Written by Rick Remender
Art by Gabriel Hardman
Release Date: March 28, 2012

The newest line-up of Secret Avengers continues down the violent rabbit hole this week into a stark and dangerous world filled with automatons and pain at every corner. I have been reading Remender’s arc since the beginning and it has been very interesting to read his take on this ‘team’, which as of yet is 7 loosely associated individuals doing their own thing. I find I am enjoying reading an Avengers team that is completely out of sync: it is a breath of fresh air to see a team not just ‘mesh’ the first time they are in the heat of battle together. Remender does a solid job with the individual characters in this issue as they are a diverse bunch and it’s great to see them not shying away from conflict. Captain Britain has just the proper amount of arrogance and it is a lot of fun to read his exchanges with Jim Hammond. Remender’s brash style is an excellent fit for this book  and while I am enjoying his work with the characters themselves, the plot is starting to be a little too “secretive” for me. The villains are extremely cryptic, as would make sense, but it’s starting to affect the flow of the title. Without having any clue what they are up to, the gravity of what is occurring is starting to be lost. This is a minor gripe that can be made of most ‘middle of the arc’ issues and I hope the arc finale ties all the loose ends up for a satisfying conclusion.

Gabriel Hardman continues his streak of excellent art with this issue, pencilling this diverse group with skill and precision. Throughout the issue I was impressed by how skilfully he managed to make some of the group of villains look like the characters they are forgeries of, yet having them exude complete evil. This is not an easy effect to portray on a page and Hardman makes it look easy. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, he is a fantastic artistic fit for this series.

I don’t often comment on covers but I want to give a shout out to Arthur Adams and Laura Martin for one of the most visually engaging superhero covers I’ve seen in awhile.

Verdict: 8.0/10


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