Saturday, June 9, 2012

Secret Warriors v4: Last Ride of the Howling Commandos HC

Well this is interesting. I figured half the Howling Commandos have been dead for years anyway; they died for me when I read the excellent Nick Fury vs. Shield series in the late ‘80’s. Now Hickman is getting us back to that point with the elimination of a lot of the Commandos in this trade.

This book HEAVILY ties in to Siege, and any reader unfamiliar with that storyline is going to be lost. I don’t remember Norman Osborn being a big antagonist in this book, but Fury is clearly gunning for him in this collection. It’s fairly easy to breeze over these portions of the book.

The more interesting parts of the trade involve the Commandos and their strike on a Chinese Hydra outpost. Only two SHIELD agents make it out alive, as I can tell: Dum Dum Dugan and Jasper Sitwell. (Alexander Pierce makes it out before the final battle, along with his caterpillar team. He’s still looking cut!) Gabe Jones, Eric Koenig, and more all get chopped up by Gorgon and the forces of Hydra. As near as I can tell, most of the previously introduced Howling Commandos merc company gets wiped out in this collection. Add that to the Countess Allegra DeFontaine turning bad in the last trade and Clay Quartermain getting killed in Jeph Loeb’s Hulk, and SHIELD is rapidly running out of agents I know. (Jimmy Woo left long ago for Agents of Atlas, too.)

The art is by Alexadro Vitti, and he’s got a very recognizable style. This comic stars almost all men, and every one has a heavy brow and bushy eyebrows. He seems to like drawing low caps on his characters too. The art isn’t bad, but it seems like he’s trying to do a Stefano Caselli impression and isn’t quite hitting it.

I can appreciate Jonathan Hickman reminding everyone what a brilliant super-spy Fury is, but the melancholy tone of the collection keeps this from being a fun read.



Martin Gray said...

I gave up on Secret Warriors after about three issues - I couldn't keep their names and powers straight. You have reservations with this volume, but is it worth going back and reading the series in lumps?

Timbotron said...

I'll be honest, there is other stuff that's worth checking out first. Scalped, Unwritten, Red Hulk. There are a lot of good series I think I'd recommend first.