Saturday, March 24, 2012

Secret Avengers v2: Eyes of the Dragon TPB

Wow. Once again, the secret “spy” team delivers the best, most “Avenger-y” story I’ve seen in months. Ed Brubaker really does some nice stuff here. At times, characters suffer from a lack of panel time (mostly Moon Knight and Ant-Man) but even those neglected characters get brief moments to shine.

This trade stars Steve Rogers, Sharon Carter, and Shang-Chi as they attempt to stop the Shadow Council’s resurrection of Shang’s father. Once known as Fu Manchu, his evil goes back a lot farther than anyone previously guessed, with ties to the titular Eyes of the Dragon.

John Aman, the Prince of Orphans (from the Iron Fist series) essentially joins the team, and he’s a great fit. His misting power works well, and he definitely holds his own in the fights. And speaking of fights, this collection has some fantastic battles. From the Rogers/Shang sparring sessions to the Valkyrie John Steele beat-down, the fights are fantastic. I actually chuckled in glee when War Machine drops Steve Rogers from above, with Rogers delivering a devastating two-handed punch to Steele.

I don’t really know much about Max Fury, but the idea of an evil super-spy is pretty solid. I love that his plans have just as many layers and tricks as the real Fury; it’s neat seeing that Rogers is pretty adept in that world too. Ant-Man gets a fantastic moment as a secret back-up plan, and Moon Knight gets a wonderful moment too, both resulting from Rogers’ planning. (Sharon Carter and the Beast get taken down too easily though!)

With a book this jam packed with characters and action, I see why Brubaker let Nova fade away from the cast. Really, that a$$-kicking role does just fine in Valkyrie’s hands. Mike Deodato and Will Conrad do a fantastic job with the battle scenes and the quiet moments. I also found it amusing (and fair!) that for all the scenes of the lady Avengers standing around looking naked, there are a lot of shirtless dudes too. They are trying to please everyone, I guess!

This is the best Avengers I’ve read in awhile.


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