If you read last month's Point One issue, you saw Captain America talk to Hawkeye about taking over the team. Now writer Rick Remender is joined by artist Gabriel Hardman to tell the story of some new and familiar Secret Avengers.
The concept of the Secret Avengers in this series has been a little bit of a struggle since the beginning. There wasn't quite a feeling or necessity for the missions to be secret up until recently. With writers like Nick Spencer and Warren Ellis following Ed Brubaker's lead, we've started getting more of a feel for secrecy.
There's no doubt that Rick Remender knows something about secret teams since he's written over twenty issues of UNCANNY X-FORCE, the secret X-Men squad. Joined by artist Gabriel Hardman and color artist Bettie Breitweiser, you immediately get a feel that this is going to be a covert series. The combination of Hardman and Breitweiser is a welcome addition. Perhaps it's because Breitweiser is also coloring WINTER SOLDIER, the way she uses colors just feels right in this title.
When there's a problem in Pakistan, it's obvious that the Avengers can't simply stroll into the country to deal with it. When it comes to defeating major threats or saving the world, you can't be held back by borders. With Hawkeye, Captain Britain, and to a lesser extent, Hank Pym joining the team, we're getting a taste for where the series will go. The new headquarters set up is brilliant in keeping the missions a secret from the world. We are definitely off to a good start.
It's understandable why Moon Knight is no longer on the team. I have to assume that Bendis has some plans with him, possibly to go along with his series ending? Captain Britain seems like an odd choice because he's not part of the Avengers but I love that Remender mentions his time in MI:13. And if the Secret Avengers are looking at global threats, why not include someone from another country and who is a "Protector of the Omniverse."
Even though most of the team has operated as Secret Avengers, Hawkeye and Captain Britain haven't. It felt that as soon as they arrived at the new headquarters, they were dispatched immediately on a mission. If Hawkeye is the leader, I would hope they had time to coordinate what each is capable of.
While this series hasn't had a lot of stability, if this (and the Point One issue) are any indication of what we can expect, let's hope this creative team is on board for a while. Rick Remender knows about secret teams and secret agents. Joined by Gabriel Hardman and Bettie Breitweiser, you can feel the atmosphere they're all setting up. Captain Britain is an odd choice for the team but he brings something new that will be interesting to see explored in these pages. The team rushes off to a mission before training together and it shows. The Avengers might deal with threats to the country but there are dangers in other parts of the world as well. The idea of the Secret Avengers making themselves protectors of the world is a fascinating idea which really makes use of the idea for the team to be a secret. We're off to a great start and it's going to be fun to see what Remender has planned for these characters.
We at Comic Vine strongly believe everyone is entitled to their own opinion. We each have our own voice. We can't always see completely eye to eye and it would probably be boring if we did. Below is the original review for this issue by Matt Demers. As Editior-in-Chief of Comic Vine, I didn't feel it completely fit with our previous approach toward reviewing this title and general perspective. So in the interest of sharing an alternate take, we're including both reviews, which we hope you'll read as further insight into the quality of this issue.
This issue marks a changing of the guard, as Warren Ellis' run on the book concluded last issue. However, the tone of the book is relatively the same, as the Secret Avengers seem to be widening their scope a little bit. Instead of having a distinct "Black Ops" vibe to the team, new heroes are being brought in that have a little more clean-cut background to them.
While Hawkeye and Captain Britain aren't exactly boy scouts, they definitely stand out in stark contrast to the craziness of Moon Knight in the previous iteration. Their macho posturing was a bit eye-rolling from time to time, but Valkyrie and Black Widow were almost turned into reader analogues with their eye rolling.
What I liked most about this issue is that it was different from Warren Ellis' run: while I like him as a writer very much, his stories felt ripped from the pages of his previous book, GLOBAL FREQUENCY. This book feels more "Avengers" than "Black Ops", which I feel fits the character roster more; I couldn't imagine Hawkeye taking the place of Moon Knight or Black Widow when it comes to offing baddies.
While this is a new run on the series and I have some praise for the direction it's taking, I'm finding that this book is having trouble finding its paces and sticking to them. Every time there's a mission that involves some wetwork, there's another that could be undertaken by the "regular" Avengers.
I feel that the book needs to stop fluctuating from writer to writer and find a formula that works. Instead of having a rotating cast, there should be something concrete; it should take notes from Jeff Parker's "Thunderbolts", which relies heavily on character interaction to get its point across.
The book has, however, shifted away from its "one and done" format, so hopefully we'll see the new creative team settle in next issue. For now, though, the book feels fun, but perhaps a little... unfocused?
3 out of 5.