Secret Warriors #20

B+

After twenty mostly solid issues Jonathon Hickman is bringing us into the endgame for Nick Fury and his Secret Warriors. I believe the series is set to wrap up with issue #27, and here we see Fury and his band of caterpillars bring the fight to longtime antagonists H.Y.D.R.A. This has been a fairly solid series since its inception, and Hickman certainly hasn’t shied away from adding layer upon layer of intrigue to his story of superhero espionage. Hickman’s last storyline on this series was interesting enough, but I felt it went on longer than it should have, especially since it didn’t feature the main Secret Warriors roster of heroes at all. Perhaps we would’ve been better served with an extra-sized single issue?Anywho, with issue #20 the action is back on our team and big revelations from the past play a major part as we reach this issue’s cliffhanger.

Regular artist Stefano Caselli is again absent for issue—I assume he’ll back back for the final run of issues—as this month we get Mirko Clark filling in. This is my first exposure to his artwork—indeed, the first time I’ve even heard of him—but he does an admirable job. His backgrounds and cityscapes are especially stunning, helped out greatly by the color work of Imaginary Friends Studio, using a very muted palate I was in some spots reminded of the watercolor work featured in The Dark Knight Returns. If there is any fault to find with Clark’s pencils it is that some of his facial renderings are uneven and vary in quality from panel to panel.

Honestly, I’d like to talk more about the plot, but would need to throw up some major Spoiler Warnings to do so. That’s not really my style, so let me just say that Hickman drops a major bomb in this issue. And while it seems to be a fairly straightforward plot device I don’t want to be the one to underestimate Nick Fury’s skills in espionage and planning for the worst. Things may look to be pretty grim for our heroes as this issue ends but that doesn’t mean I’m going to make any assumptions on what will jump off the page at me in issue #21.

All in all, a very solid issue from Hickman as he gets the train back on the rails. A very well-rounded story too as we get backstory, intrigue and action… lots and lots of action. I’ll be looking forward to seeing more of clark’s work in the future, especially after pouring over his opening depiction of Seattle and what he does to that city!

tags: jonathon hickman, nick fury, secret warriors

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