Secret Wars (2015) was described by Marvel Editor-in-Chief Alex Alonso as two pizzas colliding together to create a whole new kind of pizza. Alonso teased that the pizzas (i.e. the Marvel universes),“They’re going to combine toppings, some toppings are going to drop off.” At the time, it was difficult to grasp what Alonso was talking about because all I kept thinking about was pizza, and the tragedy of toppings falling off of pizza. But after reading Secret Wars #1 (2015), I’ve come to understand what all this talk of pizza smashing is about.
Before I get into all the pizza smashing, a couple things have to be explained in order to understand what has lead to Secret Wars (2015). Jonathan Hickman, writer of Avengers, New Avengers, and others, introduced a threat to the Avengers when he took over the title in 2012. Boiled down to its simplest form, the threat is that Earths from alternate universes are colliding and exploding and the one that withstands the “incursion” of the other, continues to exist along with the universe it was a part of. Although there are multiple universes within the Marvel comic landscape, the two that are often highlighted are 616 and Ultimate (1610).
Secret Wars issue #1 picks up at the climax of an incursion between Earth-616 and Earth-1610. Unfortunately, I was behind in my reading of Avengers and New Avengers, and therefore this issue was a bit jarring because, initially, I had no idea what was going on. I don’t fault those involved because enough material was printed beforehand to bring me up to speed on the matter that I failed to read (i.e. the newspaper flyer). However, it would have been nice to have a one page summary at the beginning of the book so that newer readers could get caught up.
In other posts I have mentioned my love-hate relationship with comic book events, and this is no different. So much is going on in this issue that the storytelling is very choppy. No doubt, a lot has to be covered by this event and that leaves little time for gradual storytelling. I would not give this to someone just beginning to read Marvel comics.
The high point of this issue was the art. The wraparound cover done by Alex Ross was just amazing and the internal art completed by Esad Ribić is right on point for an event comic. I can’t praise these two enough.
In regards to pizzas being smashed, at the conclusion of the issue, Earth-616 and Earth-1610 both explode as neither can withstand the incursion of the other. From what I could tell, only a handful of heroes survived from both Earths. I found it odd (maybe because I’m behind in my reading) but the majority of the fighting was between the heroes of each Earth; I didn’t recognize any villains involved in the battle.
This issue definitely lived up to the hype. Earth-616 and Earth-1610 have been destroyed – there is no going back now, but then again, this is comic books we are talking about. In this issue, toppings (i.e. characters) fell off the pizza and others combined with a pie (universe) they were not originally a part of. Most notably was the Spider-Man of the Ultimate Universe (Miles Morales) and the Spider-Man of the 616 Universe (Peter Parker) surviving issue #1, which means the new Marvel Universe could be made up of two Spider-Men living in the same time stream.
All-in-all not a bad first issue. Consume. Review. Repeat. gives Secret Wars (2015) issue #1 a seven out of ten pizzas smashing together.