Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Secret Avengers Volume 2 Iliad Review

This shouldn’t be confused with the other Secret Avengers comic that I reviewed as this is a completely different run. While there isn’t a lot of action this time around, the plot is interesting and the comic series certainly has a lot of promise. As expected, Shield (Not going to bother with the periods) is very shady and does things that do make them villains in a sense. Batman certainly wouldn’t put up with their shenanigans!

Daisy (AKA, the main character of the current Shield TV series) is the director of Shield and she led the Secret Avengers on an attack to destroy an AIM Agent. Maria Hill did not like this so she forcibly took control of Shield away from Daisy and shut down the whole project. This was simply crossing the line and tarnishing Shield’s reputation. Hill has a point here although things wouldn’t have gone so smoothly if Daisy had decided to actually fight back. It’s a little convenient for Hill that Daisy was so cooperative this time. This switcheroo in terms of leadership did leave the Avengers in a tough spot though, namely Mockingbird.

The concept of the Secret Avengers here is that they don’t even know that they’re on a mission. Their minds are hijacked by Shield before going into each mission and their memories are erased once the battle is over. Once Maria Hill goes back to being in charge, she scrubs their memories and forces them to evacuate the mission. The problem is that this also forced the heroes to leave Mockingbird stranded in the villain base ruled by Taskmaster and stuck in the body (or appearance) of an AIM agent. Getting out of that pickle is certainly going to be quite the feat for her.

As you can imagine, I definitely disagree with Shield’s methods here. Controlling the minds of these heroes (Hawkeye, Black Widow, Mockingbird, Hulk etc) is definitely crossing the lines. The end doesn’t justify the means, but Shield never seemed to really understand that. In Shield’s slight defense, the Hulk shouldn’t be able to be mind controlled at this point, but it certainly doesn’t change the fact that Shield should not have attempted this. I do love to see what Shield’s been reduced to though. Nick Fury is now just an average field agent and likewise with Coulson while Maria Hill and Daisy call the shots. (Until Daisy was fired) Things are just so loopy right now.

There isn’t a whole lot of action like I said earlier, but we do get to see the Hulk take down Graviton with a quick shot. I actually thought the villain was Hyperion for a second since the costume was so similar, but it was more realistic this way. Hyperion would not go down after a single punch! Taskmaster is actually one of the Secret Avengers and spends his time acting sort of like Deadpool. He can be serious one second and then total comic relief the next. He’s a fun character even if he’s totally ripped off from Prometheus. (Now he was an epic villain!) We didn’t get to see Taskmaster fight all that much, but he’s a valuable asset to have on the team.

This volume was mainly for the origin of the Secret Avengers as we saw Daisy and Maria Hill discuss the operation. The main plot with the AIM assassination was really just an excuse to have a little plot going. It was entertaining enough, but nothing really happened since the mission was scrubbed aside from Mockingbird’s plot. I’m looking forward to seeing the team go on an actual mission to see what they’ve got. I also look forward to seeing the rest of the heroes find out about their comrades being used like this. I definitely don’t think that it will be taken very well at all.

The art is solid. It has a darker backdrop than the average Marvel comic which did give me some trouble distinguishing Daisy and Maria Hill a few times, but it looks good for the most part. It looks professional and that’s always a good thing. It’s hard to describe the fight scenes, but they seemed to be good from what I saw. I believe that the writing was also good and the plot was interesting from start to finish. When a comic lacks action, you definitely want the plot to be engaging.

A missed opportunity here for me would be that we didn’t see Bruce Banner much. Since this is essentially the Indestructible Hulk, that would have been a lot of fun since his personality during this time period was really cool. With the Avengers all being mind controlled, we didn’t get to see them talk that much at all. At least they were loyal though and weren’t going to abandon the mission until forced too. Although, since the mission involved destroying someone….it may come at the expense of their heroics. You can see why they didn’t grab Iron Man or Captain America for this team. They’d probably ask a whole lot of questions. (Plus, Extremis should be able to protect Iron Man if you ask me. That was years ago, but the effects should linger)

There really weren’t any unlikable characters. Even though I disagreed with Daisy’s decisions, I could see her (unfortunate) train of thought. None of the characters were over the top or had pointless lines for the chuckles. The comic was serious, but without being over the top and handled itself well. This is a comic series that I could see being very good. With the origin of the team out of the way, the plot can really start and some of the seeds were sown here. Two of the villains (One of them being Graviton and the other being a lady with super strength and/or lasers) have decided to team up because things may get rocky in the future and Mockingbird’s going to have to escape from the big meeting that she was thrown into. The chips have been set and the ball is in the comic’s corner.

Overall, If you like to see your favorite (B) heroes taking on secret stealth missions, this is the comic for you. There is a lot of dialogue, but that shouldn’t be a problem for you because it’s all pretty interesting and you’ll get to learn about the history of the team. It’s also an interesting way to tie into the Shield TV show since Daisy gets a big role. I would have liked to have seen her use some sonic powers though, but maybe in the next volume. I don’t know if I’ll be reading that one anytime soon, but that’s another matter. Seriously though, with the plot out of the way, I’m ready for some action!

Overall 7/10

Comic Reviews, Comics, Reviews

Secret Avengers Volume 1 Mission To Mars Review

It is time to start another Avenger series! The Secret Avengers has always been an interesting concept. They strike from the shadows instead of taking on big threats in the spotlight. This would be impossible to an extent if no other heroes were around, but since there are numerous fighters ready to defend the world, Captain America can afford to lead this team in the shadows. Of course, it is much easier to cross the line and start to become the villains while in the shadows so Captain America will have to make sure that he has what it takes to hold onto his integrity.

The Secret Avengers have located a mysterious crown that they stole from an evil organization and find out that it has something to do with the Planet Mars. Captain America sends Nova to scout ahead, but the cosmic hero disappears. The Secret Avengers must now head outside of their element so that they can find their ally. Of course, if something could actually defeat the mighty Nova, what chance does Captain America have of victory!? This could be their most dangerous mission yet!

The roster for the Secret Avengers is fairly unique and the team has got a good balance. Captain America brings his experience to the table and he was always a great leader for the Avengers. This portrayal of him shows that he is always willing to risk his life for a teammate and he gives his allies their due respect unlike some of the other Avengers. He’s a little out of his league against the cosmic threats, but something helps to even the playing field for the climax.

Black Widow makes perfect sense for the team since she is all about espionage. She doesn’t get to fight all that much aside from the intro scene because facing a planet buster is not really her style. Widow’s style of completing a mission certainly contrasts with Valkyrie. I certainly prefer the Asgardian and she would be a much more powerful ally. Black Widow doesn’t look bad though and she helps out a lot more than the next member.

Beast managed to make it onto the team and that’s too bad. I’m not a Beast fan and he is one of my least favorite X-Men members. He’s joined the Avengers on a few occasions as well. He may be smart, but that’s really all that he brings to the table. He helps the team find out about the crown and he means well, but I’ve seen the Beast make too many questionable decisions in the comics and the films. He’s not an ally that I would trust when the chips are down.

Valkyrie is the team’s heavy hitter. She is certainly not as strong as some of the other previous power houses like Thor and Hulk, but this is a team that is not meant to tackle many super threats so it may be fitting. She is still very powerful and could easily beat the rest of the team, but I would consider her closer to Thing level than the two that I previously mentioned. Valkyrie is a fighter with honor and her personality has always been a good one. She’s easily one of the best members on the team.

Next up, we have War Machine! He doesn’t get a chance to do much, but he has a lot of experience like Captain America. We’ve seen the War Machine suit many times in the past so we know what to expect from it at this point. He can hold his own in a fight. Unfortunately, War Machine really doesn’t like the new Ant-Man and makes sure to bring it up whenever possible. Calling the young hero a “kid” is just plain insulting and it certainly won’t make you gain any respect for the guy. Moon Knight is also around, but he hasn’t done anything yet. He’s the mysterious figure of the group and I assume that he has something up his sleeve. I definitely wouldn’t trust him as he seems to have an agenda and isn’t typically a team player. I guess we will just have to wait and see with him.

Finally, we have the Ant-Man. This isn’t Hank Pym or Scott Lang, but a guy named Eric. He has an intriguing history and it seems like he is constantly jumping from hero to villain and vice versa. Obviously, War Machine has a reason to not trust him so I won’t be too hard on the guy. Eric does actually make a questionable call at the end as he blows up a few agents from the shadow organization. They had been heading to Mars to blow it up, but Eric forced them to speed up the process. I think that he certainly should not have gone for the kill so quickly. None of the other characters really noticed that this happened so we haven’t dealt with any repercussions. Still, this could be the beginning of a defection by Eric.

Sharon Carter is essentially the director of the team. Cap’s the leader, but she helps to coordinate everyone from the shadows and she has a subplot where she tries to recover one of the mysterious crowns. She seems like a tough individual and I’m glad that she didn’t wait for backup when she headed for the crown. That being said, she’ll have to work hard to back up her tough talk as she was defeated in a single blow during her first fight. That’s definitely not the right way to earn hype and respect from the readers.

Nova is a member who’s not always around. You can essentially say that he’s on stand by. He’s a clear powerhouse so it’s good to have him ready, but he doesn’t look good here. He is essentially mind controlled for the entire volume, which isn’t cool. I don’t think that he would be taken over so easily or lose control of his mind like that. This is Nova that we’re talking about, not some new recruit who is just joining the superhero game! Ah well, I haven’t seen Richard Rider in a while so that was neat. His abilities looked good, but he still should have looked a lot better.

Nick Fury gets a big role in the final comic as we learn that he actually hadn’t been around during the first issues. We have been dealing with a clone of him who is now called Max. Max still has his heroic personality in theory so I’m assuming that he is simply being duped. He shouldn’t be much of a threat to the Avengers, but with his knowledge I suppose that he can certainly complicate matters.

Secret Avengers ended up being a fun read as the plot was very interesting. This lineup of Avengers is a good one and I look forward to seeing where their adventures take them next. This volume didn’t have much of a villain although I suppose that you could call the mind controlled Nova the main antagonist. We still did get some nice fight scenes and the robot that shows up to fight Nova was cool. He lost in a quick hit so that certainly didn’t last long, but the important thing is that he tried.

The art also works well for this collection. The fight scenes really stand out and the panel of Valkyrie fighting Nova with a big energy clash was particularly good. The energy effects really stand out compared to the rest of the comic since it is not very bright. While the comic does use darker colors, it still looks very streamlined and works. The characters aren’t as detailed as X-Sanction, but few comics are up to that level of detail without overdoing it. As it stands, the comic did a good job.

The most interesting thing to follow will be if the Avengers can stay true to themselves or not. Some members like the Beast and Black Widow likely wouldn’t hesitate to cross the line or make a shady decision. Likewise, War Machine would likely not mind for the government and Ant Man was a criminal. Valkyrie likely destroyed many while on Asgard and Captain America can be super heroic one minute and a criminal the next. Moon Knight’s a wild card in all of this. I’m hoping that the team remembers that they are super heroes and do the right thing. If not, hopefully we get a fight between the Secret Avengers and the real ones.

Overall, The Secret Avengers is a team that you don’t want to mess with and they should go far. The art is good and the writing is on point, which results in a fun comic book. This collection brings 5 issues instead of 4 so it will be slightly longer than the average one, which is typically a good thing. It seems like Nova won’t be appearing too often, but I hope that he gets to appear in a better role in the near future. I assume that the Nick Fury LMD will be the main plot so we will see how he holds up against a team of superheroes. I certainly recommend this comic and especially if you’re the kind of person who liked reading comics where the superheroes are making tactical decisions and not simply beating one on another because the fate of the world is at stake. Avengers has another winner now!

Overall 7/10