I don't think I could have done it. I don't think I could have read Secret Wars as it came out over the past year, with all the delays and whatnot. I absolutely absorbed this hardcover in two days (with a huge break to plow through Daredevil Season 2), so I don't think I really could have waited so patiently month (or months) between issues. I admit though, I think having the month-by-month allowed the reader more time to invest in the Secret Wars Battleworld, and delve into all the various tie-in series that presented new and unique perspectives on familiar Marvel Universe characters and scenarios (I read and enjoyed Civil War, Thors, and Weirdworld quite immensely, thank you) and the same can't really be said about plowing through the consolidated hardcover. When I had the break (in between issues 4 and 5, watching Daredevil Season 2 in one butt-numbing sitting) I did consider seeking out more of the Battleworld books, just to dive into things a bit more. Particularly I was wondering if there was a Spider-Man one, since Miles Morales seemed to have some importance to the story, but in the end it was rather limited to making a place for him in the redefined Marvel U.
Ah, this Battleworld Checklist has the answers... or not...it's incomplete and definitely not updated. I need to read Ultimate End, methinks. This is dangerous though, as now that I start poking, I start thinking about all the different tie-ins and whether I shouldn't just go read them all. They trigger in me the whole "dead universe" fascination and make me want to go explore the Battleworld, a dead universe that lasted about 10 months but still managed to produce well over 100 issues of content. Crazy bones.
I did indeed love Secret Wars, but then I've loved every ounce of Hickman's Marvel run. From his Ultimates/Ultimate Hawkeye, to S.H.I.E.L.D. to Fantastic Four and FF to his dense Avengers/New Avengers run (plus Infinity), it's all freaking amazing. And that it all loops back in on itself, without cannibalizing itself, is astounding. Every piece fits, even if they aren't always essential. I love this, it's what makes these long-term superhero universes so special, these type of unique storytelling opportunities.
|Simone Bianchi's pencils for the image that was parsed across the variant covers for issues 1-8|
The fact is, Secret Wars is the summation of both Hickman's Avengers run, which is where the universes colliding was happening, and his Fantastic Four run which built up the FF into a very large family indeed (not just a group of four). What starts off as almost the Marvel version of Crisis on Infinite Earths ends in a mano-y-mano showdown between Reed Richards and Dr. Doom, and being a swansong for the Fantastic Four (for now at least, as the company needs to ride out its annoyance with Fox owning the film rights to the characters). It seems so right that it goes from this massive scale to something so small as Doom's petty rivalry, and Hickman's resolution is both sweet and ingenious. It's not the end of anything, really (except maybe the Ultimate Universe), and it's chalk full of new beginnings.
I've read almost all of Hickman's work for Marvel in trade (save for his Ultimates and S.H.I.E.L.D, the latter of which I'm still waiting for its completion), so it only made sense to wait for the Secret Wars trade. As happened I could never wait for the actual paperback of any of the FF or Avengers stuff, so ditto for Secret Wars... all hardcover all the time. I enjoyed this so much, I'm keen to dive back into the Hickman Ultimates and Fantastic Four again, and just plow right through all of it once more, but that would imply I didn't have other things stacked up to catch up on...