Are the two stories included in Secret Wars Journal #1 about Kate in King James’ England and mutants in Egyptia worth reading?

After the release of Battleworld #1 last week, the second book containing short stories from all over the newly introduced patchwork planet has begun: Secret Wars Journal. In this issue, we have two stories, one being about the Kate Bishop of 1602 and the other one about the enslaved mutants from Egyptia.

The first story takes us to King James’ England, introducing us to the 1602 versions of some of the Young Avengers characters, but the main protagonist is Kate of Bishop, who apparently acts as some kind of Robin Hood in this realm of Battleworld: she steals from the rich to give the poor. The plot of this story is not very complicated or full of twists; it’s pretty straightforward with an expectable end. The art is flashy and colourful, but kind of mediocre- still, it fits the scenario. But both the art and the plot are totally OK for what this story wants to be: a teaser for Secret Wars: Siege.

After reading the story, you kind of wonder: wait, is that it? It kind of feels like there’s not enough going on in this short story, you feel the lack of purpose. This is not one of these self-contained short stories with interesting or funny twists in the end, and not one of those where we find out a lot about a single character. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t say I didn’t enjoy reading about a 1602 Robin-Hood-esque Kate Bishop, and for huge fans of the character, this will be a fun read, but in the end, it is what it is: just a teaser for another book.

This is unlike the second story in this book: we meet a bunch of enslaved mutants in Egyptia, trying to escape and kill their goddess and slaveholder Khonshu. This is a self-contained story with a fun little twist in the end, which makes it more interesting. I also enjoyed seeing the X-Men characters in new ancient-Egypt-style costumes, and the atmosphere of the story is pretty good. Unfortunately, the art is so extremely sloppy that it’s hard to tell who is who, which kind of makes the reader lose track of what’s happening. This is a pity, because I’m sure the twists this story had to offer would have been enough for a decent or great short story, but you can’t really enjoy that because of the art.

One thing I liked about both stories, though, is that they both deal with resistance against godly determination: Kate steals from the Doom cathedral, and the enslaved mutants try to murder a god who forces them to build pyramids. It’s interesting to see this rebellion going on in a world where everyone worships Dr. Doom. The title of the second story is probably very fitting: “We worship what we don’t understand”.

What else can I say about this book? If you just want a quick read that shows you what else is going on on some of the realms of Battleworld, or if you care enough about Kate Bishop or the X-Men, reading Secret Wars Journal #1 probably won’t be a waste of time. But, these wont be the best short stories you’ve ever read, either.

Pros:

  • Robin-Hood-esque Kate Bishop and ancient-Egypt-X-Men are fun to watch
  • Deals with the topic of religion

Cons:

  • Mediocre/sloppy art
  • 50% of the book is just a teaser for another book and lacks substance


Rating: 3/5

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