Or – “Moon Knights Of Cydonia…”

The Secret Avengers have only been together about seven minutes, and they already have a man down…  Can Commander Rogers and his Amazing Friends figure out the mystery before they all succumb to arcane alien powers?  (I dunno about you, but *I* always bet on the team with the Nova-Prime on it…)

Secret Avengers #2
COVER BY: Marko Djurdjevic
WRITER: Ed Brubaker
PENCILS: Mike Deodato
INKS: Mike Deodato
COLORED BY: Rainier Beredo
LETTERED BY: Dave Lanphear

Previously, on Secret Avengers:  Commander Steve Rogers (the original Captain America) has returned from his travels in time with a new mission:  Reform the Avengers for a new world.  With somewhere around eleventy-six different teams extant, the former Captain America has even created his own off-the-books strikeforce of Avengers.  Last issue’s debut ended up with new recruit Nova on Mars, checking out a mysterious Roxxon Oil dig site, and suddenly going silent.  Cap-  Err, Commander Rogers takes his team (Black Widow, the Irredeemable Ant-Man, War Machine, Moon Knight, Valkyrie and The Beast) into outer space on a resuce mission.  At the same time, Sharon Carter (his official SHIELD liason) finds herself attacked by a very familiar one-eyed face…  What in the wide, wide world of sports is going on here, anyway?

We open with Sharon Carter coming to after her attack last issue.  A quick check of the survelliance tapes shows a number of human figures wearing SHIELD-issue stealth gear breaking into the ship and stealing the Serpent Crown (or something that kind of resembles the Serpent Crown, anyway.)  Sharon jets off after the Crown’s signal, while Cap and his agents examine the mining base on Mars.  (Isn’t it weird that on a team with a 70-year-old ballerina, a Norse Goddess, a guy who shrinks in defiance of the laws of physics, a cat-being, and a man wearing body armor that magnifies his strength a thousand fold, and it’s the “Mars” part aht I have trouble believing?)  The team is ambushed by Roxxon mooks, and quickly discover that their attackers are somehow possessed.  The team splits up to identify what’s going on and find their lost man, leaving War Machine with Ant-Man.  “I have a codename, y’know,” says an annoyed Eric O’Grady to James Rhodes.  “Not to me, you don’t.  Not til you’ve EARNED the name,” replies a testy War Machine.  I kind of like this dynamic, actually, and it makes perfect sense for Rhodey not to trust one of Norman Osborn’s Thunderbolts goons…

As for the art, Mike Deodato can really rock out the alien landscapes and machinery, which kind of makes me want to read his take on the Second Doctor, what with all the time he spent running around various bases.  Ant-Man and War Machine are separated, while The Beast and Commander Rogers find a giant armored creature.  At the same time, Moon Knight, Valkyrie and Black Widow find the whereabouts of Nova, but are horrified to find him wearing a Serpent Crown and overseeing the creation of some sort of device to tunnel under the Martian landscape.  Worse than that, Nova quickly sees them and comes gunning for ’em.  Let’s see:  man with four personalities, woman with spear and woman who jumps really high versus a being with the power of an entire planet in his hands.  At least Valkyrie might live for a COUPLE of minutes.  Whatever is going on here is obviously related to Roxxon’s big doings, and you’d think that Cap and the Beast (having been in on the original Serpent Crown caper) would recognize that we kind of need a telepath or a magician in this lot…

The art here is excellent, giving Mike Deodato a place to shine equal to his Dark Avengers and Thunderbolts work, and it’s really well-illustrated overall.  I really like the fact that the team has actual space-suits on, and that they’re actually customized for each hero.  There are some issues in terms of characterization for me here, especially as little time is given to Val and Moon Knight, and Nova has yet to actually even have a line of dialogue in the book.  There’s even a lot of good plot-line stuff here to play with, and it hearkens back to the days where heroes’ adventures were whirlwinds of excitement that might start in Central Park and end up in the far-flung future for no reason other than it’s fun.  All in all, though, this issue gives me just enough to tantalize me without actually delivering the full-fledged crunch of a real potato chip hunk of satisfying story, which brings the overall score down a bit.  Secret Avengers #2 is good, but could have been excellent with a little more color between the lines of the character work, earning a more than respectable 3 out of 5 stars overall.  I’m looking forward to seeing where this title ends up going…

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  Does a Commander outrank a Captain, or has Steve Rogers just taken a pay cut?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. MaximusRift
    July 8, 2010 at 7:23 am — Reply

    Technicaly, Commander is a naval rank and lower than a Captain. However, Steve is US Army and the equivalent rank of an Army Captain in the Navy is Lieutenant where as Commander would be the equivalent of an Army Lt. Colonel.

    Now there’s some knowledge for ya!

    • TaZ
      July 8, 2010 at 8:42 am — Reply

      In many para-military operations in which regular army ranks aren’t used, Commander is the usual term for the overall operations leader (Such as Incident Commander, Strike Force Commander, etc.).

      Personally, I’d like to see the writers give Steve a promotion. Hell, he’s been a Captain in the US Army since 1942, he’s due. Since Fury was still at a Colonel’s rank (yet another one from ’42 that I never understood why he was never General Fury, which would make a good name for a rock band…but I digress…)then it would behoove the President to make Steve at least a Colonel. But then, Colonel Rogers may sound like a competitor for Kentucky Fried Chicken…

      Ah, hell… Just stick with Commander.

      • davek
        July 8, 2010 at 10:38 am — Reply

        But if Steve Rogers gets a promotion to Colonel, that would mean he would be Colonel America when he eventually gets the shield back. Which we’ve seen before in….AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH! ZOMBIES!!!!!!!!! THE MARVEL 616 UNIVERSE IS REALLY GOING TO BE ZOMBIES!!!! KILL THEM ALL! HEADSHOT! HEADSHOT!

        Sorry, I panicked.

      • MaximusRift
        July 8, 2010 at 3:12 pm — Reply

        My preference would be that he’s made General. That way, when he goes back to the costume he’d be General America. :D

        The puns would just write themselves. :)

  2. Navarre
    July 8, 2010 at 9:15 am — Reply

    [i]it hearkens back to the days where heroes’ adventures were whirlwinds of excitement that might start in Central Park and end up in the far-flung future for no reason other than it’s fun.[/i]

    This is where I find the appeal of the book. If Marvel is touting the Heroic Age then don’t waste my time with vampires. Give me the kind of books I grew up reading.

    Secret Avengers is delivering.

    • Navarre
      July 8, 2010 at 9:16 am — Reply

      also, how do you quote posts here? Does it not accept tags?

      • July 8, 2010 at 2:40 pm — Reply

        also, how do you quote posts here? Does it not accept tags?

        Unfortunately it does not.

        • MaximusRift
          July 8, 2010 at 3:08 pm — Reply

          You didn’t answer his first question there, chief. ;p

          • Navarre
            July 8, 2010 at 6:35 pm — Reply

            Yeah, help me out here, buddy? What’s the secret of italicization?

            • July 8, 2010 at 7:37 pm — Reply

              Yeah, help me out here, buddy? What’s the secret of italicization?

              Yeah, I tell you, you tell the next guy and pretty soon, he’ll get up…. We’ll all get up! IT’LL BE ANARCHY!!!!

              My method isn’t going to work for you, since I use the comment editor… But I suspect that if you substitute > and < for [ and ] it'll work. But if you start italicizing at random, The Man will come in and shut us all down like they did the Gramercy Park Riffs...

  3. Navarre
    July 8, 2010 at 8:42 pm — Reply

    testing just to see


    Though I stand against The Man, I am seldom random. I believe the posting method status quo will hold.

    Maybe a preview button would be the magic thing.

    • Navarre
      July 8, 2010 at 8:44 pm — Reply

      Yes, that works.

      Ironic, isn’t it, that the symbols for inequality are all that allow me to achieve what you do so easily? ;-)

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