SECRET WARRIORS #4
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Javier Garrón
Color Artist: Israel Silva
The team ran into the X-Men (literally… looking at you, Guido) who were less than delighted to see them. After discovering AoA Dark Beast’s secret underground lair, they tortured him until he fessed up that Hydra had taken the Inhuman Leer. And then they got smacked down by Mr. Hyde, a bunch of Captain America’s Avengers (aka the bad ones), and like half of Hydra.
Fight fight fight, fight fight fight, The Mr. Hyde and Qua-ake Showwww!!!! (set to the tune of Itchy and Scratchy, obvi). Daisy trades intimidating dialogue with her bad dad- Mr. Hyde- while the rest of the team selects their opponents. Karnak, Inferno, and Ms. Marvel are pretty outmatched against Taskmaster, Vision, and Scarlet Witch, respectively, and get taken down pretty quickly. Lunella, however, manages to take out Deadpool with a well-placed groin kick… and her dinosaur, who eats him. Moon Girl stands down, however, when Hyde orders Vision to kill Devil Dinosaur if they don’t surrender. Daisy admonishes Lunella for giving in, but Lunella instantly claps back, rightly calling Quake out for being more interested in revenge against the Secret Empire than the good of the team.
The Warriors get tied up and placed on the Hydra helicarrier, where Daisy and Hyde continue their father daughter bonding time until Quake’s quaking causes such damage to the ship that Hyde needs to step out and consult with his engineers. Upon his departure, the issue’s MVP Moon Girl rescues the team using some liquid nitrogen she stole from Deadpool- who is obviously not dead because he is a major cash cow for Marvel… I mean, because of his unreasonably powerful healing factor.
As the ship starts to drop out of the sky, Lunella runs off to find Devil Dinosaur despite Quake’s orders to stay with the team. During her solo run, she manages to a) knock out a communications officer, b) send out an SOS for help, c) find Devil Dinosaur and d) make the acquaintance of none other than the elusive Leer, who’s a freckled boy about her age. He’s also creepy (he’s a ginger and an Inhuman, the odds were pretty good), apparently hanging with some… monster, or evil shadow version of himself or something, that knocks out Lunella.
Meanwhile, the rest of the team basically wait to meet their doom aboard the about-to-crash helicarrier, as Daisy admits she hadn’t figured out a plan to escape. But wait, help arrives- Lunella’s SOS reached the X-Men! And that large contingent of X-Men, including skilled teleporter Magik, chose to just send Archangel and Sunfire who can save 4 people. With seconds to spare, the team escapes, and watches the helicarrier crash to earth in flames with Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur still onboard. Sad emoji!
Also of note, this issue’s Lost-style flashback focuses on Lunella during the takeover. Sneaking out of the house to look for a missing Devil Dinosaur (this apparently happens a lot) she learns a bit about responsibility when she discovers Devil Dinosaur has been staying in the heat of battle to protect a bunch of civilians. After herding them to safety, Lunella and her dinosaur escape from the ridiculous amount of villains chasing them by taking a dip in the Hudson River- and are outside the perimeter of the city when it gets engulfed by the Darkforce. Turns out, her loyalty saved both of them from being trapped in New York. It’s a shame it didn’t work out quite as well aboard the helicarrier…
The Good, the Bad, and the Meh:
This wasn’t a perfect issue- there were some plot silliness we need to discuss- but there is a lot to like here. Rosenberg continues to excel at character work, and in shining the spotlight on Lunella this time, she instantly went from, oh yeah, she’s there too, to a major force. She’s giving me shades of a young Kitty Pryde both in her resourcefulness and in her fearlessness in standing up to Daisy, and I am here for it. Is it still highly inappropriate to have a child soldier on the team? Yes, obviously Daisy didn’t learn her lesson from what happened to Phobos in the last Secret Warriors series (spoiler: he died). Considering Moon Girl is currently starring in her own series, it’s fairly likely she and Devil Dinosaur lived through the crash. But it’s a solemn reminder to Daisy that there’s more than just revenge at stake here.
Speaking of Quake, wow did she not come across well here. That’s fine for me- I like my heroes deeply flawed, and she certainly fits the bill. Her thirst for vengeance against Hydra, amplified by facing her evil dad, pushed her to make some very questionable decisions. First off, she quaked apart the helicarrier- not to save herself or her team, not even to accomplish the mission of finding Leer, but only to have the final word against Mr. Hyde. Secondly, does she have some sort of vendetta against Devil Dinosaur? Twice this issue, Daisy clearly sees him as expendable for the sake of the greater good. Now I know as leader, especially during wartime, you need to make some tough decisions, but this seemed unnecessarily cruel and uncompassionate. As an unapologetic animal lover, this pissed me off more than crashing the helicarrier. Daisy definitely needs to pull herself together, or I could see the team just ditching her. At this point, she’s a liability.
Ok, so as good as Matthew Rosenberg is at characterization, his plotting can be iffy at times. The battle with the “bad” Avengers was lackluster (I wanted to see the Karnak/Taskmaster fight, dammit!). Also, Mr. Hyde’s an idiot. Why didn’t he just knock his daughter unconscious if he wanted the quaking to stop? Obviously he had no qualms of assaulting Daisy based on the bitchslap he delivered. Instead, he just conveniently left to talk to some other underlings so the story could focus back on Lunella. Still, he managed to effectively convey the chaos and danger as the helicarrier went down.
As far as art, I have nothing new to say here. I don’t actively hate it. But, and not to compare this series to the original Secret Warriors again because they are two very different books, going from Stefano Caselli/Alessandro Vitti to this is quite the downgrade.
One last thing- next time you give me an X-Men cameo, Secret Warriors, Archangel and Sunfire of all people are not the ones to get my heart racing with excitement.
The stakes finally got higher this issue- killing a tween will do that, typically- and Daisy’s controversial style of leadership made this issue the best of the series so far.