Geez, for a while it felt like this day would never come.
What started off as a sprawling, tedious retread of an idea (Secret Wars! What's old is new! Loogit all this new nostalgia titles!) became something so much more, and it was all thanks to the event-named book, 'Secret Wars' by Jonathan Hickman and Esad Ribic.
The epic that Hickman and Ribic were weaving kept encountering speed bumps, like long delays and the addition of a ninth issue. Other Secret Wars-connected comics ranged from good to comatose, so this book became the centerpiece of interest - this narrative was going to explain the only reset the Marvel Universe would ever experience.
So here we are, with the finale of the destruction and renewal of the MU, and it boils down to quarrel between two of Marvel's longest-running characters: Reed Richards and Doctor Doom.
This book roundhouses your heart from start to finish - it opens with the Black Panther (armed with an Infinity Gauntlet) going toe-to-toe with God Emperor Doom, and it's brutal. The Battleworld shakes with the combat, as Reed finally encounters his estranged family.
However, it eventually dawns on Doom that this battle is a distraction, and only one man could figure out what was happening and how to undo. Meanwhile, the Maker reveals his true colors, but Owen Reece, the vessel for the Beyonders' power, takes Reed's side in the skirmish... and then Doom shows up.
Without giving too much away, the two long-time rivals end up at each others' throats, with gut-punching dialogue that reveals what the two men truly think of one another...and Owen Reece acquiesces those latent thoughts.
Then? Marvel starts again.
The ending of the story, which features the Future Foundation and the Richards, is heart felt. Reed confesses to Franklin that it's not the time for the FF to be super heroes, but instead it's finally time to be a family and wrap themselves in love and science. It's pure, and it touches on the deeply rooted foundation of the Fantastic Four that few newer writers understood (Mark Waid and Hickman are the only ones I thought truly 'Got it' in the last few decades).
As stated Early, HIckman absolutely ate the lunch of every creator at Marvel: this book was astonishingly paced, plotted, and executed. Every conversation was fluid and intense, and the reader was hit with razor-sharp dialogue any time a character opened its mouth. Hickman had a handle on every character he wrote, making them compelling in a way some hadn't been in years. This event should have been banal, but having Hickman as the architect was a triumph.
Esad Ribic also turned in some of the best work in his career on this title, and even in this book - the splash he had between Doom and Reed was incalcuably incredible. Ribic's sullen, bearded Richards is actually my favorite version of the character, and the taunting looks from T'Challa were only matched by the unhinged expressions of Reece. The colors alternated between subtle and vivid, and one can only wonder what new opportunity will be grand enough for Ribic's full array of skills.
It's a beautiful book, a beautiful story, and one of the best events Marvel has ever foisted upon its reading public. HIckman and Ribic should be proud of the story they told, and everyone needs to read this.
LOWDOWN: 10 out of 10 pelvic thrusts. This is a truly wonderful ending to an Event that soured a lot of folks right off the bat. In fact, from the delays to the expansion to Marvel's inability to get the fucking book out to kick off their giant retooling, this book succeeds in spite of them. Pick it up, you don't be disappointed.