Secret Wars #9 by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic brings Marvel's massive event comic book to an end, only three months after it was originally scheduled.
The whys and the wherefores are all contained within. Doom is defeated – or is he? Reed Richards wins – or does he?
Some of what we expected is confirmed. Much is not. And plenty is left hanging. Here are three things that stuck out for me.
This is no longer the 616. The phrase coined by Dave Thorpe and/or Alan Moore for Captain Britain was intended as a joke. If DC Comics was Earth One and Earth Two, then the Marvel Earth would be just 616, well down the dial, an irrelevance almost and yet the one that we all chose to read. It was a comedy of perspective. It got picked up by fandom, even as Marvel editorial disdained it. However in the last year everyone got to use it, editorial restrictions were off and 616 was suddenly the term used in all Marvel titles.
Well not any more it seems. DC Comics has Earth Prime? Marvel has… Prime Earth.
Secondly, the Fantastic Four are not dead. Neither Mister Fantastic nor Sue Storm meet the big one – instead they are the big one. With Franklin and Valeria, they are no longer superheroes… they are gods.
In most superhero stories, when offered the temptations of godhood, the superheroes refuse, that power is not for them and, as we know, power corrupts and ultimate power corrupts absolutely. But here, it was either Doom or Reed.
It sounds very bad indeed of course. This is not science, this is religion. Is the death of Mister Fantastic, as seen on Prime Earth, just a cover story for their absence? Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter wanted the Fantastic Four title gone by the time of the Fox movie against the wishes of Marvel editorial. They have done as commanded – but in the process have made them gods.
And we know have Franklin as not only a creator of all things, but the creator of all bad things, the instigator of suffering, of death, of cancer…quite a lot for the shoulders of a kid to bear. Won't something snap?
Then there's Miles Morales getting his mother back, as we had seen teased. Not bad for a burger. And Black Panther getting Wakanda back, as a space faring nation, ahead of Captain Marvel, Ultimates and his own series. It places him bang smack in the centre of Prime Earth. Oh and there's Doom of course. But everything else, the breaking of magic, and how certain people from The Regent to Old Man Logan to The Maker to Singularity to Ultimate Thor's hammer to Weirdworld managed to somehow survive the end of Battleworld, that is all still up in the air. Their stories are still to be told.
And as for that ending… which, yes, is very Moffat… could it have something to do with this?
Comics courtesy of Orbital Comics, London. Who will be hosting a special New Year's launch party on Friday from 7pm, tying in to the release of issue 2 of Comic Heroes magazine, with Kieron Gillen, Jessica Martin, Paul Cornell, Rachael Stott and more.