Secret Warriors #3
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Javier Garrón
Color Artist: Israel Silva
Daisy Johnson, aka Quake, put her ragtag team together and hit the road to search for some mysterious MIA Inhuman named Leer who can help defeat Hydra… somehow. Their quest takes them right to the doorstep of the sovereign state of New Tian… home of the X-Men!
Upon arrival, Quake attempts to make nice with the contingent of X-Men that have been sent to greet them (Beast, Magik, Boom Boom, Rictor, Strong Guy, and Archangel) in hopes of being directed to the secret lab Moon Girl’s scanner says is housing the Inhuman Leer. Considering the relationship between the two factions since Avengers vs X-Men, however, Beast’s crew is not having it. Ms. Marvel kicks off a quick skirmish, but the Secret Warriors shortly acquiesce and leave. OR DO THEY?
Turns out, Moon Girl has managed to pinpoint where the secret lab is. Quake vibrates the X-plane monitoring them out of the sky (assuring the team she probably didn’t kill them- way harsh, Tai), and they proceed to enter the lab through its secret entrance- an unassuming outhouse. Once there, Quake and Karnak turn on the charm with the lab’s resident, AoA Dark Beast, and despite Kamala’s strong reservations, torture him until he reveals that Hydra has taken Leer.
The X-Men reappear, not dead from the plane crash, but with some reinforcements (Sunfire, Warpath, Forge, Shatterstar, Gambit, Dazzler, and Blink). Beast assures Quake he had no idea Dark Beast was running the lab right underneath his nose (not sure I believe that, but ok) and sends them packing for real this time. Unfortunately, they don’t get far before their car gets attacked by Mr. Hyde and Hydra, who have finally managed to track down the car that drove cross country with an enormous red dinosaur in tow.
Intercut with this action is flashback to Kamala during and immediately after the Hydra takeover (the series is apparently taking the “Lost” approach to storytelling, where each issue, a different character gets a spotlight on their backstory. Nothing really of note to repot, except that Ms. Marvel has trouble maintaining her optimism and clearly set parameters of right and wrong in a world that has suddenly turned upside down.
The Good, the Bad, and the Meh:
I have to admit something- as a general rule I’m not a fan of the Inhumans. Happily, the exception to this rule just happen to be Daisy, Ms. Marvel (the best new character Marvel’s put out in the last decade) and Karnak, who I kinda want to go out to lunch with and have him berate me for an hour while I just sit in awe of him. I’m also enjoying nuHuman snark machine Inferno quite a bit more than I anticipated. I could do without Moon Girl, but that’s just the traditionalist in me who feels you should be at least 10 years old before you’re recruited into a war against a worldwide terrorist organization.
Writer Matthew Rosenberg, who by his own admission, has been in the business for approximately 2 ½ minutes, has an excellent grip on dialogue and has created clearly defined and unique relationships between each of the characters. The focus this issue is on Kamala and Daisy. Both women are very similar- smart, stubborn, natural leaders who often get their way by sheer force of will. Daisy, however, based on her age, experience, and SHIELD training, is more comfortable living in a morally grey area that Kamala can’t accept. I’m interested to see if Kamala will be able to maintain her eternal optimism through Secret Empire, or if she’ll become a little more jaded and world weary. I hope for the former- a cynical Ms. Marvel makes me very sad for the future.
The conflict between the team and the X-Men is handled decently, more or less. As with most crossover stories, some characterization tends to be off. For instance, Magik playing Gretchen Weiners to Boom Boom’s Regina George feels wrong. Also, Strong Guy is much more somber than I’m accustomed to, but maybe being the King of Hell will do that to a person. Or maybe it’s residual guilt for murdering Wolfsbane’s child. Who knows.
The plot seems pretty secondary here- I actually had to remind myself who they were searching for and why twice while reading- and doesn’t always feel like it’s going anywhere. Frankly, finding Leer sounds like a wild goose chase, but it does serve to highlight Quake’s desperation that she’s grasping at these straws to hold herself together. She needs something, anything to do to feel like she’s making a difference.
The art. What nice things can I say about the art. I… like Strong Guy’s beard! The colorist does a pretty stellar job of making the penciling look less awful than it could otherwise! Seriously, the art is mediocre. I’m not too familiar with Garrón’s work, but it feels like Marvel is trying to save some money and hired some 2nd rate artist for cheap. And based on their track record as of late, that’s a pretty fair assumption.
The layouts are fine, I suppose, and moves the story along the way it’s supposed to. I’m mostly concerned with the faces- consistently ugly. I don’t need everyone to look like a supermodel but I also don’t want to recoil in distaste. Also, some of the X-Men’s costumes are hilariously terrible. The winner is probably Boom Boom, who is wearing a lime green pleated skirt over bubble gum pink harem pants, but also metal knee high boots, and an aviator jacket… no wait. Rictor’s capri pants. I repeat: Julian Esteban Richter, in the year of our lord 2017, is wearing capri pants. In battle. Moving on.
I don’t really know what the point of this title is yet, other than an excuse to see a bunch of grumpy characters bicker with one another, but that’s kinda enough for me at this point. Serves as a nice counterbalance to the dark and depressing (though largely excellent) main Secret empire title.
Fun and engaging, though feels a bit inconsequential overall