Have I mentioned how much I love this series? Ales Kot has been doing a great job with the concept of a secret group of Avengers working closely with S.H.I.E.L.D. This issue marks the beginning of a new story arc but we're still seeing threads going back to the first issue and even to the previous volume. It all started with M.O.D.O.K. defecting to S.H.I.E.L.D. and designing things for them. There's been several mysteries going on including whether or not M.O.D.O.K. could be trusted, the fate of Nick Fury Jr., as well as Black Widow's fate after she and Lady Bullseye got sucked into a minature black hole on a train. There so much craziness going on.
Along with the mysteries and action, Kot also pays close attention to who the characters are. Phil Coulson's reaction to being part of the superhero world is fantastic. The superheroes often take the dangers their lives bring with a grain of salt. Kot does give us a nice dose of humor but there are also emotions at play. Betrayal and intrigue hides around every corner.
I also love the fact that we've had art by Michael Walsh on every single issue in this series with no delays between issues. I've mentioned before his knack for switching up panels and perspective in the stories which adds more variety to the look. A big part that appeals is his unexaggerated depiction of characters. We may have some spandex wearing heroes but they look kind of realistic. How many times have we seen Spider-Woman overly sexualized or Hawkeye with a ton of muscle definition over his torso? And remember that scene in the rain with Hawkeye and Coulson last issue? Well, it's still raining! Matthew Wilson's colors are pretty explosive as well.
The only downfall of the issue I can think of is this is a "part one of five" but it's not completely new reader friendly. Hopefully those wanting to come on board will know and be able to track down the other issues or first trade.
It's a complicated world for the Secret Avengers and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents working together. Ales Kot's story involving M.O.D.O.K. leaves you guessing. With a nice mix of humor, action, suspense, and character development, this book continues to be one of my favorite titles month after month. I wasn't a fan of all the characters in the beginning but Kot is making me love them all. Michael Walsh's art and Matthew Wilson's colors are fantastic. The consistency in this title fills me with joy. I completely appreciate how this book continues to carve out its own little corner in the Avengers and Marvel universe. It's not often these days we can truly read and enjoy a book that is completely self-contained.