Friday, 1 February 2013

Secret Avengers Volume 2 by Rick Remender Review

Volume two of Rick Remender's Secret Avengers run contains issues #26-32. Seven issues contained within, with two very different stories. The first three issues 26-28 tie in to the AVX which as everyone knows was the big fist-fight between The Avengers and The X-Men. The second half of this graphic novel, 29-32 deals with Max Fury, the Nick Fury LMD, and his legion of villains, all running under the banner of 'The Masters of Evil'.

I've been quite critical of Remender's handling of Captain Britain so far, first in the 'Uncanny X-Force, and then in volume one of 'The Secret Avengers'. I've moaned about his lack of understanding, and also the art that has gone hand in hand with his stories.

So here we have volume two of Secret Avengers, did Mr Remender finally get it right?

In one word, no, it seems to me that Marvel have turned to Remender and said we need you to write Secret Avengers, a new covert team, led by Hawkeye, but we want you to include Captain Britain. We know he's not Avengers material, but he is pals with Captain America, and we need to appease all those Brits who read our comics, and have their national hero in a mainstream comic, but it's up to you how you include him.

The first three issues of this Graphic Novel tell the tale of a team of Avengers led by Thor, sent into space, on a potential suicide mission to contain the phoenix force. Along with Thor you have, Ms. Marvel, Beast, Protector, War Machine, Valkyrie, Vision, and finally Captain Britain.

The team face off against the phoenix force, with War Machine fitted with this containment vessel strapped to his back, invented by Beast and Captain Britain. War Machine's armour can't cope with the strain, and things don't go too well for him. Captain Britain takes the device off of War Machine and goes to face-off against The Phoenix Force, this also goes wrong, much to the displeasure of Beast, and this is where Remender shows his total dislike of the character by having the Beast treat him like a naughty school boy.

This angered me somewhat, Remender portrays CB as an arrogant, selfish prat. Captain Britain's strength lies in his confidence, the more confident he is, the more powerful he becomes, and as the Beast states 'one of the most Powerful humans in the universe', so, yes, lets just rip him to shreds! Thor on the other hand recognises the nobility in Captain Britain and gives him a bit of a pep talk, to boost his confidence.

In between this first encounter with the Phoenix Force, and their final encounter with it, they fight a newly resurrected Captain Mar-Vell, are defeated, by him, end up on his Kree home world, as prisoners, narrowly avoid execution, and save the planet, with a little help from Mar-vell.

The final failed face-off against the Phoenix Force, involves Ms. Marvel turning into Binary temporarily to create a white worm hole, in the hope of sucking the PF into it, this doesn't work, and up steps Captain Britain again, with Thor's pep-talk ringing in his ears.

Do my eyes deceive me? Has RR finally decided to make Captain Britain a hero? One who is noble? A leader of men? For a moment I got excited and started punching the air, then Captain Mar-vell steps in and puts CB in his place... cheers Rick for bursting my bubble.

Mar-vell refers to Captain Britain as 'Brian', which is his name, very good, but I can not ever recall Captain Britain, and Captain Mar-vell ever meeting. I'm quite willing to eat humble pie if I'm wrong, but as far as I'm concerned this is another inconsistency connected to CB. This whole volume is riddled with inconsistencies, especially with the art, and more to the point with Cap's uniform. If you're going to draw a hero, please research the character first, and make sure you get it right. There are too many examples of Cap's uniform badly drawn to post on here. Alan Davis drew the covers for these AVX Secret Avengers issues, if only he had drawn the interior art, and if he had, then maybe he would have given RR a few pointers on how the hero should be portrayed.

Hala's saved, that's the Kree planet, by Captain Mar-vell, and in the process, sacrifices his life, giving back the part of the Phoenix Force that gave him life in the first place. Here ends the AVX tie-in, and pretty much any other part Captain Britain plays in the rest of the Graphic Novel.

The other four issues revolve around Max Fury obtaining three crowns which will open the 'Abyss', and give him dominance of the world, all backed up by his legion of super villains known as 'The Masters of Evil'. So many villains, I found myself trying to name them all, failed miserably, too many to name, but fun trying.

Hawkeye, Valkyrie, Ant-Man and Venom (Flash Thompson) enter Bagalia, this is the place where all the villains are, there very own country, ruled by Max Fury, to rescue John Steele, the first super soldier, pre Captain America it seems.

In a nutshell, the three crowns become one all powerful crown, which Max Fury can't use because he's not human, he's a LMD (Life Model Decoy), but Taskmaster has no trouble, but the Abyss takes control of everyone, every villain, and also Hawkeye and Valkyrie, but Venom and Ant-Man are unaffected. The aim of the Abyss is to spread to the whole world, infecting it, and so gaining control.

These would-be world conquerors, do they ever think ahead? What would any of them do if they did actually win and dominate the world. Would they just get bored and take up knitting? or maybe cross that one off the list of 101 things to do before I die? Just a thought!

Black Widow is left holding the baby, literally, and desperately tries to contact any Avenger she can to stop the Abyss, but they all seem to be busy. Captain Britain, and Giant Man are off fighting the Descendants, and are unable to help out, and this is the only time you really get to see Captain Britain in the whole four issues...

Look at Cap's costume, his 'Stealth' mode, with a great big red 'X' on his back, doh! There is no 'X' on his back... Grrr!

Black Widow tries to save the day, fails, becomes possessed by the Abyss, and it's up to Venom and Ant-Man to save the day, which they do, world disaster averted, The End! oh and Venom sleeps with Valkyrie!

In volume one the main story was connected to the Descendants, the final page leads in to the next issue, and final Secret Avengers Graphic Novel, which will wrap up the story first developed in volume 1. Enter 'Black Ant', who is a double agent LMD working for the Descendants, in the Secret Avengers posing as Ant-Man, who it looks like was killed in the first volume.

The Secret Avengers hasn't been axed as part of the Marvel Now, but Remender's run has, and with it any Captain Britain, in any Marvel Comic.

So here's my catch 22 situation... I don't like the way Remender handles Cap, but at least he is keeping the flag flying. So is it better to have no Captain Britain, or have Captain Britain Done badly?

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