Although I liked the makeup of the team I had given up on Secret Avengers as a regular monthly title during their John Steele story arc. Over the first dozen issue the comic was very hit-and-miss for me and appeared to be still struggling to find itself. And I was pretty sure three straight months of Fear Itself tie-ins wasn’t going to help.
However, last month writer Warren Ellis took over the title and I decided to give it another shot. I so impressed I picked this issue up without even reading it before I got home. That was a big, big mistake.
The storyline is the kind of odd story Ellis is known for that could (and probably was) a Authority tale he never got to tell. Steve Rogers, Agent 13, War Machine (but can we really still call him that without the shoulder cannon?), and Valkyrie head off to Eastern Europe where entire villages are disappearing. What they discover is a giant demon truck traveling across the landscape with a zombie cyborg at the wheel. Sadly, it’s not as good as it sounds.
The entire issue is the team attempting to stop the truck and eventually discovering what happened to all the missing people (which isn’t pretty). It’s not a bad story, but it doesn’t feel particularly like an Avengers tale either. However, that wasn’t my real problem with the issue.
The real trouble here is the amazingly bad art by Kev Walker (who takes the place of Jamie McKelvie, who did a great job in last month’s issue). Walker seems incapable of drawing Sharon Carter (who looks like at least three different characters over the course of the issue). And whose idea was it to redesign her costume with bare shoulders? Really, because that’s what a covert agent is going to need in the field?
The issue does include a very cool cover by John Cassaday (and I can only imagine how much more I would have liked the issue if he had done the art inside as well). The story itself might have been saved by some great art but this is anything but, and in just a single issue I’m left on the fence again about picking up the next one. Hit-and-Miss.