Comic Vine Review

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Secret Avengers #8 - Mission 008: The Cathedral Review

5

Mockingbird is trapped behind enemy lines without any briefing nor backup, but at least she has a camouflage generator, right?

The Good

Last issue left off on a gloriously built-up cliffhanger with Maria Hill unilaterally activating her S.H.I.E.L.D. team’s subliminal activation code after an unauthorized black op went catastrophically wrong. But this decision made the entire team forget that Mockingbird was still on A.I.M. Island and even made her forget how she got there in the first place, so now Nick Spencer picks up directly where he left off: Bobbi using a holographic disguise and Taskmaster possibly reactivated as a sleeper agent. The entire issue centers around her and the gradual comings and goings of those on the Island, most especially the higher-ups who, of course, have designs and plans of their own, some political and some personal. I always like when a great writer gives us an inside look at how the “other side” lives and this peek at how the sausage is made on A.I.M. Island is a great example of how to do it right. They’re obviously not JUST power-hungry psychopaths, but they’re DEFINITELY villains and they’re not even terribly sympathetic, but they don’t need to be. Every villain should be well-established and have a good motivation, but they don’t all need to be misunderstood or abandoned by society. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a villainous headquarters without one or two perplexing, and frightening, mysteries.

Luke Ross and Matthew Wilson are back on linework and colors respectively and they, as always, get the job done admirably. The sheer level of detail they put into the close-ups of every character is something to be beheld. I mean these are artists who can get Taskmaster’s unmoving, rictus grin of a mask to seem emotive and expressive by virtue of subtle details and body language. There’s next to no action, but the various comings and goings of the agents are more than enough with art this good behind them and it’s nice to get an issue that takes its time and is here to establish the threats that have been revealed throughout the series.

The Bad

There are a few panels that are unclear on whether they’re internal monologue or actually happening, one in particular where that distinction makes an incredible world of difference. The first three pages are used to recap who Mockingbird is (and that’s in addition to the proper recap page), which seems redundant as we’ve heard her backstory repeatedly in previous issues AND there’s already a recap page. They’re well-written and very well-drawn, they’re just also superfluous.

The Verdict

While the galaxy goes mad and the Earth is invaded across multiple Marvel books, it’s nice to have a book that’s still focused solidly on a smaller, more personal story. Bobbi Morse has gotten very short-shrift since making her comeback in Secret Invasion (her reveal was treated like one of the biggest of the book), so I’m glad to see someone scooped her up and is putting her back in the spotlight. She’s an interesting character with a great, modern design and I really didn’t want to just see her in Avengers team shots. Nick Spencer is also the master of the well-earned cliffhanger as this issue ends on a great one just like the last issue and the one before and on and on!

6 Comments
Posted by Master_Thief

its a good read

Edited by moriandy9

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Posted by Bazdan

I'm loving this series but something has confused me that I'm wondering if anyone here can clear up? At the end of issue #7 we could see Taskmaster in the panels featuring the battle and he was clearly fighting alongside the Secret Avengers swinging his sword at A.I.M. forces, then we see what is clearly his lower half (nobody else had a sword and white boots), standing in the getaway vehicle as Hawkeye says "Okay, all in--let's move!". Yet here in issue #8 Taskmaster is working at A.I.M. like nothing happened. Did A.I.M. not have any cameras? How is it that none of the surviving members of A.I.M.'s forces have outed Taskmaster as a traitor?

Edited by LiveForever
@bazdan said:

I'm loving this series but something has confused me that I'm wondering if anyone here can clear up? At the end of issue #7 we could see Taskmaster in the panels featuring the battle and he was clearly fighting alongside the Secret Avengers swinging his sword at A.I.M. forces, then we see what is clearly his lower half (nobody else had a sword and white boots), standing in the getaway vehicle as Hawkeye says "Okay, all in--let's move!". Yet here in issue #8 Taskmaster is working at A.I.M. like nothing happened. Did A.I.M. not have any cameras? How is it that none of the surviving members of A.I.M.'s forces have outed Taskmaster as a traitor?

Hmm, I'll check this out and give my thoughts. That's a good point. I went into the newest issue thinking Taskmaster forgot he was helping SHIELD again via mindwipe, but how AIM knew he was back with them I'm not sure...

Anyway, EXCELLENT series and a completely dark horse contender for my favorite of the Marvel NOW initiative (Hawkeye was pre-Marvel now and All New X-Men has slowed down). That said, this issue was a bit of a step back for me. I do love what's going on with Mockingbird though.

Only gave this book a spot on my pull list because I love every member of the roster and stayed on because it felt like a hand-off from Brubaker's work. Fantastic, underrated, underappreciated series. Hope it's getting good sales.

Edited by LiveForever

@undeadpool, how is this selling at your store? Any idea about the sales in general?

In a perfect world, Taskmaster would equate a sales boost the level of Wolverine.

Posted by sparty-dbq

It's like Mockingbird ended up in one of the most commonly occurring dreams at the end of the issue (the whole "Oh no, I didn't study for this big test" dream) but WAAAAAY worse.

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