circularlogic's Secret Avengers #1 - Mission 001: Budapest review

Everythings a little Blurry

I like Nick Spencer as a writer, I really do. But unfortunately, he has some writing ticks and flaws that make it difficult to get into the work he does for the Big 2. Secret Avengers unfortunately is no exception.

Spencer's tendency to ramble a bit works in stuff like Morning Glories, but unfortunately his other works don't always hit the mark when he just goes on and on. And right from the start, we see this will be a problem in this book as well. The opening scene goes on a page or two longer than it should have, to the point where it's pretty tedious, in order to make a point about the story and the intrigue surrounding it. The pacing fixes itself up soon after, but it just marks a slugish start to a simply average series.

Currently the book's roster includes Hawkeye, Black Widow, Maria Hill, Phil Coulson and Nick Fury Jr. (or Blurry, as I like to call him), and Spencer handles them pretty well. Obviously Hawkguy isn't as charming as he is under Fraction's pen, but besides that we see the group behaving as you would expect... But again, the problem remains that Blurry is the lamest character ever. No one, not even Spencer, seems to know how to write him. He has almost no personality, little consistency, and considering that he is just a gimmick, it's just annoying seeing him scene to scene, serving little purpose. Hawkeye even makes a joke about how lame the idea is, but in most stories when someone does that, the response is to do something awesome to win us over. Nope. Just carry on like no one thinks this is a bad idea. Blurry is a pale imitation of his predecessors at best, and a superfluous character at worst.

The story itself is a pretty self contained one shot, but establishes the characters motives for being here fairly well (except Blurry, again). The villain is generic to know end, but the concept of missions being too secret to remember is a nice hook, with some interesting wrinkles here and there. There's a completely predictable twist, and this new sinister vibe of S.H.I.E.L.D. is interesting, though it makes me wonder if Hill learned nothing from basically everything that has happened since Civil War, but overall it's a solid story with huge flaws. The art is nothing to write home about, so really you just have to ask yourself if you like the characters and enjoy the black-ops genre. Look at it this way: It's not great, but certainly better than the Thunderbolts.

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