Saturday, April 4, 2009

Secret Warriors #3

I understand the importance of clever cover design, but I have no idea why they decided to take that excellent art by Jim Cheung and Justin Ponson and squeeze it up into the upper half of the cover space, turning the rest over to the logo and lots of white space. Ah well.

On the inside pages, this story continues to build slowly, as Nick Fury's super-powered team finds itself squaring off against a very powerful enemy.

Hydra has always been an "easy" enemy, providing an army of bad guys for the good guys to mow down. But this series is changing all that - instead, we're learning that the true Hydra is much more powerful and capable than anyone realized - and in fact, that organization may be the power behind the curtain, controlling several organizations, both evil (A.I.M., Them, Hydra) and not so evil (S.H.I.E.L.D.).

New leaders have stepped up to take the controls of this "new" Hydra, and they're a deadly bunch, as the Secret Warriors discover - the hard way - in this issue.

Also, as the cover teases, we finally start to find out what's been going on with some of Fury's former allies, especially the Countessa Allegra de Fontaine (but you can call her Val). It's a fun bit of spy-talk, and it's nice to get a few answers.

The issue also has its patented surprising final page, and this one brought a definite smile to my face - it'll do the same to any long-time fan.

So far, this series continues to impress. Writers Brian Bendis and Jonathan Hickman are building the story carefully and with great skill, and I'm really enjoying Stefano Caselli's art - the intensity is a perfect match for the script.

There are some minor problems - I'd like to learn more about the individual Secret Warriors, who are still largely unknown - but there's time for that in the issues ahead.

So far, quite good.

Grade: A-

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