Brian Michael Bendis has written so many books that I could fill an entire column just listing his work. From his Ultimate Spider-Man run to major Marvel events like Secret Invasion and Siege, arguably no one has shaped the Marvel universe to the extent that he has. Jonathan Hickman is no slouch either, writing the beautiful and underrated S.H.I.E.L.D. and one of the best Fantastic Four runs in recent memory. Stefano Caselli, while lesser known, did great work on Avengers: Initiative and Runaways and has been a penciler on Amazing Spider-Man.
Secret Warriors ran for 28 issues starting in 2009. It starts right where Secret Invasion left off. Norman Osborn has seized control of SHIELD and is turning it into HAMMER. Nick Fury is now out in the cold with no support from his previous organization. Fury always knew that if things got real bad (as they do in Dark Reign, the event during which this series takes place) that he would need superhumans that no one else knew existed. Fury goes underground and leads these young unknowns to try to undo the damage of the compromised SHIELD organization.
Nick Fury is written as well as he’s ever been, delivering one word lines that seem to convey paragraphs. The only thing close to his portrayal here was Garth Ennis’s excellent Fury MAX miniseries. Color and detail saturate each panel making this a feast for the eyes. The Secret Warriors don’t come off as a team of also-rans or annoying sidekicks even if they don’t shine individually at least in the first trade.
Both the writing and the art in this book are nothing short of terrific. Bendis and Hickman are at the top of their game and the standard capes-and-tights fare is supplemented by spy and war subplots. A few of the full page panels show excruciating detail and clarity which few books ever achieve. It’s a wonder we haven’t heard more from Caselli, other than his Amazing Spider-Man work, since this book ended but I hope we do soon.
By From the Booth‘s own Ken