In a previous podcast I discussed my dislike for Brian Michael Bendis work on Avengers and New Avengers. Mike suggested I check out Secret Avengers to, as Derek would say, take away some of the butt hurt, I feel over the Bendis run.
Secret Avengers is a covert team put together by Steve Rogers, now going under the name Super Soldier, designed to work in the dark so to speak. Think of this as the Uncanny X-Force of the Avengers universe. Written by Ed Brubaker of Captain America fame, and illustrated by Mike Deodato Jr, Secret Avengers is a satisfying read and a good alternative to Bendis.
Some fans have said that something about the book just feels off. Of this I can only speculate that the problem may simply be that, at this point, we know the characters very well. We’ve seen Rogers, Nova and Beast go up against powerful foes like Annihilus, Korvac and Apocalypse. We know what these characters are capable of, we know their breaking point.
Personally I have no problem with this team of Avengers taking on ‘lesser’ threats. In a way it reminds me of smaller story arcs in the old days of Avengers or West Coast Avengers. Not every threat can be a deadly plot by Kang or Ultron. Some may even balk at the idea of the Shang-Chi story arc, simply because he’s considered a C or D list character. Personally, I really enjoyed this arc. It further advanced the Shadow Council story and gave us a great confrontation between Steve Rogers and John Steele. Perhaps some fans may also be put off by the whole spy, cloak and dagger aspect of the series. Brubaker’s run on Cap has quite a bit of this so if you enjoy that aspect of Cap, you’ll dig it here as well.
In the first story arc we see the team go up against The Shadow Council and some mysterious alien force on Mars that turns out the be linked to the Serpent Crown. There are some great moments, like Rogers taking on the power of the Nova Force. Ant-man gets lots of face time and tries his best to fit in on the team and not be seen as a complete noob. Sadly, I feel that Moon Knight is underused here. I was really looking forward to seeing how he would fit in but sadly he's barely around. When he is around, its mostly doing covert ninja stuff, which is fine. I would just like to see more character interaction
Bottom line: Secret Avengers is, in my opinion, a good team book. Is there room for improvement? Yes. But as a longtime Avengers fan this book does indeed take away some of the butthurt over the Bendis run. Personally, i'm just happy to see Mike Deodato Jr drawing Avengers again, secret or not. I became a fan of his during his original run on Avengers, which was around the time i started reading Avengers on a monthly basis.