adamwarlock's Secret Avengers #22 - New Life review

A decent start, but no more than that

Following after Warren Ellis' unofficial "Global Frequency" revival in the pages of this title is a tough position to be in, but considering that Ellis' run on the title was known to be impermanent from the start gives new creative team Rick Remender and Gabriel Hardman some much needed leniency. Note: both creators are strong talents who have been receiving well earned recognition for their work elsewhere in the industry this past year... but even so neither of them is yet quite "A-list" household names, so following after Warren Ellis (and at the top of his game too), is still tough.

After about a year and a half on Uncanny X-Force, handing the reins of Secret Avengers over to Remender (while continuing X-Force) is a stroke of brilliance. X-Force is one of Marvel's absolute best books, so for this alone, I was eagerly anticipating the new creative team's arrival. I've also been quite taken with Gabriel Hardman from his work on Agents of Atlas and [Red] Hulk (going so far as to consider him one of my favorite artists with a monthly book today). So with this creative team on this title, my expectations were set surprisingly high.

And this opening... well, it isn't great. It looks good, but I feel that Rick Remender is kinda shoving his obsessions down the reader's throat, and that's a bit awkward. Out of the blue, Captain Britain is EVERYWHERE (also appearing in his current X-Force story), and his sudden arrival in this team doesn't feel even remotely natural. Furthermore, the seeming villain for this arc (and perhaps Remender's whole run; who knows where this is going) is tied heavily into what's come before in X-Force... AND he's bringing his new Venom into the team starting next issue (from his OTHER Marvel book). On one hand it's interesting how he's tying all his Marvel books together on some level (though Joe Casey was recently given somewhat of a hard time for having done so in "Vengeance"), but on the other hand it seems like Remender is obsessing on just a few things where other writers with multiple monthly titles wildly diverse stories and are all the better for it. It's possible that Remender's three Marvel books (all now linked on some level) will benefit from this in some Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers sort of way. At the same time, it's possible he's severely limiting himself and people reading all three of his books will soon find that some (or all) of them are starting to feel redundant. It's much too soon to say.

As for looking at this issue entirely on its own without drawing comparisons to Remender's other work of the moment... it's ok. The new variation of the team doesn't receive the "coming together" moments we so often expect (and perhaps require) from team books. Instead, Remender focuses on the arrival of one new team member (Captain Britain... though Hank Pym is also new and Erik O'Grady Ant Man, while he's a founding member, FEELS new again since Ellis didn't use him) and immediately throws the team into a crisis. The crisis is a bit unsettling and fairly fresh, even if the final page reveal shows that it is spinning out from events in Uncanny X-Force. Argh, it just isn't possible to completely look at this issue as its own separate entity!

I respect Rick Remender as a writer and trust that he knows what he's doing. If I were a stranger to his work, say, having been reading THIS title all along but not having also been reading X-Force... I'd be feeling lost and probably disappointed.

1 Comments Refresh
Edited by kingjoeg

I agree. Remender himself said in the first few issues he is just planting seeds, so it might take a few issues to get going. I think it will improve. Plus the point one was great.

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