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Marvel’s vignette series for the event has released its third issue.  Can it rise above the mediocrity that plagued the first two issues?  Let’s see.

The first half of the issue is a detective story by writer Frank Tieri and artist Richard Isanove.  The narrative is described as taking place in “Old Town,” but it doesn’t list any specific domain of Battleworld.  It’s definitely written in the “Marvel Noir” style and features Wolverine as a private detective on the hunt for Tony Stark’s murderer.  The course of his investigation leads him to some pretty startling revelations.

In general, this story is both written and illustrated pretty well.  Isanove’s art fits really well with the turn of the (20th) century style invoked here, and Tieri seems to be comfortable writing detective noir style fiction.  The twist is both surprising and somewhat expected when dealing with Battleworld.  I know that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, but if you read the story, you’ll get a better understanding of what I mean.  Speaking of Battleworld, the one thing that really bugged me about this story was that the exact location on the planet is never specified.  I know it’s kind of nit-picky, but in a book like this kind of story seems almost like it’s just thrown in there.  Without a defined location, I feel like it loses a little bit of its connection to the larger world.  Aside from that, it’s a fun little Wolverine detective story, and really, who doesn’t like those?

The second half of this issue is a more personal story written by Scott Aukerman, and illustrated by R. B. Silva that focuses on psychiatrist Doc Samson and how he’s faring in the domain where all the citizens can become green rage monsters at any moment, the place otherwise known as Greenland.  The Doc tries to get people to talk through their problems rather than getting angry and smashing them.  He is also starting to lose hope in a region where anger and rage seem to rule all.

This is definitely the better story in the issue.  Aukerman writes a comedic and genuinely heartfelt story of a man trying to understand his position in the world.  There are a few funny moments, but the overall tone of the story is somewhat sad, because Doc Samson’s emotions are effectively expressed throughout in both the writing and in Silva’s artwork.  Without spoiling too much I will say that there does seem to be some light at the end of the tunnel, so it’s not completely depressing.

All in all, this series seems to be starting to find its place in the world.  Each issue has been a little bit better than the last, and they’ve finally started to tell interesting stories to enrich some of the lesser explored locations and characters of Battleworld.

The Verdict for Secret Wars Journal #3:
4/5 – I can dig it.

Until next time,
Stay nerdy, my friends.

Upcoming reviews:
1872 #1 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Amazing Spider-Man: Renew Your Vows #2 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Civil War #1 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
Ghost Racers #2 (Secret Wars Tie-In)
March of the Crabs, Volume 1: The Crabby Condition

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