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The comic event series of the summer is back for issue #3, but does it live up to the high bar set in the first two issues?  Read on to find out.

In Secret Wars #3, we finally get back to the main focus of the event, which is Doom practically single-handedly running the patchwork planet known as Battleworld.  However, while Doom may be all powerful on this world, he is not all seeing, and for that he needs someone who can oversee the activities of an entire planet.  That duty falls to none other than Dr. Stephen Strange.  The two work closely together to make Battleworld possible and they actually do a fine job of it, until some characters show up from the previously existing realities and start to make things REALLY interesting.

Hickman’s writing is, once again, fantastic.  Early on in the issue he has a brilliant scene between Doom and Strange where they’re discussing all of the minutia of running an entire planet, and they have a long talk about how at the creation of Battleworld, things could have gone slightly different, but ultimately, both characters are satisfied with how they are.  I think hands down, the best part of this issue is how it resonates emotionally.  Hickman writes Doom as an incredibly sympathetic character, as opposed to the megalomaniac villain that we all know.  I mean, you almost feel sorry for him because of the sheer amount of responsibility he has.  He is literally the god of Battleworld, and he feels the weight of that on his shoulders daily.  As with the previous issue, there isn’t a whole lot of action here, but the setup for the series is finally starting to come to a close, and I expect some serious action is just over the horizon.  We also get a couple of answers to some questions from previous issues here, so that’s a bonus too.

Again, as with both previous issues, Esad Ribic’s artwork is phenomenal.  As much emotion as Hickman is able to write into these scenes, Ribic intensifies that with his art.  One incredibly poignant scene in this issue takes place between Doom and Susan Storm, and I feel it’s probably the best of Ribic’s art in this series so far.  We’re shown a side of Doom that rarely ever gets scene, and all of the emotion, insecurity, and vulnerability he feels is completely on display.  It really is jaw-dropping.  I truly can’t say enough about how much I like his art style.  It just has a genuinely epic feel to it, that you rarely get in comics.  Amazing stuff.

At the end of the day, this book, like issue #2, is ultimately another story set-up book, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring.  Not by a long shot.  The characterization you get from some of the major players is the best I’ve read in a while.  Also, now that the setup is out of the way, and an impending conflict has just slightly been hinted at, I think we’re in for a real treat over the last five issues of this one.  If the remaining issues in the series are as good as the first three have been, this is going to become an instant classic.  I really am glad to see that it appears Marvel put a lot of thought into this one, since it might end up being one of the biggest events in their history.

The Verdict for Secret Wars #3:
Must Have Moar!!!

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

Upcoming reviews:
East of West, Volume 3: There Is No Us TPB
Secret Wars: Battleworld #2
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #1 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Wytches #1-#6
March of the Crabs, Volume 1: The Crabby Condition

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