Secret Avengers has been shaping up to be some of the best mainstream superhero writing Warren Ellis has done in a while. With the book’s focus more on behind-the-scenes missions than the flashier, more traditional superhero tones of the other Avengers books, Ellis’s style and sensibilities make him a good fit to take over as writer. Ellis continues to show how adept he is with writing espionage in Secret Avengers #17.
The plot focuses on the Secret Avengers as they try to hunt down a truck that they believe to be taking the people out of supposed “abandoned” villages in the former Yugoslavian region. They’ve come across footage, taken by a British MI-13 agent, showing people being taken via “electromagnetic levitation fields.” The team travels to Europe to try to track down and stop whoever is doing this, with the belief that it hasn’t been dealt with before because of the risk of international incident. Once there, however, the Secret Avengers find more than they expected, both in the enemy itself and in who’s pulling the strings.
Secret Avengers #17 is a good look at what a darker story can be in a superhero comic without it feeling like it’s trying too hard to prove that it’s “gritty.” Its perfect blend of action and Ellis’s own brand of dark humor add an extra layer to the comic that makes it an enjoyable read, even with its heavier subject matter. The ending is a definite downer, but Ellis succeeds in making a point with the powerful final page.
If you haven’t been reading Secret Avengers this is a perfect comic to start. Ellis’s run is still new enough for a new reader to easily jump in and enjoy a great read.
Sara McDonald started reading comics in the third grade, and now puts her English degree to good use talking about them on the Internet. She currently resides in Western Massachusetts with a roommate, three cats, and an action figure collection and spends the time she isn’t reading comics working for a non-profit. You can visit her blog at Ms. Snarky’s Awesometastic Comics Blog.