Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Read for Fun: Identity Wars

I stopped by my local library and pick up a comic book consolidation. It's called "Identity Wars" and involves Spiderman, Deadpool and Hulk transported to a parallel universe for adventures with their doubles. It's composed of three annuals from each of their solo series. Like a review request, I will examine plot, character and polish before assigning a grade.

Identity Wars is three separate stories that unite into one larger narrative. As an author myself, I consider it a model for this sort of structure. Each story can stand alone by virtue of self-contained plotting and unobtrusive exposition regarding the other two stories, but they also flowed into and connect with each other. In fact, the ending of Spiderman's story and the end of Hulk's story make a neat, fitting and impressive connection.

Spiderman's story is rooted in how his counterpart is recognized as the greatest, and only, superhero in the world in addition to being an industrialist CEO on par with Tony Stark. The "For Want of a Nail" effect is strong here; Uncle Ben didn't die because the bullet merely injured rather than kill him.

Deadpool's story records his conflict with Deathmask, a crime boss. Alternate Wade Wilson is "the overlord of the underworld" and Deadpool wants to do something about that. Despite the violence of the story, it is pretty comical as per usual with the Merc with a Mouth.

Hulk's story is one of separation. Bruce Banner doesn't transform into the Hulk in this alternate universe because his counterpart is the successor of Dr.Strange. The Sorcerer Supreme banished the hulk to Hell and has become a demon due to its corruption. Thanks to a deal Mephisto made with another mortal, it is loose. The story is a powerful thing and pairs well with Spiderman's along the lines of Great Power and Great Responsibility.

The Identity Wars end in the classic superhero fashion: "And The Adventure Continues"


As an alternate universe, the story takes a look at how circumstances could have changed the three heroes.

For Spiderman, the bullet that killed Uncle Ben only wounded him here. That event causes his advice, "with great comes great responsibility" to shift to "with great power comes a responsibility to stay powerful". This change is reflected in a Spiderman who is so powerful that every other superhero quit due to feeling superfluous, and whose moral compass has a significant shift towards the Well-Intentioned Extremist angle.

Deadpool's story is comical. That is to say it is black comedy where he and his supposed counterpart "Death Wish" have bloody good fun together. His real counterpart is "Death Mask", a crime lord. He's more concerned with killing the guy then his backstory. Since he is "Wade Wilson" it's likely a multiple-choice past anyway.

Hulk's story, like Spiderman's, has an interesting twist. In this universe, Bruce Banner became a disciple of Doctor Strange and cast his version of the Hulk into Hell. He is now a wizard instead of a scientist, and his Hulk is now a genuine demon due to Hell's corruption. The 616 Bruce Banner is now also Hulk free as a side effect. Between science, magic, and hellfire, it's like this boiling down of power to its purpose.


The artwork looks great. The layout of the cells is engaging and easy to follow.

Trickster Eric Novels gives "Identity Wars" an A+

Click here for the next review request: Keepers of the Dawn

Click here for the previous book review (a request): "Winterreise"

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