Review: Secret Avengers, Vol. 3: God Level

Secret Avengers, Vol. 3: God LevelSecret Avengers, Vol. 3: God Level by Ales Kot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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God Level is where Kot wraps up his 3 volume run on Secret Avengers and really starts to get his weird-on. Usually that’s where I get off Ales’ crazy train. But not this time folks. Enjoyed the shit outta this title right up to the end.

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Funny that MODOK, a character I previously thought was oh-so-lame, ended up being one of the best parts of this book. Bunch of great moments including him drunk texting Deadpool, gettin’ all Rambo, and rockin’ out in an apron. Liking Snapper (heh) as well. Go figure. Who would’ve guessed a guy like me would end up diggin’ a dude named after a woman’s hoo-hoo? I would’ve appreciated a bit more Wade Wilson, but only because I think Ales really nails him.

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Some other highlights of volume 3 included Black Widow and Lady Bullseye on the run, Hawkeye taking out 17 hired guns all by his lonesome, Deadpool’s cameo, and the debriefing interviews at the end of the book.

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Much respect for Michael Walsh. The guy owned this series and deserves as much credit as Ales for gettin’ me hooked. He crushed whatever it was that Kot’s crazy-ass script called for. I’m guessing that he’s also personally responsible for some of the awesome “little” moments that made this book so damn good. Tradd Moore’s covers were pretty bangin’ too.

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This type of Avengers story might not be for everybody, but boy did it kill for me. Plenty of action with just enough kookiness and unconventional story-telling to make it fresh. Kot jumps around a bit while getting to where he’s going (linear just ain’t his thing) and it really worked here. Pair him up with a talented guy like Walsh and Marvel created a run that’s among the best that any Avengers title has seen in a while. Bravo boys, hate to see this joy-ride come to an end. Anybody that’s enjoying Fraction’s Hawkeye, Soule’s She-hulk, or Waid’s Daredevil should probably give this title a shot.

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Review: Secret Avengers Vol. 1: Let’s Have a Problem

Secret Avengers, Vol. 1: Let's Have a ProblemSecret Avengers, Vol. 1: Let’s Have a Problem by Ales Kot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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Yep, this is it. My favorite Avengers title in years and probably the BEST Secret Avengers stuff ever. Kot has that “Matt Fraction” thing down. Great action with just enough silly. This book starts off right after Nick Spenser’s run on Secret Avengers, but I don’t think you really need to read that run to enjoy this. Maybe just the 3rd volume (cuz it’s good).

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Ales’ team consists of Nick Fury, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, Phil Coulson, and a tag-a-long by the name of Clint Barton. Oh, yeah and the Mental/Mobil/Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing. He’s great and also a professional egoist. After this series I’m buying a M.O.D.O.K. t-shirt. He is awesome in this book. Maria Hill sparkles too and she really has her hands full with this crowd. That, and she gets hands on. Dig her.

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A.I.M. continues to make itself an annoyance to the gang in this collection, but there’s also a couple of new villains that show up to shit in our heroes cereal. A crazed poet and arms dealer named Artaud, a killing machine called “The Fury”, Lady Bullseye, and an artificially intelligent bomb by the name of Vladimir just to name a few. The quirkiness of this title is just so fun.

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Michael Walsh is the perfect illustrator for this one too. He’s got a “Matt Wagner” vibe that I love. Wonderfully drawn simple, but distinctive characters and backgrounds that nail it. Mike’s got a new fan in this guy. I’ll be hittin’ his shit up again down the road. Travis Moore, of “Luther Strode” fame, provides some sweet cover art as well. Money.

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Could’ve done without the Original Sin tie-in included at the end of the book. I get that it was collected since Ales wrote it and it wasn’t bad, just didn’t flow or really have anything to do with the rest of the story. And the art was meh.

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This kinda weirdness is usually not my thing, but Ales is able to sell me on it for some reason. I would imagine it’s sorta like folks that appreciate Grant Morrison’s uniqueness. I don’t, but I think Ales’ odd style is a bit more digestible to the blue collar comic fan than Grant’s. Odd without the obscure references and mind-boggling plot lines that Morrison typically baffles me with. A recommend to anyone that’s enjoying Fraction’s Hawkeye or is a fan of any of the characters. Kot and Walsh killed it.

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Review: Secret Avengers Vol. 3: How to MA.I.M. a Mockingbird

Secret Avengers Vol. 3: How To Maim A MockingbirdSecret Avengers Vol. 3: How To Maim A Mockingbird by Nick Spencer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

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In preparation for Ales Kot’s run on Secret Avengers, I thought I should pick up the last volume of Nick Spenser’s run since Ales co-wrote the issues collected. It shows. Kot’s quirky fingerprints are all over this bitch.

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This volume seems like something of a lead in for Ales’ 3 volume stint on the team. It puts most of the pieces in place so he can hit the ground running with Secret Avengers Vol 1: Let’s Have a Problem. Really loved MODOK’s introduction in this one. The back and forth between him and Maria Hill was ridiculous throughout. I think Ales does a really good job of riding the line between cornball and serious with this book. That’s tough to pull off for anyone in my opinion. Taskmaster’s also good for a few laughs. Hawkeye, Nick Fury (“Sam Jackson” Fury that is), and Black Widow are all pretty much by the numbers. I think I prefer Nick as an agent as opposed to the SHIELD director. Hawkeye’s true to form and appears to be taken right from his own current, super-popular solo title. Most of the book, as the title implies, focuses on Mockingbird. Not a fan of hers, but the rest of the ensemble cast gets enough face-time while taking on A.I.M. to make up for it.

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The art was decent. Never a fan of Butch Guice or Luke Ross. Not my brand. But whatever, it certainly didn’t suck.

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This collection (along with Anne and Chris’ reviews of the first book) is pretty much a guarantee that Ales’ 3 volume run on the Secret Avengers that follows this is gonna kick some ass. I’d say pick up this book if you’re plannin’ on reading those collections. It doesn’t seem like you need to read Spenser’s 2 previous volumes to get the idea as to what’s going on here (I didn’t) and it’s a good preface to Kot’s take on the team. Now I’m even more fuckin’ stoked to keep on with this title. Bring it.

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Review: Secret Avengers, Vol. 2: The Labyrinth by Ales Kot

Secret Avengers, Vol. 2: The LabyrinthSecret Avengers, Vol. 2: The Labyrinth by Ales Kot
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

 

 

This is such a fantastic comic, and I give all the credit to Ales Kot. I haven’t read a ton of stuff by him, but everything I have read, I’ve loved.
He even managed to make a volume of Suicide Squad not suck. So, it goes to figure that if you hand him an actual cool team, he could make it rock. And he does.
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And Michael Walsh’s art is just the perfect compliment to this story. It’s that kind of trippy, blurry, scratchy stuff that I didn’t always enjoy, but it’s really grown on me over the past few years.

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The highlight for me was the stuff with Deadpool and Hawkeye. Deadpool’s self-aware banter breaks the 4th wall constantly during this one. He has some of the hands-down best lines in this thing!

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So this time around the Secret Avengers are all scattered across the globe. Coulson (maybe) has PTSD and has wandered off, Hawkeye is tracking Coulson, Jessica is being introduced to some of Maria’s secrets, Fury is in a coma, and Black Widow is…in another dimension? And how does Deapool fit into all of this? Well, you’d have to ask M.O.D.O.K..

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Ok, the plot is just…wacky. There’s no need for me to go into any details, because it won’t make a bit of difference. The real fun is in the way Kot writes the dialogue between characters.
Now, I will say the the last couple of issues seemed to run off the rails a tad, and the (already) nutty storyline got a bit too screwy for my taste. It’s the only reason this didn’t make it into 5 star territory for me. Even so, I’d recommend this title to friends in a heartbeat.
Especially if they were looking for something a little different.

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Review: Secret Avengers, Vol. 1: Let’s Have a Problem by Ales Kot

Secret Avengers, Vol. 1: Let's Have a Problem (Secret Avengers #1)Secret Avengers, Vol. 1: Let’s Have a Problem by Ales Kot

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5 stars

Yep, yep, yep! This was very cool!
Not sure why I haven’t heard much about this one, but it’s really good. It’s got the same vibe as Hawkeye, but the premise is like a toned down version of the X-force for Avengers…if that even makes sense.

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Maria Hill has decided to put together a Top Secret group of heroes to take on Top Secret threats. Nick Fury, Phil Coulson, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, and (unbeknownst to everyone on the team) M.O.D.O.K. make up the team.

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Oh, and Hawkeye ends up accidentally making the roster.
He’s the Problem that the title refers to.

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Let’s Have a Problem was just fun to read.
There’s a rampaging Death-machine (ironically called Fury), satellites falling from the sky (???), a self-aware an bomb (who wants to try gelato), an assassination attempt on Hill (she probably deserved it), and a murder in M.O.D.O.K.’s mad science lab (because…shit happens).

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I didn’t realize it until I decided to look this guy up, but Ales Kot was the guy who wrote the only volume of Suicide Squad that I thought was worth a shit. And after reading this, I can say without a doubt I’ll be stalking whatever he decides to do next.
Highly Recommended!

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