Sunday, June 13, 2010

Review: Secret Avengers #1

Written by Ed Brubaker; art by Mike Deodato, Rainier Beredo.

Well, I've finally made the leap into the Marvel universe! It happened almost by accident. I've been keeping an eye on all the new Heroic Age titles, thinking if there was ever a good jumping-on point this might be it. I considered getting the series that Bendis is writing. I was also tempted by Young Allies and Avengers Academy (since I usually like teen super-heroes). Then this week at the comic book store I was telling the guy who works there that I was interested in some Marvel titles, but wasn't sure where to start. I mentioned that one thing I was interested in was Ed Brubaker's run on Captain America, and I was considering reading them in trades. And that's why he recommended this title.

I was a bit reluctant, at first, because this seems like a somewhat "marginal" title (compared to the ones Bendis is writing, around which everything else seems to revolve), but I figured the fact that Brubaker was writing was a good sign.

I am not sorry that I bought it (except when I think about my budget, as I now have an additional title on my pull list). In fact, this may have been the book I enjoyed the most this week. I was surprised at how easy it was for me to get into it, considering I've never really read about any of these characters before and I am almost completely clueless about what's been happening in the Marvel universe leading up to this so-called Heroic Age. But all the essential information seems to be included in the story itself. The character introductions are handled expertly and Brubaker injects enough personality into them that after reading just one issue I feel like I already have a pretty good handle on most of them.

Brubaker makes writing seem easy. All the information is conveyed without ever resorting to blatant infodumps or clumsy exposition. The story unfolds organically from one scene to the next and the dialogue feels natural. There are no acrobatics or mindbending twists. It just feels like the beginning of a good story. It's a perfect #1 issue.

I'm a little less enthusiastic about the art than I am about the writing, but I have no real complaints either. If anything, I would say maybe the colouring could use a little bit more variety. I know this is the "Secret Avengers" and they work in the shadows and at night, so all these dark blue tones are an obvious fit for the tone. But it would be nice to break it up once in a while. The scene on Mars near the end of the issue, with its warm tones, felt like a breath of fresh air. This is a very minor point, though, and it didn't take much away from my enjoyment of the book.


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