Review: Secret Avengers #4

Published on August 23rd, 2010

Secret Avengers #4 is the final issue in the ‘Secret Histories‘ storyarc by Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato. So what did I make of the first story in this new series? I thought that all in all, it was a bad story to start the series with. This story would have been much better if it had been told around the #20 mark. We’ve just not seen enough of this team working together yet for us to take in something as climatic as this. I was a little overwhelmed by this whole story arc.

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This issue sees Commander or Captain Rogers put on Nova’s helmet and embrace the entire Nova force to take down the possessed Richard Rider. Ant-Man also ‘succeeds’  in stopping some Shadow Council suicide bombers from blowing up buildings on Mars when their plans fall through, but in doing this he blows them and the building up anyway (yeah, I didn’t get that either). The issue ends with Steve and his crew on the way back from Mars when Steve finds out that Nick Fury is partly to blame for the Shadow Council’s operations as he is informed by Sharon Carter that Nick had been working with them.

I thought this issue had quite a few downfalls, and from my rather poorly elaborated description above I’m going to assume that you figured that much out already. No human could simply put on Nova’s helmet and embrace the Nova force quite as easily as Steve did here. I know that there was heavy emphasis on the fact that Steve might not be able to handle the force of the Nova Prime, but he put it on and was perfectly fine. Err… How can he do that and be perfectly fine? Is it because he was the God Damn Batman and he can handle anything, or perhaps because Brubaker thinks his boy Steve is that much of a friggin’ hard ass. I don’t care, but frankly no, Steve could not have been able to handle that much Nova force and then be able to just snap out of it. I don’t believe that for a second. I will say the hybrid Captain America/Nova costume he got when he put on the helmet was quite cool though.

The suicide bombers in this issue seemed completely out of place. This is set on Mars with serpant cults and space monsters flying around, I really don’t think references (whether it was or not) to current events fit the bill for this story arc. I know I could be overthinking this one and heck I probably am, but I couldn’t help but think to myself, “suicide bombers, really?”. This is a story which is dealing with a monster from the darkest corner of the Universe, not the Helmand province.

To say that this issue felt rushed would be wrong. It didn’t, and flicking through my issue again a couple of times everything did take place at the pace it probably should have. I think the problem lies with this story being too big to be set over the duration of 4 issues, give it at least 6. Secondly, and as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, this was the wrong sort of story to open up a series with. At least in my opinion it is.

Some good bits about this issue were the artwork, and it’s always a pleasure to see Deodato drawing Valkyrie in the way he does. You remember that black and white panel where she, War Machine and Ant-Man are walking away don’t you. Damn right you do. Anyway, so yes the artwork is always great to look at. I also think that the connection between War Machine and Ant-Man is quite interesting and I’d like to see more of them talking in upcoming issues. I think there could be a unique bromance to be found there, or a possible love/hate relationship. I hope Brubaker begins to open up some deeper dialogue between the characters and doesn’t throw the Secret Avengers into another epic like this one so soon.

I was glad to see that in the final pages Steve said to Sharon that Nova had to take off to deal with something urgent in the depths of the Universe (Thanos Imperative) and that they would start looking for another cosmic level character to join their ranks. I love Nova, but I think I may have changed my mind when I said he would be good on this team. He is just too powerful for them. I look forward to seeing which cosmic character they do bring onto the team in the future, if they actually do.

I found this whole storyarc too uneccessarily cosmic, and although it wasn’t terrible, I feel it was a bit hit and miss. I do look very much forward to the upcoming storyarc which deals with Nick Fury. Hopefully it will take place on Earth a bit more (it feels weird saying that as I love cosmic Marvel so much).

Rob Andrews
Rob@ComicImpact.com