Brandon Borzelli’s Geek Goggle Reviews
Secret Avengers #23
Remender, Hardman & Breitweiser
Secret Avengers is slowly becoming a team book with the Rick Remender stamp on it. It’s very easy to compare his work here with that of the very successful book, Uncanny X-Force. However, the comparisons really don’t make a lot of sense because Remender is, in fact, telling an entirely different type of story here. Overall, I like this book a lot, mostly because Remender isn’t relying on telling this book as a team book. He’s isolating characters and growing them individually within a team book. So far, I am on board with this book and I am very interested to see where all of this is going.
The plot is pretty simple from the previous issue. Ant-Man is tagging along with a group of “adaptoids”, unbeknownst to them, who have taken a woman and her son captive. Ant-Man is actually the most important component of the book as the issue focuses on his own struggles. For the most part we witness his coming of age within this issue and it works really well regardless if you are aware of his past or not. This is the beauty of a Remender written book: he lets you inside the deepest corners of his character’s minds.
The other angle of the book is Hawkeye’s struggles with leading the team. It makes sense because the book has plenty of heavy hitters, both on the team and not actively on the team. Additionally, you have Captain America basically selected whomever he sees fit for the team without even consulting with Hawkeye. Hawkeye, understandably, takes his frustration out on the rest of the team. It works because it mirrors “normal” human behavior quite well.
The book has plenty of oddities, which is a staple in a Remender comic book. He’s got teleportation, monsters and ray guns, which is just par for the course in his comics. The book also has excellent dialogue as he nails a good portion of the characters right out of the gate.
The only downside to the book is the pacing. There definitely is a tough task at hand to ramp up a team and a story at the same time and this is just the second issue so there is a bit of patience required. I don’t feel like I have a handle on the villain or the motives just yet, but I have no doubt that it is all coming in due time.
Hardman is an excellent artist and this book is no different. I think the art really overtakes the story in the last few pages as Ant-Man has his coming of age. The book portrays a character’s pain and heartache for acceptance perfectly. I understand that Hardman’s style is not the standard super-hero style. The lines are subtle and the inks are light. The book feels like it is a shade too bright or unevenly toned. To me, it fits perfectly, but I can see how, to others, it just not fitting what they expect an Avengers or a cape-book to look like. Don’t be frightened to broaden your artistic perspective a little.
I think I was expecting a cloak and dagger kind of story from this title. However, I am finding this to be a lot like Remender’s work in Uncanny X-Force and Fear Agent. He is giving his character’s voices and he is throwing all kinds of bizarre things at them left and right. At some point I expect a fire breathing, dead dragon to appear. This book is just getting off the ground and I can’t wait to see where it’s going from here.
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles