This issue brings us the best Nick Fury story I’ve read in years. Following up on the organization that was trying to thwart these Avengers in the previous arc, Steve Rogers and Nick discuss the history of this other “Nick Fury” who was seen working for them. The art really makes this issue with Michael Lark, David Aja & Stefano Gaudiano knocking it out of the park, adding just the right amount of moodiness to this spy story. Was waffling on keeping up with this, but I’m in for the long haul now.
I started reading Secret Avengers because I liked the concept, I liked (most) of the characters in the book, and I trust Ed Brubaker. Unfortunately, this title hasn’t really wowed me. I was glad that they explained what the hell was up with Nick Fury, as well as setting up what I assume will be the Secret Avengers’ main antagonist—even if it ended up being little more than a Tom Riker. But, at the end of the day, this issue didn’t do much to prevent me from dropping the title.
After an introductory arc that seemed to hit all of Ed Brubaker’s weaknesses — cosmic space plots and attempts at balanced ensembles — the writer has returned to his wheelhouse with issue 5, and the book is better off for it. This issue reveals a skeleton in Nick Fury’s closet and includes all of the espionage genre tropes and single-character exploration that Brubaker has used to such acclaim in Captain America and The Marvels Project (the latter of which is responsible for a surprising character reveal in the final pages). The sketchy, noir-ish art, by some nebulous combination of David Aja, Michael Lark, and Stefano Gaudiano, is also a major improvement over Mike Deodato, Jr.’s photo-referenced, anatomically impossible, teeth-baring figures. I’d been considering dropping this book from my pull list, but after this issue I’m more than willing to give it another chance.