Secret Avengers #1 Writer: Ed Brubaker(!!!) Pencils: Mike Deodato.
Review: I've been looking forward to this one! We open things up here with Valkyrie and Black Widow posing as escorts to a vice president in the Roxxon company. Valkyrie blow their cover, and the two women are forced to try to battle through a small army of gun totting Roxxon thugs. To even up the odds, Capt. Rogers leaps through the window and the trio easily manage to take the goons down. The trio of heroes also manage to grab a metal box that was being held by Roxxon, and take the box back to base, where Cap gives it to Beast. Cap and Beast open the box and study the item inside, which isn't exactly what they thought it was... Cap had thought Roxxon had acquired the Serpent Crown(basically an uber-powerful artifact that can do oodles of things, including mind control), but this crown seems to be a similar version, but not the real deal. Cap decides to send Antman and Moon Knight to Roxxon's Corporate Headquarters to see if they could dig up some information. The two heroes manage to break into Roxxon's computers and send some information back to Beast, Cap and War Machine, and after cracking Roxxon's security measures, Beast learns that Roxxon most likely discovered the crown on Mars, which is where they were drilling for minerals. Cap decides to send Nova to Mars to check things out, but he eventually loses contact with Nova, and after 12 hours of radio silence, Cap assembles his Secret Avengers and takes a Kree battleship to Mars. Back on Mars, Nova discovers what looks to be another Serpent Crown, and seems to be psychically drawn towards it. This issue ends with the Shadow Council, which was being led by Nick Fury(!?!?!?!!!), sneaking onto Cap's command ship, where they knock out Sharon Carter, ending this issue.
What I Thought: Well hell, I say let's just hand the reins of ALL of the Avengers comics over to Ed Brubaker, because this issue is ALREADY putting BENDIS'S Avengers works to shame, and this was only the FIRST issue! I like the team, they're a real motley crew, although if the core of the group remains Cap, War Machine, Beast, Black Widow and Sharon, none of the other characters really matter much. The story was interesting, and is dealing with an artifact that has always given the Avengers trouble, so it has a nice link to Avengers history, and the swerve at the end with Nick Fury was quite unexpected! So Nick and these Shadow Council guys seem to be after the Serpent Crown as well, and with Cap and his Secret Avengers off planet, and Shannon out cold, there seems to be nothing standing between Nick and his seemingly evil goals. Great first issue(unsurprisingly)that has me salivating for more.
Score: 9 out of 10.There's nothing that makes me happier then seeing Cap put a hurting on some hapless losers...