Secret Wars #3 – Comic Review

Victor Von Doom, the dictator known as Doctor Doom, reassembled the Marvel Universe into Battleworld, saving millions of lives from destruction as the Marvel Universe ended. Now king and god of this new world, Doctor Doom may slowly lose control. Secret Wars #3 continues this story, and offers:

  • Shocking and confronting artwork.
  • The return of survivors from the Marvel Universe, and key character moments for Doctor Strange and Reed Richards.
  • Questions and ideas on gods and humans.

The opening scenes of the comic show a tranquil and calm space that gives an insight into Doctor Doom’s character, while a later scene delivers another shocking moment for the god and ruler of Battle World, where the reader sees things from Susan Storm’s (The Invisible Woman ) point of view

A truly shocking moment in the artwork for this issue of Secret Wars is Doctor Doom revealing his face to Susan Storm. The pane depicts Doctor Doom staring directly out at the reader. We see the scene from Susan Storm’s point of view for the moment he unmasks. It makes the reveal feel disturbingly close. Without comment on what exactly is show to avoid spoilers, the way this scene plays out does shock.

Backtracking to earlier in the comic, Doctor Strange and Doctor Doom wander through a tranquil, walled garden inside Dooms kingdom at the centre of the Battle World patchwork of worlds. The scene gives an insight into Doctor Doom – he keeps a calm place at the centre of his world, but there is an unusual and unsettling statue that stands out, and is the focal point of these opening scenes.

The survivors of the Marvel Universe return, and listen to Doctor Strange’s explanation about Battleword. Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four is distraught, but Doctor Strange confirms that Doom is an able leader at the end of everything.

Significant plot changes are not brought on by action in Secret Wars #3. The plot pace slows, and beings to muddle along. The information Doctor Strange gives readers about the state of the Marvel Universe, delivered through a question and answer session with other Marvel Universe survivors, enlightens and clarifies what happened. Action is missing. Instead, there are scenes explaining what happened to start Secret Wars, and why Battleworld exists.

Listening to his explanation are several heroes from the Marvel Universe missing since the multiverse finally collapsed. Captain Marvel, Miles Morales and Peter Parker, and Scott Summers are surprised at the changes brought on by Doctor Doom and Doctor Strange. They saved the lives of millions of people, and Doctor Strange points out that Doom is an effective leader.

At the same time, Doctor Doom speaks with The Invisible Woman Susan Storm, saying how he feels he is an uninspiring leader. They talk at length about Doom’s ascent to becoming a god. Is Doctor Doom worthy?

Mr. Fantastic, Reed Richards, is distraught to hear that Doctor Doom governs over a patchwork version of all reality. Even more shocking – the two Doctors assembled this world over the course of 8 years. In that time, they found the multiverse survivors, but kept them hidden and in suspended animation for 3 out of those 8 years.

The comic delves into questions about humans versus gods: are gods that different from humans in terms of motivations, thoughts, and wants?

A question appears: is Doctor Doom worthy of leading this Battle World? Doom remarks at one point “the troubles of gods are infinite and beyond man’s understanding…but it wouldn’t take a god to divine that.” He also says “I am a poor god. I think now that once having made the world, I should have removed myself. Perhaps the gods of old had it right.” Dooms comments on becoming a god delve into ideas on omnipotence. What it means to create and control all things in the world.

Doom wonders if he should withdraw from the world. Susan Storm urges him to keep in contact with the people he governs. The ideas that play out here: gods should interact with the people they govern. Gods are both beyond human understanding, but humans can still figure out their motivations, which are not that different from human wants and needs. The large question that Secret Wars points to, in regards to Doctor Doom here, is are gods that different from humans in terms of motivation, thoughts, and wants?

Despite this, the reaction of the Marvel Universe survivors – Spider-man, Thor, Captain Marvel, Black Panther, and Reed Richards, for example – indicates that a man like Doctor Doom, omnipotent, and in control and being a god won’t be sustainable for long.

Secret Wars #3 is published by Marvel Comics ($3.99USD) Jonathan Hickman (w.) Esad Ribic (a.) Ive Svorcina (c.) Chris Eliopoulos (l.). Cover artwork by Alex Ross.

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