I wasn’t entirely sure what to think of this on my first reading. On my second reading, it was much more enjoyable, but still not without problems. Either way, Secret Avengers has now entered its second volume. Can Nick Spencer write it better than Rick Remender?
My thoughts on Remender’s run were that it started out alright, but toward the end it just got weird. Remender himself said that he was overworking himself, and at times it felt like he was aiming for the same sort of success that he found in the first year of Uncanny X-Force, yet it wasn’t nearly as good. In some ways it felt as if he didn’t feel like writing a dark story anymore, but tried to anyway. I dropped it a few issues before it ended. I thoroughly enjoyed the majority of his Uncanny X-Force run, and his Venom run was simply brilliant, it’s just that Secret Avengers wasn’t nearly as good.
Secret Avengers 1 is a fun comic, but it can be difficult to understand if you read it too quickly. There are a number of plot points and twists in rapid succession. However, it can be entertaining if you read it slowly enough, or re-read it shortly after. This issue primarily focuses on Black Widow, Hawkeye and the new Nick Fury, and it does a satisfactory job at introducing each of them. Maria Hill also has a role, however it’s relatively minor. Nick Fury Jr. doesn’t bother me all that much, but I can understand why some would be annoyed by him. Either way he feels like a typical secret agent in this, but he’s written well enough.
The main problem with this book is the pacing – it feels a bit wonky. The story takes a while to explain, and there’s a bit too much text for its own good. It doesn’t help that several jokes and references feel slightly out of place, and they do little but distract from what’s actually going on. Their kind of amusing, but they could have been placed better. While this isn’t necessarily a problem, Hawkeye and Black Widow are forcibly given memory altering implants, and Black Widow seems much less upset about this than she should, especially when you consider the recently concluded Widow Hunt in Winter Soldier’s series. It just feels a bit off to me.
The art is simple, but it works. There usually isn’t all that much detail, except for people’s hair, but each panel is complete with at least some sort of background. It’s never hard to tell what’s going on, and facial expressions are decent.
This series has promise, but the first issue could have been better. I still recommend checking it out if you like Hawkeye or Black Widow. It’s an Avengers related book with covert ops rather than big fights, and if it’s more grounded than the previous Secret Avengers series, it could be a very interesting and unique run. I’m not sure if I’ll stick with it or not (I’m leaning towards not since there are so many other books I’ve enjoyed more) but let’s see how the second issue is first.