Last summer’s blockbuster, Marvel’s: The Avengers, introduced the world to Marvel Comic’s A-list team of superheroes. With the NOW! Initiative in full-swing, Marvel is revamping the Universe by releasing – and re-releasing – new titles with Secret Avengers #1 joining the group (released February 13, 2013). Featured on the cover of issue #1 are members: commander and acting director of S.H.I.E.L.D. Maria Hill, field agent Nick Fury (we’ll talk a little about this later), tactical support (and the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s fan favorite) Phil Coulson and assets Hawkeye (Clint Barton) and Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff).
Secret Avengers #1 titled “Budapest” introduces the audience briefly to the newly acquired Hawkeye and Black Widow, what their roles will be on the new team, and how their “contract” with S.H.I.E.L.D. works. “Budapest” begins in, well, Budapest, where readers will be greeted with an injured Hawkeye. The mission at hand is to track the Hungarian arms dealer, drug pusher, human trafficker, and dabbler (and almost-serious-master) in the dark arts, Andras Bertesy. Delivering the news is Agent Nick Fury. Confused? When the NOW! Initiative was just starting out, introduced to the Universe was the son of Nick Fury, a “Marcus Fury”. [I, personally, am not caught up on this whole thing, but if someone out there is, maybe you can fill me in with the short-and-long of things. If this has any significance in the future, it will definitely come up in later issues.] While Nick Spencer does a solid job of balancing back-story and action into issue #1, it is the artwork that shines a little brighter.
Luke Ross does a fantastic job incorporating the “secret” aspect of the comic book series. Bold, dark lines will give the reader a sense of urgency when turning the pages of Marvel’s covert team-up. Paired with Ross’ artwork are Matthew Wilson’s colors which do justice to the art, but don’t seem as eye-catching. Nonetheless, the book is very well balanced between artwork and writing…Come on, what could one expect from an issue #1?
While this book preps readers for what is to be expected in trade paperbacks to come, it is Tomm Coker’s cover that may shed more light into who and what may be expected. Take a look at the picture. While Google already has pictures of who is to be on the team in the future, Coker foreshadows who may be enlisted next: the Hulk and what looks like the Iron Patriot suit of armor. As to who is wearing the suit, could this title be attached to the release of Iron Man 3 this year? Is there a possibility for another Incredible Hulk film? While the latter (Iron Patriot and the Hulk) is mostly speculation, this title could potentially be used as a bridge between what took place in New York during The Avengers, and what is up next on Marvel Studio’s docket. Furthermore, “Budapest” was referenced in The Avengers by Black Widow. In the top-right hand corner of the cover, “Budapest” is written on the file folder. Could Secret Avengers tell the story of what happened? Secret Avengers #1 does a good job setting up the reader for future issues, but one can hope that the story will pick up speed with the next issues.