Or – “Awright, You Gold-Brickin Swastika Slingin’ Ratzis And Like That!”

It’s been a while since I’ve checked in with the adventures of Nick Fury (once the head of SHIELD, now a Secret Warrior against something or other) and his charges in the Secret Warriors.  Last I read, they were in the midst of the Secret Invasion and they had a new member who reminded me of Gateway, and there was lots of Sturm und Drang about HYDRA being SHIELD being HYDRA.  What’s happened in between, you ask?  Click away, Faithful Spoilerite, and see what shall be revealed…

Secret Warriors #18
PENCILS: Alessandro Vitti
COVER BY: Jim Cheung
INKS: Alessandro Vitti
COLORED BY: Sunny Gho
LETTERED BY: David M. Lanphear
PUBLISHED BY: Marvel Comics

Previously, on Secret Warriors:  Nicholas Fury has had an interesting life since he entered the army back in the 1930’s (or thereabouts.)  From leader of the most well-traveled commando squad this side of Easy Company to CIA spook to the head of SHIELD.  Lately though, he has gone underground, finally realizing that it’s hard to be a secret agent when everybody knows your name and your face.  Fury has gathered his old pals from the Howling Commandos, as well as his new super-agents, and has begun a complex chess game against his old foes from HYDRA, who have called together a sort of Emerson, Lake and Palmer of evil in the form of Madame Hydra, The Viper (who, confusingly, was once also called Madame Hydra), The Gorgon, a big guy with a squid for a face and Jennifer Garner to destroy all that is good and kind in the world.  The basic gist is this:  Good guys with big guns and ships taking down bad guys with big guns and green ships, thus identifying them as evil.

We open with Timothy Aloysius “Dum Dum” Dugan and Jasper Sitwell, former agents of SHIELD, testifying before the United Nations Security Council about a recent mission wherein they caused serious collateral damage and undermining the borders of sovereign nations.  We see Dum Dum and Alexander Pierce leading another group of super-teens into battle against a HYDRA base in China, which I presume is a flashback, but the story isn’t quite clear.  Alessandro Vitti’s art is oddly unfinished, reminding me of a less polished Jim Calafiore, and there’s some bothersome issues with characters and storytelling throughout the sequence.  We then flashback again to a Howling Commandos reunion, identified as taking place “Two Weeks Ago.”  The newly returned Steve Rogers has joined them, as we are regaled with a four-page telling of a story from World War II that, frankly, makes Steve Rogers seem like a meathead while being vaguely offensive to Germans to boot…

We then jump to a week and a half ago, sometime after the battle at the beginning of the book, as Pierce and Dum Dum discuss Nick Fury and how he has all the angles.  Dum Dum essentially tells Pierce that they’ll never understand how awesome Nick Fury is and they should continue to say “How High” when he says “Jump.”  Back in the Here and Now, Jasper and Dum Dum take more questions from the Security Council before Dugan gets irritated and decides to drop some knowledge on them…  Before he does, though, we flashback to the Commandos Reunion again, as Nick and Dum Dum have a cryptic conversation about how Nick really lost his eye.  Then we’re off again, watching the Howling Commandos in their Helicarrier being overwhelmed by the forces of HYDRA, and a super-dramatic moment as Dugan intones “God knows whats coming after us,” as we see a shot of The Gorgon leading the enemy forces.

I’m honestly confused by this whole issue, and I’m on my third pass-through of it, aided and abetted by Wikipedia.  To tell the truth, aside from some nice, terse tough guy spy dialogue, I haven’t even the slightest clue what’s going on here.  The art is relatively promising, but doesn’t do a lot to differentiate between faces, as Eric Koenig and Jasper Sitwell look nearly identical throughout, save for some facial lines that aren’t even consistent from panel to panel.  There ARE good battle sequences within, and the buildings and equipment look quite good, but the storytelling just isn’t quite up to par for me.  I know I missed a few issues (my last of this book was #12, wherein Sebastian got drummed out of the Secret Warriors) but even after reading the “Previouslys” I’m somewhat lost.  When I dropped off this title, it was because too much of the drama was being hidden behind “Bourne Identity” headgames and chicanery.  Hickman is somewhat less tied to the “obfuscation as plot” than in previous issues, but I’m still not entirely sold on the concept.  Secret Warriors #18 earns a rather confused 1.5 out of 5 stars overall, leaving me confused and sufficiently put off that I don’t know if finding out the answers to these questions is going to be worth my time…

Rating: ★½☆☆☆

Faithful Spoilerite Question Of The Day:  When you drop a title from your pull list, do you ever check back in with it to see how it’s doing, like stalking your exes?

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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6 Comments

  1. Armaan
    August 10, 2010 at 6:42 am — Reply

    My question is this, is it stalking your ex if it’s on facebook, and is it really checking out old titles if its from Majorspoilers?

  2. brenton8090
    August 10, 2010 at 6:58 am — Reply

    I’m just saying, but that Heroic Age banner is starting to get on my nerves. It ruins all their covers, and it just looks tacky. Poor design choices. At least the brightest day banner meshes with all the covers well, even if the story doesn’t.

  3. TaZ
    August 10, 2010 at 8:35 am — Reply

    But he doesn’t look a thing like Samuel L. Jackson…

    • August 10, 2010 at 8:34 pm — Reply

      He does look a bit like David Hasslehoff… :p

  4. Rome
    August 10, 2010 at 2:21 pm — Reply

    I thought the story of Fury’s missing eye was definitively told in Ennis’s FURY:Peacemaker title from a few years back. Retcon?

    As to Matthew’s question: I will sometimes check up on a title. Rarely do I find it worth it. With one notable exception. Punisher Max. I dropped it midway into the second arc (issue 8 or 9) because the artists changed and it seemed to become another Ennis shock-fest with little substance. (if I want that I’ll read Preacher) But around issue 19 I picked up Punisher again to check it out and was pleased to find still different art, but an intriguing story that brought be back until the end of the run at issue 60.

    You guys should review the Punisher Max title in a TPB segment on the podcast.

  5. Smoothesuede
    August 22, 2010 at 2:07 am — Reply

    To be fair, this issue doesn’t stand on its own well at all. The previous one is pretty vital to getting the picture. The whole book’s run is pretty much written for a future hardcover, with very little in the way of jumping-on points.
    Having been following it faithfully, I rather enjoyed this issue and all of its flashbackery.

    As for the Q: It entirely depends on why I dropped the book. If I wasn’t connecting with the story, I’ll give it 5 issues to start something new and then I’ll pick it up again. However, I recently dropped Deadpool because the character is ruined by the current writer. I think I’m done with that guy for at least a year’s time.

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