Overview

Secret Avengers #21.1

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Secret Avengers #21.1

Credits

  • Words: Rick Remender
  • Art: Patrick Zircher
  • Colors: Andy Troy
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jan 25, 2012

Rick Remender takes over on Secret Avengers and gives the team a new leader.

Much like Warren Ellis has handed off the reins of Secret Avengers to Rick Remender, Captain America is handing leadership of the team over to Hawkeye, but not without putting him through the grinder first. The pair must infiltrate a nation run on high-end crime, but the real drama comes from Cap testing Hawkeye to see if he’s got what it takes to be a leader. It’s a fast-moving story with some cool action, but ironically for Hawkeye, it misses its mark.

Cap has a busy year ahead of him (something to do with the X-Men, I’ve heard), and so he chose Hawkeye of all available heroes to run his secret black-ops group. What Cap never says is why he chose Hawkeye instead of someone else. Who else was on the list of possible leaders? Vision can hack computers and make himself intangible, Susan Storm can make herself and the whole team invisible, Doctor Strange can teleport and gain intel via the occult -- I could go on -- but the main concept is that these characters are all Avengers/former Avengers who have abilities that naturally lend to espionage and would therefore be a great leader for the team. What does Hawkeye have besides a bad attitude and some trick arrows? We never find out.

It seems obvious that the real reason Hawkeye was put in charge is because he is in Marvel’s upcoming summer blockbuster movie The Avengers. He’s the most unheard of among the team and has had the least screen time, so any excuse to put him on a cover of a book is a good one since it will get him into the public eye. Without a natural, believable reason for Hawkeye to lead the team, it falls on Remender to try and make it work.

The issue consists of Cap trying to push Hawkeye’s buttons, a random and jarring action scene showcasing the new Masters of Evil, and a feel-good conclusion that solidifies that Hawkeye got the job. It’s not Remender’s best work, and it does not set up the status quo for the new team, so anyone interested in getting an impression of what the team in this team book will be like is going to be sorely disappointed. Long-time Secret Avengers readers will no doubt be pleased at the presence of old villains and plot points that populate the pages, but the goal of these Point One issues is for them to be a good jumping-on point for new interested readers, and in that regard this effort fails. Even the art -- by Patrick Zircher, who does a great job here -- fails to prepare the reader for what is to come because the actual ongoing series will be drawn by Gabriel Hardman.

Remender tells an enjoyable story with his signature hard-hitting action, inventive use of powers, and unique dialogue choices, but it is the nature of decisions made beyond his control that bring the quality of this issue down. Also, Remender is already writing a black-ops team title in Uncanny X-Force, so it will be a challenge for him to differentiate the two groups from each other. Seeing how the Avengers will be going up against the X-Men this year, it will be interesting to see how he makes these two secret teams clash.

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