Why did I get it: I need a new graphic novels series and I have already liked Ed Brubaker’s work. Plus I’m sort of not caught up on Marvel events. I don’t exactly want to be so the fact that this team is just starting up worked out great for me. The fact that the cover is gorgeous and that the Secret Avengers are lead by Steve Rogers were also incentives.
How I would rate it: 5 out of 5 stars – Great. I want more now!
My Summary: The Avengers have split up again it seems into different teams. Steve Rogers is organizing a more covert team consisting of Black Widow, War Machine, The Beast, Moon Knight, Ant Man, Sharon Carter, Valkyrie, and Nova. He needs less flashy but powerful team of superheroes who can also act as spies in order to deal with global issues. But even larger issues arise when they find a very strange crown of tentacles. Eventually they have to go to Mars to try to get some answers. But what is with the soldiers in purple uniforms with gold dragons on them? And why does one of their main opponents look exactly like Nick Fury? You’ll have to read to find out.
My Review: Loved it! I was so excited when I saw that this was coming out, and I am still excited now that I have finished. This graphic novel was perfection. Great action, great plot, and the pacing really worked giving this new Avengers spin-off quite a promising start. I also really liked the insight into not-Nick Fury that followed the four issues focused on the first mission.
The team dynamics have barely begun to form here, and that will be really great to watch develop since I really like most of these superheroes on their own already. Teams being competent and snarking only mildly is always fun. The fact that the team members –and especially the women– are all quite capable individuals in their own right is also pretty darn cool. As team leader, Steve is really the force linking them all together, which is great to have established right off the bat. And he also can send them off to do things without having to breath down their necks or get annoyed by their inability to get things done.
Despite not keeping up with every Marvel event, I was still familiar with the team members already, less so in some cases but enough to get by over all. Even keeping in mind that this won’t be the case for everyone who picks this graphic novel up, I still think Brubaker made a good choice in opting not to introduce each character with some long summary or recap of them being recruited or who they were before they joined up with this team which would have played merry hell on the fast pace. Most of these characters know Steve so well that there really would have been no need to show him asking people to join up since nearly all of them would have just said yes immediately. So instead there were brief scenes for Moon Knight who typically works alone and the new Ant Man who is still trying to get his bearings just in general and that was about it.
This first volume’s storyline really was all about the mission and not about whatever issues individual characters have with themselves or will potentially have with one another, which was also refreshing. No bickering or whacjy hijinks here. Instead there was a lot of action and problem-solving, which was great. The artwork was amazing to boot.
And while this has no bearing on my rating? I freely admit that I also really enjoyed how good Steve looks in his new uniform. In fact it was sort of hard not to enjoy how good most of these guys looked in their uniforms. So thank you for that, Mike Deodato!
In conclusion, if you’re sick of useless angst-ridden and/or pointless nonsense like Shadowland or whatever else,* check this graphic novel out. It’s worth noting though that this might not be the most accessible starting point for those unfamiliar with Marvel superheroes connected to the Avengers or certain aspects of S.H.I.E.L.D. But if you’re a Marvel/Avengers fan or even a sort of lapsed fan like myself, I think you’ll be very pleased with Brubaker’s story and Deodato’s illustrations.
PS - Please have more titles like this, Marvel. Seriously. Please have more titles like this.
PPS – My next graphic novel review will hopefully be for the first volume of Secret Six. I really want to get started on that series too.
* I tend to keep my head buried in the sand during most of these larger plots. I’m happier that way and usually only find out characters I like died long after they come back.