Marvel shot out of the gate with Secret Wars, releasing issue #2 just a week after the first one. Secret Wars #3 came three weeks later, and #4 one month after that. And then... things got complicated.
Issue #5 of the 8-part mega-series was delayed, stretching the gap between #4 and #5 to six long weeks. That was August 12. Secret Wars #6 was originally planned for August, which became September 2. Now, it's been pushed up to September 16.
Why is this problematic? Because Marvel's entire catalog of titles hinges on the events of Secret Wars. The comics titan is relaunching its entire universe with "All-New All-Different" #1 issues beginning on October 7 — the same date that the Secret Wars finale, issue #8, is scheduled to arrive. Currently, this is still the plan. But delays fall like dominoes, with one issue that's pushed back inevitably affecting every subsequent issue.
At the moment, Secret Wars #7 is still officially scheduled for September 23. That's just one week after the delayed issue #6. And two weeks after that is supposed to be the finale. That's three major issues that need to be released within one month's time — or a publisher's entire schedule runs the risk of falling apart.
No pressure or anything.
When delays happen, it's almost always due to the art requiring more time for completion. It's just a reality of the business. Sometimes, especially in these huge "event" comics, there are epic-sized scenes that take longer to pencil, to ink, and/or to color.
The talented Esad Ribic has, by all accounts, been doing triple-duty on Secret Wars — penciling, inking and coloring all of his own pages. That's a staggeringly huge undertaking, so perhaps delays were simply unavoidable. Then again, it's possible the delays could be coming from forces outside of Ribic's control. We'll likely never know.
What we do know is that the finale issues of several Secret Wars tie-in comics have already been affected by the flagship's delays. The penultimate issues of Weirdworld and Hail Hydra have both fallen from August 26 to September 30. Ultimate End #5 has been pushed to day-and-date with Secret Wars #8, on October 7. And A-Force will conclude with its issue #5 a week later, on October 14.
What happens if Secret Wars' end is pushed beyond the start of "All-New All-Different" is obvious: all those new #1 issues run the risk of spoiling the conclusion of Secret Wars. Here's hoping Ribic gets it finished in time. His work thus far has been spectacular.