Secret Avengers #30
“Something Wicked This Way Comes”
Writer: Rick Remender
Artist: Matteo Scalera
Color Art: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover Art: Arthur Adams & Peter Steigerwald
The Secret Avengers: Hawkeye (Clint Barton), Black Widow (Natasha Romanoff), Beast (Dr. Hank McCoy, not in the story), Valkyrie (Brunnhilde), Ant-Man (Eric O’Grady), Captain Britain (Brian Braddock, not in the story), Venom (Corporal Flash Thompson)
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
PLOT: Venom faces off against Taskmaster, but because Taskmaster is able to mimic Spider-Man’s fighting ability, he gets the upper hand easily against Flash. Before Taskmaster can finish him off, however, he gets a head-busting migraine from Ant-Man, who’s sneaked into his ear canal. The mercenary decides to flee, but not before first making a million-dollar offer to anyone in the bar (including the Wrecking Crew) who can kill Venom.
Hawkeye and Valkyrie give chase to Taskmaster on motorcycle. They are intercepted by Vengeance, who’s working for Max Fury, but they manage to fend him off.
Taskmaster gives the Crown of Wolves to Max, who immediately double-crosses him and shoots him. With the set complete, the three crowns come alive and merge into one. The Secret Avengers arrive, and Max puts on the crown, but nothing happens. Hawkeye guesses that the crown won’t respond to him because he’s a glorified robot. The wounded Taskmaster, however, puts it on, summoning the Abyss and mind-controlling everyone in Bagalia except for Venom and Ant-Man.
THOUGHTS: This was a very good issue. Of course, the highlight for me was the fight between Venom and Taskmaster. It doesn’t last very long, but it’s good stuff. It’s always great to see Venom being, well, Venom (by that, I mean him taking on his more monstrous appearance and even referring to himself in plural).
The only real nitpick I have is with how Taskmaster is able to easily defeat Venom on the basis that he knows Spider-man’s fighting ability. Spider-Man himself was really never able to beat Venom on his own without some sort of help, and Taskmaster doesn’t have the superhuman agility Spidey has, but I can chalk this up to Flash never having fought Spider-Man (or Taskmaster) before and his general inexperience (the symbiote would know, but it’s still dampened by Pym’s serum). Another odd thing is that Venom is left on his own to fight everyone in the bar (I mentioned the Wrecking Crew because I know those guys are super tough), but it’s never shown how he managed to get out of that jam. He just shows up with the rest of the team when they storm the Shadow Council HQ. I guess it wasn’t that important.
Moving on, we have Hawkeye being awesome throughout the entire issue. Back in the Descendants arc, Beast chided him for not making decisions with a cool head. Here, we see him making the right call when it comes to helping Venom, besting Vengeance in battle, and punching out Max, all while delivering a bunch of quips (too bad one of those was at the expense of Mockingbird). I also enjoyed that Hawkeye gives Pym the props he definitely deserves (for the miniaturized bike and the “bunker-buster” arrow). Overall, the writing and the action are very solid.
The plot twist that Max is unable to summon the Abyss himself was a very good one, and something I didn’t see coming. What I saw coming, however, was a way for Taskmaster not to bite the dust. He’s become very popular, especially after his appearance in Marvel vs. Capcom 3.
Scalera’s art is great to look at. I’ve never been very good at noticing patterns in the art, but it became very obvious to me that Scalera occasionally draws outside of the panels, which provides for good contrast. It works great, especially when every panel has this thick black border. Wilson’s colouring perfectly complements the art.
The cover by Adams and Steigerwald is awesome and, for once, it sells you on what’s actually in the book. There are a couple of interesting things here: one, the placement of Taskmaster’s hand is hilarious; two, the villain bar has strippers wearing superhero masks, such as Spidey’s and Daredevil’s. That’s some weird Freudian stuff right there.
VERDICT: Secret Avengers #30 is all action and quips. Very good art and cool fights. 3.5 Symbiotes out of 5.
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~My Two Cents