By Brian Michael Bendis (writer), Alex Maleev (art), Matt Hollingsworth (colors)

Waiting for Secret Invasion #2 has been an exercise in patience. Thankfully, we’ve had many titles interwoven into continuity to keep us busy. And once again, Mighty Avengers delves into the world of Nick Fury as he attempts to get to the bottom of the Skrull conspiracy. Most of this issue is a series of introductions. It’s an origin issue and it’s the same story we’ve seen time and again from team books: One person travels from location to location, recruiting members for a team.

There has got to be a better way of telling a story like this, but in the world of superheroes it almost seems impossible. With what we’re given, the story is competent and straight forward. The nods to Secret War are given again, and it’s finally outright explained why Fury engaged in the war in the first place. But the rest of the issue barely touches on the Skrull menace. We’re just taken from place to place, meeting the members of what will become Nick Fury’s new team of Howling Commandos. Fury’s instincts and justifications serve him well, and it’s excellent to see the long awaited return of Daisy Johnson (the girl who made Wolverine’s heart explode in Secret War).

Alex Maleev takes this very domestic story and brings it to life with his visuals. Granted most of his backgrounds are manipulated photographs, you just can’t help but notice how alive New York feels. Credit goes to Matt Hollingsworth for contributing some very good coloring work. My only complaint is how Maleev handles Daisy. Maybe it’s the glasses, but she looks way too similar to Matt Murdock’s wife, Milla (who Maleev co-created).

There’s potential in this team, but we honestly don’t get enough time with each of them to see their quirks or personalities. It’ll be interesting to see where Fury and his team go from here. I foresee a new team book from Marvel soon. (Grade: C+)

– J. Montes

A Second Opinion

There really isn’t much I can add to what Jason has already said about Mighty Avengers #13. Stories like this are difficult to review because they are really a necessary evil. As a stand alone comic, I would use words like “generic” or “boring,” but within the context of the Secret Invasion storyline and the numerous possibilities that can come with a new team lead by Nick Fury, I have to instead look beyond the confines of this single issue.

Outside of Fury and Daisy Johnson, this team is filled with a bunch of unknowns – but I like what I see so far. It was weird seeing Layla Miller show up, especially because last I checked she was stuck in Bishop’s future (because of the time travel that took place during the Messiah Complex). I realize this story takes place before Messiah Complex, but it was still a bit odd. I wish she was on the team to be honest, as I found her quirky personality pretty interesting and she would have played off the team in a very entertaining manner. But we all know that won’t be happening.

The art in this issue is excellent and elevates a rather generic story into something more. Alex Maleev’s gritty style fits the tale well and seems perfect for a Nick Fury story.

Brian Bendis is an author that I feel is sort of hit or miss. I find his witty, pop culture, heavy banter to be a bit much sometimes and his penchant for thought bubbles is mostly irritating. However, Bendis has really shined since the true launch of the Secret Invasion arc. This issue features some solid dialogue, especially with Daisy being a great storytelling vehicle. Her conversations with Fury and the potential recruits fill in enough backstory without coming across as dry or extra talky. A great showing here all around.

Overall, I can’t help but feel a bit disappointed with this latest issue because of the baggage that it carries. The Nick Fury storyline kicked off on a really high level last issue and it was disappointing to see this story do little more than assemble a new team in a pretty generic fashion. I understand the story had to be told, however, and the excellent art and dialogue kept things rolling smoothly throughout. Know what you are getting into with this issue and I think you will find it satisfying. (Grade: B-)

-Kyle Posluszny