Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Pierre's Thoughts on Secret Wars II

I have mentioned before how John Byrne was the king of the mountain in the 80s?
Well if you need any proof... you need to look no further then the Secret Wars II Omnibus edition.

I just got the Secret Wars II Omnibus... and one thing I realised as a I was reading it was how it was a veritable time capsule of what Marvel was publishing in 1985 and 1986.
  • You had the New Mutants by Sienkiewicz.
  • Captain America by Mark Gruenwald.
  • The X-men by Claremont/Romita JR/Al Williamson.
  • Daredevil by Mazzucchelli.
  • The Incredible Hulk by Mantlo/Mignola.
  • The Avengers by John Buscema/Tom Palmer
  • The Mighty Thor by Simonson.
  • Amazing Spider-man... with the end of an era with the end (or close to the end) of Ron Frenz's work on the series.
  • Cloak and Dagger by Mantlo/Leonardi.
  • Heck even Power Pack by Brent Anderson and Scott Williams was pretty good.

    But most of all...
We had the one man orchestra....
John Byrne.
Not only was he the writer/artist of both the Fantastic Four and Alpha Flight at the time.... but he also did the covers for...
Captain America, Iron Man, Web of Spider-Man, Amazing Spider-Man, Daredevil, The Avengers.... and of course... Secret Wars issue 1.
I will let you guess which version of the Omnibus I got. The Ed McGuiness one?? or the John Byrne one??

Byrne was really at the top of his game at the time. His work on FF and Alpha Flight was superb. And we even got a few special treats with him being inked on FF by Jerry Ordway, and legendary artist Joe Sinnott. And the tale Hero, from Fantastic Four 285 (where a kids hero worship of the Human Torch has unfortunate consequences) still brings a tear to my eye even now( what can I say... I’m a big softy).

Damn... reading those stories reminds me how good it felt to read comics back in the day.

I know that many people seem to see Secret Wars II as not a very good comic.... heck you should have seen the reactions when I ordered the Omnibus. Although the store had just made a $100 sale... the guys at the counter were telling me how I was nuts to get that book. [ NOTE FROM JIM: Only comic shop clerks seem to have the gall to do this.]

But I had a good time reading that book. It was an EPIC Saga at the time.

And now I got the whole tale.

Now I know where the New Mutants went after being teleported by the Beyonder.

Now I know the final fate of ThunderSword.

Now I know what paved the way for Peter David's work on the Hulk.

Now I know what happens to Algrim the Elf after the Beyonder healed him.

But most importantly... the main reason why I did buy this edition... since I already owned the original Secret Wars II comics and some of the tie-ins... what I only found out about not that long ago...
Was the complete first issue of Secret Wars II penciled by Sal Buscema.
I am a huge fan of Sal's work. And when I found out that there was a version of a never published Secret Wars II issue by Sal.... I just knew I HAD to get it.

Heck I even got the Omnibus of the first Secret Wars and was pleasantly surprised to see the pencils of the first issue by Mike Zeck. It was quite a treat.

But I must admit that I was a little disappointed when I first opened my Secret Wars II Omnibus. Because the Sal Buscema pages were.... tiny. They somehow fitted 4 of Sal's pages on a single page. But luckily... thanks to my scanner and my friend Photoshop... I was able to make a bigger version of them pages to be able to see Sal's work properly.
But with Sal's work... we also got a great sampling of most of what Marvel was publishing at the time.
So in the end....

Was it worth it???

To get a sample of some of Marvel's best runs in history?

To get a HUGE book containing no less then 45 comics?

To get some never seen Sal Buscema work?

I would definately say...
YES!!! So if you are and older fan who want to remember the "good old days"... or if you are a newer fan who wants a sample of what has been done before in an era long since past...
I would strongly suggest this book to you.

Until next time.

- Pierre

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