Comic Review: Marvel The War of the Realms #2

The War of the Realms is still raging on in Marvel comics. The evil Dark Elf Malakith and his forces are hitting the earth, more specifically New York City harder than ever. Issue #2 follows straight on from the event’s debut story and for the most part, is an enjoyable ride. It sets a couple of plot points from issue #1 to the back which I found bizarre on my first read but it does supplement them with some new heroes fighting on the front lines and some killer action set pieces which looked absolutely epic.

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Plot

War of the Realms issue #2 is once again written by Jason Aaron with artwork from Russell Dauterman, Matthew Wilson and, Joe Sambino and follows directly after Issue #1. The fighting on the streets in getting intense and so whilst heroes such as Wolverine and The Punisher hold off Malakiths Dark Elves The Sorcerer Supreme Doctor Strange, along with Jane Foster and his ghost dog friend Bats attempt to get the people of New York into the sanctum sanctorum to keep them safe. This issue can afford to spend more time with some of the heroes that were sidelined last issue. Spider-Man, She-Hulk, Iron-Man, Black Panther and a couple extra heroes all get some action and are mostly paired up with Malakiths allies such as the Enchantress or Sindar. They only appear for a quick second but it was nice to see some small skirmishes to help sell the widespread chaos. There’s also a couple of nice quips here too from the likes of Spider-Man and She-Hulk during all this action, which I found to be genuinely funny. That being said nothing beats Captain America jumping out of a skyscraper window to plow straight into a frost giants face.

The second half of the issue then changes focus with the arrival of Odin and the Valkyries on earth to help our heroes fend of Makalkiths forces. This was a seriously epic moment and thats coming from someone who isn’t a hardcore Thor fan. I’ll admit it was a little convenient that our heroes got some easy powerful Asgardian backup seemingly out of nowhere but Odin was already set up in issue #1 so his arrival wasn’t too hard to swallow. Nevertheless, it was easily the issues best moment and looked absolutely fantastic. We only really pick up the plot in the issues second half when Doctor strange attempts to cast a spell to evacuate New York citizens but Malakiths evil War Witches are preventing him from doing so. Our heroes now joined with the Valkyries target these witches and eventually break down there mystical barrier allowing Strange to transport everyone to safety, and I do mean EVERYONE. Even our heroes have transported away from the fight to Avengers mountain leaving New York completely open. It’s no secret that our heroes lost New York due to Thor being trapped fighting Frost Giants and whilst thats a fine plot point I would have liked to at least seen some of him here.

Overall The War of the Realms #2 served to really set up issue #3. It jumps from cool action set piece to cool action set piece and whilst it uses the evacuation of civilians as a backbone for the story it wasn’t as gripping as issue #1. It’s by no means a bad issue in any way but it does seem to favor action over storytelling a little.

Characters

Issue #2 of War of the Realms is chocked full of characters, so much so it was quite hard picking out a few to focus on as our main heroes. Jane Foster, Brunnhilde the Valkyrie, Odin and Doctor Strange are probably most important to the issue’s story. All of these characters were handled really well for me. I liked Jane Foster’s apprehension to getting back into the fight and she eventually stood her ground with the rest of our heroes. Plus her getting named All-Mother of Asgard was interesting. Im excited to see where they take that in the future. Odin’s entrance was not only epic but his battles with Malakith and Laufey had some nice emotional weight to them. Brunnhilde is a character I am not familiar with and so didn’t care too much for her, but she did have a really emotional, yet gruesome moment with the Dark elf leader himself. Doctor Strange was used rather like a plot device here and only really showed up near the end of the issue. A little disappointing but it doesn’t take away from his own epic moment that, for me at least was second only to Odin’s arrival.

Artwork

This issue somehow looked even better than issue #1. To quote Tony Stark himself “It’s like a dungeon and dragons bomb went off”. This issue is mostly action which thankfully looked amazing throughout. Malakiths army of fantasy creatures from Giants, to Dark Elves, once again looks great and seeing various heroes pop up, even for a brief moment was still extremely satisfying.  The entire issue has a mystical look to it, which helps set the tone for the story but doesn’t alienate other more grounded characters like Captain America.

The War of the Realms #2 is by no means as story driven as issue #1 but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. Sure, I would have liked to see more of Thor after his set up in the first issue but quite frankly there was no room for him. This issue is extremely crowded, even more so than the first but thankfully it ever became too much. The action which makes up the majority of the issue was done really well. Whilst Stranges plan to evacuate New York wasn’t a thrilling plot point it did help push the issue along and give meaning to all the fantastic fighting. Ultimately this issue did a whole lot to set up issue #3, a story I am now very excited for.