‘Secret Wars II’ Collected – This is So Wrong
The first comic I bought as a collector was Secret Wars issue #2 back in sixth grade. Some of you may recall I wrote a post about this experience back in June. Before I begin my rant, I want to be sure you understand that Secret Wars issue #2 should in no way to be confused with a completely separate nine-issue comic book limited series entitled Secret Wars II. That’s important. Don’t forget that.
The original Secret Wars 12-issue limited series was a solid story and a huge success. So of course, it spawned a sequel. Secret Wars II was about the entity that instigated the first Secret Wars, the Beyonder. The Beyonder visits Earth in search of enlightenment and inevitably comes into conflict with Earth’s superheroes and the cosmic entities that exist in the Marvel Universe. It’s pretty much universally accepted by fans that Secret Wars II was a poorly executed and poorly written series.
Marvel Comics has announced that in February they will release a new hardcover — Secret Wars II Omnibus. This omnibus will collect all nine issues of the Secret Wars II mini-series, as well as several of the related crossovers. All told it will reprint 46 comics, be 1168 pages, and retail for $99.99.
Okay, hopefully you’ve taken a second for all that to sink in. So I can now say…
Are you serious? Secret Wars II for $100? Are they out of their friggin’ minds? Seriously, dude! This is an abysmal comic. In fact, you can pick up almost every issue of Secret Wars II in your local comic book shop for less than $1 an issue (some of the crossovers can be more expensive).
The comics collected in the omnibus include: Secret Wars II issues #1-9; New Mutants #30 and #36-37; Captain America #308; Uncanny X-Men #196 and #202-203; Iron Man #197; Fantastic Four #282, #285, #288 and #316-319; Web of Spider-Man #6; Amazing Spider-Man #268 and #273-274; Daredevil #223; Incredible Hulk #312; Avengers #260-261 and #265-266; Dazzler #40; Alpha Flight #28; Thing #30; Doctor Strange #74; Cloak and Dagger #4; Power Pack #18; Thor #363; Power Man and Iron Fist #121; Peter Parker, Spectacular Spider-Man #111; Defenders #152; Deadpool Team-Up #1 and Quasar #8.
It’s fair to say that while the primary book Secret Wars II was awful, some of the crossover issues were pretty good. There were really two categories of crossovers. Crossover issues that REALLY connected to the Secret Wars II plot, and crossover issues that barely paid lip service to Secret Wars II. For example, while New Mutants #30 was a good comic, the Secret Wars II plot point was resolved in three and a half pages. Obviously Secret Wars II was not integral to the plot of this comic.
Some comics that tied-in to Secret Wars II really benefited from the connection. My personal favorites were Web of Spider-Man #6 and Amazing Spider-Man #268. These comics form a two-part story in which Spider-Man has to deal with the collapse of the skyscraper that the Beyonder turned into gold. While the Beyonder makes no appearance in these issues, the story does spin directly out of Secret Wars II issue #2. There are some great moments dealing with moral issues in this one. The government secures the building made of gold because it’s worried about what the influx of this quantity of gold could do to the world economy. Spider-Man witnesses the Kingpin receiving pay-offs from government agents, while he himself is shot at for trying to help people. So in a moment of frustration, Spider-Man takes a golden notebook from the skyscraper. The moral issue becomes whether Spider-Man has the right to take the gold as compensation (especially since the Kingpin is making a profit from the government). It’s a well written story by Danny Fingeroth and Tom DeFalco, and is a great example of what classic Spider-Man stories should be like.
A few others worth mentioning are:
- Daredevil #223 written by Denny O’Neil and Jim Shooter in which the Beyonder gives Matt Murdock back his sight.
- Thor #363 and Power Pack #18 in which they battle Kurse, an extra-dimensional Dark Elf whose powers have been amped by the Beyonder. This is an unlikely, but nice team-up written by the husband and wife team of Walter & Louise Simonson.
- Incredible Hulk #312 written by Bill Mantlo may not have tied closely into Secret Wars II, but was one of the most influential single issues in Hulk’s history. This story explores in-depth Bruce Banner’s back-story and the horrible relationship he had with his father. This issue influenced both Peter David’s run on the book and the Ang Lee film. And it featured art by Mike Mignola prior to his Hellboy work!
There are some other good Secret Wars II crossovers (like the Uncanny X-Men books), but the ones above happen to be favorites. All of which you can pick up online for a handful of dollars right now.
If you are considering ordering the Secret Wars II omnibus, ask yourself… why on Earth would I pay $100 to read a few good comics and a whole bunch of crappy ones?!?!?! I recommend you just pick a comic shop (brick-and-mortar or online) and purchase a few of the good crossovers from their back issue selection. Save your wallet and your brain the pain of the omnibus. Remember, friends don’t let friends buy bad comics.