“Secret Avengers” #27 by Rick Remender and Renato Guedes has taken quite the detour from both the events of AvX and its own remit, as a group of Avengers (only some of them “secret”) find themselves battling the Kree and a resurrected Captain Marvel.
Although I’ve complained in the past about tie-ins being too far outside the “parent” story, this one suits me fine. Even though the tie-in content is minimal (largely limited to the background threat of the Phoenix) the story that’s being told is a good one: a group of heroes who have spectacularly blown their mission instead face a threat that none of them anticipated.
Remender’s version of Captain Marvel is an interesting one, recognizably alien but still relatable. Despite being brainwashed into serving the Kree, his heroism is intact and his moral center uncorrupted, which the cliffhanger suggests will be a major story point. Remender’s version of Captain Britain is less successful, however — not just because it’s miles away from Paul Cornell’s much-praised take on the character, but because he doesn’t seem capable of being a hero at all.
At least Remender’s character work provides a place for this tale in the wider tapestry of “Secret Avengers,” giving fans something to hang on even if they’re not interested in the crossover. The idea of a team at odds with one another is interesting, especially since Remender hasn’t gone too far with the idea. They’re disgruntled, but ultimately acknowledge pursuing a common goal, and that gives the book a tone not seen elsewhere. It also makes the “Avengers Vs. X-Men” component of the book visible on a thematic level (given that the team contains characters affiliated with both) even if the plot is largely tangential to that story.
Guedes’ artwork is fantastic, with interesting angles and page designs that play up the frantic nature of the plot and the unfamiliar landscape of space. The artist’s style has changed dramatically on this arc, but wholly for the better. It’s inventive and original, and miles beyond his earlier work (which itself wasn’t too shabby either).
Although the outcome of this story is known (to an extent) thanks to scenes from other Marvel titles which come afterwards, it’ll be interesting to see how things shake out. At present, Captain Marvel’s fate seems uncertain, and if the character is facing a re-introduction it’s not the horrifying prospect it could have seemed. Similarly, finding out how this story affects the “Secret Avengers” cast will be an incentive to come back. It’s rare you get to read about superheroes failing, but the framework of “AvX” means that there’s space for that to happen. I can’t wait to see what Remender does with that.