Secret Avengers #4: Writer: Ed Brubaker. Artist: Mike Deodato.
Review: This issue starts up with Sharon Carter discovering that Ant-Man had somehow returned from Mars and was back on Earth. Ant-Man explains to Agent Carter that he wandered into a teleporter on Mars and was now standing in a room full of crazed villains wearing nuclear bombs on their backs. Back on Mars, Steve Rogers decides that the only way he can fight the Serpent Crown possessed Nova was by donning Nova's helmet and accessing the Nova force. Steve puts on the helmet and transforms into Steve Rogers: Super-Nova! Possessed Nova senses what had happened and attacks Steve and his Secret Avengers in order to prevent them from halting his mission(opening an inter-dimensional portal and unleashing an Ancient God who would destroy this universe). While Steve and Nova battle to a draw, the rest of the Secret Avengers try to fight off Nova's possessed minions as well as the Ancient God, who was slowly beginning to cross over to this plane of existence. Archon(a robot who was created by the Watcher's thousands of years ago to battle the Ancient God)steps in and assists the Avengers, telling them to destroy the machines that were allowing the Ancient God access this dimension. In the meanwhile, Ant-Man watches as the bomb-toting villains stroll into the teleporter and head towards Mars. Ant-Man leaps after them and blasts them, setting off their explosives and destroying the machines that were being used to transport the villains from Earth to Mars. This explosion reaches through the teleportational void and destroys the machinery that was allowing the Ancient God to cross over, ending it's threat. With Nova monetarily distracted by the carnage around him, Steve tears the Serpent Crown from his head, freeing Nova from it's mind control. Steve hands the Serpent Crown over to Archon, who promises to take the Crown somewhere safer before leaving. And with that the Avengers decide to hop a spacecraft and head back to Earth. This issue concludes with Agent Carter revealing to Steve that it appeared as if Nick Fury had been working with the villains who were trying to awaken the Ancient God.
What I Thought: Meh... First off, I am a HUGE fan of Ed Brubaker's writing. When given the opportunity, I have been known to gush over his work for hours on end. I'd even go so far to say that he is currently the best comic book writer in the industry today. BUT, I just never really got into this storyline... I can't exactly figure out why, but something here just didn't click for me. Maybe it was the lack of a big time Avengers foe(the Serpent Crown and the Shadow Council??), or maybe it was the lack of cohesion from the Secret Avengers themselves, but something just seemed missing here to me. Although I'll still be looking forward to next month's issue, which should shine some light on Nick Fury's apparent evil antics(I say it's one of those Fury robots), this particular storyline was a bit of a letdown to me.
Score: 6 1/2 out of 10.Awesomeness, thy name is Steve Rogers.