You know, if it wasn’t for a toy company, this review would never have been written. It’s a long story, but the gist of it is this. After DC Comics launched their successful range of action figures, Marvel followed suit. But the toy company wanted their figures to have a common theme as it were, and suggested that Marvel launch a comic that would help sell their new line. And thus Secret Wars was born.
Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars, first published in comic form way back in 1984, tells the story of a powerful entity known as The Beyonder. This being has observed the human race for many years, intrigued by the human emotion of desire. So he decides to conduct a little experiment, and brings together two armies, one consisting of super-heroes, led by Captain America, and including the likes of Spider-Man, the X-Men, the Fantastic Four and the Hulk and others, and a second arming of villains, lead by Dr. Doom, consisting of Dr. Octopus, the Wrecking Crew, the Absorbing Man, and more. The all-powerful Galactus was also chosen.
The Beyonder’s plan was a simple one. He created a planet, made up of pieces of other worlds, and named it Battleworld. There, the heroes and the villains would engage in battle, with the winner getting anything they desire.
And when all of that is put into the melting pot, you’ve got a tremendous story, a landmark in the history of comics. Writer Jim Shooter has done an excellent job, handling an extensive cast list of some of Marvel’s top characters, filling the story with war, love, death, and quite a few hideous monsters. There’s also conflicts within the teams, which only raises the tension levels even more.
Twenty-five years ago, this series really captured the imagination of this young writer, and it still manages to capture my imagination today. It’s not an understatement to say that this is perhaps the greatest story in the history of Marvel Comics, and even though the comic was more successful than the toy line it was designed to promote, it did do one thing, because if it hadn’t been for Secret Wars, other comic companies wouldn’t have attempted anything on this scale. There’d be no annual cosmic event involving every character on their respective rosters, and their respective universes would be somewhat poorer without these stories. Secret Wars really did change the face of the comic book industry.
Which is why, if you’re a genuine comic book fan, you should get this collection. If were around the first time, you’ll remember just how great this story is, and if you weren’t, you’ll be able to experience this wonder for the first time.