"Secret Warriors" is winding down, but it isn't slowing down. This is where all the explosive reveals will lie, right at the end. Nick Fury has been captured, the secret organizations are colliding, and there isn't much room to breathe. The end is nigh, good people, and how bittersweet it will be.
This issue is two men in a room. It's rare a comic attempts this sort of thing and surely even more difficult for a comic to make that interaction fascinating. Jonathan Hickman has already put a lot of work into Fury and Baron Von Strucker, so this showdown brings much together. It all collides like a silent meteor shower of power and beauty. The conversation, the silence, and the air of the room all make this issue extremely tense. Hickman is on fire as he isn't always.
Hickman has to work with a lot of dialogue here and does a great job of making sure he doesn't overwrite Fury. The man might be the top cop in the Marvel U, but Fury is not a gruff tough guy; he's just a guy who is tough. It's a difficult patois to use and not abuse, but Hickman has shown this to constantly be one of his strengths. Von Strucker, however, is just that touch more villain-like and yet completely real. "Secret Warriors" will go down as a defining run for both Fury and Von Strucker.
The true moment of this issue comes from one reveal -- a retcon of monumental proportions -- that holds much impact. To truly adjudicate on this, a lot of back reading must be done but, at a glance, it feels satisfying. This moment leads to a second bomb being dropped that has ramifications all the way back to this series' start. It appears Hickman has been playing games with us, and winning at every hand.
Alessandro Vitti sells many of the character reaction moments. His Von Strucker wants to be full of imposition and importance with the red eye but half the face is still old man and that works perfectly. Vitti creates a Fury on the page not to be seen anywhere else. Some will like it, some won't, but it lends this series more ownership as standing alone rather than tying itself to decades of Fury continuity, even while playing with that past. Vitti and Hickman have forced this series into being its own beast of dynamic proportions.
This is the third to last issue and, if it's any indication, then the series finale of this title is something everyone should be reading. A satisfying conclusion is what we want and it looks like we will be graced with one. Here, we get the opening note of the denouement and it certainly hangs low and long. This series has certainly had its grand moments and this issue is one of those that will stick with you long after reading it.