There’s a lot of intriguing set up in this latest issue, but not a huge amount of delivery as guest illustrator, Juanen Ramírez, joins Mathew Rosenberg and Joe Ranch for this inaugural issue of a whole new story-arc in the pages of Secret Warriors.
The whole issue acts as a series of mini vignettes, that show what the Secret Warriors have boon up to following the fall of Hydra and the resolution of the Secret Empire event, as well as set up a number of plot lines and story elements that In all likelihood) will eventually precipitate the Warriors needed to come back together as a team.
The main story focus on a somewhat unhinged Daisy ‘Quake’ Johnson, rooting out form Hydra collaborators in her desperate search to discover who killed her friend, Phil Coulson, and extract revenge.
She learns that the former Hydra regime needed to dispatch their most deadly assassin to take out an agent of Counson’s calibre and Daisy throws caution to the wind and arranges for a hit to taken out on herself in the hopes that this assassin will come to her.
This leads the villain known as Taskmaster to track her down and attempt to do her in. Daisy is expecting the attack and takes out Taskmaster with ease. Following a violent interrogation, Taskmaster agrees to give up the information on who it was that actually took out Coulson. The culprit is none other than the ‘merc with the mouth; everyone’s favorite fast talking motor: Deadpool.
Taskmaster arranges for Daisy to hook up with his contact so that she can finally take on Deadpool. This contact turns out to be Bullseye (because apparently sociopathic assassins are all friends with each other). In any case, Bullseye sets up Daisy to attack Deadpool while he is dropping off his dry cleaning and the stage is set for a huge fight in the next issue.
Intertwined through this main story is two more tales that are far more intriguing. The first sees Karnak coming to visit his nephew, Ahura, who is running the multi-conglomerate company known as Ennilux. Ahura is initially quite shaken to see his uncle Karnak show up at his corporate offices. Although still a teenagers, Ahura is usually suave and unflappable, but it is clear that his uncle makes him very uncomfortable. Yet it turns out that Karnak has not shown up to recruit Ahura for some sort of mission for the sake of Attilan; rather he is looking for a job.
Ahura gives him the not-so-polite brush off and sends his uncle on his way.
Some time later, Ahura learn that the fictional third-world nation of Chernaya has endured a military coup, forcing its president to run off into hiding. Chernaya had been a hub of cheap manufacturing, and it would seem the Ennilux Corp has been quite reliant on the nation as a key facet to the corporations’ ongoing success. Seeing this news, Ahrua decides that he has a job for his Uncle Karnak after all. In all likelihood, Ahura would like to send his uncle into Chernaya and put down the coup and hence keep Ennilux in the black.
The third storyline entails Dante, who has relocated to Toledo, Ohio, where he has moved in with his sisyer, Gabby, in order to help her out with the new baby. We finally learn that the child Gabby gave birth to way back in Inhuman Annual #1 is a girl (so I no long have to write our niece or nephew when referring to her). Gabby has retuned to nursing, but is also taken night classes and Dante has come to help out, tending to the child while his sister is at work or school. He skips with Moon Girl asking Lunella to help his sister in completing term papers that Gabby is far too busy to attend to. To date, we have only seen Lunnella apply her genius to strictly scientific endeavors, but it would turn out that she’s super smart across the board in that she has provided for Gabby a succinctly summarized term paper on Tolstoy’s War and Peace.
A knock comes to the door and Dante is assailed by a force of strange and frightening beings. They are al minions of the Dark Beast. Dante fights valiantly but is hopelessly outnumbered and falls. The Dark Beast fetches Fante’s infant niece, noting that he has been dispatched by Mr. Sinister to collect the child. A baby born exposed to Terrigen prenatally appears to be of interest to the mad geneticist and he has opted to send his goons to collect her as consolation for Karnak having gone back on his deal rearing Leer. Horrified, Dante can only watch as The Dark Beast leaves, taking his niece to the villainous Mr. Sinister.
For me, the two sub-plots were far more interesting the main one. I love Daisy, but seeing her go on a Punisher-style quest for bloody revenge isn’t something that intrigues me. Quake is much more focused now that she had been int he previous issues of Secret Warriors, and as a result her seismic powers are more precise and effective. She makes short work of the various goons, The Taskmaster, and even Bullseye does’t seem that much a threat to her. Taking on Deadpool should prove a much more challenging battle, but we’ll have to wait until next issue to see how it goes down.
Don’t get me wrong: I like ultra badass/ultra competent Daisy, but it does detract a bit from her uniqueness. Her taking out the villains with such ease… she could easily be replaced with Black Widow, The Punisher, or any other badass for whom things look easy. Daisy’s doubt, her conflict and anxiety is what has helped to make her special to me and while I can understand her single-mindedness in wanting revenge for the death of her best friend, the version of Daisy in this issue left me a bit cold.
The other two vignettes provide to be much more intriguing to me. Dante’s niece being abducted by the forces of Mr. Sinister is clearly setting up the next story-arc, set to unfold in future issues and I’m very much looking forward to that.
Likewise, Karnak coming to Ahura for a job was an interesting twist. Ahura has long since been one of my favorite Inhumans and it was a little discouraging to see him degenerate into yet another business bigwig interested in little more than the bottom line. Ad why exactly does someone possessing near omega-level psychic powers need a third party to put down a military coup in a third world nation. That matter aside, I’m looking forward to seeing where it all goes.
Juanen Ramírez’s fill in art is an intertwine choice. He’s an excellent artist, but his style is so different compared to series regular, Javier Garrón, that it feels quite jarring. Garrón’s line work is ultra crips and confident whereas Ramirez opts for a more squiggly, fluid line. To be frank, it’s not of my tastes. To be even more frank, Deadpool is a character who I have almost no interest in. His particular brand of humor does vert little for me and the sooner his involvement in this book comes to an end the better as far as I’m concerned.
Although it’s noted in the letter page that Garrón will be rejoining book with issue eight when the Mr. Sinister artery-arc goes into full swing; a story that it appears will see Magik of The X-Men join the team. This I’m very much looking forward to.
As it stands, there are some pretty good moments in this issue, a must for big time Quake fans, but somewhat skippable in that one can wait until the eighth issue to see The Secret warriors back in action.
Two and a half out of Five Lockjaws.