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“The Arrowhead”                                    “We Worship What We Don’t Understand”

Written by Pru Shen                                Written by Matthew Rosenberg

Art by Raomn Bachs                                Art by Luca Pizzari

Colours by Jean-Francois Beaulieu       Colours by Rain Beredo

Cover Art by Kevin Wada

Letters by VC’S Cory Petit

Edited by Jake Thomas

Published by Marvel Comics

Secret Wars Journal #1 is the second of two anthology type titles to come out so far and I’m still not sure of what I think about having both Secret Wars Journal and Secret Wars Battleworld providing pretty much the same kind of short stories under different names. All the same, it’s nice to have a bit of a “sampler” platter of comics where you don’t feel obligated to pick up every single issue to continue a story.

In “The Arrowhead,” medieval Kate Bishop and her friends Billy and Teddy set out to steal an orb from the Punisher Sheriff. This issue is all about Kate. It’s comforting to know that no matter what the universe, Kate Bishop will always be heroic, compassionate, and selfless. Some of the banter between the friends brings back (not-so-distant) memories from the Young Avengers runs.

Although this is a fun issue, there are many plot-holes that will make you pause. For one thing, the narration tells us that this takes place in King James’ England. How does that piece of information work with Battleworld? Is the entire region just called King James’ England? Another thing that bothered me was why Kate and her friends were thieves in the first place. There’s barely any explanation there. Also, while the art is generally solid throughout, there are a couple of panel progressions involving Billy’s magic that confused me. Despite the plot holes and flaws, I still enjoyed this story quite a bit but that could be because I favour strong characterization over plot.

“We Worship What We Don’t Understand” takes place in Egyptia, a rather confusing pocket of Battleworld as it’s not specifically tied to any known multiverse/event. While I was confused by the story and how it fits into the larger web of Secret Wars, the pacing was done well and there is enough of a hook to keep you interested although the end does leave you scratching your head. What I appreciate most from these anthologies is the chance to explore different versions of familiar characters.

Verdict: Skip it. As a Kate Bishop fan, I could tell you to pick it up but unfortunately, the cons outweigh the pros in this case. This anthology presents insights into different regions of Battleworld but on the whole it just seems unnecessary. We’re already getting so much from all the other titles that there’s not real urgency to pick this up.

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