s talents nicely. The raw uneasiness of battle is present in every panel, as Ribic frequently exhibits the structure of his figures and the individual lines that congeal as shading on those figures. Ive Svorcina is the perfect colorist to amplify the subtle craftsmanship without dulling its energy or superseding it with shouting, obnoxious colors. Ribic and Svorcina blend nicely, coming together to give many of the panels of Secret Wars #7 dreamlike qualities, like vaporous thoughts fading into the ether. The balance between shocking reality of characters literally losing their heads and unknown threats or allies lurking just beyond the mist makes this comic a page-turner, even if there were no words present on the page.
Thankfully, Clayton Cowles is on hand to translate Hickman’s script into a wide array of fonts, each packed with their own dialect and accent. Ribic masterfully partitions his drawings to accommodate a vast amount of dialog, but the word balloons snake through the tale, finding visual story beats and marching in sequence, weaving dialog in natural exchanges. Cowles is a nice addition to the team, giving Secret Wars #7 a grand coat of polish.
As I’ve tried to do with my previous reviews of Secret Wars, here is your Spider-Man update: . Did you get that? There is absolutely NO appearance by anyone of spider-iffic origin in the pages of Secret Wars #7, save for the profile chips dedicated to Pete and Miles on the cast page of this issue. That’s OK though, as Hickman gives readers plenty to enjoy in the pages of this comic. It wasn’t until I went back to total up panels and pages that I noticed there were no Spider-Men slinging through this issue.
Secret Wars #7 has the misfortune of coming out almost a full month into the post-Secret Wars existence of the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe. Luckily for us readers, though, Hickman, Ribic, Svorcina, and Cowles give readers everything they need for an enjoyable story and keep the adventure from being dismissible. Yes, some of the Secret Wars tie-in series add deeper appreciation for some of the developments in Secret Wars #7, but the issue does a great job of bringing readers in and keeping them there from cover to cover.
Secret Wars #7 opens the skies above Doomstadt as blood spills on the ground below in a story written by Jonathan Hickman and drawn by Esad Ribic. This is where the truth comes out, and nothing will be the same after this issue.