The hardcore collector crowd has just about everything already (and oversized!) except "There and Back" and "Beyond The." "There and Back" is worthless, because Secret Wars wasn't actually coordinated in such a way that the ongoing stories on either side of it mattered too much. And, let's not lose sight that this is recollecting up two of the longest-discounted omnibuses of all time AND they just reissued TPBs of the core of SWI and SWII a few years ago. Plus, if there's ever been a collection that does not merit multi-book coverage it's freaking SWII tie-ins. Even "The Thing" is only one issue off from Thing Classic, Vol. 2!Marvel Says: “Not only do you get the entire history of Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars along with a complete hardcover jam packed with extras and bonus material, but they are all presented in one of the most stunning packages we’ve ever produced.”
Okay, fine - so, it's not aimed at the dedicated collector. Maybe it just presents a great story!
Secret Wars has never meant the same thing twice, and Battleworld is really only significant in that Beyonder created it for the first one. I don't think Battleworld figured at all into SWII (?), and Secret War could not have any less to do with "Secret Wars"! Yet, the new Secret Wars is playing heavily off of the Battleworld concept - to the point that this entire box set is titled after it.
You could draw a parallel between the current New Avengers and the group Fury assembled for his Secret War. Are we also going to get some new Beyonder action, too? Maybe Hickman does a crazy retcon of a retcon to connect him to the Builders? Either way, most of this collection at least has a tenuous Beyonder string through it, but then some of it just doesn't.
So, it's not one big story. Maybe the format is just perfect for this material.
The MMW box set took advantage of reissuing an existing format with special dust jackets - which begs the question: What format are these "Premier" books really going to be? Are we bringing MPCs back for this three years after canceling them. I know they just call them "Marvel Premiers," but we all know an MP of non-new material is an MPC, even if they don't have the metallic spine. Will they keep that thick, bright-white paper from the original line?
Um... maybe Marvel just thinks they'll sell a lot of copies
Clearly the MMW 1sts collection sold well (immediately sold throw a first printing!), and clearly Marvel is expecting a massive media push behind these new Secret Wars to close out Hickman's run. Also, I get the sense that they are trying to aim at a different sort of collector than the Omnibus collections - the person who wants a cutesy box on their shelf with matching spines doesn't necessarily want a premium-quality $100 book.
That doesn't have to be a bad thing. We all know there are some stories or themes we'd like to see collected that are too much for a single Omnibus, and Marvel is obviously growing cautious on multi-book sets. If this does well, will we get three further sets for the three Infinity crossovers of the 90s (or, one giant one) by 2019? I'd lay at least even odds on that. Is this how we'll see recent events like House of M and Secret Invasion recollected when we (very soon) get to their decade anniversaries? Could be.
Bottom line? You're buying it, right?
No. Ultimately, I am annoyed by this particular set because it's thematically all over the place - there's no context in which I'd want this stuff, collected this way, and dressed in such a way that I have to display them together. I felt the same way about the all-firsts MMW box. However, if any part of the prior paragraph comes to be, I could see myself biting on some future version, and if they reissued whole LINES of MMW in boxed form I'd buy them for sure.
However, if you look at a lot of Silver and Bronze age runs multi-part stories were well established and there is inter-issue continuity. Even though the stories are quite compressed they often take up a multiple issues. And if you read a good novel you'll see that even though it's split into chapters each chapter fuctions as its own smaller story, builds to a climax and ends in a way that makes you want to read the next chapter. Basically, comics have been novels since the 60s. So what changed? A lot of modern writers can't write and worse, can't read. They base their stories on movies. Instead of carefully crafting each issue/chapter as a novelist would they just take their six-issue movie and split it evenly into six chunks. That means the narrative flow of a movie is spread across six issues and is split indiscriminately because thats what the page count says. That leads to boring stories, even though they should be exciting given the subject matter and premise.
"How many Spider-Mans are we gonna ****ing make? Until when are we going to keep making ****ing Spider-Mans? He got bit by a spider, now he thinks he's a ****ing spider. His grandmother's retarded, they killed his ****ing father and you move on with your ****ing life. THATS IT." - Joey Diaz
I read that Thor OHC in one sitting last night. It was magnificent. I believe it to be the best standalone hardcover of the Marvel NOW era (till Superior Foes of Spider-Man comes out, hope hope).
And that Thor story is very awesome indeed. The God butcher is one of the best new villains of the last decade. It ranks among my favorite Thor stories ever. Btw, just read the Ragnarok story by Oeming and I'm currently reading JMS' s run (currently at #10) and that's also some great stuff. Thor humiliating Iron Man was one of the most epic moments ever (and I like Iron Man) and I'm loving the Balder sub plot. Great stuff!
RIP Superior foes of spider-man! We will miss you!
Most of Marvel's best self-contained (or, at least, enjoyable in digestible chunks) recent books are not traditional super-hero books. Daredevil, Hawkeye, Superior Foes, even Arena - they aren't doing the main thing Marvel is known for in the normal way. Aaron leans way into Thor as an actual super-hero and literal god and tells one of the best Thor stories of all time - and this is coming from someone who otherwise hates Aaron's writing on pretty much every title.