Secret Avengers #1 Review
- Published on Thursday, 27 May 2010 19:55
- Written by Andrenn
- Hits: 5867
With the Heroic Age upon is there’s a lot to choose from in how you want your Avengers. There’s 3 Bendis books, an upcoming Academy series and the return of the Young Avengers in July. But in the middle of it all stands Secret Avengers, a covert black ops team looking to stop the big problems before they become big problems. With an excellent creative team and exciting cast of characters, Secret Avengers has all the stuff that makes a great comic. Does it live up to all the build up though? Let’s find out.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Mike Deodato
Colorist: Rainier Beredo
Story Rating: 8 Secret Avengers out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Secret avengers out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Secret Avengers out of 10
Synopsis: In Dubai a businessman for Roxxon is walking to his hotel room with 2 women. Steve Rogers narrates about how the world is out of control and threats that hide in the shadow. As he narrates we see the man hitting on the women, the women being impressed by the guards. When he goes to kiss the blonde she gets upset, the woman with black hair calls in that things are going south and the blonde punches the man out.
As agents storm the room the 2 women are revealed to be Black Widow and Valkyrie. As they dodge bullets Steve Rogers shows up and helps them take out the guards. When he asks if they are good to go he checks the box, it is what they came for. He asks Sharon Carter to pick them up. When Valkyrie says she screwed up Steve tells her that they got away without a scratch and that’s a win in his book. As they fly off they are being traced by mysterious figures.
Aboard the ship Beast is talking to Steve about the item they got. It’s not the Serpent Crown like they thought it was. Beast says how it’s something different and that somehow the tendrils on it move. Steve tells him to look into it and says he’s glad to have him on the team. Beast asks him to find out what the hell this thing is.
Steve meets up with Sharon Carter and she applauds him on how well he’s using the black ops team so far. He says he wouldn’t even dream of doing this without her. They embrace and kiss.
At a Roxxon facility 2 guards are talking. Moon Knight takes out one guard and Ant-Man takes out ther other. When Moon Knight checks with Ant-Man that he disabled the security Ant-Man gets annoyed with how everyone is treating him like he’s incompetent. He says this wasn’t what he had in mind when asked to join the Avengers. Moon Knight flashes back to 2 weeks ago when Steve approached him to join the team, saying how he can help him redeem himself and become a real hero.
Moon Knight asks Ant-Man what he was expecting. Ant-Man said fame, popularity, women, but he still likes doing this stealth stuff too. Ant-Man flashes back to a diner were Steve is telling him he has a chance to finally grow up and become a man. He says he won’t ask twice though and Ant-Man stares at him for a moment. Ant-Man finds the spot to put the device he has and Steve tells them to get out of there.
Steve walks into a lab with Beat and War Machine. When Beast hasn’t found out about what the new crown is War Machine reminds him that technology hasn’t advanced that much since he died. Beast brings up that Roxxon was digging on mars, War Machine says that the future is for sale. Beast says that everyone working on the Mars dig site vanished from Roxxon’s records, no reports of anything happening to them or being fired, they were just wiped off the record.
The mysterious figures are tailing the ship. When they ask their leader what to do he tells them to wait it out.
2 days later Steve has assembled his team for a debriefing. He mentions how Project Pegasus got looted and that will be one of their top priorities but for now they have to go to mars which excites Ant-Man. They will be using a Kree spacecraft and War Machine will be piloting it. When War Machine asks why they are going to Mars when Steve had someone to do it for them Steve said he did, but that his agent has gone missing and this has turned into a rescue mission.
Switching back to earlier that morning when the agent lost contact we see Nova mumbling to himself as he dodges lasers. The Worldmind asks him what he’s doing and he says he’s just berating himself for thinking this would be easy. When he asks why he can’t absorb the blasts from the canons Worldmind tells him it’s ancient technology, pre-celestial. Nova flies into a mountain and finds a manmade cavern with another snake crown in it. Worldmind tells him not to touch it, Nova tells Worldmind to shut up for once, throws his helmet down and goes to grab the Serpent Crown.
Back in current time Steve says they will be there soon as he’s talking to Sharon. He tells her to keep Maria Hill and Victoria Hand in line. As they end the call Sharon notices someone creeping around. She threatens whoever is in the shadows but gets knocked out. We see someone who appears to be Nick Fury saying that they have something that belongs to the Shadow Council.
The Good: Secret Avengers #1 was a great start to what has a chance of being one of the best new ongoings of the year at this rate. Both Brubaker and Deodato brought their A games to make sure this issue was a strong start and to properly establish our team. They succeeded on both hooking me and leaving me excited for more.
Brubaker really went out of his way to make sure that Secret Avengers built up its cast of heroes well. No character feels unimportant or wasted on being here. Every character has their moment of importance and every character matters to the series and you don’t see that very often in team books. Often we have a jumble of heroes and they interact however the writer feels they should, some characters getting good page time others not even getting one line in for the entire issue.
Brubaker gives the story a backseat to the characters, using the characters to evolve our story instead of the story just pushing the characters along. Now I figure there will be a better balance of character work and story development in future issues but for now the story is 2nd place to the characters and at first that bugged me. But when you look at it, that’s the best way to start a new team book.
The first issue of a new team book should serve as the introduction for our team and their first major threat. We get introduced to everyone, the story gets started up and we establish everyone’s place on the team very well and get a lot of great character moments and some solid development for our heroes. This is literally by the book the best way to start out a team comic.
Brubaker’s handling of Steve is, as always, pitch perfect. Steve is that strong war hero with a strong fist but he’s a good guy underneath. He doesn’t take crap from his team but he won’t treat them like crap either. He’s understanding and smart and he’s got a good head on his shoulders. Brubaker utilizes Steve perfectly as the Secret Avengers’ leader.
The opening scene, while not my favorite part of the comic, was a solid introduction to the story. It shows that the Secret Avengers are after Roxxon, they are covert, and they are able to move fast. It’s a solid start for the story and it gets things going well.
Having Beast onboard was a great idea. I originally didn’t like the idea but now that he’s on the team he is a great add and he adds a lot to the science aspect. When Steve told Beast he was glad to have him back on the team I think it was Brubaker saying the same and I would definitely have to agree.
War Machine was another great add. I really like War Machine and he is great for a team book. He can fulfill the team’s Iron Man role and the team’s tech warrior which is awesome. I know Rhodey is going fit in well here and I’m really excited to see him develop even more as a Secret Avenger.
Black Widow was another smart choice. Mostly because when you think spies and black ops, Black widow comes to mind. Not having her on the team would have been a bad idea and she fits in perfectly with this team.
I was very surprised to see Ant-Man of all people here. I confess I never read his ongoing but I’ve seen a lot from it and it looks like a great series. He was absolutely great in Initiative and seeing him here is great. He’s sort of our comic relief but Brubaker did a great job of showing that he’s trying hard to take this serious and do his job well.
While some people don’t think Nova will fit this series well, his inclusion makes sense as he’s the eyes and ears in space that Steve needs. He’s also utilized well to tie-in with Roxxon on mars and getting the whole team there. Whatever happened to him has me excited to see what happens next as it’s clear he’ll be an integral part of this story arc.
I’m very glad to see Moon Knight here. He’s always been a character I’ve liked but never read much about outside of his cameos here and there. He was absolutely awesome here and Brubaker really captured the struggling hero he has become and handled him very well. I’m really excited to see where Moon Knight’s character goes after this and how much he evolves during his tenure as a Secret Avenger.
I’ll save my thoughts of Valkyrie being on the team for The Bad.
Overall the character work really shines here and is impressive. The dialogue and interactions are great and Brubaker really captures these characters, their unique and personal voices and utilizes them all incredibly well.
The story is told very nicely and flows well. We switch from spot to swell very well and it usually doesn’t feel too out of place. With the exception of one moment that I’ll cover later. Brubaker tells the story very well and builds it up so that we know things are going to get really epic soon.
The cliff-hanger had me scratching my head, both in a good and bad way. I’m not at all familiar with the Shadow Council or if I am I can’t remember them at all. So forgive me for not being too excited by them showing up. What does have me excited is this Nick Fury look alike, who I seriously doubt is the real thing or if it is him he’s on some major under cover stuff.
Who or whatever this person is leaves me excited. Brubaker has a clear path to tell some really epic and exciting stuff in the coming months and this Nick Fury look alike has me excited to see what that entails.
Of course the story was only one reason why I enjoyed this issue so much. Deodato really went above and beyond for this issue. I’m already a huge fan of his work but he really did a great job this time and I’d have to say that one issue in and I hope Deodato never leaves Secret Avengers. Also I don’t know who the hell was coloring his last few issues of Dark Avengers but I never want that person near Deodato again, attach him and Beredo hip to hip if you have to!
Deodato fits the tone and style of the series so well. While he draws the characters expertly as always his art shines with the style of this comic. It’s a dark espionage book about spies and saving the world without anyone knowing it and Deodato fits it amazingly well. His art is dark and moody and he captures the dark feeling of this book well.
He also really captures emotion well. Like with Moon Knight, there was a plane right before his flashback and you can tell that what Ant-Man said really sparked something inside of him. Dedoato’s art is nothing short of magnificent and he compliments the story perfectly.
The Bad: My biggest worry and complaint with Secret Avengers is that it could easily be a Status Quo book. Like Dark Avengers before it. While it may say ongoing, its time on this earth could be short lived. Right now Secret Avengers is a status quo book, something that plays within the Heroic Age banner but I can’t be sure that will last.
Marvel likes to act as if their status quos are important and something that will never real change. But lets face it, in 5 or so years Norman will be back in a Goblin suit giggling as he throws bombs at Spider-man. Steve will eventually pick up the shield again, and Tony will eventually be rich again. Changing the status quo is a joke as eventually it all comes back down to what we know.
Now I would love it if Secret Avengers were to move beyond the Heroic Age Banner and be a main big book in the Marvel Universe for years to come. I’m just not sure that will happen is the thing. If it lasts, that is great and I’ll be here for it but if in a year or so Marvel announces it’s getting canceled I for one won’t be too surprised.
The narration at the beginning was rather cheesy and it served no real purpose. While it did a decent job of getting us ready for the team, it felt really out of place to me. It only happens in the first few pages and we don’t see it anywhere else. I’d rather we have consistent narration with our story or no narration.
That one clunky moment I mentioned was when we saw the 2 Shadow Council guys following the ship. It was out of nowhere and while it showed us that they were following, it really came out of nowhere and didn’t warrant a whole page to show us this.
I am not too happy to see Vakyrie on this team. While she’s not a bad character, she’s never really stuck in my mind as someone I’d want to see on a team book like this as a regular character. While she fits our Thor spot she just feels out of place. Everyone else has guns or regular weapons and she’s wielding a mystical sword and axe. It just feels out of place for me personally.
Much as I loved Deodato’s art on this issue, I think the coloring was actually a tad too dark. While for the most part it worked, I couldn’t help but feel like for whatever reason the ship must have had horrible lighting. It kind of bugs me and I hope this isn’t a consistent problem with the coloring.
Overall: If Avengers #1 didn’t satisfy that big hero book craving you’ve got and you’re in the mood for some dark espionage then look no further. Secret Avengers has everything it needs to be one of the best books on the market and Brubaker and Deodato are doing a great job of making it a strong candidate for best new series of the year.
While I can’t promise that this series will always be around, even if it is limited it looks like it’s going to be well worth the ride. The story is set and it looks to be epic as all hell. The characters are all diverse and incredibly well written and the art fits the series perfectly. I give this one very high recommendations as it just may be the best series to come out of the Heroic Age.