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Potomac Ripper said on August 30th, 2013 at 1:04 pm

My SW #8 signed by Shooter is one of the few times I felt an autograph added to the value of a book. This series was his signature work.

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I never read the original Secret Wars. But it seems like they yoinked the idea of ‘unworthiness for godhood’ from this story during the original Infinity Gauntlet story.

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Eye-Roller Lass said on August 30th, 2013 at 2:33 pm

I lost every angstrom of goodwill I had for Shooter around Legion of Superheroes v5 #49.
I really should check out Secret Wars, though.

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Kyle Casey said on August 30th, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Yeah, Secret Wars was pretty bad ass. From all of the Big Moments John mentions in the article to Doom basically creating Titania and Volcana (Not to mention resurrecting Klaw) to the wholesale beatdown of She-Hulk to big-bully Titania getting her comeuppance at the hands of Spider-Man, the whole thing ruled and ruled hard and didn’t stop ruling till it was done. Great article, John, thanks!

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Pennyforth said on August 30th, 2013 at 4:52 pm

“You got to see Spider-Man beating the entire X-Men simply by virtue of being too flippy-shit to punch.”

That sentence is going in my text file of quotes that amuse me beyond all sense of reason. Thank you.

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Yeah the whole business with Spider-Man beating Titania so bad that she had an (arachno)phobia about him for a long time afterwards was great.

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I loved reading these when I was wee. And then I loved reading them when I was older and then came to appreciate that apparently Colossus was the true chick magnet of the X-Men.

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Articles like this are one of the Things I Love About Comics.

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I hate to be That Guy, but I’m pretty sure Absorbing Man’s arm wasn’t torn off by the Hulk but sliced off by Wolverine. Still, it was a pretty cool moment.

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highlyverbal said on August 31st, 2013 at 3:13 am

Great article. I also liked that the heroes split, and it was partially centered around the X-Men’s willingness to work alongside Magneto. Your comments are very accurate about his motivations, and of course the X-Men could relate to this narrative — I greatly enjoyed the sophistication of this “know thine enemy” development.

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But it seems like they yoinked the idea of ‘unworthiness for godhood’ from this story during the original Infinity Gauntlet story.

Secret Wars predates Infinity Gauntlet by about 7 years.

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I love Secret Wars. Its so up front about its nature (the foreword explains how it was trying to sell comics) and has these amazing moments. I’m a big fan of Doom in this comic, who, we learn, records everything he says for perpetuity. Which, of course he does!

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Thok – I know Secret Wars predates IG. Which is why I said it seems like they took the idea from SW and attached it to Thanos, if I wasn’t clear.

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Kaos Machina said on August 31st, 2013 at 10:25 am

Thok: I think he was saying that IG took that from Secret Wars, no the other way around.

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My favorite Secret Wars moment is specifically from the “Spider-Man clowns the X-Men” scene. While he webs Colossus in the face, verbally mocks Nightcrawler’s attempts to match his acrobatics, and dodges eyeblasts from Cyclops, Wolverine leaps at him from behind.
In the next panel Spider-Man casually swats him out of midair with a backhand.
Oh, early Wolverine. You were yet to become arbitrarily invincible.

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Worst parts about Secret Wars?

I like the idea of the distrust for mutants making the other heroes unable to work with the X-men and creating a possibly-fatal rift in the team of heroes, but the way it was done was so clumsy. Xavier comes across as an idiot and “a Jerk!” for just running out on the heroes. He’s arguably as much at fault as Banner for the savage beating She-Hulk suffered.

And I really hated the way shooter treated the Hulk – he had like 2 good moments (the mountain and vs. Ultron), but even his big moment holding up the mountain was undermined by the whole business of Reed needling him to feed his anger. Again, I like the idea of Banner’s psyche being a handicap rather than an asset for the Hulk, but in execution it mostly came across as putting the Hulk down to make the Fantastic Four seem more awesome.

And, boy, is it obvious that the FF and Spider-Man are Shooter’s favorites (and the Hulk and X-Men his least favorites). Galactus’s whole REED RICHARDS YOU ARE A COSMIC FORCE FOR GOOD crap made my eyes roll when I was 14. And how that went into Reed’s whole should-they-or-shouldn’t-they fight Galactus reasoning made no sense at all.

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Also, that page later on where the X-Men finally show up to help the Avengers is one of the least dynamic entrances in all of comics. They’re just sort standing there off to the side like they just strolled by and thought they’d check out what’s going on.

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Brian Smith said on August 31st, 2013 at 5:23 pm

When Janet Van Dyne died For Real in Secret Invasion, I wanted someone — ANYONE — to be flippant about it. “Remember the Secret Wars? She died TWICE in one week! She’ll be fine!”

And the cliffhanger for issue 3 IS pretty great, but if memory serves, the actual “I’ll just drop this mountain range on them!” doesn’t happen until issue 4. First we had to have the very Shootery scene of Cap taking roll call when they regroup after abandoning their headquarters, and the very Hawkeye moment when he takes on, like, a 20-ton piece of flying alien debris with a freaking bow and arrow.

Thanks for the article! Secret Wars is what got me into comics, and for all its flaws, there’ll never be anything like it again for me.

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Tim O'Neil said on August 31st, 2013 at 9:32 pm

I think the big question about the Hulk coming out of the SECRET WARS cliffhanger was why he didn’t have Bruce Banner’s intelligence anymore. This led to his going completely nuts when he came back, demolishing both teams of the Avengers, and being exiled into another dimension for a year.

Also, anyone who mocks SECRET WARS II will have me to deal with.

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Oddly enough, my introduction to Wolverine and probably the X-Men as a whole was the Secret Wars action figure. In fact I don’t think I’d even started collecting comics at the time.

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Wolfthomas said on September 1st, 2013 at 1:18 am

@Brian Smith

And then she came back anyway. Comics!

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Jonathan Roth said on September 1st, 2013 at 4:45 am

Other favorite parts from that storyline:

1) The new spider woman taking out the absorbing man (believably I thought)

2) Hawkeye’s reluctance to wound severely with an arrow, yet his willingness to.

3) Ben Grimm’s sense of humor in the first issue, and the “transport” scene from said issue with the hulk carrying the thing and spidery hitching a ride.

4) everyone’s willingness to rally around Captain America.

5) Jim Rhodes kicking ass as the new Iron Man (I was surprised to see a black Iron Man in the series; the only version I knew was tony stark from the spider man cartoon.)

6) The Tom DeFalco written saga of the alien costume, with Mary Jane confiding to Peter about her harsh life.

7) Molecule Man’s reluctant, pathetic, sympathetic portrayal (“My Therapist said I shouldn’t use my powers to hurt anyone!”)

8) The sense of humor in general; Jim Shooter didn’t always write the best dialogue, but he had a wonderful appreciation for the absurd, and the lines usually worked to serve it.

9) Small bits of vulnerability; the usually arrogant Reed Richards refusing command and worrying about his wife, hawkeye and spider sharing a few moments of self doubt, Cap devoted to fixing his shield after all it did for him, Colossus’s mourning and the X-men caring for him, etc.

10) The Human Torch using his Nova Flame against Ultron, though I always thought the release of all of that heat would scorch Captain America, shield or no.

11) Captain America vs. the Enchantress was pretty cool.

To the side, I used to wonder if Captain America would be a little depressed when the whole thing was over; he was always committed to the ideal of people working together despite race, creed, or color, yet the heroes still segregated into mutant/human divisions. I always figured the avatar of WW2 American ideals would believe that the lesson of the great war would be that different groups would unite against a horrible threat (even with segregated units) but when the chips were down, even though they were heroes, they split along racial lines. A bit sad.

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killians irish bread said on September 13th, 2013 at 3:24 am

And, boy, is it obvious that the FF and Spider-Man are Shooter’s favorites (and the Hulk and X-Men his least favorites). Galactus’s whole REED RICHARDS YOU ARE A COSMIC FORCE FOR GOOD crap made my eyes roll when I was 14. And how that went into Reed’s whole should-they-or-shouldn’t-they fight Galactus reasoning made no sense at all.

I’m not saying Jim Shooter didn’t have favorites but I have trouble imagining Jim Shooter ever doing anything based on who was his favorite, vs. doing it based on Jim Shooter’s intensive analysis of what was the Correct Way for a given series of events involving a bunch of characters to happen.

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Halloween Jack said on October 21st, 2013 at 4:43 pm

I used to have the argument back in the day with fellow nerds about whether Secret Wars was better than Crisis on Infinite Earths, with the anti-SW people using the arguments that a) Jim Shooter is a dick, and b) Shooter “ripped off” the idea for SW from Marv Wolfman. To which I say: yes, Shooter was famously a dick–although he’s a talented writer and had some pretty good business ideas while he was EiC, he also alienated any number of people at Marvel for no good reason to the point that, when he was going to write some Legion of Super-Heroes stories at DC some twenty years later, he still had enough enemies in the business that they apparently threatened to quit DC if he was taken on as a freelancer. And, of course, fans had been requesting a What If? of all the superheroes fighting all the supervillains for several years previous. (Marvel had even done their Contest of Champions a couple of years earlier.)

That’s all kind of beside the point, though, which is that SW was arguably much better than CoIE, although that in part had to do with CoIE having an intrinsically flawed premise, that having a multiverse with alternate versions of the same heroes was for some reason inherently bad and confusing, and that there should be One True Superman and blah blah blah. It’s a peculiarly anal approach to superhero world-building, and ranks among Marv Wolfman’s and George Perez’s worst work IMO. (In particular, comparing any random page from CoIE and Perez’s work in Teen Titans shows you how cramped and let’s-just-cover-this-plot-point-and-move-on functional the former is.)

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