To me, Marvel Comics recent re-launch of the Avengers line looks commercially needy, especially when you consider that they are still being overseen by writer Brian Michael Bendis. Of all the new Avengers books, and there are many, the only one I had an interest in was this, Secret Avengers, but only because I see it as a spin off from Ed Brubaker’s Captain America, a run that I’ve enjoyed in recent years.
Steve Rogers, now known as Super Soldier, recently back from the dead and in charge of all superheroes, puts together another team of Avengers, only this time they’re made up of B listers. Moon Knight’s in there, Nova and The Beast. Movie stars War Machine and Black Widow are also members. There’s even a couple of characters without their own books and films, such as Valkyrie and the fake Ant Man. The team’s purpose is to be more proactive when dealing with threats rather than reactive like all the other teams of Avengers.
Brubaker jumps straight into the story. There’s some sort of shenanigans involving The Serpent Crown that, by the end of the first issue, has the team on their way to Mars of all places. In Brubaker’s Captain America, Mars seems out of bounds to Steve Rogers, but here he is in a spaceship heading there with his superhero pals.
Mike Deodato’s art has that clean, smooth finish to it that I’ve come to expect from his work these days. His work here reminds me of half remembered Avengers stories from my childhood drawn by Neil Adams. Or could that be the Serpent Crown forcing me to make that connection? I’m not sure.
Unfortunately, this opening story is a little underwhelming. Apart from a couple of moments featuring War Machine and Ant Man, there’s little banter or fission between team members. There are no hints or explanation as to how this team came together. (I was hoping for scenes paying homage to Giant Size X-Men 1 like Valkyrie walking into her living room and finding a mysterious blonde stranger sitting in the shadows and saying, “I have a job for you”). There’s a sense that the characters are only in the Secret Avengers during their spare time, which of course they are. I’m hoping for Brubaker, that this isn’t also the case.
Cost: I won issues 1 to 4 of Secret Avengers in an eBay auction for £2.70. The price of postage was £2.25, making a total of (thinks for a bit) £4.95! With blog rules placing a price maximum of £1.20 an issue, this falls just within budget.