This is “From a Different Point of View,” a feature where I discuss a comic book series with other people. This time around, due to everyone having to self-isolate, I figured I’d do a special edition where I discuss the original Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars series with whatever readers that wanted to chat about it!
We continue with Secret Wars #12, “…Nothing to Fear…” by Jim Shooter, Mike Zeck, John Beatty (and mystery friends), Christie Scheele and Joe Rosen
Brian Cronin: The rare front AND back ellipses in the title.
Dean Hacker: The dreaded double ellipsis
Brian Cronin: As I mentioned a while back, this over-sized final issue had some deadline issues, so John Beatty wasn’t the only inker on this comic.
Brian Cronin: He’s the only one credited, though.
Brian Cronin: One of the artists who filled in was a very young Arthur Adams, soon to be a superstar artist, as well.
Flavio Sette: Oh, man, really?
DavidJustDavid: I didn’t know that, that’s pretty cool.
Brian Cronin: Art Nichols and Joe Rubinstein were the other two artists who helped Beatty out.
Brian Cronin: You will definitely see in the issue where some pages look a lot different from each other.
DramaticSoul: I remember looking back at Adams’ panels (just one page?) and really seeing his flair in those inks
Flavio Sette: It’s that one page where Thing and She-Hulk fight side by side, right? I did think that looked like Art Adams.
DavidJustDavid: Now I’m imagining some Secret Wars battles as illustrated by Art Adams.
Brian Cronin: So we can keep an eye out for those pages later.
Brian Cronin: Meanwhile, the book kicks off with one of the most iconic bits you can imagine.
Flavio Sette: But I thought he hadn’t broken in yet or if he had, he wasn’t inking.
Brian Cronin: Cap’s shield cracked.
Dean Hacker: Not anyone’s best work. Pages 13-14 are brutal.
DavidJustDavid: Have we ever seen his shield broken before (even in a What If..?)
Brian Cronin: Amusingly, Shooter himself had recently done a story where Molecule Man destroyed Cap’s shield in the pages of the Avengers, so this wasn’t the first time the unbreakable shield broke.
Flavio Sette: The opening is so dark, so grim, it really helps set the mood. As far as “all is lost moments” in fiction go, it’s a damn good one, even though we know (as most readers at the time did) all the heroes are gonna come back.
Dean Hacker: The cracked shield is pretty much the tell that things are bad, right?
Tom A.: This is probably where “break Cap’s shield to establish how dangerous the threat is” trope started.
Brian Cronin: Yeah, it’s an amazing opening page.
Brian Cronin: And yeah, Tom, this is definitely where that started.
Brian Cronin: Because, heck, it WORKS, right?
Avash: David: the shield disintegrated against Laser back in the 60s
Brian Cronin: We mean post the retcon that it was indestructible.
Brian Cronin: Which was after that Living Laser story.
DavidJustDavid: How did it come back?
Flavio Sette: And SW definitely established it as an honest to god trope.
Brian Cronin: In the old stories, Cap just got another shield.
Avash: It was a “replica”
Dean Hacker: Love the slow tracking shot over the first three pages.
Brian Cronin: Man, Shooter’s captions…dang, dude!
Brian Cronin: “Blood oozing from the mangled remains of their flesh”
Brian Cronin: Hey, kids, toy tie-in!
Dean Hacker: (eek)
Avash: We can agree that if the attack was strong enough to destroy Cap’s shield, no one should survive, right? They should be atomized.
DavidJustDavid: I never noticed that, “blood sizzling…”, that is pretty crazy…
Dean Hacker: Where was Crisis on Infinite Earths at this stage? Did Shooter feel like he needed to raise his stakes?
Flavio Sette: Or, at the very least, most of their bodies should’ve been mangled beyond recognition
Brian Cronin: Well, that’s the issue, right, Avash? Is their return for real or is it caused by Doom?
Avash: Good point
Flavio Sette: Yeah, I was going to comment on that further down the road.
Brian Cronin: Crisis’ first issue came out THIS month, actually.
Avash: I mean the caption does make it clear, right? Not only they are dead, they are mangled
Brian Cronin: But Crisis obviously had been in the works for some time.
Brian Cronin: There is a big debate among DC and Marvel fans over how much of an influence that Crisis had on Secret Wars.
Flavio Sette: It sure seems like we’re supposed to infer that Klaw/Beyonder put that idea in his head.
Avash: Didn’t SW happen first?
Brian Cronin: I asked Shooter about it years ago and he said that this was a follow-up to Contest of Champions and then the Mattel tie-in.
Dean Hacker: DC and Marvel fans NEVER debate over influence.
Flavio Sette Yeah, I think Wolfman said he started work on Crisis back in ’81.
Flavio Sette: But it took forever to research.
Blair Marnell: I really like the notion that Shooter put forth, that Doom really did win. At least until Klaw/Beyonder put the idea in Doom’s head for their miraculous survival.
Tom A.: I don’t think it had that much influence, the two stories have nothing in common. Only similarity is that Crisis also had 12 issues.
Brian Cronin: But plenty of people (I am sure Marv Wolfman included) believe that this was written to beat DC to the punch.
Brian Cronin: Just the idea of a company-wide crossover event, Tom.
Brian Cronin: That, in and of itself, was a big deal at the time.
Avash: Didn’t Shooter also want to reboot the Marvel universe? I read that somewhere
Brian Cronin: Shooter says it was Contest of Champions plus the Mattel tie-in that led to Secret Wars.
Flavio Sette: Even the format, a 12 issue maxi, had been pioneered by DC with Camelot 3000.
Avash: New Universe was his consolation prize
Dean Hacker: It feels like Shooter shifted gears somewhere.
Brian Cronin: DC, of course, felt that he was saying that to cover up the fact that he was trying to beat DC to the companywide crossover event.
DavidJustDavid: Funny that Crisis beat Marvel to the punch as far as ‘tie-in’ issues.
Brian Cronin: Yep, but even there, just barely, as Secret Wars II starts up VERY soon after Secret Wars.
DavidJustDavid: It wasn’t until Secret Wars 2 that they started putting those Nabisco flaps all over the place
Flavio Sette: So I don’t think there’s a link there, between SW and Crisis, one way or another.
DavidJustDavid: Getting people to pick up other titles.
Tom A.: Yeah, Secret Wars had no tie-in, but Secret Wars II went all out on them.
Flavio Sette: But Brian’s the expert, anyway!
Dean Hacker: Nothing beats the mullet perm fro, SW2.
Brian Cronin: I tend to believe Shooter, as his reasoning makes sense, just noting that plenty of DC fans (and DC professionals from the time) still believe that Secret Wars was meant to steal Crisis’ thunder.
Dean Hacker: Shooter was competitive.
Brian Cronin: He was, which is why they believe it.
Blair Marnell: I was actually reading Marvel Team-Up #140 -141, and they do briefly tie into Secret Wars, in that Spidey goes to Battleworld and back between issues.
Brian Cronin: Oh sure, all of the books tied in that way, Blair. The heroes leave in one issue and return in the next.
DramaticSoul: The origami contest of champions was cool and makes sense it lead to this. Also had a mini-handbook of the marvel universe in the back that was sweet and surely led to the official Handbooks
Blair Marnell: I know, it was just strange to see in that in the middle of a Marvel Team Up Black Widow trade
Brian Cronin: Even there, though, there was some weird inconsistencies, like that MTU story you mention, it really doesn’t seem like there’s two weeks between issues, right?
Dean Hacker: It seemed very clever at the time.
Blair Marnell: it doesn’t fit perfectly, Brian
Blair Marnell: but it’s close enough, for the most part.
Brian Cronin: It’s fascinating to see how RESPONSIBLE Doom is acting, outside of the whole “killing all of the superheroes in a fit of pique”
DramaticSoul: Original. Not origami. I treated my comics poorly back then. But not that poorly.
Avash: I mean he had a justification, they were planning to assault him
Tom A.: And Doom is still humouring Klaw.
Brian Cronin: Then we get our check in, which allows us to get our final
Brian Cronin: RECAP!
DavidJustDavid: It’s pretty well done, how Doom is seeming a bit in over his head controlling this awesome power,
Flavio Sette: There’s something so funny about all these villains having to share an apartment with Volcana. Sitcom fodder if I’ve ever seen it!
Brian Cronin: Thunderball reading a book is at least a slight acknowledgement that he is supposed to be smart.
Brian Cronin: Enchantress conjures up a water elemental just so we can get a recap.
Blair Marnell: Did they ever check in with the Enchantress and her vendetta against the Lizard after this?
DavidJustDavid: That living room panel is pretty great, right down to the wrecking ball laying around on the floor
Brian Cronin: She’s had some of the more interesting recaps this series. The drunken one and now this one.
Tom A.: Seriously, why would anyone need a recap in the FINAL issue?
Blair Marnell: also, that water elemental was real WTF moment and out of left field.
Flavio Sette: Also, she conjures up an elemental to provide cheesecake.
DavidJustDavid: This elemental character is totally bizarre
Brian Cronin: TOO bizarre.
Avash: Did we pass any issue without a recap?
DavidJustDavid: Why is she speaking colloquial American-style English?
Brian Cronin: Especially since she first wants to be given the ability to live like a human
Brian Cronin: But then wants to go back down the drain.
Brian Cronin: Make up your mind, cheesecake water elemental!
Avash: Man, the pose of the elemental outta the bathtub is salacious
Flavio Sette: For real, that shot of the elemental halfway out of the tub is… kinda inappropriate for a toy tie-in. But I mean, I don’t even know why that kinda stuff still surprises me.
Avash: She’s showing enchantress off
Brian Cronin: Elemental ass crack!
Dean Hacker: Common for the era.
DavidJustDavid: As fun as it is to see all the villains again, it’s crazy that we use up about TEN pages of finale while the main plotline is in limbo.
DavidJustDavid: Nothing is being advanced here.
Flavio Sette: The idea of Beyonder being motivated by wanting to understand desire, the human need to fill that void inside us all is interesting. I just think it should’ve been introduced earlier.
Avash: Out of nowhere we set up a plotline linking Lizard with volcana
Dean Hacker: The set -up was for the Enchantess to take a bath, but that is ‘subverted’.
Tom A.: Lizard continues to be very OOC.
Brian Cronin: Yeah, the whole thing really is a waste
Flavio Sette: “Strumpet”. “Chippie”. Kids reading this toy tie-in are bound to learn at least one antiquated, derogatory, slut-shame-y term.
Avash: It seems Lizard’s role in this story is to fall for kind women
Tom A.: Yeah, Volcana, the Lizard totally doesn’t want to hurt anyone, and he definitely doesn’t want to turn people into lizards.
Blair Marnell: Have Volcana and Enchantress ever crossed paths again after this?
Avash: Doc Ock is acting crazy for no reason as well
Brian Cronin: I don’t believe so, Blair, but I thiiink that this counts as resolving the debt.
DavidJustDavid: I don’t know if Enchantress ever spoke to any of these villains again.
Avash: What about Wasp? Does Lizard meet her ever again
Tom A.: And we get Bulldozer’s final contribution to the series: saying they should kill the Lizard. And that’s a series wrap on the most irrelevant character of all.
Brian Cronin: Man, I really can’t believe that there is all of this page time on the Enchantress.
Brian Cronin: “Oh no, not Enchantress’ face!”
Dean Hacker: Sort of amazing how well the baddies are handling their room-mate issues.
Brian Cronin: Why is this a thing?
Avash: Especially given the enchantress plot goes absolutely nowhere
Brian Cronin: Why is this a double-sized issue, even, if this is what the extra pages are going to be for?
Kevin Garcia: Don’t her plots usually go no where?
Avash: Enchantress needs to make a deal to steal energy? Since when was this a criteria?
DavidJustDavid: The only thing resolved by all these pages is that Molecule Man can reignite stars, so he’s really powerful now.
Flavio Sette: I think the Enchantress sub-plot is there to get Lizard back to Battleworld so that it syncs up continuity-wise with Spidey returning with Connors in Amazing Spider-Man.
Brian Cronin: You could be right, Flavio.
Avash: And she spends all these effort to warn asgard about Doom, which as it turns out was completely unnecessary
Brian Cronin: Thank goodness we have an extra-sized issue to take care of that.
Flavio Sette: Why he had to leave with the villains in the first place, I dunno.
Brian Cronin: Man, Shooter really is really great at stories about omnipotent beings.
Brian Cronin: Just the fact that Doom is willing to still allow himself to sleep is significant.
Blair Marnell: We may have put a lot of thought into that, Brian.
Tom A.: Molecule Man mentions that he’s gonna turn Doc Ock to the authorities and put him in an insane asylum, which I guess is to coincide with Doc Ock being in one when Reed gets back to Earth and neeps help with his wife giving birth.
Kevin Garcia: Well, he previously claimed he was trying NOT to sleep, right?
Avash: We don’t even get a proper resolution of the molecule man arc until SW2
Kevin Garcia: Even here he says he “nearly fell asleep.”
Tom A.: Although one wonders how the authorities and the press didn’t find out about Battleworld once the villains seemingly got back before the heroes did.
DavidJustDavid: Tom beat me to it, that’s one of the best Doc Ock issues ever.
Brian Cronin: I believe Shooter knew he’d have a sequel by the time he wrote this issue.
Brian Cronin: So he was likely intentionally leaving stuff open for the follow-up series.
Blair Marnell: I still think this Klaw and Doom scene is the best part of the issue.
Brian Cronin: And since he was the guy who was into Molecule Man in the first place.
DavidJustDavid: His fight with Reed pretty much immediately when they get back to Earth.
Brian Cronin: It makes sense that he’d be the carryover plot.
Kevin Garcia: Klaw’s dialogue is amazing throughout this series.
Brian Cronin: And yes, the Klaw/Doom scene is impeccable.
Brian Cronin: And it is why I think what likely happens is that Klaw manipulates Doom into bringing Klaw’s scenario to life.
Brian Cronin: It just makes too much sense.
Blair Marnell: I agree.
Kevin Garcia: That’s how I read it.
Avash: Makes sense
Brian Cronin: How messed up, though, is that Beyonder’s plan
Brian Cronin: Involves killing off Zsaji.
Kevin Garcia: That dragon is not related to Lockheed’s girlfriend, I guess.
Brian Cronin: He never answered for that, did he?
Flavio Sette: Does Zsaji have any kind of purpose in this story other than to resurrect the heroes and give Colossus some cheap pathos?
Kevin Garcia: Right, but Zsaji isn’t a trademarked character with other appearances.
Blair Marnell: He did not, but Deadpool’s Secret Wars series made sure that Zsaji came back to life.
Kevin Garcia: Zsaji also gives confusing feelings to the Torch.
DavidJustDavid: Beyonder does seem very crafty in this issue, considering how clueless he is about human behaviour in the sequel.
Tom A.: I think that Deadpool’s Secret Wars has been established as non-canon at this point.
Kevin Garcia: Not to my knowledge.
Avash: Wasn’t Beyonder supposed to be just in Klaw’s subconscious? It seems he is actively taking over now
Blair Marnell: Has it though?
Brian Cronin: Perhaps that’s why he seems craftier? Because he is just influencing Klaw rather than being himself.
Kevin Garcia: It didn’t directly contradict anything before or after, and canonically, Deadpool was a host of the Venom symbiote.
Flavio Sette: I mean, it’s just so messed up. Zsaji basically got fridged, right?
DramaticSoul: This was a fun series Drag the SW2 was sooo cheesy
Kevin Garcia: Yes, it is messed up.
Brian Cronin: The one person who DIDN’T killed by Doom ends up being the only one who DOES die.
Kevin Garcia: Is this Doom’s first experience with omnipotence?
Avash: We see the heroes “survive” off panel for two issues in a row, hilarious
Kevin Garcia: He seems quite unsure of himself. Moreso than usual.
Blair Marnell: Also, I love that splash of Thor’s hammer breaking into Doom’s lair.
Flavio Sette: Man, that sequence with Thor’s hammer flying in right when Doom’s insisting the heroes are all dead is just amazing. Specially that splash.
Dean Hacker: Beautiful alien healer is classic fridge bait.
Avash: Tbh, I love this portrayal. Being omnipotence should be taxing on anyone, even Doom
Brian Cronin: But yeah, wow, what a sequence. With Doom questioning how Reed and Cap always seem to be able to beat death (which fits with what we mentioned earlier about how Cap was set up as Doom’s nemesis in this series, on par with Reed).
Kevin Garcia: Agreed.
Tom A.: Once again, Shooter acts like Doom and Captain America are major rivals, since Doom apparently respects him enough to think he can do the impossible.
Dean Hacker: Thor does make an entrance.
Kevin Garcia: I think it’s Doom’s various experiences that allow him to handle himself during and after the most recent Secret War.
Brian Cronin: And then that hammer scene, to go with Klaw’s amazing “Then again”
Tom A.: Not just on par with Reed, the series makes Cap superior to Reed in terms of being Doom’s enemy.
Kevin Garcia: “The hammer of Thor!”
Kevin Garcia: Did Doom need to say that? Seems like an odd exclamation.
Avash: The whole planet seems to be on fire again, right? How is anyone even alive?
DavidJustDavid: Cap has certainly been portrayed as more solid and level-headed than Reed in this series.
Brian Cronin: Well, Doom’s powers brought it right back, I imagine, Avash.
Kevin Garcia: Apparently that explosion is somewhere else in the universe.
Blair Marnell: Reed mentions the upheaval right after though
DavidJustDavid: I was wondering that too, Avash, this planet just keeps taking a beating.
Blair Marnell: so they saw it
Kevin Garcia: Doom says he nearly destroyed all of reality, so presumably he did blow up a few stars.
DavidJustDavid: Nice continuity having that hammer flying back into Thor’s hand.
Brian Cronin: And then that amazing Zeck/Beatty panel with the heroes attacking.
Brian Cronin: I do like that Reed’s like, “Yes, he almost erased the universe! That shows that we’re getting to him! Hit him again, Thor!”
Flavio Sette: Is this the first double page splash so far?
Tom A.: So I guess that the heroes made sure to get brand new clothes, but what about Iron Man’s armor? Did Reed repair it?
Dean Hacker: Shooter would never let Doom live after that, after all Jean Grey …
Brian Cronin: With Cap’s broken shield.
Avash: What was Beyonder’s plan btw? Why attack the heroes?
Kevin Garcia: I love the bit with the Sistine Chapel Creation of Adam scene with Doom giving Klaw some of his power.
Kevin Garcia: I think Beyonder/Klaw’s plan at this point was just to keep Doom off balance.
Brian Cronin: Agreed, Kevin, keep Doom off balance and make him trust Klaw more.
Brian Cronin: That is a weak double page splash.
Tom A.: Poor Ultron, he’s been stuck as a henchman since issue 2.
DavidJustDavid: That three-eyed monster is a funny response to Cap’s “be ready for anything!”
Tom A.: The monsters look so boring and generic.
Brian Cronin: Exactly, Tom. Big letdown.
Avash: I hate the look out the monsters
Flavio Sette: I just remembered there were a few double page splashes in the first few issues, but it feels like forever since we last saw one.
Kevin Garcia: So what’s the deal with these monsters? Are they made of sound, or summoned from somewhere else like Ultron, or just created whole cloth?
Tom A.: And it is only now in the final issue that Thing and She-Hulk actually talk to each other.
DavidJustDavid: Is this Art Adams showing up on the Thing/She-Hulk page?
Brian Cronin: I think made out of sound, ostensibly, but then powered by a little Beyonder power.
Avash: I think created whole, with Beyonder powers
Flavio Sette: So it just seems weird that this scene gets a double page splash instead of many, many others.
Brian Cronin: It must be, David.
Brian Cronin: This was the page that, for years, led people to think someone else penciled this page.
Kevin Garcia: That IS Art Adams art! Dang, he shoulda’ done the two-pager!
Brian Cronin: But no, it’s Zeck pencils, but Adams ink.
Kevin Garcia: Interesting. Just a transition…
Avash: The art looks very jarring, like penciled by many people
Brian Cronin: It’s possible that Zeck’s pencils were EXTREMELY loose on these pages
Brian Cronin: As obviously, Adams’ inks are filling in a LOT.
Kevin Garcia: I do appreciate the Thing having control over his transformations. I know him being stuck in status quo is part of his appeal, but I do like the idea of growth.
Dean Hacker: Seems likely.
DavidJustDavid: When I first read this it bugged me that Ultron could be damaged, but I guess being a Klaw creation he might be less indestructible than usual?
Avash: Wasp takes out Ultron after X Men, she’s not holding any punches
WiseSettler: But how did The Thing go back to normal after all of this?
Flavio Sette: That certainly seems likely, Brian, particularly considering that we are nearing the end of the issue.
Kevin Garcia: Well, Ultron is made here with some of the Beyonder’s power, so it could be made of anything.
Brian Cronin: Exactly. First she almost kills the X-Men and now she just tears apart Ultron.
Tom A.: Doom still acting like Captain America is his archenemy.
Brian Cronin: This splash page looks like Adams again.
Avash: What if the heroes lost? Then Beyonder would’ve been in trouble
Flavio Sette: It’s honestly just as likely that Klaw made Ultron out of sub standard materials so as to sabotage Doom.
Kevin Garcia: The Thing remained on Battleworld for a while after this, assuming his transformation control was related to the planet, but that whole thing ended with a weird “never happened” kind of resolution. Brian, have you written a column about the Thing’s return from Battleworld?
Tom A.: Seriously, why did Shooter write Doom as so fixated on Captain America and so indifferent to Reed Richards?
Avash: I am curious about that as well
Brian Cronin: No, Kevin, but I should.
Avash: The Thing, I mean
Brian Cronin: Cap was the star of the toyline
Brian Cronin: So that’s probably why.
Brian Cronin: Cap and Doom were the heads of the good and evil side of things.
Avash: Cap comes off REALLY well in this whole series
Kevin Garcia: Huh. Hulk just took an arrow to the knee.
Kevin Garcia: Via Ultron.
Brian Cronin: Reed wasn’t even in the toyline, right?
Blair Marnell: He was not
Tom A.: And yet despite being the star, Cap doesn’t get to be on the series cover box faces.
Blair Marnell: but there were heroes and villains in the toyline who weren’t in the comic either.
Blair Marnell: Daredevil, Baron Zemo…
Avash: Like who?
Blair Marnell: Falcon
Avash: Why not include them then?
Blair Marnell: couldn’t tell you why
Kevin Garcia: The full-page splash with Cap charging at Klaw… this also seems like different art. Did Adams ink this one too?
Brian Cronin: Because there was no contact between Shooter and Mattel after the first series.
DavidJustDavid: There were different phases of the toyline and they just got further and further away from the actual comic.
Brian Cronin: It’s gotta be, Kevin.
DavidJustDavid: Constrictor was an action figure, even.
Brian Cronin: It’s jarring to go from Adams to what looks like Beatty on back-to-back pages
Kevin Garcia: Adams was my favorite artist of the ’80s… always love seeing more of his influence.
Brian Cronin: Cap drawn in the Adams style to Cap drawn in the Zeck style was strange to see.
Brian Cronin: This is pretty much the exact way that Emperor Joker ended, as well
Brian Cronin: Basically the “Pink Elephant” conundrum.
Flavio Sette: It’s definitely interesting to see more classic inkers side by side with the guy who’d inspire the whole Image crew.
Brian Cronin: Doom is so obsessed with destroying Cap
Brian Cronin: That he can’t destroy Cap.
Kevin Garcia: It’s funny seeing Cap’s shield broken. I’ve complained to my friends repeatedly that I didn’t like seeing Thanos so easily break it in Endgame, but it makes sense here, because Doom has the power of the Beyonder in him.
Brian Cronin: Because he can’t help think about Cap
Brian Cronin: And his thoughts create reality.
Avash: The X Men really took a backseat in this issue. After spending so much time dealing with Magneto, Prof and trust issues, the whole thing went nowhere
Brian Cronin: And if he is thinking about Cap, the proverbial “pink elephant,” then he can’t destroy him.
Flavio Sette: Like, the best guys we have right now and the guy who’ll go on to directly and indirectly change the industry.
Kevin Garcia: Yeah, you wold really think the X-Men would’ve been part of this final fight.
Tom A.: And then after this series, he forgets about Cap and goes back to obsessing over Richards.
Brian Cronin: What happens on Battleworld, stays on Battleworld, Tom.
Kevin Garcia: I’m fairly certain he’s had conflicts with Cap at some point after this… though I can’t think of any.
Avash: How did Doom come back to life btw?
Blair Marnell: Fantastic Four 287-288 covered that, I think
Brian Cronin: Yep.
WiseSettler: But did the whole Magneto sinking a submarine end up in something? I remember them making a big deal out of it
Blair Marnell: he went to trail for that in Uncanny X-Men 200
Flavio Sette: That FF two-parter had already come out by this point, I think.
Blair Marnell: and again in Avengers vs. X-Men
Tom A.: The weird thing is that over in Byrne’s run in stories set after Secret Wars, the FF still believe that Doom is dead even though they should have no reason to believe that after seeing him on Battleworld.
Kevin Garcia: It’s a good deal. There’s always confusion when a villain gets pulled from somewhere else in their timeline. I’m thinking also of Doom’s encounters with Morgana in Dark Avengers. Not exactly in either character’s “present.”
Brian Cronin: It’s cool to see Cap want to still help Doom.
Blair Marnell: sorry, I meant X-Men vs. Avengers
Kevin Garcia: That’s Cap for you.
Brian Cronin: We get confirmation that it WAS Klaw’s cunning that helped Beyonder out.
Avash: So was this Doom from a different timeline?
Brian Cronin: Which is so weird, because Klaw IS cunning, but not the Klaw we see in this actual series.
Blair Marnell: @DavidJustDavid That was also the issue where Reed convinced the Beyonder to put Doom back where he should be.
Kevin Garcia: His guile, his wits, and his cunning – no wonder Doom failed!
Brian Cronin: Beyonder brings Doom back to life in Secret Wars 2 and then sends him back in time to Secret Wars and Doom returns at the end of that tie-in issue.
Blair Marnell: Come to think of it, I don’t believe Klaw and Doom crossed paths again either.
Kevin Garcia: Is Klaw cunning though? A lot of his later appearances seem to be just that of a crackpot.
DavidJustDavid: Yeah, it’s confusing, but the Doom of this series is directly sent from FF 288.
Tom A.: Klaw was cunning enough to invade a country that had repelled all invasions and he lived to tell the tale.
WiseSettler: Exactly what this plot needed: time travel
Kevin Garcia: Yeah, but that was before he went incorporeal
Tom A.: And I guess the Beyonder just sent Klaw back to Earth too.
Avash: Beyonder could just conjure Doom up without all that trouble though
Kevin Garcia: I’m curious, if Klaw were to run into Doom again, if he’d call him “master.”
Brian Cronin: So, Magneto just skips Zsaji’s funeral? What a dick.
Tom A.: Byrne was presented with Shooter’s plot holes and had to do the best of it.
Blair Marnell: Byrne had already set up Doom’s body transfer before this series
Brian Cronin: Klaw was in the Intelligentia, and they ran into Doom during the Fall of the Hulks storyline.
DavidJustDavid: None of Zsaji’s family, friends or village got to come to the funeral either.
Flavio Sette: R.I.P. Zsaji. https://youtu.be/nSz16ngdsG0
Brian Cronin: Maybe they had their own funeral separately?
Avash: When do we see if the villains managed to get back? Do we ever?
Tom A.: I know, but Byrne obviously didn’t plan for Shooter using Doom in Doom’s body in Secret Wars, it messed up his plans.
Blair Marnell: I don’t think Klaw called him “master” there.
DavidJustDavid: That’s beautiful, Flavio.
Brian Cronin: Or maybe they shun her for being a race traitor
Kevin Garcia: In Slott’s She-Hulk series, they show flashbacks to the Denver suburb being returned.
Brian Cronin: I love Wolverine having to tell Nightcrawler to give Colossus time to grieve
Brian Cronin: Not a good series for the ol’ Elf.
Tom A.: So if the Denver people arrived on Earth before the heroes, why did the press not find out about the “Secret” Wars?
Kevin Garcia: I love the idea that Spider-Man wants everyone to get a black suit like him. Imagine some alternate reality where they agree, and everyone gets a symbiote.
Avash: The machines can bring everyone back to life, but not heal Hulk’s leg. Yeah, that makes sense.
Flavio Sette: Wolverine does know a lot about wives and girlfriends dying and all that.
Kevin Garcia: Tom, the heroes teleport back, the Denver people had to travel through space.
Flavio Sette: More so than Daredevil, even!
Brian Cronin: It is too adorable how “the Hulk broke his leg” was the Hulk‘s big change for the series.
DavidJustDavid: Tom has a good point, how did a disappearing suburb crash-landing back on Earth not make the news?
Tom A.: I know, but the Denver people made it first, because Doctor Octopus was in an insane asylum.
Tom A.: By the time Reed returned.
Avash: “must have been an advertisement ploy”
DavidJustDavid: Yes, a publicity stunt!
Brian Cronin: Exactly!
Blair Marnell: Was the Hulk starting to lose his intellect again before Secret Wars?
Kevin Garcia: I mean, this is the same planet where the Chrysler Building comes alive on a regular basis and an interdimensional alien teenager carved a cuss word into Manhattan, so I don’t think a Denver suburb returning would be that big of a deal.
Brian Cronin: He was, Blair, just a little bit.
Blair Marnell: So, not a change introduced here then, I take it.
Flavio Sette: I kinda feel like Rogue should be wearing Wasp’s outfit (well, maybe a version that covers her shoulders). It looks more like Rogue’s old costume (and some of the costumes she would go on to wear), I guess.
Brian Cronin: No, Shooter playing along with the status quos of the various characters.
Avash: So, they find out they have Wish fulfilment abilities, and nobody thinks of bringing Zsaji back to life?
Tom A.: Yeah, Dr. Connors, the Lizard personality is totally gone forever. Again.
Brian Cronin: Oh, they did. No one cared enough about the chippie to do it.
Brian Cronin: And Colossus had already used his wish to move Kitty’s aging along.
Avash: Lol, Colossus should have. That’s the only think he cared about
Kevin Garcia: Avash, in Deadpool’s story, it explains that he DID wish her to be okay, but more, wished for her to be left alone, so no one tried to bring her back again.
DavidJustDavid: Yes, the shield takes priority over the healer.
Brian Cronin: Xavier’s wish was a rocking yellow spandex costume.
Tom A.: Cap restoring his shield with wishing energy actually became a major plot point in Waid’s Captain America. Which also happened to involve Klaw.
Blair Marnell: But now that she is back, Kevin, someone could eventually pick up that thread.
Flavio Sette: That explains why Kitty went from turning 15 during Claremont’s Excalibur run to being an adult all of a sudden. Colossus’ wish had a delayed effect.
Brian Cronin: Yeah, that was impressive by Waid to use this plot point to kick off a story years later.
Kevin Garcia: I always wondered about Spider-Man’s thought about his costume being different from everyone else’s. I got the impression they did not intend to have the suit come alive and become Venom when it was first introduced, but this page makes me wonder about that.
Avash: Why the new costumes though? Did it have any impact?
Brian Cronin: By this time, Shooter would know what had happened, Kevin.
Tom A.: This issue came out months after the suit was already revealed to be alive.
Kevin Garcia: AH.
Kevin Garcia: Ah.
Flavio Sette: Funny that I mentioned the vibranium cancer arc from Waid and Kubert’s Cap run a few weeks ago. Oh, Cap, if you only knew the trouble this would cause ya…
Brian Cronin: Spider-Woman and Magneto, I imagine, had many adventures together once they got back.
Kevin Garcia: I love that Lockheed just shows up as the X-Men are ready to go.
Brian Cronin: Well, that was the point, Kevin. Nightcrawler wished it.
Avash: Cap’s smile seeing the shield back together, adorable
DavidJustDavid: The Lockheed dragon companion gets used for exactly one X-Men issue and is dropped forever, I think.
Brian Cronin: And to give Shooter credit, he established earlier that Nightcrawler was worried about Lockheed in an earlier issue.
DavidJustDavid: It was a weird, kind of silly x-men issue (181)
Avash: Didn’t puff return in the whedon run?
Flavio Sette: I’m surprised Ben didn’t immediately change his mind and head back to Earth the moment he realized Battleworld doesn’t have cigars.
Tom A.: He can just wish cigars into existence.
Kevin Garcia: The green dragon later showed up as a giant in Tokyo, leading to a great Wolverine moment.
Brian Cronin: I love Xavier’s point about how at a certain point, death is irrevocable. “Not for us, of course, we’ll all die and return multiple times, but Zsaji? She’s screwed.”
Avash: What was the explosion so about when the X Men were leaving? Did that have any significance?
Brian Cronin: Yeah, the green dragon grew in size.
Avash: Not the humans?
Tom A.: And here we see She-Hulk leave the Avengers and join the FF even though Shooter didn’t bother setting it up.
Brian Cronin: Yeah, he really didn’t do that at all.
Avash: Yeah, that was out of the left field
Brian Cronin: He set up Nightcrawler worrying about Kitty’s dragon
Brian Cronin: But not She-Hulk switching teams.
Avash: We could at least use the enchantress panels to set it up instead
Kevin Garcia: Clearly, he really wanted to have scenes of Enchantress in the bathroom.
Brian Cronin: The Enchantress could wander in, drunk, “She-Hulk hash wanted to leave the team for a while now.”
DavidJustDavid: It should’ve been the water elemental as the new FF member.
Kevin Garcia: Now THAT would’ve been interesting.
DavidJustDavid: That would’ve had more set-up
Brian Cronin: Some last minute “Man, Reed is such a dick” stuff
Tom A.: The Thing’s solo series on Battleworld after this was pretty damn weird.
Kevin Garcia: And here Reed suspects something about Ben on the Battleworld… set up for the eventual reveal? I feel like Thing was on Battleworld a long time.
Avash: Ben should’ve run into the water elemental. They both wanna be human. Would’ve been a cute couple
Avash: What was the reveal btw?
Blair Marnell: The reveal was that he could turn human at any time
Brian Cronin: The Thing’s finale on Battleworld came out the same month as Secret Wars #12, Kevin.
Kevin Garcia: Really? Dang, I thought it was a year later.
Blair Marnell: It had nothing to do with Battleworld
Avash: Wait, why doesn’t he?
Flavio Sette: Was that set up or a happy accident, Brian?
Blair Marnell: I think it was a mental block
Tom A.: And in the end, The Thing kills the physical embodiment of Ben Grimm’s human form, who had gone evil. And can’t transform anymore.
Avash: So why can’t he do it now?
Blair Marnell: and he wanted to stay the Thing for Alicia, because that’s how she knew him
Avash: Holy …
Kevin Garcia: Riiiiight.
Flavio Sette: Whaaaa…?
Brian Cronin: It’s changed a few times since then, of course.
Kevin Garcia: Of course.
Blair Marnell: Now he can change once a year
Brian Cronin: But yes, at one point, that’s what it was, and that’s presumably what Reed was referring to.
Kevin Garcia: Then you have God as Kirby telling Thing he’s just better that way.
Brian Cronin: Why Reed can’t tell him that, though, is beyond me.
DavidJustDavid: And of course, Alicia was a Skrull by this point?
Flavio Sette: Yep.
Kevin Garcia: Because it’s the kind of thing that would shatter a man, that’s why.
Blair Marnell: When Reed finally tells him, Ben attacks him as I recall
Avash: That was a later retcon though
Avash: Like, way later
Brian Cronin: Typical Reed “I know more than people about they think they know about themselves”
Tom A.: And once Ben goes back to Earth and Reed tells him the truth, Ben flips out because he’d already “killed” his human form made real on Battleworld, which wouldn’t have happened if Reed had just told him.
Tom A.: And thus, Ben stayed away from the team for a few more months, until after Byrne’s run ended.
Kevin Garcia: To paraphrase Kitty Pryde, “Professor Richards is a jerk!”
Brian Cronin: Pretty much,
Avash: Where does that arc take place? A solo Thing miniseries?
Brian Cronin: Thing’s solo series
Blair Marnell: it was an ongoing series
Brian Cronin: Mike Carlin took over from Byrne on writing duties just in time for this arc.
Brian Cronin: So Thing has wacky adventures on Battleworld for 11 months before returning to Earth.
Kevin Garcia: I just realized… after opening the story with a few lines, and possessing Klaw in the climax, the Beyonder doesn’t get any last words in before this series ends.
Avash: What about Zsaji’s race? Do they just stay there?
Flavio Sette: Never to be seen again, I guess.
Tom A.: Said wacky adventures include Universal horror movie monsters, some creatures called “The Things”, an evil Ben Grimm, and the return of Ultron.
Kevin Garcia: And Yancy Street aliens.
Tom A.: Oh, also Battleworld blows up.
DavidJustDavid: It does?
Brian Cronin: Yeah.
Blair Marnell: As soon as he leaves
Brian Cronin: It’s only there for Ben.
Kevin Garcia: It was a trip.
Brian Cronin: Once he’s done with it, it no longer had a reason to exist.
Avash: And all the aliens die?
Kevin Garcia: And it technically “never existed” or something, if I recall.
Kevin Garcia: So no one actually died, and nothing that happened there actually mattered.
Avash: It sure did, that was the point
Tom A.: There was kind of a disconnect between Shooter’s version of Battleworld and the one in The Thing solo.
Flavio Sette: Retcons all the way down.
Avash: Exhibit 1: Venom
Tom A.: But anyway, that’s Secret Wars.
Avash: The finale was … underwhelming
Tom A.: There is nothing to fear…
Brian Cronin: I mean, it had some of the strongest moments of the series.
Avash: There was no reason for it to double sized at all
Brian Cronin: But yes, it also had a lot of padding.
DavidJustDavid: So is the title significant because fear defeated Doom?
Flavio Sette: Certainly the… secretest of Wars.
DavidJustDavid: His own insecurity?
Brian Cronin: Which was weird because, as you note, Avash, it didn’t need to be double-sized.
Avash: Except for hundreds of people from Denver
Flavio Sette: To coin a term.
Brian Cronin: It’s gotta be, David.
Kevin Garcia: Ah, it’s only Denver.
Brian Cronin: That his own fear led to his loss.
Brian Cronin: And then Ben mentions it again for, well, no reason, actually.
Avash: I loved Doom throughout the series
DavidJustDavid: I finally get it after 35. years.
Kevin Garcia: Doom is always great, which I have to keep explaining to my friends that only know him from those horrible movies.
Avash: Other highlights were: Captain America, Molecule Man, Titania, Volcana
Kevin Garcia: And Klaw-aw-aw-aw.
Avash: Also, Klaw, but not sure of that character can be called Klaw
Flavio Sette: This really didn’t have to be twelve issues, right? 8-10 would’ve been fine. But still, I had fun. Certainly better than I remembered it being.
Tom A.: Yeah, it’s funny that when Peter returns to Earth, he has all of these pictures that he took of Battleworld that he destroys because he wants to keep the “Secret Wars” secret, but then there’s all these people from Denver that know.
Tom A.: The war wasn’t very secret at all.
Kevin Garcia: This was when the idea of a 12 issue series (did they call them “maxi-series” yet?) was still new, so the planning probably wasn’t all the way there.
Avash: I am pleasantly surprised. The series was much better than I expected it to be
Kevin Garcia: It was secret from the general public.
Kevin Garcia: They just knew the heroes disappeared then reappeared.
Tom A.: Maybe the real secret wars were the friends they made along the way.
Kevin Garcia: That’s the idea, Tom!
Tom A.: Like, um, Magneto.
Kevin Garcia: Yeah, just ask Jan.
Kevin Garcia: They were good friends.
Kevin Garcia: Good… friends…
DavidJustDavid: And the aliens that don’t exist anymore.
Avash: Did Molecule Man erase their memories or something?
Brian Cronin: Plus, as Shooter was finishing things up.
Brian Cronin: He knew that he was going to do a sequel.
Brian Cronin: As the sales on this were TREMENDOUS.
Flavio Sette: Gotta keep the Wars a Secret. God forbid everyone on Earth finds out about Colossus’ tryst with Zsaji.
Avash: Why would you need to keep it secret anyway?
Avash: Good point, Flavio
Brian Cronin: So the ending likely petered a bit because Shooter knew he’d have a sequel to follow the misadventures of Beyonder and Molecule Man, everyone’s favorite wacky cop duo.
Tom A.: So Secret Wars was followed-up not just by Secret Wars II, but by Secret Wars III (an FF story that exists so that frustrated Marvel writers could retcon away Shooter’s Beyonder stuff), Secret War (no real relation), Beyond! (similar premise) and Secret Wars (2015).
Brian Cronin: True, it was a whole Secret cottage industry.
Brian Cronin: Okay, folks, that’s a wrap on Secret Wars!
Flavio Sette: It’s been one hell of a ride. Looking forward to the next one!
Avash: Yeah, see you all there
Kevin Garcia: Thanks for the memories!
DavidJustDavid: These have been a lot of fun, thank you very much.
Brian Cronin: Thanks for coming, everyone!
Tom A.: Thanks for having us!
Flavio Sette: Thanks for having us, Brian!
Check back soon for the next reader chat, as we take on Knightfall!
In a special discussion with readers, CSBG talked about Secret Wars #12, the finale of the series, where Doom killed everyone, so what happens next?