Secret Avengers #31
“Into The Void”
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), Venom (Corporal Flash Thompson), Giant-Man (Dr. Henry Pym, unlisted)
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
PLOT: In Bagalia, Taskmaster has donned the combined crowns and summoned the Abyss, possessing everyone nearby with the exception of Venom and Ant-Man. The possessed Hawkeye and Masters of Evil then head to a Bagalian airport and board the jets in order to spread the Abyss upon the world. Venom and Ant-Man successfully stop them all but one.
Since Captain Britain and Giant-Man have their hands full fighting Ultravisions in Malaysia, Black Widow teleports herself to the lone jet and attempts to disable it, but Hawkeye stops all her efforts.
Venom and Ant-Man infiltrate the throne room where Taskmaster and the crown are located, but before they can do anything, they are found out by a possessed Valkyrie.
THOUGHTS: I had a certain difficulty writing this review, not necessarily because of this issue’s quality, but because of my failure to find different ways to say the same thing. It’s still top notch quality work from Remender, Scalera, and Wilson as seen in the previous two issues. The writing is good, and the art is beautiful.
Venom gets the spotlight back in this issue. It’s his inner thoughts that we see the most, as he thinks how he now gets the opportunity to be like Spider-Man and what motivates him to save the world (namely, to get Hawkeye to shut up). Fortunately, Remender balances the cast so that this doesn’t become Venom and his Amazing Friends.
We see that it’s up to Flash and Ant-Man to save the world from the Abyss. The symbiote (and the dampening serum that keeps it sedated) protects Flash from the Abyss’s influence. Ant-Man, on the other hand, theorizes that his helmet’s frequency saved him. Flash doesn’t suspect this flimsy excuse because he’s concerned about Valkyrie. I enjoyed the whole interaction that followed, as the two begin to show a certain respect for each other. This camaraderie is further cemented as the two stop the jets from taking off. When you remember that Eric is a double-agent, it’s made even more dramatic.
Black Widow, believing herself the only one left, takes it upon herself to stop the last jet en route to Cairo. She also gets an inner monologue, basically telling herself that the mission is all that matters. Her fight with Hawkeye is highly reminiscent of their encounter in the Avengers film (particularly because in both instances Clint is possessed). I liked the intensity of it, especially when Clint jumps off the plane and shoots a sticky arrow at Widow’s grenade.
Ant-Man gets some cool moments, as well. He not only destroyed more jets than Flash (thanks to his insect army) but also saved him from certain frying at the hands of Vengeance.
VERDICT: Secret Avengers #31 is a great read, with high quality art. Fans of Venom and Flash will appreciate what Remender is doing with the character. The overall story arc is also shaping along nicely. You definitely can’t go wrong with this one. 4 Symbiotes out of 5.
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~My Two Cents