With the last chapter in the books, it's finally time to begin taking stock of Hickman's ambitious journey. Does Secret Warriors #28 serve as a satisfying ending to this beloved series. The answer is just a click away.
Credits & Solicit Info:
Writer: Johnathan Hickman
Artist: Alessandro Vitti
Color Artist: IFS
Letterer: Dave Lamphear
Cover Artist: Paul Renaud
Assistant Editor: Rachel Pinhelas
Editor: Lauren Sankovitch
When a story comes to its conclusion, one of the choices a reader has to make is to accept the story as, or lamenting on what the story could've been. What makes "Secret Warriors" unfortunately fall in the latter category? The answers are just below you.
When you take certain things into perspective, two and a half years can seem like an eternity. This notion especially rings home when you take into account how easy it is for someone's work to get forgotten amidst the vast amount of content that gets released on a weekly basis. However, there are comics that are able to make enough of a statement that makes the readers take notice of what's going within those pages, something that is especially impactful when the #1 is attached to said comic. Two and a half years ago a comic that was able to do such a thing was the first issue of "Secret Warriors"
Put simply, Secret Warriors #1 was able to grab me, because of the scenario it presented. Sure, it pulled an "everything you know is wrong" twist that seems like it has become commonplace in comics, but the fact that S.H.I.E.L.D. had been working for Hydra the entire time and everything that came with it was far too appealing for me to resist. With Nick Fury questioning what he means to his life's mission, a dynamic makeshift team of agents he bought together to help him fight the Skrull invasion and a plot that made you question the world at large, "Secret Warriors" had all of the potential in the world to become one of the greatest stories Marvel has told. With the final chapter finally in the hands of the public, did "Secret Warriors" deliver on the promise it showed us 2 and a half years ago? I really wish I could say that it did.
Being the series finale, Secret Warriors #28's primary function is to serve as a closing point for the main storylines that this series featured. With almost all of the heavy lifting done in the previous issues of this story arc, this issue has only has to close out whatever remaining story threads were left in the wake of the chapters that preceded it. The writing and art do what they have to do, as Secret Warriors #28 provides not only an ending, but a foundation for multiple new beginnings for the characters that survived this tale. Being dependent on the previous 27 issues , Secret Warriors #28's true worth isn't going to be answered by the judging the writing and art like this review column usually does, but by answering the question... "Does this comic serve as a satisfying finale to "Secret Warriors"?
From where I sit, Secret Warriors will always be a tale of two series directions. When the series began, the two connecting aspects that drew me in were the fact that Nick Fury had to deal with a world that had changed from right under his nose and the fact that he was seemingly training 6 (eventually 7) Warriors to be the foundation of the next phase of the fight to keep the world safe. As the series went on, it gradually became more and more evident that those 7 Warriors (known as The White Caterpillar team) would not continue to be the focal point of this title, nor would their companions on the Black and Gray Caterpillar teams get any significant spotlight time in their place. Instead, "Secret Warriors" would transition into becoming Nick Fury's fight to balance the scales in the fight to protect the integrity of society at large.
Of course, "Secret Warriors" being mainly about Nick Fury's mission isn't a bad thing in and of itself, especially when you take into consideration the path he's been on since "Secret War." The biggest problems that stem from this all come from how it's all executed. When this story began, one of the biggest things that stood out is that Nick Fury didn't have all the answers. Now, such things have happened in the past, but never has Nick Fury been this far behind his competition when it counted so much. It was quite entertaining to see him having to work this hard for the victories that were accumulated in this story. However, this all changed in Secret Warriors #26 when it was revealed that Nick Fury was able to put the pieces into place to make sure that he was watching Hydra watching S.H.I.E.L.D. While that scene worked excellently as an "Oh S*it" moment, it pretty much killed the story from where I sat, due to the fact that not only did it contradictory to how this story was set up at the beginning, but it undermines the efforts of an indeterminate amount of people who have taken up the causes that Fury has tirelessly crusaded for. Don't get me wrong, I can accept and enjoy the fact that Nick Fury is the baddest Spy on the planet, but it becomes considerably less enjoyable when it hurts the overall story and the characters that were supposed to share top billing with Fury himself.
Speaking of those characters, this issue did give us an epilogue involving the surviving members of the White Caterpillar team where Daisy was officially given the torch that Fury had carried for so long. A moment that I had hoped for when I realized where this story could head. However, this epilogue doesn't pack the punch it should, because these characters were pushed to the side after the initial arc, becoming little more than grunts by the time we follow their final mission in this story. Due to such treatment, moments that should've mattered more over the course of the series mattered quite little because of the fact that these characters were so underdeveloped. Even the fact that Daisy will be in charge of day to day field operations of S.H.I.E.L.D's replacement had less impact than it should, simply due that Nick Fury isn't completely off the board and could someday take his place back as head of World Wide Security. Combining both these events and the fact that the story became what it became, are the two reasons why I felt this ending was so underwhelming
My Final 22 Cents:
When you get right down to it, there are many "outside of story" reasons why I felt the finale of "Secret Warriors" ranging from things like length (the book was supposed to be 60 issues long when it first started) to the fact that Marvel didn't have to gumption to see such a change in the Status Quo through. Whatever this reason is, I really don't see why I should add even more padding to an already lengthy review. Still, with all of the criticisms I've given this issue, "Secret Warriors" was still a series that had engaging plot and told a good story with said plot. It's just that when you think about what could've been from characterization to Status Quo changes, Secret Warriors #28 is quite underwhelming in almost every aspect. Maybe when I revisit this story in a few years, I may feel differently, but right now, the disappointment is simply too great to ignore.
Final Judgment (on the basis of whether this serves as a satisfying ending): **1/4 (Barely Adequate)
Review by: Linwood Earl Knight