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Secret Wars #1
Marvel has been building up to Secret Wars for months and now, it's finally here. So what's the first issue like, you ask? Death, destruction and explosions are the three words I would use to describe it. As all of Marvel's prior teasing has indicated, the Marvel and Ultimate universe come to a dark and devastating end with their two Earth's colliding and a metric butt-ton of civilians and superheroes biting the bullet.
I'm not going to say this is the deepest or most interesting comic I've read all month because it isn't. That said, it's easily one of the flashiest and if you're at all intent on keeping up with Marvel's latest universe defining saga, then Secret Wars 1 is an obvious must have comic. Pick it up and watch the world burn with us.
Favorite Moment: "Please join me for a most raucous celebration at that place where we met that time for the thing."
Of all the mini-series emerging from Secret Wars, the most talked-about was A-Force - a book replacing the Avengers with an all-female team of superheroes. Now that the book is in our hands I'm happy to say it's a good one, and by the time it's finished you'll probably wish the A-Force would stick around a little longer.
Arcadia is a tiny Battleworld island surrounded by hostile land masses, but it's also one of the most peaceful, largely thanks to the all-female A-Force team. But the balance of power changes when America Chavez - Arcadia's Ms. America - responds to a threat and accidentally breaches the Deadlands border. Now the powerful Thors have America in custody, and there's only one thing A-Force leader She-Hulk can do: Find the nature of whatever invaded Arcadia in the first place and dispatch it once and for all.
As you can imagine from its cover, the A-Force roster is utterly immense, which doesn't even get into the superpowered civilians you'll see minding their business in Arcadia. But since the story focuses exclusively on She-Hulk and Ms. America's patrol group, it never feels unwieldy or jam-packed. That makes it one of the more appealing Secret Wars tie-ins right now, where you can enjoy seeing 1970s Jean Grey and Runaway's Nico Minoru in the same panel but not feel overwhelmed with info dumps explaining it.
Throw in the fact that the powerful Captain Universe has chosen Arcadia to crash in? A-Force could easily be one of the most important Battleworld books to pick up.
Favorite Moment: "America, yes. Nobody tell P.E.T.A."
Ultimate End #1
Well we're finally here - after 15 years, the Ultimate Marvel universe is coming to an end amidst the spectacular chaos of Secret Wars. Whether you loved or hated it, that's quite an achievement for any imprint, especially one that helped inspire the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley - the writer/artist team that started it all - will present the last Ultimate Marvel story and bring it all to a close.
After the events of Secret Wars, the Manhattans of Earth-616 and Earth-1610 have merged into a single landmass. The good news is this allows Earth's Mightiest Heroes from two universes to put their heads together and restore reality. The bad news is the Avengers and Ultimates don't trust each other - especially now that we know an Ultimate was responsible for the destruction of countless parallel universes. The worst news is that Battleworld's police force - the Thors - also know that minor detail, and have sent an entire squad to make a formal arrest.
This is only the first chapter, but Ultimate End shows a glimpse of where we're headed: A massive rip-roaring battle between the Ultimates and all of the Avengers. And in the meantime, we're still getting some great character moments - like Tony Stark having an existential crisis with himself and Spider-Man despising that every Ultimate knows his secret identity. Even though I'm a little sad Ultimate Marvel is ending, I have to admit that I'm glad this creative team is doing it.
Favorite Moment: Emma Frost raising her hand.