By sithfrog Comments
If you were to go back to the very first blog I wrote, it was about Secret Avengers. Well, I guess we are coming full circle now.
At the dawn of Marvel's "Heroic Age", many readers had their interest piqued at the launch of four Avengers titles (the main book, New Avengers, Avengers Academy, and Secret Avengers). The title I most looked forward to was Secret Avengers. It was Steve Rogers' black ops team and the line-up was interesting and impressive: Steve himself (Bucky was Cap at this point), Black Widow, Valkyrie, War Machine, Moon Knight, Nova, Ant-Man (Eric O'Grady version), Sharon Carter and Beast. The thought of this spec ops, off the books team was exciting!
The first arc took us to Mars where we found a sinister organization known as the Shadow Council was attempting to gain control of the Serpent Crown. After this, the Shadow Council becomes like their arch-nemesis. Then, we get plots that drag...and drag...and drag. The Shadow Council throws twists and turns at the heroes ("oh no, is Nick Fury a member of the Shadow Council?!?" and Golden Age hero John Steele (who?) becomes a big threat as a pawn in their hands...sort of, I guess. After a while, the Shadow Council sinks into the...well, shadows and we are given multiple stand alone issues or mini-arcs that are also less then interesting. A strike team takes on a forgotten underground high tech city while another issue has them taking on a possessed semi-truck in Serbia. My excitement had come to an end and I was getting ready to drop this title.
I let myself get swayed by the fact that it had some decent Fear Itself tie-ins that were very character driven and then by the fact that there was going to be a bit of a roster change. Out go Steve, Sharon, War Machine, and Moon Knight (Nova left after issue 5) and now the team gets a new leader in the form of Hawkeye (nice!) and the addition of Captain Britain, Hank Pym, Jim Hammond (the original WWII Human Torch) and most interesting Venom (the Flash Thompson variety). Things were getting interesting again. By around issue 29, we've been through the AvX tie-ins and have introduced a weird race of robotic beings that hamper the team.
We also finally get some resolution with the actions of the Shadow Council, who have put together what could possibly be the largest group of Masters of Evil ever and are going to use their collection of crowns (three total) to bring about an entity known as the Abyss, which will possess all of the people on Earth to act as some sort of hive mind. This stretches out a bit longer than it should. This sets us up for more robotic hi-jinx, as the Descendants (the robot people I mentioned earlier) take center stage as it turns out Max Fury (not Nick, but we learned that a while back) was one of them and that now they are making their move. The robot philosophy of the Descendants and their leader Father makes some sense, at least to make them the villains, but I have tired of them rather quickly.
Now, we approach issue 37, the last issue of this volume to make way for Marvel NOW's Secret Avengers. From the information I've heard so far, this team will be very much under the control of SHIELD. That may or may not be a good thing, as we may be seeing the influence of the hit Avengers movie and the upcoming SHIELD TV series being exerted on this book. While I do love me some Agent Coulson (who will be in this new book), with he, Nick Fury Jr. and Maria Hill as the leadership, will this be a 616 reflection of the cinematic universe. The influence of the X-Men movies were one of the reasons I took a hiatus from comics around the year 2000.
While I don't like being a quitter, it is clear that Marvel suckered me out of money for a title that I was often more disappointed with than not. Yes, that is my own fault. I gave them too much faith and obviously a kick-ass team roster is not always enough. With only one issue left of the first run, I can't stop now, but I do have to ask myself if I can see NOW's volume two being worth my time and money. I'll probably give it a try, after all it is technically an Avengers book and I do like Coulson. Otherwise, I hope I can't just quit the silly thing before it sucks me in again. Pics of Hawkeye and Black Widow with the team don't hurt, but if I do get burned again and I keep buying and reading, can we just keep it our little secret?