A week ago we had a comment thread where we were discussed comics that we thought were the best to a new reader. After I made my list I immediately contemplated and ultimately regretted not including Secret Avengers on that list. Bottom line there is literally no other Avengers book or comic like this out right now. It has a hyper Kinect compression to it’s stories that dances across the page as the story unfolds while literally distilling all the nonsense of typical super hero comics to give 20+ pages of action, adventure and humor. This is entirely a credit to the creative team of Michael Walsh and Ales Kot as their connection and style appears seamless with continuous improvement in each issue. Walsh had already established his strength as a illustrator on past Image work but I think it’s safe to say that this is the best work of his career. The panels and layouts vibrate with action and intensity having just the right touch for the tones match of humor and high stakes espionage while his use of facial expressions is literally telling the reader everything they need to know about the character’s in the story. Similarly this feels second to only Zero in terms of quality of the overall output in his young career in comic creation. The story maintains the series through line of telling tense and tight one and done stories that manage to give equal parts excitement, intrigue and hilarity. Everything feels self contained while connections are seeded all over the place and as has been this series MO the ending always leaves me wanting more. And again I didn’t think MODOK could get any better but this week Kot makes a reference to a sub culture, of a sub culture, of a sub culture, of a sub culture with his “based MODOK” comment and I almost jump out of my seat on the train in delight. This is the best Avengers comic, one of the best super hero comics and one of the best ongoing series being published right now. The train may move at a break neck pace but you should get on as soon as possible because the ride is like nothing else.
In the relaunch of Secret Avengers Ales Kot and Michael Walsh introduce a new style to the title that is an excellent balance between action, adventure and hilarity at a break neck pace that drops you right into the action, ratchets up the plot and doesn’t let up all the way to it’s cliffhanger ending. Kot manages to retain his voice while playing on the recent iterations of characters like Hawkeye, Spiderwoman, Nick Fury Jr (get over it), Maria Hill and Black Widow showing a steady hand that respects his fellow writers continuity without sacrificing his own will on the characters but his dialogue truly shines when writing MODOK which is insane yet totally makes sense and is just fucking perfect. Plot wise this is everything you’d want from a Marvel super hero team book right out the gate with an eclectic cast getting thrown together from contending external crises that essentially all pile up on the team within the first issue. Artist Michael Walsh just kills his first Marvel comic work with more detail then I’ve ever seen from the illustrator while still retaining his strong pulp action sensibilities that he’s done on Image series like Zero and Comeback. The synergy in tone and style between Kot and Walsh is an inspired revelation and is further evidence of the importance in the relationship for the collaboration between writer and artist. Number one issues of relaunched titles are supposed to introduce you to the premise, give you an intriguing hook into the title and let the reader enter it’s world. Secret Avengers fulfills that criteria and so much more in it’s opening salvo. There have already been a lot of quality new series coming out in early 2014 but this is one that you will want to jump on for the ride. Just make sure to hold on tight.
One of the best parts of seeing Ales Kot grow as a writer has been watching him learn to apply his aesthetic to short single issue or little bottle stories especially when it’s in a long running comics mythology. The Darkness Viscous Traditions continues that streak as Kot flexes a lot of the same muscles that he uses on Zero for this micro story about a nomadic German tribe fighting off a fleet from the Roman Empire. It’s mostly told from the internal monologue of a freshly resurrected Darkness avatar thats fighting on the side of the Visigoths against the Roman Empire. While this is Darkness in name it pretty much stops at a soldier being resurrected so those looking for little snake demons are in for a disappointment. In it’s place we get a short singular story about a small group fighting off a larger week and bloated army. It is brutal and graphic but that serves it’s purpose for the narrative. Dean Ormston of titles like Judge Dredd and Lucifer is an illustrator I’m not familiar with and he does just fine but this is ultimately a comic where the writers idea is what’s most important. War is disgusting, random, cyclical and it never ends. Maybe you can turn a blind eye to it but that won’t stop it and eventually it will come for you if you’re not paying attention.
Warning: This is a review of a story that will be released tomorrow and there may be plot points discussed in said review that you the reader may consider Spoilers and as such be prepared for such plot points to be discussed.
Does nothing exist?