Secret Avengers #3

Awesome week for Marvel titles and I still grabbed for this one first.

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Look at the cover! Tradd Moore and Matthew Wilson created this magnificently detailed cover, Widow looks pissed wiping a bloodied nose, Spider-Woman is frantically disarming a bomb and Coulson appears to be in real trouble while still looking hilarious, which is just perfect.

Maria Hill Micromanages the Secret Avengers. Phil Coulson Blows up space stations. Nick Fury has one eye. Black Widow Played by Scarlett Johansson, except when she’s not. Spider-Woman New to the secret team ops thing. Hawkeye Eats about 4 protein bars a day.

Black Widow, Spider-Woman and Coulson are sent to the island Sokotra to neutralize a failed poet with a nuclear device. While they are there, Spider-woman and Widow find themselves against Derrida’s soldiers while Coulson is cowering. Natasha thinks he’s having a PTSD thing. She lets Jessica handle the bad guy while she goes to protect Phil.

Those menacing eyes at the top of the cover? They belong to Lady Bullseye. And she’s gunning for Widow.

Meanwhile the space bomb starts talking to Jessica and tells her that it is going to commit suicide. The bomb’s chosen name is Vladimir. Spider-Woman talks him out of suicide by offering caramel gelato. 

Coulson overcomes his anxiety and jumps in a Jeep, runs over Lady Bullseye. “I just killed Lady Bullseye? Oh my. I’m on a roll.”

I really enjoy this series so far. Consistently fun, quirky and badass. They pull villains and settings from all corners of the Marvel Universe. And Spider-Woman got to kick ass AND use quick thinking and more stereotypically girly means of problem solving. Michael Walsh’s art is kick ass, somewhere in between more classic styles and more modern, some panels switch color schemes (colors by Matthew Wilson) or go with blank backgrounds or silhouettes, it creates momentum and excitement and is well matched to Ales Kot’s quirky writing style.

I will note that Nick Fury and Phil Coulson look like their film counterparts, but the others do not. Including Black Widow, even though they name dropped ScarJo.

The end pages have Fury and Hawkeye going after The Fury who is lost in space.

Secret Avengers #2

Best Buddies Coulson and Fury are drifting through space. Widow, Spider-Woman and Hawkeye are on their way to save their butts. There’s a lot of bickering. Spider-Woman is not ready for space. “But we’re in a car and we’re flying to space and cars don’t fly in space unless they are miracle cars and is this a miracle car we clearly need a –” “No. we don’t need a miracle. All we need is will… imagination.. …a dependable team of scientists. ..and a big red button.”

Back on Helicarrier Iliad, where Maria Hill has taken a bullet to the hand and is being held hostage by the Latverian assassin who has just told her that his parents died because of SHIELD’s actions. Collateral murder. She’s defenseless. Meanwhile, MODOK is watching SHIELD satellites fall from the sky. Another scientist (with an exposed brain) asks MODOK what they should do about the more pressing and nearby issue with Director Hill. MODOK decides to save her, because he’s an ego maniac.

Coulson + Fury = bro time in outerspace/drifting toward the sun. MODOK = watching satellites. Black Widow, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman make it the the smash up space station that Coulson and Fury fell out of and assess the situation. And fix things, and it turns out they needed Hawkeye after all! The satellites stop falling and MODOK saves Maria Hill by taking down the assassin with a trained lab rat and a syringe. It’s super cute and silly. “CLAP FOR MODOK!” 

Maria’s not impressed.

Then Coulson and Fury, who are resigned to death but still cracking jokes are scooped up by Widow, Spider Woman and Hawkeye (of all people) in a nanobot blanket that MODOK designed. MODOK is genuinely surprised that Maria spied on him and copied his work.

“This is the secret Avengers, there are no rules.” -Maria Hill

This series kicks so much ass. It’s witty and zany. Ales Kot arms everyone with witty but distinct dialogue, I get to read Coulson lines in Clark Gregg’s voice, Michael Walsh and Matthew Wilson do and excellent job of keeping the art clear, crisp, colorful and expressive. The bright colors and Hawkeye’s dopey facial expressions really emphasize the fun feel of this one. Everyone has really expressive eyes, a feat since it’s very cartoony. 

Black Widow is a total bad ass, I like her as a mentor for the new Secret Avenger: Spider-Woman. I like the 50-50 female/male split. Ummm… + MODOK. 

 

Secret Avengers #1

Save the Empire!

“Run the mission. Don’t get seen. Save the world.”

SHIELD director Maria Hill has assembled a black ops squad to deal with things that cannot publically involve the Avengers. Maria selects Nick Fury, Phil Coulson, Spider-Woman and Black Widow. …and SHIELD informant turned developer MODOK. …And Hawkeye accidentally joins up.

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Coulson and Nick Fury are sent to a space station where they end up in over their heads with THE Fury (an immensely powerful cybiote programmed to exterminate all life). This interrupts Black Widow and Siper-Woman’s spa day. …Well, TECHNICALLY Hawkeye accidentally busting in to escape AIM agents does (there’s a lot of nip slips covered up by ‘classic hero stickers’ it’s really fun). Natasha Romanova had been trying to teach Jessica Drew how to unwind when all hell broke loose. 

Maria Hill sends the trio to space to assist Coulson and Fury while Maria and MODOK get blindsided by a Latverian Hitman. 

So there’s a bunch of things happening at once. I’m at least peripherally aware of these characters. Sneaked in snippets of backstory were all that I really needed here. Maria Hill is doing a lot, maybe too much, and it shows. Hawkeye stumbles comedically through life threatening situations. Coulson is more reckless than the decisive Nick Fury.  MODOK is always being MODOK. It was funny. Very Funny. 

I’m really into Michael Walsh’s quirkier art style, Matthew Wilson adds the colors and its somewhere between looking like 80s comics and a Samurai Jack cartoon. It’s really awesome, that’s the kind of thing I like, some people enjoy more realistic interpretations… Well, I don’t. It carries along Ales Kot’s somewhat slapstick and action packed script perfectly. 

And it was fun to see Coulson in the books.