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Man Down!

July 14, 2010

It’s only Secret Avengers #2, and already one of the team’s members is missing, another has been knocked out, and their headquarters has been attacked.  Not a good start.  Anyway, Sharon Carter wakes up and starts tracking the pseudo-Serpent Crown by its energy signature.  The rest of the team arrives on Mars and starts looking around, and Moon Knight finds some skeletons, likely the missing workers.  Then, the team gets attacked by some rather uncoordinated goons, likely members of the Shadow Council based on their uniforms.  But again, they’re not that tough, so they go down fast.  Beast notes that their eyes are black, so Steve Rogers thinks that they were being controlled.  The team splits up to investigate tire tracks leading off in different directions and to find Nova.  Back on Earth, the evil Nick Fury tells his men that they need to meet with the board of directors.  War Machine and Ant-Man check out what looks like the Shadow Council’s base on Mars, and Ant-Man ends up touching something shiny that makes him lose contact with War Machine.  Beast and Steve find where Nova found the third Serpent Crown, and they get attacked by this big muscly guy who asks where the crown is.  Moon Knight, Black Widow, and Valkyrie find Nova, now wearing the crown and under its sway, manipulating Shadow Council folks into digging for something.  And then Nova spots them.

Well, that wasn’t quite the spectacular second issue that you might have expected, based on the first one.  It’s definitely slower, partially because Ed Brubaker made the choice to have Sharon Carter, evil Nick Fury, and each of the Secret Avengers subteams get at least a bit of page time.  The result is that there wasn’t anything advanced much aside from the central plot of being on Mars and Nova being missing and under the control of the third Serpent Crown.  It’s not the best pacing Brubaker has ever employed.  That said, it’s still a very good issue.  This is a very interesting team with a very odd dynamic, one I’m still getting used to.  It’s definitely odd to see someone like Moon Knight standing next to someone like Black Widow, but these odd pairings make for potentially interesting scenes.  Not quite sure why War Machine’s on Ant-Man’s case so much, considering that he hasn’t ever had much of a relationship with any of his predecessors.  But the plot is particularly interesting, since it combines business corruption with an evil Nick Fury (still wondering who he is) and three, count them, three Serpent Crowns.  The original has yet to show up, largely because it’s supposed to belong to Ian McNee (see Mystic Arcana).  Good to see that Brubaker’s keeping track of continuity there.  I think.  Of course, Mike Deodato Jr.’s work is absolutely stellar.  Every panel just looks great, and it’s obvious that he’s still evolving as an artist.  This is definitely an issue in which the art surpasses the writing.  Considering that the second part of Brubaker’s current Captain America arc is also a tad boring, maybe he’s just caught “second issue letdown disease.”  It’s not a big deal, considering that it’s Brubaker.  I’m sure that the next issue will be just as good as the first one.

Plot: 8.6      Art: 9.3      Dialogue: 8.8      Overall: 8.6

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