Friday, 3 May 2013

Secret Avengers Vol 3 Graphic Novel by Rick Remender

Here we have the final instalment of Rick Remender's Secret Avengers run, and more importantly, Captain Britain's final inclusion in a mainstream Marvel Title.

So far Remender has not been getting my vote of confidence with the way he's handled Captain Britain. Always portraying him as a bit of a fool, an arrogant, head-strong hero with lots of power but quite selfish in it's use.

It seemed as though RR either hated Captain Britain, or loved the character, but didn't really know how to write him properly, and maybe a little daunted following in the successful footsteps of the likes of Alan Moore, Chris Claremont, Alan Davis, and Paul Cornell, who have all shown love, and respect for the good Captain in previous tales.

I wasn't expecting much from Volume three, after reading the two previous volumes, and Remenders Uncanny X-Force/Otherworld story, with this one containing issues #33-37 of the Secret Avengers comic, written by Rick Remender, and illustrated by Matteo Scalera and Andy Kuhn.

How wrong was I? Very wrong indeed, it seems! What's that I hear you say? I'm complimenting Rick Remender's handling of Captain Britain? Yes I am! I'm not one to let past mistakes cloud my judgement. The  story in this volume was very good, I would go as far to say exciting, with lots of pace, and the main Ingredient, lots of Captain Britain.

It's not just the amount of CB contained within, it's the way he's portrayed, you almost get the feeling that RR has looked at his portrayal, and thought that he's not given him a fair, and deserved time in the spotlight. Hawkeye still takes top billing but equally so with Captain Britain, and the relationship between them is spot on, with respect from Hawkeye shown towards Cap, and elements of good natured humour.

This story is the final wrap on the Descendants storyline, where Father and his followers plan to turn the whole planet in to a world of automatons, and the like. The secret Avengers need the 'Orb of Necromancy', which if destroyed will end Father's threat. Captain Britain used his link to Otherworld to hide the Orb in one of the many alternate worlds. This is the first indication of Hawkeye showing respect for Captain Britain, and an understanding of how much responsibility he actually carries.

The Earth Captain Britain has hidden the Orb on is called 'Earth 666', a reality populated by the undead. With it's own band of Avengers called 'The Avengers of the Undead', a little cheesy, but it fits the chapter, with a Vampire Wolverine, a Thor Mummy, Captain America Werewolf, Frankenstein Punisher, to name but a few. The 'Avengers of the Undead' betray Captain Britain, and decide not to relinquish the orb, so a big fight between Hawkeye & Cap ensues against the Undead Avengers.

A nice bit of banter ensues between Hawkeye and Captain Britain, where they work well as a partnership, with Captain Britain portrayed as a hero with a brain, and strength. Long story short, Cap, Hawkeye, and The Beast who appears to help out, escape with the Orb.

Whilst all this is going on, Venom, Valkyrie and Black Widow are up against Black Ant, and more Descendants, Father has released a gas which is turning the world into even more Descendants, and Jim Hammond, the Original Human Torch has been healed by Father and leads all, to turn the world in his image, as the original template used.

Not to mention The Wasp, a Deathlok Wasp, turning Hank Pym into another Deathlok, which was the most disturbing thing in this whole story, quite a shocker, and a little confusing, because I'm sure he's currently not Half Cyborg, Half man at the moment.

Back to the main story where we find Hawkeye and Captain Britain fighting against The Original Human Torch, and his Descendant followers. Hawkeye seems to be well out of his league, and Captain Britain saves his backside several times, disposing of Lady Deathstrike with ease, as she was beating Hawkeye, and saving him from being crushed by the Master Mold Giant sentinel. The giant Sentinel is carted off in to space by Captain Britain and left high n' dry, and not to mention Cap going toe to toe with Jim Hammond.

It's decided that the Orb has to be destroyed before everyone on Earth is changed. Whilst Cap flies off in to space pulling the Giant Sentinel, which contains Father, Hawkeye hesitates with his shot at the Orb, which could doom humanity, and Jim Hammond comes to his senses, after being convinced by Captain Britain that what he's doing is wrong, and destroys the Orb, saving humanity, but condemning his own kind.

Captain Britain in the meantime confronts Father in space, inside the Sentinel, which leaves it with a possible return by Father in the future. The one thing which was easy to miss was the fact that Brian Braddocks father had a hand in creating the Orb of Necromancy, so was a fitting end to have Captain Britain responsible for seeing the threat come to an end.

Looking back at all three volumes, I wonder if it was Rick Remender's plan all along to make Captain Britain look the fool to begin with, only to play the hero at the end, with the whole story connected to his past. So here I am with a smile, at long last with Remenders final portrayal of Captain Britain.

Captain Britain even gets his face on the spine, Volume 2 had Valkyrie, and Volume 1 Hawkeye.

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