Comics : Secret Wars #8

Staff Only
Edit Review
Edit Title

This story is part of a Lookback Series: Crossover Crisis!

This review was first published on: 2007.

Background...

The omnipotent Beyonder gathers Earth's greatest heroes and villains and dumps them on a planet of his own creation, commanding them to battle. The winning side gets all of their hearts' desires. He can do this, because he's the Beyonder. Galactus, who is on the villain team, has begun constructing one of his world eating machines. The villains have apparently killed the Wasp, and dumped her body in the alien village that the heroes were using as a base. She Hulk went after her alone, and is in the process of being beaten to death. The X-Men relieve the Avengers of their watch over Galactus, and the heroes race to She Hulk's rescue!

It's Cap's heroes: 5, and Doom's villains: 4.

In Detail...

Secret Wars #8
Dec 1984 : SMURF 251.775 : SM Guest
Summary: Spider-Man Appears, First Black Costume
Editor:  Tom DeFalco
Writer:  Jim Shooter
Pencils:  Mike Zeck
Inker:  Jack Abel, John Beatty, Mike Esposito
Staff Only
Issue
Review
 Reprinted In: Secret Wars (Reprints) #8
 Reprinted In: Secret Wars (UK) #15
 Reprinted In: Secret Wars (UK) #16
 Reprinted In: Secret Wars (UK) #17
Articles: Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus (Otto Octavius), Human Torch, Lizard, Spider-Woman II (Carpenter), Titania, Venom, The Wasp

The heroes race through the mountains in their own different fashions. Some, like our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man, are optimistic about She Hulk's situation, thinking that she is probably holding her own. Others, not so much. Finally, Doom base peeks out from over the horizon, and the heroes charge. Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four is confused as to why Doom hasn't detected their presence yet (If you don't remember, Doom was trying to steal something cosmic from Galactus, but was caught out by Big G and thrown to Earth. He's pretty broken up about the whole thing, and doesn't have the will to fight anymore). Thing commands Thor to yell something corny and whip his hammer at the wall of the mammoth base. Thor says nothing as he throws his hammer. Well, 'nothing' by Thor's standards is "Nay, I hath no vainglorious oath to utter, only a prayer that we hath but one to avenge!"

The Enchantress, one of the shiftier Norse deities (who has a thing for Thor), is drinking herself silly. Oh no, she cries, is that Thor's hammer pounding into the building? She Harry Potter's herself some more wine, but first uses her magic equivalent of a television screen to witness the action outside. By Jove, it IS Thor! She almost seduced him, she reminisces, almost kissed him and made her love her. She goes on for a page about how he thinks he's such a great hero, and that he thought she would redeem herself, and how maybe she should have. At the end of her monologue, she tries to get up and confront our heroes, but falls to the ground, too drunk to stand. She realises just how pathetic she's become.

Volcana, the girl from Earth that Doom empowered to serve as a lackey, stands vigil over her wounded fiancee the Molecule Man. Elsewhere, Doom's personal servant Klaw frees the Lizard from the cage the other villains put him into, because he just can't stand seeing people trapped. Klaw goes on about how he was trapped and it drove him MAD, Mad, mad, ma, m... he's insane, remember?

The Wrecking Crew, Absorbing Man, Titania and Doc Ock are beating on a defenseless She Hulk when they hear Thor's hammer. Being a long time Thor veteran, Absorbing Man identifies the strike as coming from the mighty Mjolnir, and realises that the heroes must be busting in to attack them. Wrecker frets that they aren't ready for a big fight, but Titania (a newbie like Volcana at the whole super villain game) assures him that all they need to do is beat the heroes up! (Did she mention her earth shattering discoveries about how one plus one equals two?). The villains leave the scene to find their nemeses, but not before Ock delivers an apparently lethal blow to She Hulk. Will our green heroine live?

After all the hoopla about Thor busting down the door, the heroes finally enter the Doom base! Captain Marvel (the female one, not the other guy) transforms into her light form, in which she can cover miles of corridors in the blink of an eye. The rest of the heroes randomly disperse to flush out the villains and find She Hulk. Iron Man is the first to fly around the corner, where the Wrecker swings his crowbar into Iron Man's chest piece. Suitably peeved, Iron Man blasts the Wrecker down with a nice, healthy repulsor blast. Meanwhile, the Fantastic Three (Sue Storms is, for reasons not explained, still on Earth) make the same fatal mistake as Iron Man, rushing around a corner. Doc Ock busts a water pipe, and the Human Torch is out! As Reed Richards moves to catch his step-brother, Bulldozer charges him. Spider-Man jumps to the rescue, decking Bulldozer across the face and dropping him with one hit. Spidey barely escapes a very painful hit to the ribs as Absorbing Man strikes, swinging his huge chain ball at the web slinging maurauder. It's the Thing's turn to rush to the rescue, but as he approaches the Absorbing Man (with such wit as "Hey, why dontcha fight someone yer own size?") he suddenly transforms back into normal Ben Grimm. This has been happening randomly throughout the series, and Ben has yet to understand why. Anyway, he's depowered in front of the Absorbing Man. Wotta revoltin' development!

This is where we get our first look at the capabilities of the new Spider- Woman. As Absorbing Man gets ready to beat on poor old Ben, Spider-Woman attacks from behind, picking Absorbing Man up and throwing him into a steel wall. Absorbing Man is appalled that he was taken by surprise by a woman, and promises to make his revenge painful. He doesn't get the chance, as she whips his chain ball at his face and knocks him unconscious. We cut to a little scene happening a few meters away where Hawkeye warns Piledriver that he doesn't want to shoot him. Piledriver is confident that puny, little arrows can't do anything to his amazing bod, so powerful it can repel bullets. Hawkeye shoots him in the shoulder, and Piledriver limps off, astounded at the power of the arrow.

The Hulk smashes his way into the Enchantress' room. The cunning sorceress has regained her composure. The Hulk warns her that he doesn't want to hurt her, but the Enchantress moves in anyway, talking to the Hulk about how defenseless she is. She asks Hulk to look into her eyes and love her. He does, and needless to say, it's a spell. The Hulk is down. Captain America rushes into the scene to see his fallen comrade. "For the moment, he merely sleeps, doubtless dreaming dreams of me!" Enchantress tells him "But alas, he can never truly have me, for I am yours, my handsome captain!" Yeah, she's beating the same, tired routine. Cap doesn't fall for it, and Enchantress starts trying to zap him with magic. Cap dodges a few of her spells, and then smacks her in the face with his shield. He and the Human Torch leave to try and locate Doom.

Above the battle we left behind with Absorbing Man, Titania is trying to shove a gigantic, metal girder onto the unsuspecting heroes from up in the rafters. Spider-Man jumps from nowhere, quipping "You know, I had a feeling somebody was up here in the rafters trying to drop a forty ton beam on our heads!" Titania can't admit that she knows Spider-Man will beat her, so she tries all of her best moves, even pounding the ground to tear it up. As she lobs chunks of rock and steel at Spidey, she bellows about how she USED to be a scrawny weakling. But now she's bigger and badder than ever before, and she's all giddy about how she's going to be remembered as the person who killed Spider-Man! The last we see of this fight for no is Titania with a huge sheet of steel, slamming it down on Spider-Man.

Ben Grimm and Hawkeye both run down an abandoned hallway, trying to find the team of heroes that left them behind. Pulling yet another stupid 'running around the corner' thing, they bump into none other than the two nasties whom we saw earlier, Lizard and Klaw! Things start to look pretty grim (Ha, ha, ha. Grim. Get it? Never mind).

Volcana hears a small band of heroes (Iron Man, Reed Richards, Spider-Woman and Thor) approaching, and shoots a blast of lava at them. Ever courageous, Iron Man decides that he'll try to fly through the lava to punch Volcana out. No such luck; his armor can't withstand the heat, and he's on the floor. To make things worse, Molecule Man awakes, and creates a shield made out of condensed air molecules. Volcana orders her lover to open a 'gun port'; her next blast will finish off Iron Man for sure. Reed Richards scoops Iron Man out of the way just in time. It doesn't matter, though, because Molecule Man has all the time his little, invisible shield. Although, that's not entirely correct: It's a transparent shield, and therefore, light can travel through it. And so can Captain Marvel, who grabs the Molecule Man, probably intending to try and lower the shield. However, Molecule Man has just had a nasty cut stitched up, and when Captain Marvel grabs at him, it tears wide open and he goes out like a light. Volcana surrenders, if only they'll help her 'Owie'.

Back to Spidey! The web head dodges the huge sheet of steel that Titania tried to slam down on him. "But... nobody's that fast!" "Nobody else!" Spider-Man retorts. With a little room, no one can hit him. Not the X-Men, not the Absorbing Man, and certainly not Titania. He starts beating on her, telling her that she should be happy. She aspired to be a bully, and she's a classic: Talking tough until the tables are turned, at which point she becomes a crying wimp. Titania protests that it's not fair, and Spider-Man finishes her off by lobbing her through a wall out into the mountains.

Cap and Johnny Storms finally find Doom's room. Unfortunately for them, it's being guarded by Ultron, who's itching for a chance to talk about how great he is. The Human Torch tries to roast Ultron, but the robot's exterior is too strong. Ultron catches Torch by the foot. Just when things look like they might get bad, Captain America orders him to use his 'Nova-flame', the most intense level of heat that Storm can hit. Cap hides behind his shield as the Torch lights up. When everything calms down, Cap see's that Johnny was able to melt Ultron's interior, which was not as formidable as his exterior. Cap scouts ahead to fight the man himself, Victor Von Doom. "It looks like it's just me and you Doom!" But Doom doesn't care. He's wasted from his little spat with Galactus, and is in no shape to fight.

The fight is winding down. Reed Richards and Spidey find that Hawkeye and Ben have subdued the Lizard and Klaw by... playing Patty cake? Hey, they bought into it. The Lizard and Klaw are willing to go quietly if they can finish their game. Captain Marvel locates an unconscious She Hulk, and brings her back to the head heroes, Cap and Reed, who have taken the villains prisoner. They place her into a healing pod, and hope for the best. Reed and Cap talk about how lucky they are to have gotten to She Hulk when they did; had they reached her seconds later, she would've died. The heroes relax and enjoy some downtime. Finally, they claim the Doom base as their own, and Hawkeye goes to fetch Wasp's body.

At the end of last issue, the healer Zsaji fell unconscious and Colossus, who has grown affectionate towards her, was present. We see him rushing through the streets towards Zsaji's home. There, he lays her down, and spies a bottle containing an unknown substance. Grasping for straws, he wonders if perhaps this is the gas that the other heroes said could link two people's minds together. Not a cautious fellow, he opens it up. It turns out that it IS the aforementioned gas, and Colossus gets to see how Zsaji exhausted herself trying to revive the Wasp. Colossus is awed by his love's self sacrifice to save the Wasp, and watches over her as she sleeps. Hawkeye and Captain Marvel can't believe their eyes as they enter Wasp's resting place to find her alive! The Wasp, however, is distraught: She doesn't have any make up! And with no comb, her hair is a mess! It's nice to know that she has her priorities straight.

Reed Richards patches up Iron Man's suit. Iron Man is currently not Tony Stark, but James Rhodes. As Reed tinkers with the armor, Rhodes probes if Reed was surprised that there was a black man under the armor. Not as sensitive about the topic, Reed says he'd never really given it much thought.

And now, the moment you've all been waiting for!

Spidey see's Thor leaving a room with the Hulk. Thor, who's helmet and cape were destroyed in issue 4, is fully garbed. Spidey's costume is torn up, so he's eager to learn where Thor acquired his new duds. Thor tells Spider-Man of a machine in the other room that can create clothing based on the user's thoughts. Spidey enters the room, and not knowing which machine he is supposed to use, he chooses the one that looks like it's begging to read his mind. Activating the machine, a black ball pops out. Spidey is confused, and becomes startled as the ball morphs into a slimy substance and starts crawling up his arm.

Lo and behold! The symbiote costume! Spidey's pretty amazed, and guesses that his costume came out the way it did because he was subconsciously thinking of the new Spider-Woman. Before Spidey can really revel in his new costume, the ground starts shaking violently, and Prof. X mentally alerts all of the heroes that Galactus has started eating the planet!

In General...

This issue was non stop action! The odds were tough, but the heroes won out in the end, and the last panel with Prof X's warning was great. The next issue will hopefully be as fast paced as this one.

One thing I liked about this issue was the flow of the action, almost like it was torn from a Matrix movie. When you read it, you can almost see the motion happening in your head. Spider-Man's tangle with Titania was a great example of this, and another great moment for Spidey in this crossover.

And who could forget that last page with Spidey's costume? It's splashed all over the cover, so the buildup was pretty significant for one page of payoff. It's kind of cool to see Spidey in his black costume for the first time, but also kind of lackluster to have him in it for about half a page. On the topic of Spider-Man, he's featured in this issue more prominently than in others. It was nice to see him actually doing stuff, and I hope there's more of that in the series.

Overall Rating...

Great action, more Spidey, and a terrific cliffhanger ending! Not to mention Spidey's suit. My only problem with this issue is that it had a few draggy parts before and after the action. Other than that, it was perfect, and more than deserves a 4 web rating.

Footnote...

The score is Heroes: 6, and the Villains: 4, with four more issues to go.