Secret War

secret war cover trade paperback tpb
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 3/10
Art: 5/10

Mini-series with lasting effects

Turned Marvel sour for me, drawn out story with huge logic jumps, too dark of art

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Secret War

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis

Artist:  Gabriele Dell’otto

# of Issues:  6

Release Date:  2009


Secret War #1

Reprints Secret War #1-5 and Secret War:  From the Files of Nick Fury #1 (April 2004-December 2005).  When Luke Cage and Jessica Jones are attacked in their home by a superhuman, memories begin to resurface in Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Wolverine of a mission they never remembered doing.  With Captain America, Black Widow, Nick Fury, and Agent Daisy Johnson, a secret war was staged and a terrorist target was hit…without any of their knowledge.  Now, the past they can’t remember has come back to haunt them, and Nick Fury might pay the price!

Written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Gabriele Dell’otto, Secret War was a Marvel event comic.  The five issue limited series was plagued with publication problems and took almost two years to complete with a one-shot Secret War:  From the Files of Nick Fury #1 (May 2005) falling in the publication gap.

Secret War is where Marvel started to go south for me.  I’ve been an avid Marvel reader all my life, but I didn’t like the turn taken by Bendis to bring a more real and modern tale of terrorism to the Marvel Universe.  The events in the series set up years of problematic “big events” (generally helmed by Bendis, and I have never had the level of interest in Marvel since these events occurred.

First, the story should never, never have taken so long to produce.  With five short issues and a “major event” label, the comic should have been completed before going to press.  I lost total interest in the story as it was released and rereading it now, not enough happened to make it very monumental or worth-wild as a reader to keep invested.  The cover price per issue was quite hefty and most of the issues were filled with dossiers…sketches and dossiers that take up the precious little pages that comics today have to tell a story.  It is not beneficial to the consumer much less the reader.


Secret War #3

The story in general also is a bit of a question mark.  In the first issue it becomes pretty obvious what happened, but then it takes four issues (with the big real in Secret War #5) of what actually occurred…and what occurred is pretty much what you thought happened in Secret War #1.  It also doesn’t make much sense that a foreign leader of a country that had probably dominated world news is attacked at home and potentially killed, but no one seems to know it?  It just is not good storytelling.

The art also is problematic.  Dell’otto provided the painted art, but it is too heavily inked (or I guess painted).  It is unclear what is going on in many panels and “generic fighting” I guess would be the answer if you don’t know.  I know that Alex Ross does it as well, but using real characters as the basis for characters in comics also is a bit unnerving.  I didn’t need to see Angelina Jolie as Daisy Johnson (also a rather generic character created for the series).

I didn’t like Secret War when it was released, and now some five years later, I like it less now.  I don’t really understand Bendis.  I love his work on Daredevil, Alias, Powers, and Ultimate Spider-Man, but his Avengers work has left a lot to be desired.  I don’t think he’s a very good team-book writer and Marvel invested too much faith in him to guide their franchises for too long.  Secret War led into the also poor Secret Invasion, later Bendis’ spin-off series Secret Warriors, and other major crossovers that continue to shape the Marvel Universe today.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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