Ales Kot and Michael Walsh’s Secret Avengers has quickly become one of my favourite books, even though only three issues are out (new one released last Wednesday). They have taken some of the more popular Avengers and SHIELD characters to deliver a whole new spin on them, as far as my reading experience is concerned, and they’ve made each character likable and have even injected a healthy dose of humour into the series. Plus, it just so happens that all these stories are self-contained and don’t really rely on what’s happening in the rest of the Marvel comics-verse and that’s the added attraction.
Secret Avengers #3 is about the team being sent off to an island called Sokotra where a crazy (and failed!) poet is selling off a really, really dangeorus nuclear bomb to the highest bidder. Now that the team has come together, it is time for them develop in relation to each other and that’s what we see best in this issue as they learn to trust each other and help each other when they most need it. Ales Kot’s writing and Michael Walsh’s art are both consistent with what they’ve turned out and the new issue is just as good as the previous two, if not better.
The cover art to this issue, by Tradd Moore and Matthew Wilson, seems a bit of an odd one at first but as the story inside unfolds, we get to see just how it all really fits together. Black Widow goes up against Lady Bullseye in the second half of this issue while Spider-Woman attempts to defuse a reality-altering nuclear bomb, even as Coulson comes under some really heavy fire and starts to experience post-traumatic stress disorder, following his near-death and falling through space in the last couple issues.
There’s a lot of character development going on in this issue and it goes hand-in-hand with all the non-stop action in this issue. We start off the issue with Maria Hill giving everybody their assignments, with Black Widow, Spider-Woman and Coulson being sent off to the island while Hawkeye and Fury Jr are sent off on a secret mission elsewhere. The scenes between the latter pair are full of some nice character moments that reflect on what has happened to the two of them in the previous issues while the same thing happens with the other three, except that they are right there in the thick of the fighting and there scenes have a much more of an urgent feel to them since they are fighting against the odds of a bomb potentially going off and fussing around with reality in a really big way.
As with the previous issues, I loved the character moments the best and it was great to see Black Widow in particular taking the spotlight there since there this one page in the middle of the comic where she has to make a crucial decision as the nominal leader of the team, and all of it hinges on her friendship with both Spider-Woman and with Phil Coulson, the former a rookie and the latter struggling with recent events, trying to make sense of what happened to him while under relentless fire. This scene pretty much shows how Black Widow thinks and I have to remark that this is all much different from how she is portrayed in Nathan Edmondson and Phil Noto’s Black Widow series which just wrapped up its sixth issue a week or so back. I love the difference and there is certainly room for these differences.
With the other characters like Spider-Woman and Fury Jr and Phil Coulson who lack their own titles at present, it is great to see them all in the field and working together as a team. Doesn’t get better than that.
Michael Walsh’s art and Michael Wilson’s colours, combined together, make for a really great visual experience since there are ample cinematic shots drawn and coloured in, which feel as if they came straight out of a movie. There’s that distinct action-movie feel to them, and when we get to the scenes with Black Widow and Lady Bullseye, that’s when the art really goes crazy and awesome in a way that makes you wish that it just keeps going on and on.
With some great dialogue and story, coupled with some great art, Secret Avengers #3 is definitely a great issue. The only drawback? No MODOK!!!