Secret Warriors, Vol. 6

Jonathan Hickman

NOTE: This serves as a review of Volumes 1-6 of "Secret Warriors." I am an unabashed Jonathan Hickman fan, I will read anything he does and I have yet to be disappointed by any of his works. They are complex narratives that can seem confusing and nonsensical throughout the reading, but are neatly tied up by the end of the series in a way that makes you go, "Of course, it couldn't have gone any other way." In this regard, "Secret Warriors" is only surpassed by Hickman's sprawling "Avengers" epic (still ongoing) for complex and layered storytelling. The first volume takes a bit of patience to get through in that it is essentially setup of the various spy-agencies, their motivations and goals; however, the subsequent volumes take the general concept and bounce them off each other in unexpected and exciting ways. The characters here, the Caterpillar squads, the spies, soldiers and villains are all multifaceted and have real agency (no pun intended) in the story. Standouts include Daisy Johnson, Phobos, Gorgon and Baron Von Strucker. The star of the show is obviously Nick Fury who delivers some of the most memorable Marvel comics badassery in recent memory. The art is strong throughout all the volumes, with a slight dip in volume 5 due to a fill-in artist who (while not terrible) did not suit the story. Caselli and Vitti are on art duties for the bulk of the run with art that fits the high concept spy-fiction that goes on within the series.
I should also note how much praise this series has heaped on it and how long it took me to finally give it the time of day. "Secret Warriors" is unlike any other Marvel comic I have ever read. It is the story of a grizzled spymaster who finds out he has been played his whole life and is out for revenge against those who wronged him and intend to cause harm to the world. What follows is a story that really needs to be read in quick succession to be kept entirely straight. Characters switch alliances and deals are made in single blink-and-you-miss-it panels. While it may seem the comic is just running on cool concepts and not delivering substance, the final volume shows what many Hickman fans already know: Hickman plays the long game, and he has earned faith in his writing. Highly original, deftly plotted and an absolute blast to read, "Secret Warriors" is just one of those series that kicks a lot of ass and does a mic-drop. Definitely worth the read!

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