Sunday, August 2, 2015

CBR Secret Warriors

In anticipation of the upcoming new season of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. later this year, here's the original comic where Daisy Johnson aka Quake (aka Skye) came from (sort of).

Comic title: Secret Warriors Volume 1: Nick Fury, Agent of Nothing
Written by Brian Michael Bendis & Jonathan Hickman
Drawn by Stefano Caselli

Published by Marvel Comics 
From 2009
Lineup Secret Warriors series/SHIELD
Format: Trade Paperback collecting the issues of Secret Warriors #1-6 and a story from Dark Reign New Nation #1.


I mean, did you know the Marvel Comics terrorist organization Hydra had its hand in almost every single law-enforcement, counter-terrorism and espionage agency in the known Marvel Universe? That's right, they've been right there since the mid-1940s!

Secret Warriors is a comic book series that was spawned from the 2008 crossover event Skrull invasion, "Secret Invasion". The Skrulls where these green alien shapeshifters that often clashed with the more scifi-based series like Fantastic Four. This book was Marvel's attempt at bringing back the spy genre to their comics following the fallout of this invasion.

The series was pitched by Brian Bendis and Jonathan Hickman, they would co-wrote the book together. The duo mostly responsible for animating much of the entire MU be it through their work on series like Fantastic Four, SHIELD or the Ultimate Universe.

With Norman Osborn taking over S.H.I.E.L.D.and renaming it H.A.M.M.E.R., the old superspy Nick Fury (the older original David Hasselhoff model) found himself without a team nor banking from the government. He decided to call on Team White, a team of potential superpowered agents that remained on the sidelines until now.

Those characters had first been introduced in Mighty Avengers #13, when the Skrull Invasion broke out on and Earth turned into a war zone, Fury was forced to "activate" them and so they debuted as a team in Secret Invasion #3.

With Secret Warriors, this "Team White" was finally given its own on-going series, launched under the Dark Reign storyline (which saw Orborn taking over the good guys' side).

The team was formed out of various characters related to powerful players in the Mavel Universe, joined together as an anti-Skrull Task Force originally. Nick Fury's protégé Daisy Johnson aka Quake leads our heroes, she's the daughter of the supervillain Mister Hyde and can master and control earthquakes. The Puerto-Rican Yo-Yo Rodriguez aka Slingshot is the daughter of the villain The Griffin. Jerry Sledge aka Stonewall was personally recruited by Daisy Johnson, he's the son of The Hulk villain Crusher Creel aka the Absorbing Man. There's also Sebastian Druid, the son of Doctor Druid who can uses the same magic. J.T. James, the grandson of the classic Marvel character Phantom Rider who can use and control hellfire. Their most powerful ally is possibly Alexander Aaron aka Phobos, son of the God Ares! They would also be later joined by this peaceful but powerful guy Eden Fesi aka Manifold.

The story begins in the aftermath of the Skrull invasion. Long-time HYDRA leader Baron Von Strucker was attacked by Skrulls trying to overtake HYDRA. He quickly dispatched them and decided to make tabula rasa of his old headquarters. It's time to move on from the shadows and use SHIELD, which HYDRA helped built to take over the entire world!

After losing S.H.I.E.L.D. to Osborn's H.A.M.M.E.R., Nick Fury decided to take these sideline agents he named Team White, unknown to all outside of the Superhuman Registration Act, to start shaping up his army he will use to get rid of HYDRA once and for all.

But first things first, while he sends his "Secret Warriors" to various recon missions to check on various old SHIELD strongholds, Nick has to get most of his ex-SHIELD contacts back.

Meanwhile we find out how Baron Strucker doesn't really care much for those old Nazi beliefs, he doesn't want to necessary "cleanse" the world rather he just wants to rule over it. He finally calls forth all these important Hydra leaders to him; Kraken, Viper, the new Madame Hydra, the Hive and a resurrected powerful Gorgon.

Ol' Nick tells his team how HYDRA's still rampant, and basically behind everything they thought good. HYDRA had its tentacles implemented into SHIELD since its inception! And one cannot simply stop HYDRA like that - after all, cut one head, and more will take its place. No. They have to surgically remove HYDRA from Earth for good.

Daisy's team go after Kraken and Gorgon, trying to prove themselves. Yo-Yo is seriously wounded...

Nick Fury later sends our young heroes after one of his list of "Caterpillars" (potential superpowered members) while he goes to find Dum-Dum Dugan who has apparently gone private after HAMMER took over. Nick wants to get this new private military Howling Commandos back under his command and take back some of his Hellicarriers back from Osborn...

Secret Warriors was such a great series!

It's a lot of fun!

The series is deeply rooted in spy/espionage stuff. Only, it takes place in the Marvel Universe, so it's a lot of fun to see our heroes fight on several fronts.

There's all these different super-crime families, Osborn's corrupt government, HYDRA deeply rooted in everything and even some internal conflict amongst our heroes.

The series also makes use of and builds a lot of fun meta-mythology around the series and plays with all kinds of "alternate reality" games. There are a lot of "Nick Fury files" spread through the issues that give us a look how huge HYDRA really is and all the various facilities and black ops Fury built across the world over the years. Including clues and cyphers to unlock codes for upcoming issues and story arcs at the time.

The series had a really interesting pitch and it's simply a must read for any Marvel fan!

It was both a thrilling spy story as well as an action-packed series with a lot of humor and plot twists. It would provide so much ground to help define the Marvel Universe as a whole, some of its ramifications where immediately seen in the fallout of Osborn's Dark Reign to the current "Marvel NOW" status to this very day.

It simply redefined the entire history of SHIELD!

It was also a great Nick Fury ongoing, the best the character probably had in ages. It was fun to see the man operate outside of the shadow now that both Osborn and HYDRA took him away from all of his usual resources he had as Director of SHIELD previously.

Finally the art was really, really good. Simple great artwork throughout the entire series. Some coherence since we had Stefano Caselli on art duties the entire series. His work can be both sort of cartoony and expressive while super-detailed and realistic. Kind of reminiscent of UDON work.

This was also the book that would give this Daisy Johnson character her most prominent role to date in comics. A character first introduced in the pages of Secret War in 2005. Her look was originally based on Angelina Jolie (from Hackers). It's funny how it seems she's never met her father on comic pages. The character from the Agents of SHIELD TV show ("Skye") would draw a lot from this series, she would soon be shown dating JT.. who would later turn out to be working for HYDRA the whole time (not unlike a certain "Grant Ward" on the show), who would betray the entire team while hoping to keep Daisy safe... 

All in all, it was a great series well worth a read!

Overall, Secret Warriors is a really fun enjoyable comic book series. Really fun captivating stuff. And it probably is the best "SHIELD vs HYDRA" comic you'll ever find. Fun, enjoyable. It moves fast and it was packed with content. I really liked all the bonus material showing us all these ex-SHIELD cells, the various ramifications of the HYDRA, the different organizations they control. It was lots of fun to see those throughout the book.

It's a really good series. Where most of the ideas seen on the Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series originally came from.

You don't necessary need to be too familiar with the whole Marvel Universe to get it, the series has its share of explanations and always takes the time to introduce new concepts to the reader. It's easily the best and only proper decent attempt at a modern Nick Fury comics we've ever had. A Must Read!

The series ended up working as a great side-companion to the larger MU, dealing with the ongoing conflict between Nick Fury and Hydra and the underbelly of Norman Osborn's Dark Reign.

Secret Warriors would last 28 issues, from April 2009 to July 2011. The entire series has been collected in 6 volumes as well as Omnibus collections. It's really fun to see all these different players come clashing together in these pages.

It turns out the series would inspire much of the lore behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not only did the films Avengers and Captain America: Winter Soldier trade the Skrull Invasion-type of storyline for a HYDRA takeover but it basically took inspiration from Secret Warriors' plot for the story (and I can definitively see the link between HYDRA and the Skrulls, with the comic taking place in the shaking up after that event). Which would serve as basis and inspire much of the conflict seen on the show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., no wonder Quake (or Skye on the TV show) would also be part of that SHIELD roster. Good news, the upcoming 3rd season of the show will apparently take back from this comic as much of the promotional material seem to revolve around Daisy's future "Secret Warriors".

After the end of the comic, another book would become a sort of spiritual successor to Secret Warriors in the form of a new Secret Avengers comic book series. This second Secret Avengers series would ditch the "Dark Reign" banner to go back to the SHIELD side of things, where superheroes are usually not concerned. The only major different of the book? Trading the classic "white guy" Nick Fury to the Samuel L. Jackson-inspired Nick Fury Jr. and adding the MCU original creation Phil Coulson to the mix.

I give it:
2 / 3 Howards!

No comments:

Post a Comment