Wednesday, February 11, 2009

REVIEW :: Secret Warriors #1

by Carlton Hargro

I’ve always liked Nick Fury but never really liked a comic book starring Nick Fury.

For me, Fury was sort of like Dr. Strange — good for an occasional guest appearance, but not good enough to support a monthly comic book. Maybe it’s because, just like Strange has an almost limitless array of powers, Fury has a limitless supply of resources as the head of Marvel’s resident espionage organization, S.H.I.E.L.D.

But based on the quality of Fury’s latest title — Secret Warriors — I just may change my mind about Marvel’s No. 1 spy.

If you’re not familiar with the premise behind Secret Warriors (which is written by Secret Invasion architect Brian Bendis and Jonathan Hickman, of Image Comics fame), here’s the gist: Before Secret Invasion, Nick Fury figured out the Skrulls were hiding among us, so he created a team of heroes who weren’t known by the bad guys. And then helped beat up the bad guys. After Secret Invasion, Fury continues to lead his super team, but now he’s going against Norman Osborn’s Dark Reign, among other baddies.

So why does this Fury vehicle work where others failed? Well, first, instead of having Nick run S.H.I.E.L.D. and hang out with thousands of faceless agents, Hickman and Bendis have pared down his crew to just a handful of folks. Second, Hickman and Bendis can just plain write. Their characterizations are accurate; the dialogue is witty and entertaining; and the plot is engrossing and offers several real surprises. On top of all that, the art by Stefano Caselli is great … clean, yet detailed.

Bottom line: Buy Secret Warriors No. 1. It’s good … even if you don’t dig Nick Fury cmics.

Carlton Hargro is Editor-in-Chief of Creative Loafing Charlotte.

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