Secret Wars #7

Issue Date: 
January 2016
Story Title: 
King of the Dead

Jonathan Hickman (writer & designer), Esad Ribic (artist), Ive Scorcina (colorist), Chris Eliopolous (letterer), Alex Ross (cover artist), Simone Bianchi & Simone Peruzzi, Stacey Lee, Tomm Coker, John Tyler Christopher, Paul Gulacy & Rachelle Rosenberg (alternate covers), Idette Winecoor (production), Jon Moisan & Alana Smith (assistant editors), Tom Brevoort & Wil Moss, (editors), Axel Alonso (editor-in-chief), Joe Quesada (chief creative officer), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

The Prophet – Maximus – leads his armies against Doom’s troops. Baron Sinister betrays Doom’s side, causing more havoc, as does the fact that the larger part of the Thor Corps have seen Doom for what he is and turn against him. Still, even with the arrival of the Maestro and his Worldbreakers, the rebels aren’t powerful enough, as Mr. Fantastic and Star-Lord plan to sneak into Doomstadt. However, another ally comes through. The Black Panther, in his role as king of the dead, rallies the zombies in the deadlands to their side.

Full Summary: 

The Prophet – dressed in rags and a skull mask – emerged from the great waste, appearing from nothing. A cause fully formed. An idea given shape: This Doom is no God. And if he is no God, then why suffer under his hand? Why submit to his rule? The Prophet’s words were fire. He spoke of liberty, and the people pulled down their idols. He shouted freedom, and the people raised up arms. He marched his army to Castle Doom to cast out God himself! It was providence, providing the perfect man at the perfect time. But who is this great catalyst? Who is this Prophet?

With flair, he takes off his skull mask, shouting: “it’s me, you idiots! I am Maximus!” He watches as his army fights against Doom’s generals. “You followed me here to certain Doom. And it’s going to be so… much… fun!”

Castle Doom:
The Black Swan informs Doom that the armies of his kingdoms gather to repel the army of the Prophet. If he wishes it, she will hurry to join the loyalists. He demurs, fearing she would lose herself to danger. They will watch from here, as he stands in judgment over those who dare stand against him. Susan suggests he not take it personally. It’s what free people always do when faced with authority. He can’t change the way people are. She’s confident this will end no differently than all the other times. Wide-eyed Valeria interjects she is wrong. This feels different. This is something more. Doom agrees and gives orders to summon his Thors.

Outside, Maximus orders his army to fight until they fall. Believe in him, he is the true prophet of these last days. There’s no escaping what’s coming: Even as demons tear him down, he shouts that they have to embrace the end. But his rants turn into screams of agony.

Captain Marvel informs Sinister that the Prophet’s army is breaking. They don’t have much time. Well, don’t tease him, Sinister replies, if she wants to cause a riot, someone needs to give someone Sinister some kind of order. All right, Carol decides and asks him to tell his clones they are switching sides. Time to turn on the Goblin Queen’s army.

Madelyne Pryor and her army watch in surprise as Sinister’s clones turn against them. What is this? the Goblin Queen demands. Carol kicks her in the face, telling her this is about betrayal. Lying on the ground, Madelyne groans that Sinister always had the heart of a traitor. But why betray them now? Sinister corrects her that he doesn’t have a heart at all. As for why they attack them, betrayal is the good Captain Marvel’s shtick. He has much better reasons. He kicks Madelyne in the face and informs her he just. Can’t. Stand. That. Tacky outfit. She’s wearing! Feel better? Carol asks mildly. She has no idea, he grins.

A moment later, he is hit by an energy blast. Obviously, someone doesn’t appreciate good taste, he groans. It gets worse as he is decapitated. Holocaust lifts up his head and informs him that Apocalypse would like a word.

Apocalypse enjoys the war as a field of testing. He’s lost his head once again, he points out to Sinister, who retorts Apocalypse has lost all sense of decorum. Tardiness – as rude as it is petulant. Though it seems he is not the only late arrival.

The remark becomes clear when the Thors arrive. Or more to the point, all of Doomgard does, as Franklin sitting on Galactus’ hand points out excitedly. Susan points out is Doomgard but where are the Thors?

In the great Hall in Doomgard, chaos has broken out as many Thors protest against Thor-616’s revelations. The Thor of Higher Avalon defends her; she speaks the truth about All-Father Doom. She speaks the truth and it has torn them asunder. And so Thors fight Thors.

The Thor of Higher Avalon tells Thor-616 that he and some others will hold the other faction in check, while she takes the rest to the battle below. The Worthy far outnumber Doom’s faithful. As it should be, she agrees. She addresses them all. They know in their heart that her words are true. They have been deceived. God Doom isn’t great! He is not even good! So who will come with her and do battle? Who will come with her so that they might smite God? Several Thors follow the call.

Doom’s castle
Val and the Black Swan watch horrified as the Thors turn against Doom’s armies. Sue asks him why they would do that. He is betrayed. Again.

On the battlefield, Sinister’s head laments how he has fallen and asks Apocalypse for a baron’s pardon for a fellow baron. Battling Thors, Apocalypse scoffs at the thought. If he must serve God Doom, then there will be no mercy for traitors like Sinister or the once Worthy. Sinister can fall no further. His condition can get no worse.

He thinks it can, Sinister worries, as he looks up and sees a familiar huge ship. The Maestro is here.

The Maestro orders his Worldbreakers into battle. Break the world! An army of Hulks jump off the carrier all shouting SMASH!

Project 42:
The Maker gloats. Maximus and his army have engaged Doom. While they distract them, Richards continues they will slip a small team past them to steal the most valuable thing that’s left in the Multiverse. He asks Star-Lord if he is sure he can pilot them there undetected. Absolutely, Peter Quill assures them. Probably, he adds as an afterthought. There’s a decent chance, he adds in smaller voice.

The Maker remarks all they need is for the battle to last long enough to obscure their arrival and departure. He doesn’t think the mob of Maximus is going to take them the distance. What are his older, alter ego’s secret plans?

Actually, they are not his plans at all, Reed replies and asks via comm if T’Challa can hear him. Loud and clear, the Black Panther replies. Has it started? Yes, they are preparing to leave now, Reed replies. A re they ready? Almost, T’Challa announces. He wanted to wait until the last moment. This isn’t something you can just put back in the box. They wish each other good luck. Hesitatingly, Reed adds that, if they fail, it means this is the end and… and… It means he will see him on the other side, T’Challa replies. Death is just a different kind of journey to the land that he is king of.

The conversation is over. Just then, he almost started crying, Namor mocks. They are at what’s left of the Shield. There were almost actual tears.

T’Challa orders him to stay with the Siege Courageous. He’s going down. As he does so, Namor remarks he wasn’t volunteering. He doesn’t even know what they are doing here. And another thing, this “king of the dead” appellation he’s been spouting since before the first Incursion, it’s ambiguous and frankly… doesn’t he think it’s getting a bit old? No, he doesn’t, the Panther replies and tosses some small explosives at the Shield wall. They detonate creating a large opening. Namor asks what’s on the other side of the wall. The dead, is the reply.

The first zombies shuffle closer. The Panther addresses them. It is said when one travels through a Siege Courageous one is granted a new life. A second chance. An opportunity to be something better. Something more. Come with him and they will travel through it to the greatest battle any world has ever seen. Together they will face a false God and strike him down. Do they know what is waiting for them on the other side? Glory and honor!

One of the zombies mutters that he feels compelled to follow him, but maybe they should talk about this. They have it good here. What’s left of James Braddock agrees. It’s surprising, he finds he quite likes murder and eating soft squishy things. Like peanut butter and brains, the first zombie agrees.

Namor skewers him with his trident and now has everyone’s attention. Why the hesitation, monsters? he demands. Their king is waiting for an answer. Uh, glory and honor? James states hesitatingly. The other zombies take up the call. Glory and honor! they finally all shout.

Characters Involved: 

Incursion survivors:
God Emperor Doom / Dr. Doom

Black Panther, Captain Marvel VI, Mr. Fantastic, Namor, Star-Lord, Thor

Black Swan, Maker, Maximus (Cabal)

Citizens of Battleworld:
Invisible Woman
Franklin, Valeria

Thor of Higher Avalon
other members of the Thor Corps

Apocalypse, Goblin Queen, Maestro, Sinister
Abyss, Holocaust (Horsemen)

Story Notes: 

Black Panther was made king of the dead by the Panther Goddess in Fantastic Four (1st series) #607-608.

James Braddock lost his life in issue #2.

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