There’s a lot going on in Secret Avengers #1. Near-death experiences and deep space and AIM goons and caramel gelato. I feel like it has it all, and definitely my favourite elements of the characters I love.
This Secret Avengers team-up includes a few of my favourites – Black Widow, Phil Coulson and Hawkeye, plus Spider-Woman, Nick Fury, and M.O.D.O.K., with heavy doses of Maria Hill as S.H.I.E.L.D.’s resident lying liar who lies. I loved the various relationships that were set up from the outset – the mentor-student relationship between Black Widow and Spider-Woman, the best buddy relationship between Fury and Coulson, and especially the antagonistic relationship between M.O.D.O.K. and Hill.
I was a bit unsure of this series to begin with, for two reasons. Tradd Moore’s cover art isn’t really my style, quite exaggerated and alien-like, and when I went to buy this book I was actually looking for its predecessor, Secret Avengers vol. 2, which opens with Coulson seducing Hawkeye and the Black Widow into the Secret Avengers with Pineapple and Coconut scones.
I read an article one where Ales Kot said that his Hawkeye was based on Fraction’s solo run, which has been running since 2012. I can see that in the character – Hawkeye looks and acts a lot like his Fraction self, and even his uniform has a Fraction-like update, a simple black cargo pants and black tee with a purple arrow on it. Nothing about his characterisation feels copied or forced. He’s a bit of an idiot, but is usually able to recover his footing enough to get away from the goons – and when he lags behind, Widow’s there to save his ass.
I really liked the introduction to Spider-Woman. I’m a complete Spider-Woman newbie, so introducing her as the newbie really gave me time to feel her out as a character before she was committed to the general badassery and humanity-saving of the rest of the book. Her penchant for caramel gelato kind of made me feel like we were soul sisters (even though I usually go for lemon gelato).
Kot’s storytelling is action-packed without skimping on plot, giving the reader a chance to acquaint themselves with the characters, their missions and some of their motives before jumping straight in to the goon ass-kicking. Matthew Wilson’s colouring made it easy to follow not only where the characters were, but which character arc we were following, and Michael Walsh’s sparse backgrounds and focus on the characters in the panels made the comic easy to follow and rewarding to read.
I have to say, I’m pretty hooked on Secret Avengers. I thought I’d read vol. 3 as a stand-in until I could get my hands on vol. 2, but I can see that’s not going to be the case. I’m now four books in, and can’t wait to hit the comic book store soon for more.