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COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Secret Wars #8

 
Secret Wars 8 cov
Secret Wars 8 cov
Secret Wars 8 cov

 
Overview
 

Story by: Jonathan Hickman
 
Art by: Esad Ribic
 
Colors by: Ive Svorcina
 
Cover by: Alex Ross
 
Publisher:
 
FG RATING
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/ 5


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To sum it all up..

THE THING IS… After a rather convoluting issue, Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic finally hit the right notes for the exciting penultimate chapter of the comic event of 2015, Secret Wars #8. This issue is supposedly the last one and the thickest of all, but because of the company’s decision to extend an issue further […]

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Posted December 10, 2015 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

Secret Wars 8 covTHE THING IS…

After a rather convoluting issue, Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic finally hit the right notes for the exciting penultimate chapter of the comic event of 2015, Secret Wars #8. This issue is supposedly the last one and the thickest of all, but because of the company’s decision to extend an issue further to accommodate Hickman’s additional details and Ribic’s rather slow-pacing illustrations. But I will review this one on the basis on the quality itself, rather than on the emotional levels of sorts.

Unlike the last previous two issues of Secret Wars that were a bit dragging and chaotic, respectively; issue eight returns of the creative team’s respective artistic excellence not only puts this often delayed maxi-event series in the right direction, it rather making more sense on the events that transpires and will happen in many of the on-going post-Secret Wars Marvel titles. Imaginative types can already fill-in the blanks necessary what will most probably happen in the ultimate chapter next year (yes, we must wait for the third week of January of 2016, sigh) by just browsing some of the Secret Wars tie-ins like Siege #4, Silver Surfer #15, Old Man Logan #5, Thors #4, and recently released Invincible Iron Man #1 on some of the fates of the major characters involved. However, I could not resist the fact that Secret Wars #8 actually fulfills something invested readers are truly waiting for since issue #6, the Ben THE THING Grimm. The beautifully illustrated Alex Ross cover art already salivates the readers’ minds on what obviously to expect inside and that is where both Hickman and Ribic deliver significantly and continue to hold our attention until the finale on January next year.

Indeed, how could anyone not to miss the fisticuffs between the gigantic Thing and the world-devourer Galactus? From Ben’s attack on the Maestro’s armada up to the exchanges of blows with the lobotomized planet-eater, those pages are oozing with energy and the tenacity on these combatants, especially the Shield itself. In other words, the THING virtually ROCKS until its final moment. The entire story here is more streamlined, focused, accessible, and organized than last chapter; and these qualities are considered a very encouraging sign to end this mega-comic event on a potentially high note. Furthermore, there are some happenings occurring in order for the inevitable matchup between one of the most beloved comic rivalries ever, as shown in the perennially gorgeous and stunning Alex Ross cover art. And to make things more interesting, Hickman sprinkles some shocking surprises such as the unexpected emergence of a beloved guardian and the confrontation of two powerful and tyrannically egoistic gods that one of them does the fatality befitting to the Mad Titan. And, the author adds some humor and/or snappy dialogues to balance or humanize the already serious nature of this chapter.

On the art department, Esad Ribic does a remarkable job of improving his current artistic craft yet. Though there are no mumbo jumbo paneling here, his utilization of conventional sequential counterpart is highly appropriate to make the sequential pacing more effectively accessible to follow and non-discordantly pleasing to the eyes since this issue tackles an all-out war that is obviously more chaotic and bloody to follow. His illustrations of the Thing, Galactus and Groot are actually painstakingly detailed, especially the second’s body armor and other parts. Furthermore, his Achilles duck faces and/or mouths are minimized and even improved in the facial portrayals, especially on some of the characters’ “shock” moments. He maintains the minimalist approach of drawing the major details instead of the background to make the more casual readers focus significantly on the actual pace of the story, a couple of battle sequences, and most particularly, the major players in this chapter alone. Ive Svorcina never fails to tarnish Ribic’s great interiors and the former’s color schemes and palettes are very appropriate to the current situations and ambiances occurring here.

However, there are some plot holes that are unquestionably unresolved and/or inconsistent with the direct tie-ins that presented in this issue. For examples, the appearance of Apocalypse in the battle is contradictory to the rather pathetic fate of this same baron in Age of Apocalypse #5. And Maestro’s direct challenge to God Emperor Lord Doom is unsurprisingly at all, but how the former “escaped” from the trap installed specifically made for the former last seen in Future Imperfect #5? Additionally, some of the Ribic’s physiological illustrations are a bit awkward, aside from his usual Waterloo, like the former Infinity Gauntlet wielder’s left foot.

Yet, Secret Wars #8 returns the excellence of both Hickman and Ribic’s respective narrative and artistic games to ensure the (hopefully) majestic battle royale between the company’s intellectual rivals, and the finale of the writer’s tenure as one of Marvel’s architects and the event as well. It is hard to swallow indeed that there are already spoilers around in the new ongoing titles primarily due to the event’s sluggishness and/or accommodations to fulfill the writer’s true vision; but this penultimate chapter somehow returns some shreds of optimism that the final Secret Wars chapter is as, say, epic as it must be—the End of the “Old” Marvel continuum. Let’s wait until January next year (sigh)….

 


Paul Ramos

 


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