Secret Wars: Secret Love is a one-shot that presents five short stories of romance within the Secret Wars continuum. None of the stories really have anything at all to do with Secret Wars, it’s just an excuse to cash in on the series and to look at five couples, mostly classic pairings, and tell a short story about their relationship.
So this is the shortest of the Secret Wars tie-ins I look at, but when love is in the air, you just have to go take a look. So here goes my review of Secret Wars: Secret Love.
As there are five stories, I’ll look at each one in turn.
“Guilty Pleasure” by Michel Fiffe gives us a story of Daredevil and long-time girlfriend Karen Page. It’s mostly a battle between Daredevil and Typhoid Mary though, with a lot of text box exposition about how much Karen worries about Matt while he’s out trying to save Hell’s Kitchen. I will say one thing, the art is utterly awful in every way conceivable. They might have been trying to do an old school thing, but it looks like it was drawn by a 10-year old, there’s really no nicer way to put it. The story itself, as I said, is exposition heavy and there’s a lot of info dumping about Typhoid Mary that really has no bearing on the Murdock/Page relationship at all. It ends up being a sentimental story, although, as I said, the art really detracts IMO.
Next comes “Fan of a Fan” by Felipe Smith, which pairs the new Ghost Rider, Robbie Reyes with Ms. Marvel. Here, the artwork is very reminiscent of the recent Ghost Rider comic, which was just fine, and Smith does a fantastic job of putting Kamala Khan into a great situation, with a job as a hot dog vendor that just fits very well. Sure, there isn’t much of a story to speak of and it’s all pretty predictable, but the characterization is fun and the writing is entertaining and I really enjoyed it.
Then is “Misty and Danny Forever” by Jeremy Whitley and Gurihiru, which gives us Danny Rand and Misty Knight on a date. Again, there isn’t a lot here story-wise, but the leisurely pace just feels right and the writing is very believable, it comes across just like you might expect a real date might, if dinosaurs showing up in the middle of the date is something that could actually happen. The art fits the story and while there’s nothing mind-blowing here, I thought the couple were having a good time and that’s really all that matters, right?
“Squirrel Girl Wins a Date with Thor” by Marguerite Bennett and Kris Anka is next and, as you might expect from Squirrel Girl, this is plot-light and laugh-heavy as exactly what you might expect from the title happens. Squirrel Girl geeks out over Thor and Thor, with his gothic text, feels old-school, which is exactly what is called for here. It’s quick, it’s fun, the art is perfect for the content and it will make you smile. Can’t ask for more than that.
Finally, “Happy Ant-iversary” by Katie Cook does something that I’ve seen several times lately, it comes off more like a kids book than a comic, but it works for what it tries to do. You end up with bug versions of the Avengers and while some of it comes off as saccharine sweet, the cuteness really makes it work. I wouldn’t say that it’s my favorite of all of the stories, but it certainly isn’t my least favorite either. If this kind of children’s book story is your bag, you’ll like it.
I will say though that of all of the Secret Wars tie-ins I’ve read, this one has the least to do with Secret Wars. Thinking back, only the Squirrel Girl story had anything obviously to do with Secret Wars, they mentioned God Doom in the first panel, but otherwise, nothing really stands out as being directly linked to the events, or even the world, of Secret Wars. They just slapped the title on the cover to get the fanboys to buy it. I don’t think that makes it bad, just shameless marketing by Marvel and we can’t be at all surprised by that.
All in all, this is a mixed bag. Some of it was well done, some not so well. On balance though, with a cover price of $4.99, I don’t know that I can recommend it, based solely on cost. That’s a lot of money to spend on something that really has nothing to do with Secret Wars. Cute? Yes. A useful tie-in? Absolutely not.