When this book was first announced, I knew I was going to get it. The previews showed Nova, War Machine, Beast, Steve Rogers (formerly Captain America), Black Widow, Moon Knight, and a couple of other characters, running what looked like black-ops missions under the Avengers banner. Even better, the first story arc was titled Mission to Mars – and with my interest in Marvel’s cosmic side, that was just another plus to picking up this story. And it well exceeded my expectations.
The story starts out with Roger’s new team retrieving the Serpent Crown, an artifact that gives its wearer great power. Unfortunately, it appears not to be the Serpent Crown they were already familiar with, opening up the possibility that there are more Serpent Crowns to be found. Following a similar energy trail, Steve sends Nova on a scouting mission to Mars in search of another of these crowns – but when Nova goes missing, the entire Secret Avengers team heads to the red planet.
On Mars they will receive help in the form of an alien who is trying to prevent the crown from being used to envelope the universe in darkness (because, let’s face it, these stories are usually about the end of the universe in some form or another) – and they’ll find that their friend Nova has been taken over by the crown and being used as it’s host. How can they defeat the crown without killing their friend. Meanwhile, back on Earth, a mysterious group called the Shadow Council infiltrates Steve Roger’s base and steals the Serpent Crown for themselves – led by none other than Col. Fury himself!
I loved the combination of science fiction and espionage that Secret Avengers had going on in this first volume. Some long-time fans of Nova were annoyed by how quickly he was taken over by the Serpent Crown and how easily Steve Rogers took on the mantle of Nova (temporarily), but neither of those bothered me in the least (plus it’s easy to explain away by any fan with some common sense, first the Serpent Crown is very powerful, and second Nova is only an ordinary man, of course a Super-soldier like Rogers should be able to handle the power of Nova if Richard Rider can). What surprised me more was how quickly I took to liking some of the characters I didn’t even know before reading Secret Avengers.
I had no idea who Valkyrie was, looking like a female Thor – but she was a unique addition to the team as the powerhouse character – the strong character to all the weaker men. Ant-man is the rookie, and so far nothing like the man who previously wore this costume, unsure and a little cocky, too quick to joke and get himself into trouble. It’s this combination of oddball characters that helps to make this book work as good as it does. This was another book I read unsure if I would continue after the first volume (because it moves more down to Earth and into a kung-fu type story for it’s second arc) but I enjoyed the first story so much I just had to give the second a try. As usual, you’ll have to wait until another time to get my opinion on that, but if you’re looking for something a little different than the normal superhero fare, something with a little more of a science fiction flare, you could do worse than Secret Avengers.
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