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Steve Rogers Is Nova

August 25, 2010

Things look pretty bleak as we start out with Secret Avengers #4.  Nova’s under the thrall of that mysterious crown, Ant-Man’s stuck in the enemy main base, a bunch of people are out, and now, Sharon Carter has lost the bad guys’ trail.  But then she suddenly gets Ant-Man’s signal.  As Ant-Man explains what’s going on very quietly, the Worldmind explains to Steve Rogers how it can transfer the Nova Force into him.  It’ll be hard, as even Nova had some exposure before it all got transferred into him, but Steve knows what he has to do.  As red tentacles start coming out of the ground and attacking Nova’s enthralled servants, Steve puts on the helmet, robbing Nova of his Nova Force power.  Steve, now decked out in his own version of Nova Corps attire, rallies the Secret Avengers and goes to do battle with Nova.  Back on Earth, the mysterious Nick Fury explains to Aloysius Thorndrake that he’ll oversee the destruction of the link to Mars.  And it seems they know something about the Abyss…  Ant-Man jumps in the portal  after the suicide bombers while the fight continues on Mars, and those tentacles start getting a hold of Valkyrie and War Machine.  Archon comes in and rescues War Machine, telling him he’ll hold off the Dark Son, and Ant-Man zaps the suicide bombers, causing a chain reaction that destroys the Shadow Council buildings both on Mars and back on Earth.  The construction rig collapses on top of the Dark Son, and Steve takes this opportunity to rip the crown off Nova’s head.  He gives the crown to Archon, and they notice that all of the enthralled Shadow Council people are dead, and the oxygen is starting to disappear.  Ant-Man returns, though no one believes what he’s just done, and the now normal Nova asks for his helmet back.  On the way back to Earth, Steve talks with Sharon about needing to replace Nova, as he’s now busy with the Thanos Imperative.  And she shows him camera footage of the mysterious Nick Fury guy in the ruins of the Shadow Council building.

With some of the revelations of what the Many-Angled Ones are back over in the Thanos Imperative, I just can’t help but feel like this story is silly.  I mean, it’s Ed Brubaker, so it’s solidly written.  But we don’t need some other dark entity from the beginning of time or whenever to further ramp up the stakes.  And we don’t need to completely confuse the history of the Serpent Crown, as this issue still doesn’t explain that, indicating answers to that question will be coming later in the series.  Oh yes, and now we have another dark organization from long ago.  These are all concerns that I raised before, but they are still quite present.  Now, this issue is better than the last one.  There’s more action, and more generally happens.  Basically, this is a cliched plot that’s written well in actual execution.  It’s not terribly rich in character moments, as I might have hoped, but Brubaker manages to do well with it anyway.  I’m just worried in the long term, as if these cliched story elements are going to be the backbone of Brubaker’s run on the title, those problems will not be going away.  So truly, I hope Brubaker treads carefully with how he proceeds with this story from here on out.  Mike Deodato’ Jr.’s pencils are still absolutely gorgeous.  There isn’t one panel of this issue that doesn’t look stellar, so there’s no problems on the artistic side.  But it seems to be that Brubaker just hasn’t been living up to his own standards since Heroic Age started on both of his titles.  I think it’s for very different reasons, as here, it’s his choice of plot.  But I hope this is just temporary, as Brubaker is one of my favorite writers, and it’s sad to see him at anything but his best.

Plot: 7.7      Art: 9.3      Dialogue: 8.7      Overall: 8.0

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