“Secret Avengers” #37 brings Rick Remender’s long-range story to a dramatic conclusion, with just enough of an opening for some concepts and characters to be explored at a future time. With art by Matteo Scalera, the issue concludes Remender’s story while paving the way for the Marvel NOW! relaunch of the title later this month.
With humanity succumbing to Father’s nano-mist, Remender presents Hawkeye presented with a stunning philosophical dilemma: save the world by destroying an entire species or accept subjugation and enjoy an improved quality of life, albeit one without free will. Remender’s depiction of Hawkeye’s inner struggle reveals a depth of character and a level of conflict far deeper than a stereotypical superhero brawl. Hawkeye is gripped with a fear of loss of control and the overriding directive that “Avengers don’t kill.” More than once I found myself leaning closer to the comic, literally drawn in by the suspense Remender has created.
Scalera’s artwork is rough, but kinetic. Some of his figures are more gesture drawings than complete images, almost to the point of distraction. For instance, as Hawkeye and Lady Deathstrike fight, her chest varies in size and position on her body, from male bodybuilder-like pecs to something resembling a beach ball protruding from the bottom of her ribcage. The fight itself is energetic and fun, giving Clint a chance to use his fists instead of his bow, but the lack of details and flair expressed through these characters removes some intensity from the scene. Matthew Wilson’s colors — the heat of Jim Hammond’s flames and glow of the Orb of Necromancy — help add some depth and flair to the grit-filled world Scalera has crafted for the invasion of the Descendants. Clayton Cowles does a nice job providing visual cues for the dialog of the Descendants as well as the Avengers, rounding out the visuals.
The gritty tale of hidden worlds, secret agendas and accumulating threats combine to make Remender’s work on “Secret Avengers” a memorable experience. While I would hesitate to say his work on this title is on par with his work on “Uncanny X-Force,” there is simply no denying the contributions Remender has made to the Marvel Universe and “Secret Avengers” #37 is a fantastic representative sample. The threat of the Descendants may be past, but as happens in comics, there is ample opportunity for return and revenge.