Comics / Comic Reviews / Marvel Comics

Secret Avengers #6

By Colin Andersen
October 28, 2010 - 14:49

    Do you want to know what Ed Brubaker’s greatest talent as a writer is? It’s that he can make you enjoy almost any story he writes even if it focuses almost entirely on characters you know next to nothing about. As much as I enjoy martial arts in my various media, I have never followed Marvel characters such as Iron Fist or Shang-Chi, the Master of Kung-Fu. It wasn’t so much that it was because they had less flashy abilities and never fought Galactus but they just never attracted me the same way other comic book heroes could. Because of this, I was slightly worried when it was shown that Brubaker’s second arc on Secret Avengers was going to have a strong focus on Shang-Chi. Not only was I worried about my own interests for the character but also about the tonal shift of cosmic battles on Mars all the way down to martial arts and ninjas. As it turns out, I didn’t have much to worry about, at least not on that front.

First off, I should state that most of what I know about Shang-Chi and his supporting characters comes mainly from places like Wikipedia. That’s the only way I found out his father (who is frequently mentioned this issue) was originally Fu Manchu and why there was such bad blood between him and his father. That being said, all that the reader really needs to know is that Shang-Chi knows kung-fu. Beyond that, Brubaker supplies all other necessary information in a surprisingly non-expository way. Most of the backstory is woven quite well into the issue’s story. The story itself follows a plot, lead by Max Fury, clone of Nick Fury and his leader Director Thorndrake, attempting to resurrect Shang-Chi’s father using artifacts called the Eyes of the Dragon. Not wanting this to happen, Steve Rogers recruits Shang-Chi to help him in stopping the plot. That’s about all there is to this issue; everything is fairly straight-forward and moves at a brisk pace.
    This isn’t necessarily a good thing, though. The issue felt like an incredibly quick read and not entirely because I was enjoying it so it seemed to go faster. The issue just felt very, very light and not a whole lot actually happened. The last paragraph pretty much sums it up the entire issue. Considering how jam-packed each of the first five issues felt, this was really a step backwards in the series. That isn’t to say that I didn’t enjoy it. As I stated in the beginning, Brubaker is able to make almost anything entertaining, but it just didn’t feel like there was as much content as normal and it was disappointing. Maybe I have jut been spoiled, but that’s how I felt. Brubaker does continue to write to some really solid Avengers though and makes Steve Rogers really carry the authority that he now commands. Unfortunately, this comes at the cost of many of the other characters. Like Issue #5, most of the rest of the Secret Avengers don’t so much as appear. If you were hoping to see more of War Machine or Moon Knight, then you’re out of luck. I enjoyed the characters that were there, but the team as a whole needs to get used more. I’d also like to see Beast step out of the scientist-only role he’s had lately. Luckily, next month’s cover seems to hint that at least Moon Knight will be getting some time next month and hopefully the others will too.
    I am really glad to see Mike Deodato back on art this month. In some ways, his work looks even better now than it did in the first four issues, even if only because his dark, shaded style suits this story more. His loose bodies work perfectly in a martial arts based story and the action sequences really highlight his fluid choreography. I almost wish that there was more ninjas and fighting in the issue than there is just so Deodato could show off some more. I’m not quite convinced Deodato has quite reached the quality of his work on Dark Avengers yet, but he’s certainly coming darn close and I’m glad to see him back on the series.
    From this one issue, I’m not sure if this arc of Secret Avengers will be as good as the first, but it certainly has the potential. Brubaker needs to add some more meat to the book and focus more on the team itself. If he can do this, then readers will continue to be able to enjoy the crazy-imaginative ideas of Ed Brubaker and the awesomely stylized art of Mike Deodato. However, if this doesn’t happen, the series might head into an unfortunate downslide and be usurped by Avengers Academy as the best of the Heroic Age Avengers books. I don’t want to see this happen so hears hoping for some more content and characters in issue #7.

Rating: 7 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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