“Secrets Wars Too” #1 is an anthology of seven humorous stories set in Battleworld by various creative teams. Each has its funny moments, but there’s one standout that transcends the anthology.
Jonathan Hickman, Brian Churilla and Tamra Bonvillain’s story is called “Sraw Terces,” which is just “Secret Wars” spelled backward, but that old trick seems to have little to do with the story, which is a mock behind-the-scenes look into Hickman’s job masterminding the event. Churilla does a good job drawing a roundtable shot of major Marvel editors and writers with very good likenesses, and fans will have fun figuring out who’s who. The posters in the conference room change when Publisher Dan Buckley is speaking, and it’s a particularly clever visual joke because it reinforces the nature of line-wide crossovers. Doom and Hickman’s conversation was funny, as was the villain’s presence throughout the story. I could see the last panel meta-joke about Hickman’s fate coming, but Doom’s dialogue felt fresh.
“Great Incomprehensibility” by Al Ewing, Jacopo Camagni and Jesus Aburtov makes fun of Spider-Man’s origin story. The tongue-in-cheek dialogue goes well with the heavy piling on of rhyming jokes. Camagni runs with the ideas and his “Slider-Man” and beret-clad “Outsider-Man” are especially imaginative.
“Pizza Quest” by Kate Leth, Brittany L. Williams and Megan M. Wilson is the best story in “Secret Wars Too.” It’s not just one punchline after another, and Leth and Williams’ design and dialogue for Miss America Chavez and Lady Kate Bishop will have readers wishing for a longer spinoff story. The characters feel true to their roots in Gillen & McKelvie’s “Young Avengers” run, but here their relationship is also funnier and more affectionate. Williams’ linework is simple and clean, and her facial expressions are exceptional. I love Kate’s narrowed eyes as she earnestly explains “Pizza’s the place to be tonight.” The rest of the story is equally offbeat, surprising and delightful, especially Deadpool’s cameo.
“Last Days of D-Man” by Kyle Starks, Ramon Villalobos and Tamra Bonvillain is a happy story for the wrestler-turned-superhero who still looks too much like Wolverine. Villalobos’ facial expressions are a good match for the goofy humor. While the story has no real buildup, it still has charm because of its insistence on a happy day for its hero.
“#GalHackedtus” by Rob Guillory is a series of IT jokes loosely wrapped into a scenario in which Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Spider-Man are Galactus’ minions. His humor and art are like his work in “Chew,” but with less depth since the reader isn’t required to take anything seriously. The extended Uncle Ben joke is good, though.
“The Bear Without Fear” by Ryan Browne starts with three Cyclopes, who all “follow all the rules and complain all the time” but still don’t get the girl. The humor is juvenile, starting with a crack from Wolverine about meat, but it’s also so ridiculous that it works when it doesn’t elicit eye rolls. Browne’s artwork can be cluttered but the panels with “Beardevil” look great. Daredevil’s iconic acrobatics look hilarious when he’s “700 lbs. of Bear,” especially when the bear is wearing spandex.
“Doom: Behind The Tyranny” by Eric Powell shows Doom as a reality show star/diva, and while Doom’s narcissistic chatter is amusing, Hulk and Panther’s appearance in the “Marvel Comics Cafeteria” makes it all funnier, especially since Powell is careful to draw every detail down to what they have on their trays.
As mostly a collection of jokes, “Secret Wars Too” feels skippable, especially considering the high cover price, which feels too high for only 33 pages. It’s fun to read, and the creative teams seem to have enjoyed themselves, but with the notable exception of “Pizza Quest” the stories and the jokes are forgettable.