The multiverse was destroyed and now all that remains is Battleworld, a patchwork of worlds that no longer exist that are ruled by Doctor Doom.
The domain of Manhattan is where the several of the Marvel (616) and Ultimate (1610) heroes find themselves. Struggling to coexist and interested in fixing the problem of a dimensional tear that Ultimate Iron Man explored, they agree to try to work together under Doom's radar. But Doom has many resources and he has sent his enforcers to Manhattan - The Thor Corps has arrived!
|Executive Producer:||Alan Fine|
|Chief Creative Officer:||Joe Quesada|
|Editor In Chief:||Axel Alonso|
|Assistant Editor:||Chris Robinson, Emily Shaw|
|Writer:||Brian Michael Bendis|
The Thor Corps (consisting of seven different Thors) intercept the Marvel heroes (Spider-Man, Iron Man, Scarlet Witch, Emma Frost, Cyclops, Storm, Hawkeye and Doc Green) at Avengers Tower and order them to leave the dimensional tear alone of there will be consequences. The heroes take issue with this, but Hawkeye is the most vocal, claiming he is his own man and does not need to follow the advice of Victor Von Doom! In response, he is killed by a Thor! Shocked, the remaining heroes hold themselves back from fighting as the Thors leave.
Later, Ultimate Tony Stark breaks into Avengers Tower and finds Marvel Tony Stark frustrated over the dimensional tear he's been investigating. Ultimate Tony asks why Marvel Tony is blaming him for what is happening. He doesn't really answer but shows his dislike for his drinking and his lack of responsibility. Ultimate Tony offers him a drink and then apologises. He throws the hip flask out of the window and they get work together.
At their home, Ultimate Aunt May and Ultimate Gwen Stacy have dinner with Marvel Peter Parker. It is fairly weird but they get along as well as you expect.
The Raft, a maximum security prison, is stocked to the brim with criminals. The Ultimate Punisher is among them. Utter chaos breaks out when Ultimate Hulk crashes into the facility! The prison guards can do nothing to stop his rampage, particularly when it turns out he's fighting Marvel Hulk! Ultimate Nick Fury and Marvel Commander Hill deploy Hulkbuster SHIELD agents to combat them! Dozens of Ultimate and Marvel heroes also race to the scene!
Amid the chaos, Ultimate Punisher escapes...!
Brian Michael Bendis slows the pace down a bit this issue, allowing for Manhattan and it's character some room to breath, explain itself and not lose readers.
The interaction between the Tony Starks finally get to show off the difference in characters and is far less introspective and more about comparison than similarity than last issue. Hawkeye's death also serves to show the power and might of Doom and grounds the chaos of characters a little within the overall story and structure of Secret Wars.
There remains some misfire for me though. It feels like the Hulk vs. Hulk and Peter Parker meeting Aunt May and Gwen are obligatory scenes that "had" to be done upon a meeting of Marvel and Ultimate Universes. The latter particularly falls flat and was far more successfully during Spider-Men. As the characters state, it's just a little awkward and unnecessary.
Reading two Hulks smashing is simply ok. Seeing two Hulks smashing at the hands of Mark Bagley is simply great. Bagley's given far more to play with this issue (Hulks, Hawkeye and the Stark emotions) and he delivers detailed and engaging panels with each opportunity. Drew Hennessy's inks make a difference to the pencils this issue with things looking a little more crisp.
What this issue does better than the previous is that it explores the concept of Manhattan and Secret Wars whilst moving the story forward and exploring character a bit better.
An improved picture of Manhattan as characters get a little more space.