Dark Agent of Fear

Secret Warriors #8 Review
Written by Jonathan Hickman?
Illustrated by Alessandro Vitti
Published by Marvel Comics

For whatever reason I dove head-first into the lions’ den when it comes to Secret Warriors. For the most part I don’t mind big events in comics. It’s what drives sales and interest throughout the titles. But what I do mind is when key players show up in every single title. Not all of them but most of them. It’s annoying. It deters from the stories being told on a monthly basis, and on more times then I can count this year it’s severely messed with continuity. Yeah I know Character A is in the upcoming movie. But she’s in three major plotlines in three different titles, taking place at the same moment. Secret Warriors would be one of those titles where essential characters show up. The difference is that it’s one of the main titles.

Norman Osborn, the Thunderbolts, and the Dark Avengers are all guilty of the above. We’ve seen them more this year then anyone else, sometimes even taking over titles with name changes. They also take center stage for most of this issue.

So if all that annoys me why would I buy this title? Nick Fury. For as much as Norman is in the titles Nick Fury is now his polar opposite trying to fight back against everything he’s doing. So it was only a natural progression that these two meet face to face at some point. Sure the same thing can be said for Norman versus Tony Stark in the Iron Man title, but again that factors into the editorial crisscross I mentioned.

The issue boils over from the Thunderbolts title proper. The Black Widow (more editorial skews), who was moonlighting on the blonde Black Widow from T-Bolts for Fury, and Songbird were recaptured from their escape attempt. Nick Fury was also a part of this group. The first good bit of the book is an interrogation of Nick by Osborn although it was more so Norman telling him he’s won. A perfect symbolism of the times.

Of course Norman is a fragile psyche about to break (he used to be the Green Goblin after all) and plugs 3 bullets into Nick’s head in a full page splash.

Anyone who is even remotely familiar with the comic book version of Nick Fury will know all about his LMDs. Life Model Decoys. But Hickman gives us one exception. A certain God of Fear, and member of the Secret Warriors, is riding inside. Which leads up to the second inevitable showdown with his father Ares, God of War and member of both the Thunderbolts and Dark Avengers. Man this is making my head hurt a little.

So where’s the real Nick Fury? Alexandria Virginia with an old spy friend who is 90% robot. We’re privy to one of those stake out scenes in a car with the two main characters waxing poetic about where they’ve been and where they are now. It’s pure espionage action movie. Except for the fact the things alluded to are beyond me. You don’t have to know what they do but it would be nice if it was written as such.

The next scene makes up for all the Osborn appearances this year. Our little God of Fear gets a talking to and you shouldn’t be condescending to a god that could destroy your mind like it was paper. One threat from Norman turns into a bigger threat from Phobos. He may be over his head but if Fury, and his father Ares, have taught him anything it’s to never give up and spit in their eye in the process.

It’s interesting to see Ares in a different light somewhat torn from four sides. The T-Bolts, Dark Avengers, Osborn, and his son. Ares picks the winning side, with no real thought about which way the moral compass is pointing, but it seems he’s finding a new respect for his son. Don’t read into that. His son is still his enemy but he’s reached a new level in the way he’s perceived by his father. The wolves will be kept at bay. If only for a literal minute.

Secret Warriors is a book that might be at the center of it all but it’s one that plays to the genre well. All the while it never becomes cliche. I find myself not wanting to like this title because of the state of the Marvel universe. But it will be through this title that it will be brought back to its glory days. The events and appearances make sense in this title. I just wish they kept to that standard and not spread throughout all the rest of titles. Maybe then we can get some editorial cohesiveness.

Hickman shows us why Nick Fury is so cool and why he needs to have his own title (the reason I buy it). I never took to the Secret Warriors as a whole. The next generation, so-called caterpillars, heroes. But they’re finally growing on me.

Anthony Schiavino can be found talking comics, movies, television and all things pulp at his website PulpTone.com, Facebook, and Twitter


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