Onslaught Unleashed #1 of 4 Review


Interesting Tidbit That You May Not Care About But It’s Here Anyway: At the conclusion of the Dark Reign, Marvel heralded its Heroic Age, where heroes were back to being heroes. At the outset of this new era, new teams banded together to fight evil. One such team was put together by newly-appointed Director of National Security Steve Rogers for special black ops missions. Fate brought the other team together, a group of young heroes who want to prove their own worth, among them the Girl Without a World, Nomad.

Together, the Secret Avengers and Young Allies are about to face a powerful menace that once took down Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Onslaught has returned.

Onslaught Unleashed #1 of 4
“In the House of the Devil”

Writer: Sean McKeever
Artist: Filipe Andrade
Colorist: Ricardo Tercio
Letterist: Dave Lanphear
Cover Artists: Humberto Ramos & Morry Hollowell
Cover Aritist (Variant Cover): Rob Liefeld & Matt Yackey

Now, I’ll be honest here: I hadn’t even heard of this book before I got to my LCS to pick up my usual batch. I knew of the Onslaught saga and the Onslaught Reborn mini that came out years later, so I was curious enough to take a quick look at this book. When I realized that it was McKeever writing, and that it involved the Young Allies (including Spider-girl), I felt my desire to purchase this issue justified. And since it involves a Spider-man family character, the review is also justified.

As for the featured teams, I followed Secret Avengers for their first arc, but I quickly grew tired of Ed Brubaker’s decompressed style and refusal to use his roster to their fullest. I read the first issue of Young Allies but unfortunately I couldn’t pick it up for the remained of its run, but I hear it was quite good.  So how does this issue fare then?

Valkyrie and War Machine not included.

The Secret Avengers: Steve Rogers, Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff), Moon Knight (Marc Spector), Beast (Hank McCoy), Ant-Man (Eric O’Grady), Sharon Carter.

The Young Allies: Nomad (Rikki Barnes), Spider-girl (Anya Corazon), Toro (Benny Serrano), Gravity (Greg Willis), Firestar (Angelica Jones).

***WARNING: WET PAINT***

***OKAY, FINE. SPOILERS***

The Plot: The issue starts with Nomad having a nightmare in which her friends and other heroes perish, with a voice assuring her that it’s not just a dream. She confides in Steve Rogers, who promises to look into it. Then, Rikki and Toro attend a Colombian Pride Festival, where they are attacked by a man who morphs into a Jackal-esque creature. He drugs Benny and kidnaps him.

The next day, Black Widow easily infiltrates a Roxxon building, where she discovers that Project: Power exists (Nomad feeds the name to the Secret Avengers from her nightmare) and that is producing high-powered weapons in Colombia. Rogers decides to take his team to investigate, but, knowing that Nomad is somehow linked in all of this, asks her to stay behind for precaution. Of course, she refuses to accept this, so she gathers the rest of the Young Allies, who decide to go to Colombia on their own, believing that they’ll find Toro there.

In Colombia, Rogers and his team make it to the Roxxon compound, where they find the bodies of Roxxon employees and a drug cartel leader. Steve goes and finds Toro but is attacked by the guy who kidnapped him. Beast and Ant-Man find a machine that is harvesting the material that keeps together the Negative Zone and attempt to deactivate it. Moon Knight and Black Widow are assaulted by rifle-wielding children but are rescued by the Young Allies, who arrived thanks to a flying Datsun powered by Gravity. Nomad goes directly in search of Toro but instead winds up to the room where Beast and Ant-Man are. A powerful psionic force escapes from the Negative Zone machine and hits Rikki and Beast. Ant-man comes to Beast’s aid, who’s freaking out because he knows who’s back: Onslaught, now possessing Nomad’s body.

The Good:

Yes, the plot took me three paragraphs to write. A lot happens in this issue. Like I said, this was kind of an impulse buy for me, one that I wasn’t really willing to make for $3.99, but considering how much content we get in these pages, it didn’t feel like a waste of money at all. On the contrary, the story is quite good in this issue. The main driving plot requires some previous knowledge of both Onslaught and Nomad to understand their connection, but it’s handily given to you in the supplement pages of the book. For someone who doesn’t feel like reading up on the Onslaught saga, this was certainly welcome.

As for the issue itself, I enjoyed the quick pace. McKeever was certainly trying to fit as much as possible in these pages, and the characters never spend too long doing one thing. I mean, other writers might have left off at the moment where the Secret Avengers decide to go to Colombia, and issue two would have followed up till where the Young Allies get there in the knick of time. Yeah, I know I’m making a backhanded slap toward decompressed comics, but I cannot stress how much the quick pace is appreciated here.

Something that annoyed me when reading Secret Avengers was how sometimes Brubaker couldn’t get the voice of the characters right (some have said that he’s not very good at writing team comics, but I cannot make that claim for certain). I had some concerns that McKeever would run into similar problems, but I’m glad to say that he’s got a good handle on all the characters from both teams. I never once felt that their dialogue was off. The Secret Avengers are used well, and each member’s respective abilities are used effectively to achieve their goal.

Something I felt Brubaker did right in his book, though, was the banter between the Secret Avengers over in that book. That is carried over into Onslaught Unleashed too, as we see some interaction between these Avengers once in the Roxxon compound. The Young Allies have their own moments too, and although they are only in the action just briefly, we see them being light-hearted, having fun, and just enjoying themselves, a marked difference in tone from the other team’s actions.

Humberto Ramos and Morry Hollowell draw a very nice cover. It’s really great stuff, and I really love wrap-around covers, as well.  I didn’t get the variants but they look pretty good as well.

The Bad:

I haven’t mentioned the interior art. It wasn’t bad. In fact, it grew on me, and it’s pretty well drawn and colored. It just takes a little to get used to. Really, it’s nothing to complain about, but I can see why it wouldn’t really be everyone’s cup of tea. Characters look very animated and cartoon-y, but it’s something that I came to like by the time the group is in Roxxon. I particularly liked the panels with Firestar and Gravity flying over the ocean. The effects of their powers looked beautiful here.

Verdict:

I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Onslaught Unleashed #1. I hope you don’t skip out on it just because it’s revisiting a tired event from the ‘90s again (like a lot of things these days). That’s how I originally felt about the book, but McKeever has taken two modern teams that he writes well and puts them to good use. The pieces are set up for an incredible battle against a familiar face from the past. It can only get better from here, and you can do a whole lot worse for $3.99. I struggled a bit with this rating, but at the end of the day, this issued deserves its:

4.5 Webheads out of 5

~My Two Cents.

“Do Your Job!” – Spider-man, Marvel vs. Capcom 2 (Brian Bradley got all the best quotes, so I’m stuck with this one).

 

 

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