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Rather than interrupting the story-lines of their ongoing titles, Marvel has chosen to release one shot stories that tie into Siege. If you’re not reading Siege, Marvel’s wrap up to Dark Reign, then you may find this story leaving you with more questions than answers. On the other hand if you are following Siege and Secret Warriors, then this issue is rich with reward and payoff.
The story begins with Phobos aka Alexander learning of his father Ares’ death. The rest of the Secret Warriors have already taken off towards the battle for Asgard leaving Phobos alone to deal with the news. Phobos flashes back to a conversation he had with his father, in which Ares explains that they will both die and be separated. Ares asks his son to honor him and question his death.
The story splits away and shows Nick Fury hacking into Osborn’s armor to send him a personal message. He informs him that Asgard is, “The last stop on the crazy train” and that he’s coming to stop him. Fury and the rest of the heroes gather to join the fight. Fury is Fury, there’s no other way to describe him. During the battle he takes a break to nip from his flask and invite Captain America to a get together of WWII veterans. Meanwhile, Phobos storms the White House. In a twisted sense of logic he blames the President for putting Osborn in control, which eventually leads to his Father’s death.
Leave it to Jonathon Hickman (Transhuman, Shield) to write a politically charged book in the middle of a big event. If you were following Secret Warriors the book already eluded to the death of Ares. The real question set forth is how Alexander would deal with it. Storming the White House didn’t seem high on those options, but it works really well. Hickman continues to make Nick Fury one of the coolest characters in the Marvel Universe by using him sparingly. Before Fury left Shield he was in several books each month. This is a problem that carried over to Maria Hill, then to Iron Man and finally worked with Norman Osborn. With Fury’s new moniker of “Agent of Nothing” he can be a true character rather than a story piece for other writers.
Alessandro Vitti (Brother Voodoo, Broken Trinity) is a great addition to the book and practically picks up where he left off on the “God of Fear, God of War” storyline. The issue is very action heavy and Vitti draws interesting panels to keep the reader’s attention. The action really shines with Phobos in the White House. Watching this teenage boy with nothing more than a sword beat the crap out of the Secret Service is just entertaining.
As far as one shots go, this book does a great job of telling a meaningful story that fans of both series can enjoy. It avoids the usual pitfalls of big event tie-ins and actually has merit and consequences that will reflect in both books. The story may answer the question of what Alexander would do after learning of his Father’s death, but the conclusion seems far from over.
Story – 9.7
Art – 8.6
Overall – 9.2