William Rosenthal ’16//Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
The summer’s ending, so that means Marvel’s Secret Wars event is beginning to wrap up as well. Except, if you were hoping to ignore is and just pick up your regular stack, you’re in for a surprise. With the end of the Marvel universe comes the end of your favorite series… until October, that is. Well, sort of, but that’s neither here nor there. You want to read something now, but the abundance of great titles has you worried? Emertainment’s got you covered.
The follow is our Top Ten Titles from Secret Wars. They’ve been handed picked to be enjoyed by both new and returning readers alike and entirely self contained. No need to search out other material in order to have a good time. Also, if you find you do enjoy one of our recommendations, nearly every creator on this list has a hand in books prior to and after the Secret Wars event, so check them out.
With that out of the way, let’s right into it:
Secret Wars, Jonathan Hickman (w) Esad Ribic (a)
The elephant in the room: Yes, you should be reading Secret Wars if you want to get into this event. Though, it’s not a necessity, the true Secret Wars book follows the events of the end of the world and explains to all readers how and why everything ended. The events of this comic spiral out of the stories Hickman has been writing for the last five years or so and understanding those factors adds to the experience. Not to mention many of the characters featured in this book survived the end of the world, meaning these are the same characters from the 616, adding to the stakes. Plus, Ribic kills it with their realistic painted style, which brings a surreal gravity to the story. Picking up this book will not only take you on a wild ride, but will also set you up to understand the Marvel world post-Secret Wars as well.
Weirdworld, Jason Aaron (w) Mike del Mundo (a)
Aaron, best known in Marvel canon for his Thor: God of Thunder series, brings readers into a world of twisted fantasy and brilliantly adolescence-inspired creatures. Weirdworld was a fantasy book from the ‘70s, which is revisited here in name only. Readers follow the barbarian Arkon, a lone human who searches for his home in realm of Weirdworld. He and his dragon map the realm and encounter Gun Ogers, Underwater Apes, and Crystal Warriors. The book is fun while retaining that imaginative yet believable fantasy Aaron cultivated in Thor. Meanwhile, del Mundo’s vivacious, textured style breathes that same life and reflects that wonder one gets when reading The Hobbit for the first time.
Thors, Jason Aaron (w) Chris Sprouse, Goran Sudzuka (a)
On Battleworld, there are no police, only the Thors, guardians armed with Mjolnirs who can travel from realm to realm freely. The Thor we follow is Thorlief, a hardboiled cop who is tasked with hunting down a murderer of other Thors. However, the targets seem to be multiple versions of the same Thor, Jane Foster, and after someone important to Thorlief is murdered, he makes it personal. Watching all these multiple variations of Thor act like they’re in an episode of Law & Order: Battleworld is incredible fun and part of the uncanny familiarity, which makes Secret Wars a worthwhile event. This is a crime drama only comics can do.
Years of Future Past, Marguerite Bennett (w) Mike Norton (a)
This is a future even worse than seen in Days of Future Past. The amount of mutants has dwindled in forced imprisonment camps and the remaining few plan their escape. Kate Pryde, her husband Colossus, their daughter Christina Pryde, as well as Magneto, Rachel Grey, and Storm fight for their freedom with the help of a couple mutants on the outside, Wolverine and his son Cameron. They come in conflict with the government as well as other mutants as they search for peace and a place to call home. A “What If” tale, Years of Future Past brings that darker edge which the freedom of Secret Wars allows creators to explore. It has the energy of classic Marvel comics, dark, complex, yet optimistic and populated with fantastic characters and revelations.
Infinity Gauntlet, Gerry Duggan (w) Dustin Weaver (a)
Following Years of Future Past in repurposing familiar titles, Infinity Gauntlet follows very little in the plot of the original story that shares its title. Instead, it takes the darkest possible outcome of the original and expands on it. In this case, Thanos was barely stopped in his quest to gather the Infinity Gems and their Gauntlet. A new Nova Corps was assembled and eventually stopped his quest for Death. However, this territory of Battleworld was lost in the crossfire. A single family survived: Fayne, Anwen, their father, grandfather, and family dog. They appear to be the last people on Earth, scrounging through the wreckage of a broken world. However, they are not the only ones left. A swarm of giant insects plagues the city, the remnants of a weakened enemy that Fayne and Anwen’s mothers was enlisted into the Novas to fight. Over the course of the story, the family encounters Infinity Gems, a still-living Thanos, and suspect that their mother still yet lives. A book that is driven just as strongly by family as it is the grandiose cosmic warfare of comics, Infinity Gauntlet unites the personal with the deeply dissociative wonder of what lies beyond the stars.
Deadpool’s Secret Secret Wars, Cullen Bunn (w) Matteo Lolli (a)
Bunn and Lolli have worked together in the past with other tales of Deadpool’s hijinks, most famously what fans refer to as the “Deadpool Killogy.” In these connected stories, Deadpool killed the Marvel Universe, classic literature, and finally himself. However, in his new secret Secret War, we find the Merc with a Mouth in 1984 in the original Secret Wars. Deadpool, being a character who wasn’t created until the ‘90s, never got his chance to throw down in the first Marvel-wide event. Bunn and Lolli make it a reality and play out the event as if Deadpool had been there since the beginning. Shenanigans ensue.
Mrs. Deadpool and the Howling Commandos, Gerry Duggan (w) Salvador Espin (a)
Another Deadpool book? Yes, audience, but this one is totally different and you must be interested if you’ve read this long. If so, thank you. I care a lot about these articles. Anyway, did you know Deadpool has a wife? Rather, had a wife. Let me explain. Before Battleworld, Deadpool was killed off in a pretty fitting manner to honor the legacy of troublemaking loner turned family man. Before even that, he married Shiklah, Queen of the Underworld. With Deadpool gone, she’s stuck with Dracula, her ex-fiancé, in the Underworld of Battleworld. But she has other plans, which involve a quest to finish an ancient weapon strong enough to defeat him, a quest she pretends is to scatter her dead brother’s remains. To watch that she doesn’t betray him, Dracula sends his Howling Commando, composed of old Marvel monsters such as Werewolf-by-Night, the Living Mummy, Man-Thing, and Marcus the Roman Centaur with a symbiote and diabetes (who is definitely the best character in all of Secret Wars, not gonna lie). Together, Shiklah and her Commandos travel the Underworld and, of course, shenanigans ensue.
Hail Hydra, Rick Remender (w) Roland Boschi (a)
Here’s an idea: What if America was funded by Hydra, the Neo-Nazi group controlled by the Red Skull? This is the Battleworld territory Nomad, the son of Steve Rogers, finds himself in. Nomad quickly encounters the oppressive regime controlling New York City. He even frees a prison camp. Although, a surprise to our hero, there is a Captain America-like figure fighting on Hydra’s side and they might have more of a connection to Nomad than meets the eye. Hail Hydra has an A-plus creative team behind it, Remender for instance having a great track record on Marvel titles such as the Uncanny Avengers and Marvel’s Axis and the Indie scene with Deadly Class. Though Hail Hydra intends to be a shorter installment with four issues, the series seems aware the plot on the surface is the comic equivalent of Escape From New York and doesn’t intend to overstay its welcome.
Planet Hulk, Sam Humphries (w) Marc Laming (a)
Have you read Heart of Darkness? Ever wondered how it would be if it starred gladiator Steve Rogers and Devil Dinosaur teaming up to journey through a Gamma-irritated land to save Bucky Barnes from a Red King? Well, funny you should wonder that. Did you know that’s very particular? Anyway, there is Planet Hulk for those kinds of inklings. Planet Hulk explores the twisted side of a world of Gamma-mutants and living monsters. In order to fight monsters, Rogers walks the line of being a monster himself in this twisted homage to classic literature.
Squadron Sinister, Marc Guggenheim (w) Carlos Pacheco (a)
The Squadron on paper might remind you of another team from another notable comic company. The team is meant to emulate the characters of DC’s own Justice League of America. Hyperion as their Superman, Nighthawk as Batman, Dr. Spectrum as Green Lantern, Whizzer as the Flash, and Warrior Woman as Wonder Woman. However, where the Squadron differs is where the League fights for, well, Justice, the Squadron dominates with lethal force and aggressive manipulation. The Squadron has been annexing territories left and right, gaining the attention of the Thor Corps. However, after the investigating Thor winds up dead on their doorstep, it becomes a race against time to find the killer, while battling each other, before the rest of the Corps wipes the Squadron off Battleworld.