Secret Warps

Secret Warps
Secret Warps review
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Marvel - 978-1-302-91776-0
  • Release date: 2019
  • UPC: 9781302917760
  • Contains adult content?: no
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: yes
  • Positive minority portrayal?: yes
  • CATEGORIES: Superhero

Thanks to some clever plotting on Gerry Duggan’s part, the composite superheroes showcased during Infinity Warps survived in their pocket universe for further use, and Secret Warps provides follow-up outings including new combined heroes and villains. Al Ewing’s five chapter continued story is accompanied by short back-ups from a variety of creators.

How much you enjoy Secret Warps is going to depend greatly on your admiration for the core concept, and whether you feel it was fine for a one-off novelty or an idea with legs. Ewing’s fundamental problem is the necessity to keep introducing more combined personalities, some very contrived, as exemplified by the use of Madame Hel in the opening chapter, seen in Carlos Gómez’s sample art. What does Madame Masque really bring to proceedings when combined with Asgardian goddess of death Hela?

Ewing begins with Soldier Supreme, the combination of Captain America and Doctor Strange, and one of only a few characters aware they’ve been in effect artificially created. The opening chapter takes a tour around the remaining previously introduced heroes who’ll later take centre stage. Arachknight, Ghost Panther, the Terrific Two and Weapon Hex are all being attacked by foes more commonly associated with others. As the story progresses, the novelty rapidly diminishes. Ewing doesn’t develop characters enough to generate sympathy or tension, and doesn’t include enough surprises to overcome a generic plot, although fans of Marvel obscurities will admire his efforts.

Gómez draws four of the five main chapters, with Carlos Villa handling the other. It’s functional superhero art with the concentration on the figures rather than any environments, but with a good eye for a powerful image. Villa follows the same principles, but his more jagged style is less appealing.

There are some joys to be found in the back-ups. Tim Seeley and Bob Quinn’s Weapon Hex is cleverly set up and played out, Mark Waid and Alex Lins deliver a good case of hubris in the Soldier Supreme short, and Jim Zub and Carlo Barberi rework Spider-Man’s first meeting with the Fantastic Four.

Ewing leaves the door open for a continuation, but there hasn’t been one, which indicates the overall appetite being enough is enough.