Secret Warriors #5
Writer: Matthew Rosenberg
Artist: Javier Garrón
Color Artist: Israel Silva
The team was captured by Mr Hyde and the evil Avengers. They managed to escape, but not without some heavy losses, namely Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Oh, and we finally met the elusive Leer.
We pick up at the wreckage of the helicarrier, where the team is getting their bearings. Quake demands they scram asap before more trouble arrives, but kamala stands firm that they aren’t leaving without recovering Lunella’s body. Quake coldly states that Lunella was a soldier, and in war, soldiers die. Ms. Marvel is, yet again, disgusted by Daisy’s cynicism.
They soon find Devil Dinosaur, relatively unharmed thanks to his vibranium cage. From his behavior, Kamala quickly deduces that he and Lunella have switched minds (for those unfamiliar, it’s something they can do. Just run with it). Lunella-as-DD mimes that she is being held prisoner at New Attilan, which is currently overrun by Hydra.
The team makes their way to New Attilan, storming the holding cells and finding a safe and sound (though imprisoned) Lunella, along with her… friend? Leer. Quake immediately identifies him as a potential threat and moves in to shake him down literally, before Lunella stops her. To reiterate from my last review, Leer is at most a 12 year old boy, who Quake has no qualms about killing. Ice. Cold.
After Lunella explains that Dark Beast’s experimentation has unlocked Leer’s capacity to supercharge other Inhumans’ powers, Ms. Marvel and Quake butt heads AGAIN, with Kamala wanting to free New Attilan and Daisy demanding they stick to the plan of going after Captain America.
This argument is stopped short when Karnak steps into the scene. Not sure where he was before- taking out guards off panel? Unimportant. What IS important is the bombshell he casually drops- Leer is his kid. Did not see that coming.
Once the team picks their jaws up off the floor, they outvote Quake and decide to re-take New Atilan. Karnak, the closest thing to Inhuman royalty present, commands the respect of the freed prisoners and encourages them to join them in battle. He also (finally) gives the team a name- The Warriors.
Things go from 0-10 pretty quickly, as the Leer-boosted team goes on the attack. Despite their heightened power levels, however, they start to get overwhelmed by sheer Hydra numbers. That is, until a contingent of Avengers enter the fray!
As the tides turn, Daisy spies Hyde and takes off on her own to stop him. Unfortunately, she drops from exhaustion (or general clumsiness, it’s unclear), allowing Hyde to escape with her as his prisoner. While aboard his plane, Hyde tries to convince her to join his side to take down Cap and start their own new world order. He also throws in the revelation that Coulson was murdered, and pledges to help her find the killer, banking on Daisy’s love of vendettas to sway her.
Before they can continue that conversation, however, the Warriors show up to save Daisy (despite Kamala’s reservations to go after Daisy instead of continuing to help at New Attilan). Hyde tries to reason with the team, explaining that he and Daisy are now working together. But she shoots him down with a quake, revealing she was just buying time. This sends Hyde into a blind rage, attacking Quake, but he is swiftly taken down by Karnak. In a flurry of well placed blows, Karnak leaves Hyde paralyzed (it should wear off in about a week, Karnak nonchalantly assures him).
Even incapacitated, Hyde still manages to do some final damage, revealing that Karnak himself sold Leer into Dark Beast’s care, in order to unlock his Inhuman potential. Even Daisy is horrified by this, and Kamala quits on the spot. Who knows what this means for the team’s future.
On the final page, we get a short flashback (especially compared to previous issues) with Karnak outside his tower, explaining to Leer that his help is required for something bad in the future. What that is we don’t know, because they are interrupted by the person Karnak is selling Leer to- Nathaniel Essex, aka MISTER SINISTER.
The Good, the Bad, and the Meh:
Without consciously realizing it, this book has turned into one of my favorite series. From the beginning, characterization has been on point, and there is no shying away from displaying the flaws of these heroes. It also explores the tough decisions made in wartime, and forces me to think about what I would do. Kamala and Daisy are the best example of this. I don’t think there’s any way to maintain the naïve optimism Ms. Marvel wants to hold on to, but is the alternative to watch your humanity (or Inhumanity, as the case may be) slip away, like it has with Quake? Karnak’s choices are also thought-provoking- normally, selling your child to some nefarious genetic scientists would be reprehensible, but considering the Inhuman culture and the lack of Terrigen, isn’ that the best way to allow his son to realize his birthright?
I’m also fascinated by the dynamic between Hyde and Daisy. Despite being on opposite sides (and him being, you know, evil), that familial bond continues to draw them to one another. Hyde seems genuinely pleased and relieved to discover Quake survived the helicarrier crash. But he also won’t hesitate to kill her if she gets in his way. And who can say if Daisy really was just toying with him, or if she was actually considering his offer to team up before the team arrived? She’s certainly an “ends justify the means” type of girl.
Rosenberg is improving on pacing, as well. The plot certainly moved forward this issue, and the stage has been set for a future storyline with Sinister. Oh, by the way, I am a HUGE Mr. Sinister fan and he is always welcome, in my opinion (his mullet, however, is less warmly received). The fight scenes were given adequate screen time, finally, as opposed to last issue.
Art-wise, he’ll never be my favorite, but I am starting to appreciate Garròn’s ability to convey facial expressions. The team’s slack-jawed response to Leer being Karnak’s son made me chortle.
I started this series with low expectations and mild curiosity, but it’s turned into one of my most anticipated books each month. If you aren’t reading, you should be.