Comics / Comic Reviews / Marvel Comics

Secret Avengers #16

By Dan Horn
September 1, 2011 - 14:44

Comic book scribe and author (Remember his literary oddity Crooked Little Vein? Need I remind you of the saline infusion?) extraordinaire Warren Ellis in this issue takes the reigns of the Secret Avengers series from past scribe Nick Spencer and also brings Jamie McKelvie on board. From the very beginning, Secret Avengers #16 smacks of Ellis' lauded work on the Wildstorm title Planetary.

This chapter is a self-contained mission with an exclusive set of heroes from the larger Secret Avengers roster, and it deals with some of the Marvel U's more esoteric elements. Sound somewhat familiar? I often found myself wondering when Elijah, Jakita, and Drums were going to show up, and that isn't a bad thing. Planetary's uniquely dissociative structure was such that every single issue had the potential to be very different and a lot of fun, and that's exactly what Ellis' Secret Avengers is shaping up to be already.

In this issue we see Steve Rogers, Beast, Black Widow, and Moon Knight descend into a subterranean city populated by faceless Shadow Council goons which have constructed gargantuan Von Doom teleportation pylons beneath Cincinnati. Why? To transmit the entire city into the atmosphere to drop it on other cities, of course. So, it's up to the Avengers to hot-wire a nuclear Cold War Cadillac and put an end to the Council's strange, yet sinister, scheme.

The premise is fantastically amusing, and the amount of mayhem the Avengers cause is equally ridiculous. Beast and Moon Knight are funnier than I can ever remember them being. Warren Ellis' work is just so monumentally entertaining to read, and, if I'm not exactly being challenged by a piece of sequential storytelling, then I at least appreciate being entertained.

McKelvie's artwork is immediately bizarre, but his crisp, clinical illustrations pair surprisingly well with this weird little story. The tale makes great use of "silent" panels, displaying some really dynamic action sequences in all of their absurd glory.

If Spencer's run was the improvement upon the tepid Brubaker formula for Secret Avengers, then Warren Ellis is the man who is putting the formula out of its misery entirely. He couldn't be doing readers a better service.

Rating: 8.5 /10

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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