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The story sees Ben Grimm wandering around on Battleworld after everybody else has gone home at the end of Secret Wars, a series which was only on its second issue at the time this comic came out. That means that the writer, John Byrne has to be fairly vague about what actually happens, which he manages to do here by massively overwriting the rest of the text so that we don't feel we're missing out on words! The writing might be a bit florid, but the arts looks gorgeous. I'm not usually a fan of Ron Wilson or John Sinnot, but the two of them together makes everything look super-slick and heroic. It's a lovely combination! We follow Ben Grimm as he meets up with a couple of viking-esque giants, first Hanrak and then his betrothed Tariaana, both of whom Ben has to fight. Hanrak faints when he sees Ben change into The Thing, then Tarianna gives in gracefully when he ... um... grabs her by the throat. Hanrak wakes up and instantly runs away, into a clearing where all three of them face the gigantic Doctor Doom we saw on the cover. The other characters refer to him as "The Wizard", and there's something off about him right from the start, notably the fact that he doesn't speak which, as we've seen recently in Secret Wars #2, isn't like Doctor Doom at all. There's also the small matter of Doctor Doom being dead. As The Thing says, we saw him die recently in Fantastic Four #260>Fantastic Four #260, and John Byrne very carefully puts this across without giving any clues as to what might happen in the rest of "Secret Wars" - probably because he doesn't know! The Thing, quite sensibly, decides that this must therefore be a robot - it usually is after all - and this seems to be borne out when the giant Doom falls to bits. However, it then starts to put itself back together in a very odd way indeed. This is my favourite panel in the whole comic! Sadly, Doom does not remain like this, and the various odds and sods transform into a bunch of normal-sized Dooms which gather round to give the Thing a right old kicking. Hanrak, who we have by now realised is a complete prat, refuses to help, but when Tarianna gets involved Doom finally speaks, telling her not to. The fact that when he finally does speak he does so in the first person is another clue that this is not the Doom we know, and when Tarianna lobs a spear at him he disappears into thin air. She and Ben then pick up Hanrak (who's passed out again) and head back to her village, where things get even more mysterious. What the?!? It's a great cliffhanger that made me want to go and read the next issue right away to find out what on earth is going on. However, before we can do that I'm afraid two things stand in the way firstly is the fact that this blog will be taking a break for Christmas, and secondly we've got to skip back to the main "Secret Wars" series next. Join me for the that in the futuristic year 2021AD!
link to information about this issue
posted 16/12/2020 by Mark Hibbett
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