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Review Group: Secret Warriors #25

Written by John Martin on Sunday, March 27 2011 and posted in Reviews

Recap for Review Group Week 264!  Secret Warriors #25 by Jonathan Hickman and Alessandro Vitti as selected by GLX.

The Review Group is a collection of posters who get together and review a new comic each week. Our threads can be found in The Outhouse's News Stand forum and is open for anyone and everyone to participate.

I'm not even going to pretend to know what's up with these reviews because I haven't read any of them.  Jonathan Hickman is awesome, but mid-arc issues of his books don't tend to score well with the Review Group.  Not that picking a mid-arc issue of a series a couple of issues away from completion is a good idea for any comic.  :glares at GLX:

264_secretwarriors25Review by AMS

This book has consistently been one of my favorite books for the last 2 years. It has had so many awesome moments, great characterizations (at least for Nick Fury) and legitimate shocks that I usually cannot wait for it each week. But something happened this week that kind of turned me on this awesome book, at that was the sight of Leonardo DaVinci....

As awesome as Secret Warriors has been, SHIELD has been a convoluted incomprehensible mess that I really hoped would stay lodged in it's own little corner of the universe. Adding this character to the mix totally took the wind out of the sails from last month, and left me scratching my head as to what the heck any of this has to do with that wanna-be philosophical book.

All that said the book was not bad. I am sure they will explain what is going on in the subsequent issues, but this revelation just adds more questions to the book which is supposed to end in a few short months. It also lacks all emotional impact, which the last issue had in spades.

As for the art, not much to say. It looks good and does the job.


Review by GLX


Not really. All that needs to be known is that the world's most dangerous and secretive men have been retrieved by a secret and powerful group.

"I get what I want and you get the world."

For those that have never picked up an issue of Secret Warriors, the events in this issue might not carry as much weight; for those that have been following this comic since issue #1, there is plenty of material to enjoy. Alessandro Vitti and IFS turn in their usual quality of work, which is not a bad thing in the least. Is this the best place to start reading Secret Warriors? Not necessarily, but there are worse points to jump in on a comic.

7.8* out of 10*

Review by Sweet James Jones

I'm expecting this book to catch its fair share of heat in the Review Group for not being very new reader friendly. As someone who has followed both S.H.I.E.L.D. and Secret Warriors however, my opinion of this book couldn't be more different.

This is finally the issue that ties together the back story of the Zodiac group that Fury, Baron Strucker, Scorpio Fury, Dugan and a ton of others were part of. It also explains exactly how it ties into the S.H.I.E.L.D. series which had an immensely different tone and setting than Secret Warriors did.

To be honest though, I didn't really care about this that much. Hickman had established such a complex mythology, character range and setting that I never really thought much about it other than "It's S.H.I.E.L.D. vs Hydra vs the resurfaced Russian spy network known as Leviathan". The way everything flowed together in a crazy ride made me totally forget about the past that was being constantly hinted.

And at issue 25, just a few issues short of the series conclusion we get this: an issue that not only addressed the Zodiac wheel, but starts hinting at the ties between both these Hickman titles. Watching everything be explained on how it had fallen into place was satisfying, though at the same time infuriating as even in this oversized issue the pacing was very hurried, highlighting a big concern of mine that Marvel cutting down the planned issues will result in rushed storytelling in order to give an explanation for everything. We got quick scene transitions to never fully appreciate everything that happened. Even if this was broken down into 2-3 issues I think the story would have been a lot more solid.

But overall as a fan of this series and Hickman's big S.H.I.E.L.D. plan, I still liked it despite that flaw. We see everyone that was named in the Zodiac when in The List: Secret Warriors along with what their role was in this, we see the rise of Hydra and Leviathan as spy networks and what motivated Nick Fury deciding to clean this mess up. All in one issue.

But like I said, that's this books biggest problem, trying to cram so much stuff in so little room. It's a welcome change in the era where decompression of comics reigns supreme, but now that we're getting everything in one hotshot every issue with no time for anything to settle down so we can savor some moments it just feels flat at times. This was a big issue with the last issue that introduced Mikel Fury's team only to kill them all off in one issue...that could have been one entire story arc.

Everything is just been crammed into the deadline this series has which is honestly a shame in my eyes. Totally disappointing, but I can hardly fault Hickman for wanting to tell his complete story. The blame on this goes solely to the editors that cut down this series from its initial vision.

On the art front,I miss Stafano Caselli on this book. But Allessandro Vitti makes for an adequate replacement. But good lord, some of the faces of the characters totally confuse me at times...particularly with the Kraken and Jake Fury who had similar features.

Bottom line, the issue was a very mixed bag with some average, good and great moments. Can't say anything was terrible in the book...but I can understand if someone who isn't clued in to the back story might be lost or confused and be frustrated with this book enough to knock it.

Story: 7
Art: 7
Overall: 7

Review by Starlord

I'm not sure how to grade this or rate this or even if I should like or hate this. It's a bit dense in story for the casual reader; be it a gay man or one of those breeders. Still it didn't really matter by the end, it didn't seem to interest me and I wouldn't recommend it to a friend. I did, however, really like the art, but it still wouldn't make me start.

Story: 5
Art: 8
My Score: 6.75

Review by Punchy

Story - Everybody knows about the Hicklash that is sweeping the comics community, the sudden realisation that "Indie Sensation" Jonathan Hickman isn't actually the greatest comic book mind since Alan Moore, and that SHIELD is a confusing mess and that his Fantastic Four hasn't even been about the actual Fantastic Four. It's sweeping the nation. The Hicklash. HICKLASH! TALK ABOUT IT!

But strangely, Secret Warriors has largely escaped the Hicklash, mainly because it's really good, but also because it hasn't fallen into the holes of Hickman's other work. Until now. In this 25th issue of Secret Warriors, Hickman makes the odd decision to step away from his main story, which is rapidly ramping up towards an epic conclusion. Most of the Secret Warriors are dead, Nick Fury's son is dead, and Nick himself has given himself up to Hydra. Do we get more of that in this issue? Nope, we jump back into the 1950s for an issue of back-story that whilst attempting to answer questions, really ends up posing more. It reminds me, if anything of the episode of LOST from the show's last season, "Across The Sea" which went back and gave us the story of Jacob and the Man In Black. Which was fine, except at that point, the tension involved in the ongoing narrative of Jack, Kate, Locke etc was so high that it wasn't what I wanted. Info-dump chapters like that episode and this issue never really work, the revelations in this issue would be best served parcelled out gradually throughout the series' run, rather than all at once. These mega-reveal issues serve only to overwhelm the reader, and rob each individual surprise of their own space in which to be surprising.

But what exactly are the surprises in this issue? In this issue Hickman expands on the shocking revelation way back in issue 1, that SHIELD had been a subsidiary of Hydra all along. This issue ties all that together and more, as Leonardo Da Vinci (yes, Leonardo Da Vinci) calls all the top Spymasters in the world together to further his purpose on 'The Great Wheel', whatever that is. Nick Fury's there, Dum Dum Dugan's there, Baron Von Strucker is there, a bunch of random Russians are there. What follows is some of the usual Hickman speak about 'architecture of human morality' and all that stuff, and then weird scene after weird scene, all in order for The Great Wheel to get some weird tubes, which some how mutate people. The Russians betray everyone else and form Leviathan, and then a Russian Soldier turns into a Gremlin. There's a joke about Kremlins/Gremlins there, go crazy. Oh yeah, and Nick Fury gets shot in the head, but doesn't die, or something. As I said, it's over-whelming. I thought at one point that the identity of Kraken had been revealed, but then I remembered that the original Kraken was dead. So yeah... Hydra, SHIELD and Leviathan all came out of this Great Wheel, and so did ZODIAC. Who knows what that all means, as we've only got about two issues left.

This issue was probably the first chapter of Secret Warriors that didn't satisfy me, the decision to tie the book to SHIELD in this way alienated me, and the way Hickman decided to reveal all his big secrets in one go had little impact. I've often complained that Hickman could write amazing plots but not characters, and he let his plots overwhelm his characters. The exception was Secret Warriors, where Daisy, Alex, JT, Sebastian and especially Nick Fury were all strong characters. But now this issue drops all these characters (except Nick) at a crucial juncture and got too wrapped up in his conspiracy plots. It's disappointing, hopefully when the story jumps back to the present, things will improve, and the ensuing events will be strengthened by the context of this issue, but until then... this issue was a bust.

Art - At least Alessandro Vitti was on his A-game here. I was disappointed when Caselli left this book in order to do Spider-Man, but Vitti has been an able replacement, and does provide the art in this issue a similarity to Dustin Weaver's on SHIELD. It was strange how his Flashback Nick Fury looked older than the present Nick. Maybe that's a clue! This is the problem with Hickman, if there's a mistake, you tend not to notice it and think instead that's a piece of a massive jigsaw, but in all probability it's just an error.

Best Line - 'Some advice: It's time you stopped playin' games. It's over'


Review by Zero

Several comments about pretty good art and a story that stands alone well while folding into the larger mythos Hickman is creating within the Marvel U.


Review by Mammon, Fool Breaker

Simply because im so far behind on reviewing and I really don't like Marvel.

I give this a 5. It was alright. arts pretty good

Review by guitarsmashley

Ok, so that was good but I have no clue what the fuck was going on and who half of the characters were. The art made it easy and extremely difficult to figure out who was who and what side they were I said good but over all very confusing.


Review by Jude Terror


I've read this issue. I've read this entire series. I have no idea what the point of it all is, or what's going on. Here's why:

I don't know who the fuck half the characters are. In this issue. In the whole series. I've read Marvel comics for most of my life. I've read a lot of them. But I have no fucking idea who half of these people are. Why are there like 10 different leaders of Hydra? Who the fuck are all the zodiac people besides Van Strucker, Nick Fury, and Dum Dum Dugan? How many Furies are there? Do they age? DId Nick Fury die in the past in this issue? He got shot in the head right? What was the point of the Arise, Serpentor, Arise style scavenger hunt in this issue? What were all those devices everyone was going after (besides MacGuffin devices)? Why would all of those people work together so easily, because Leonardo DaVinci told them to? None of it really makes sense.

This comic makes me feel stupid, but was somehow an enjoyable read anyway. I feel like this is my first issue of the thing despite reading the entire series and SHIELD.

Score: ????

Review by Kerny

I guess it helps that I have read this series and SHIELD from day one. I thought it was neat to see The Great Wheel revealed and how it all relates to the back up material Hickman added in issue 1. Character moments line up as well. John Garrett said he would put a bullet in the Russian guy's head and he eventually did. The Kraken was taking notes at the wheel, which was menioned by Strucker in a old issue. I did need to look up who some of the people, like the orginial Zodiac dude and Jake Fury, but I find things like that interesting. It's all starting to connect and make sense and I'm enjoying the ride. I would like to get back to some of the original team though, I like those characters.

However, the art could have been better. When the original Kraken dude puts on his helmet to kill some Brood, I had to go back and look at the wheel people again, because the art was not helping at all. Not enough distinct features. So if anything was confusing for me, it was largely because of the art.

Story 8
Art 6
Overall 7

That gives Secret Warriors #25 a group score of 6.56.  I'm sure many insiteful and witty comments were made.  I'll come back and read them for myself in 18 months when this gets released in a trade.  :glares at GLX again:

For what McKegan calls "all the geeky, bitchy arguing about comics you'd expect from a comic message board condensed into absolute awesomeness", check out our Secret Warriors thread and post your own review in The News Stand forum.

Written or Contributed by: John Martin

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