HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
Comics Today's Date:

Secret War #2
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Gabriele Dell’Otto

I remember having a conversation with a former Incredible Hulk assistant editor about a year ago. He’d been cruising the online forums and nearly tossed his laptop out the window after getting lectured by a bunch of teenagers that Secret Wars was an indisputable classic.

‘Cause, let’s face it, it wasn’t.

Truth be told, I can hardly even remember what happened in that thing (A bunch of Marvel heroes got zapped to an alien world and had big fights, right? Oh, and Spidey got the black outfit.), but, as my editor friend so succinctly put it, “Bad story, bad art, bad dialogue, just… BAD”.

Leave it to Bendis to bring dignity to such a sullied name.

If you didn’t catch the first issue or the recently released commemorative edition (commemorating the first time Marvel’s needed to reprint an issue so quickly in recent years), the story is almost a complete one-eighty from the original series.

Nick Fury and S.H.I.E.L.D. have managed to find a link between all the low-rent supervillains who rely on gadgetry and armor and… (wait for it) Latveria. Since it’s a foreign nation supplying these men, they more readily fit under the definition of terrorists than criminals. However, the president brushes off Fury’s request to fight back in this secret war (tee hee) and mumbles that they’ll stick with diplomatic channels since they’re friends with the leader of the nation.

A year later, Luke Cage is attacked by a mysterious woman and left hospitalized in critical condition. And Fury knows why.

This issue returns us to the year before the attack on Cage. Nick assembles, cajoles, and blackmails Captain America, Spider-Man, Wolverine, Daredevil, Luke Cage, and a mysterious woman (same one, perhaps) into hopping a jet to Latveria. They meet up with Black Widow at the airport and shuffle off to a remote location where Fury reveals his master plan…

So, as you might have guessed, Bendis’ story is, again, more about character and dialogue exchange than giant plotlines. His contributions to this story are easily as good as much of his recent Daredevil work, though, and there’s a constant tension lacing the scenes. It’s pretty hard to read this and not want to find out what happens next.

What I find more interesting are the parallels between the book and our own recent history. Make no mistake; Bendis isn’t out to give us another bloated crossover or team-up book. This is a rumination on terrorism, espionage, covert operations, heroism, and morality. This is a story about 9/11, Iraq, Al Qaeda, Saudi Arabia, and George W. Bush.

And to think all those fanboys thought they were just buying another book with Wolvie on the cover! Bendis’ Wolvie is so far removed from the dour berserker we’re usually saddled with, I couldn’t help but grin. Drunken and womanizing? Sure, but ain’t he fun?

The star of this series, however, is Gabriele Dell’Otto. For a Hollywood-style analogy, I’ll say he’s like Ross meets Sienkiewicz with a sprinkle of Cassaday (there, that oughtta hold the little S.O.B.s…). But no, seriously, Dell’Otto’s painting is beautiful and, despite Bendis’ work, he’s stolen the show. His style isn’t hard to recognize as European, but the proportions and weight of the characters don’t grate against the superhero standard.

But the man’s great achievement here is that balance between fantasy and reality. Bendis’ story calls for a low-key brand of superheroics that don’t cheapen the effect by featuring men in capes flying through every shot. Aside from a few action scenes and shots of costumes, Dell’Otto’s world doesn’t feel overwhelmingly different from our own, reinforcing the links to real life’s “war on terror”.

It’s those links to our current world that make this story resonate so immediately. The first Secret Wars was juvenile fantasy meant to showcase big panels of the entire Marvel “pantheon” teaming up. This Secret War is an examination of the world we’ve made for ourselves and the consequences we suffer for rash actions and backdoor politics.

Superheroes, like America, are built on a dream of creating a better world for all people. They, through great strength and superior ability, have named themselves defenders of the world, spreading a message of peace and friendship.

And, again like America, they suffer more than just a loss of face when they realize their doings went against the dream they held so dear.


Jason Schachat

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites