9 Jun 2011

The Secret Wars Project - Completed

By Matt C
My nostalgic trip back to my childhood for the Secret Wars Project, which ended last Sunday, has highlighted two things. First, the original Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars series remains a classic. Occasionally clunky by today's standards, it nevertheless grips with its grand scope and ambition, manages to juggle it's large cast adeptly, and provides Doctor Doom with some of his finest moments of villainy since Stan and Jack created him back in the 1960s. Secondly, the sequel was a largely unsuccessful enterprise when you consider it's overall aims, but can still be admired for attempting to tackle such massive concepts, and it did manage to produce several fine moments of comic book storytelling. Which appears to go against the general consensus, as from what I can tell Secret Wars II is viewed with disdain from many quarters!

I think, tapping into my recollections of almost 25 years ago, the UK Secret Wars II series, which reprinted not only the US mini but also the vast majority of the tie-ins and several related/connected stories, was a much more effective way of consuming the stories, as it became a vast, sprawling epic when presented in that manner, and probably colours was opinion of it now. Taken on it's own, the 9-part Secret Wars II mini is flawed but is nowhere near as bad as some would have you believe, and is definitely worth a read if you're interested in that era of Marvel Comics (and you should be - it was one of the most creative periods in their history). I'm not sure whether I'll ever revisit it again, but I'm glad I gave it another look.

Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars on the other hand, while probably not fitting into the definition of masterpiece, is a classic (and massively influential) piece of blockbuster storytelling. We may be used to seeing multi-character crossover events these days, and that perhaps diminishes the thrill looking back at the series now, but it generally stands up very well indeed and I can definitely see myself coming back for another look at some point in the future (particularly the outstanding issue #10).

So, now I've done Byrne's FF, Buscema's Avengers and both Secret Wars minis – where to next? Watch this space.

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