Sunday, August 23, 2009

Blogathon 42: Secret Warriors: Nick Fury: Agent of Nothing

[Discussed in this post: Secret Warriors #1-6.]

Secret Warriors is my current favourite Marvel ongoing book. There's at least one other title that I like more, but it's a mini-series, so fuck it. Bendis's involvement in the series and opening arc is more that of a guide. He helped with the plotting and broader points, but Jonathan Hickman wrote the scripts. Hickman, for those unaware, did The Nightly News and Pax Romana, writing and drawing both, and they're both wonderful and you should know them.

Isn't Nick Fury: Agent of Nothing the best title you've seen here all day? Just wonderful. Magnificant. I wish the series were called that, but it's not just about Nick Fury. It's about all the Secret Warriors -- from his caterpillars to Hydra to Duggan and his men to... HAMMER people maybe? It's about the wars we don't see. This is the ongoing implicitly promised by Secret War and it is damn good.

In the first issue, we learn that SHIELD was run by Hydra. Since when? Since forever! This is another big Bendis change and some people don't buy into it, but I do. I'll tell you why -- it makes sense. It does. Hydra created SHIELD so they could do what they really wanted while appearing like they weren't doing anything. Genius. What that makes you wonder: what was Hydra really doing all of these years that the stuff we saw was the fake, meaningless bullshit?

The caterpillars get a good amount of time here, as well they should. Phobos, god of fear is my favourite. He's 12 years old. He's awesome.

Things move quickly in the book as Hydra quickly rebuilds itself, showing us its ruling council of Baron von Strucker, Madame Hydra, Viper, the Gorgon, Kraken, and the Hive. We get an equal amount of exposure to the good guys and the bad guys. Hell, the recap/info page for issue two is the same as issue one, except switch Nick Fury to Strucker...

The fights are fast and brutal. People don't always walk away. We learn that quickly.

Nick Fury's world is a dangerous one and the kids may talk some shit, but we're not sure if they can come through (they can). Or, at least, they do here. Will they continue to be able to do so?

Nick recruits Dum Dum and his Howlin' Commandos... private military contractors... they steal the Helicarriers from HAMMER. They steal the Helicarriers.

Hickman does better dialogue and character work than you may expect if you know his previous work. In The Nightly News and Pax Romana, his writing is more about ideas and philosophies than characters. Characters are tools in a sense, but you get little of that here. He really shows that he's got some serious chops -- hence why he's taking over Fantastic Four this week. Marvel knows they've got a winner.

This story ends with the revelation that Madame Hydra is the Contessa, which is another reveal that makes sense to me. Especially if SHIELD was always Hydra's...

Secret Warriors is a lot of fun, action-packed, has some solid character moments, and Stefano Caselli's art is always growing. He's not quite up to speed on the quiet moments yet, but his action is solid. I didn't expect to like his art, but I do.

If you thought Bendis's Fury was fantastic, Hackman matches Bendis there.

In 30 minutes, we run out of comics with New Avengers: Search for the Sorcerer Supreme.

[Don't forget to donate what you can to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund! After you do, let me know via comment or e-mail (found at the righthand side) so I can keep track of donations -- and who to thank.]