Friday, 24 February 2017

Secret War Review (Brian Michael Bendis, Gabriele Dell'Otto)

Nick Fury discovers that the Latverian government is secretly bankrolling a bunch of second-rate supervillains to cause terror stateside and decides to take the fight to their doorstep with a little help from his friends. Except the superheroes don’t know how far Fury is willing to go to protect his homeland…

I honestly thought Secret War might be good as it’s from around the time of Brian Michael Bendis’ Daredevil run, which is superb. But nope - Secret War is an utter nightmare of a mess from start to finish!

This might be Bendis’ worst-written book. I couldn’t have told you what the story or the point of anything was until the second half of the final issue - that’s how vague and badly structured it is! Because of that, I didn’t give a fig over anything that was happening up to that point as I was so confused. The explanation we eventually get, while enlightening things slightly, is still lousy.

The time jumps, from a year ago to the present, as well as the overall sequencing, are poorly laid out and don’t help you make sense of the already-shaky story. Characters are in Latveria in one scene and then questioning whether they were there in another, which is just baffling to see. No clue either why Fury picked these specific superheroes for his Secret War. There’s a villain but she only appears briefly towards the end - she’s not anyone recognisable so nothing to get excited about - and there are an overabundance of the usual big dumb fight scenes that eat up the page count and aren’t in the least bit interesting.

Gabriele Dell’Otto’s painted artwork is very pretty though it’s a little too heavy on the blacks, making the pages murky-looking. Daisy Johnson, one of the main characters from the Agents of SHIELD TV show, is introduced in this book and she’s weirdly drawn exactly like Angelina Jolie in Hackers - why?! It’s so bizarre!

Though it’s only five issues long, the book is heavily padded out with a ton of dreary “secret files of Nick Fury” crap which consist of character profiles, transcripts from interviews - nothing worth reading basically.

Secret War is a sloppily executed story and a horribly boring read. I just don’t get the point of this one - was it some kind of criticism of Bush’s War on Terror? If so, I don’t know what we were meant to take away from it. It’s… bad? Was it to make Nick Fury look like a crazy, bloodthirsty lunatic - why? Just awful, awful stuff – Secret War is the comics equivalent of a Hack Snyder movie!

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