Secret Avengers #29
Secret Avengers #29
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Rick Remender
Penciller: Matteo Scalera

Perhaps this is unfair conjecture, but I get the distinct impression that Rick Remender's run on Secret Avengers will be abbreviated due to the Marvel NOW! initiative set to launch in the fall. This is partially due to advance knowledge of Marvel's plans thanks to the wonders of the internet and advance solicitations, however it appears that Remender is hitting the gas petal on his various plot threads. And while accelerating the story isn't necessarily a bad thing, it is noticeable, almost to the point of distraction.

The issue opens with the return of John Steele on the run from the new Masters of Evil first glimpsed in Remender's .1 issue of the title. The ranks of the Masters of Evil have far expanded since the last time Hawkeye and Captain America tangled with them in the Red Light nation of Bagalia. The idea of a country for super villains run by super villains with some spots that only the worst of the worst super villains dare to go is so interesting that it could easily sustain an entire issue devoid of the titular stars, just to have the space to fully flesh out the concept. As it stands, Remender does a fine job of establishing the setting on the fly, and fully sells the danger that the Secret Avengers face, especially having entered with only half the team's roster.

Matteo Scalera fills in for regular series artist Gabriel Hardman. And while both share a sketchy, gritty quality in their line work, Scalera's figure work and proportions are more comically exaggerated than Hardman's and his layouts are less elegant. Several of the action scenes also suffer a lack of clarity, and a second or third study of the panels is required to suss out what is occurring on page.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this review, I get the distinct impression that Remender is not long for this title, Secret Avengers may not be long for the Marvel catalogue given the number of shake ups that are sure to occur when Marvel NOW! begins. However it seems like Remender has a solid plan for bringing his two biggest running plots on this title to a head sooner rather than later, in a big explosive fashion.

Grade: B

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