Secret Avengers is one of the series that Marvel launched when it introduced readers to Marvel Now back in 2012. However, it doesn’t look like the series made it too far since it is being relaunched with All-New Marvel NOW! and with a slightly new roster if I’m not mistaken. The previous series isn’t one that I’ve read and I picked the first issue of the new one at quite random because I was looking for something a bit different than the usual. Which is the criteria that the new Secret Avengers does fill, and the text intro in the beginning certainly bears that out quite well.
So anyway, Secret Avengers is getting a second life under the new relaunch banner, and for this reader at least, it is a good one. I liked how the entire team was brought together, and the story allowed each character to do their best, for the most part. I must say that it is great to see a black ops style SHIELD team, featuring some of its heaviest hitters, and even the fan-favourite Phil Coulson. Michael Walsh’s art, though quite stylised, totally fits with the story and there’s a strong synergy here that makes the entire issue really good.
The best part about this team-up is who all is a part of it. We have Nick Fury, Hawkeye, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, Phil Coulson and, to a degree Modok. Pretty damn fun I say. Nick Fury is of course an awesome character, more so because of the great runs he has had on the movies recently, and Hawkeye and Black Widow are no different, although I much prefer the latter. And then we have Phil Coulson who has been epic in the movies and has gotten a decent run on Agents of SHIELD so far. That leaves just Modok and Spider-Woman as the two characters that I’m not really familiar with, although I did read a 7-issue Spider-Woman series by Bendis and Maleev a year and a half back which was decent.
One of the great things about Marvel’s ladies is how close they are. I’ve seen Captain Marvel and Spider-Woman as great buddies in the former’s first rebooted series for Marvel Now and now in this issue we have a close friendship between Spider-Woman and Black Widow, which is pretty awesome. Most comics tend to show friendships between the male characters, and not so much between the female characters, so its great to see that here.
Just generally, Ales Kot has packed a ton of things into this inaugural issue and somehow he manages to keep it all consistent and free-flowing. The way that Hawkeye, on the run from a group of AIM agents, runs into Black Widow and Spider-Woman who are having a girls time-out, and then the way that their story connects to that for Maria Hill on one end, and to Agent Coulson and Nick Fury on the other end was quite thrilling. And there are lots of opportunities here for him to flex his action muscles, giving each of his characters some really cool action scenes, particularly the ladies. The funniest part is when Spider-Woman is taking down the bad guys armed with nothing except a spoon.
And there’s a wonderful tension throughout the issue, as all the different storylines converge together and some big momentous things happen in the climax. They are both shocking and nervecracking, showing how well Ales Kot captures the entire moment and the overall effect of it. This is certainly a far cry from his All-New Ghost Rider #1, which was nowhere near as good.
On the art side, Michael Walsh does the pencils while Matthew Wilson does the colours VC’s Clayton Cowles does the letters. As I said, the art is somewhat stylised and often goes for a somewhat minimalist look with the characters, but overall it is still pretty good. There cartoonishness of the art works in its favours, keeping it separate from the realistic, or even hyper-realistic, art from most other books by the Big 2. Marvel has certainly been flexing its art muscles with all these new All-New Marvel NOW! titles and Secret Avengers #1 is the best of the bunch by far. Don’t really have any complaints here.
Overall, this was a fun issue, even though it was a bit confusing in the beginning and the art isn’t always clear. Looking forward to reading the second issue!