My review colleague, Timothy Callahan, reminded us all that the original "Secret Wars" series was a story designed to help move a series of action figures. Today there is another series of action figures that has collector two-packs of "Secret Wars" related figures bound with reprinted issues of the original "Secret Wars" series, so it only makes sense to have another loosely related series. Doesn't it?
If you answered "Yes," then you are exactly the type of person this story is aimed at. No one asked for more "Secret Wars" and no one expected more, but Marvel gave it to us anyway, just filtered through the mask of Spider-Man. Worse concepts have seen print, but I'm not writing this to talk about those.
This issue of "Spider-Man and the Secret Wars" shows what really (really?) happened during the battle with Galactus. As Galactus warps reality, our focus -- as it has been to this point -- is on Spider-Man and what happens to his reality as Galactus twists reality, time, and existence around the wallcrawler. It's a trippy adventure, and more of a sidestep away from "Secret Wars" than a step into the decades old story.
Tobin starts this story off with a sample from "Secret Wars" #5, but it ends with the black costume from "Secret Wars" #8. Of course, the story bounces around as Spider-Man gets metaphysical with the Enchantress, who appears to guide Spidey through the Galactus-induced madness, so the timeline is all sorts of bunchy. After all, during part of the gap between #5 and #8, Enchantress got drunk, so that may have played a role in the wackiness of this issue.
The wackiness plays to the strengths of Scherberger, who is one of the best cartoony Spidey artists I've seen lately. His drawings are loose and kinetic, playful and engaging -- a perfect match for this story, or any Spider-Man tale.
I'm not certain I get the entire concept of why this series exists, save to tell a fun story. It doesn't really fill in the gaps of the original series, nor does it seem to build any sort of bridge to any current event. Perhaps Marvel just needed to clue a whole new generation into the romp that was "Secret Wars." After all, a lot of the readers of the original series are parents now, who enjoy sharing comics with their kids/nieces/nephews. Seeing "Secret Wars" on the cover and the "All Ages" tag might compel a reader or two to pick this up. It worked for me, and I'm enjoying it for the loud, zany, unapologetic story that it is.