By: Rick Remender (writer), Renato Guedes (artist), Matthew Wilson & Jeremy Mohler (colorists), and Chris Eliopoulos (letterer)

The Story: The Avengers away team confronts Hala’s ruler, Minister Marvel, to break Hala free from its Phoenix worshipping mind-control.

The Review: This issue of Secret Avengers goes a long way to showing how valuable a good colorist is.  I’ve been raving about Guedes’ art for this arc and in this issue, it’s just as hyper-detailed and imaginative.  However, something is definitely lost with Bettie Breitweiser off the title.  Wilson and Mohler’s work is just fine and the art is still solid, but it’s lost that really eye-popping, European sci-fi vibe that has made this book so impressive of late.  We’ve gone from a book that had some of the best art coming out of Marvel at the moment to artwork that is merely solid, all due to the loss of a colorist.

Unfortunately, Remender’s conclusion of this arc is also fairly underwhelming, mostly because 3 issues just wasn’t enough for this story to really come together.

For instance, there’s a big showdown with the big villain behind all the mind control: Minister Marvel.  The problem is that Remender really hasn’t spent enough time to get us invested in this villain, to really care about him, or to actually find him threatening and, as a new character, there’s no past history or reputation of the character for Remender to fall back on.  There’s a dramatic scene between Minister Marvel and his son, but without ever having gotten to know these characters, it’s hard to really care.

Sadly, the same can be said about the role Captain Marvel plays this month.  Remender writes the scene very well, very evocatively, and very elegantly, but in such a short arc, unless you’re well-acquainted and invested in Captain Marvel as a character due to his history and previous comics, Captain Marvel’s sacrifice just doesn’t have the impact that Remender thinks it does.  Remender writes Captain Marvel’s sacrifice in a high style, almost as though he were writing the death of Barry Allen.  The problem is that with Captain Marvel only being present for three issues, he’s trying to get dividends from an investment he hasn’t made and, unless they’ve a firm attachment to older comics, one that his readers won’t have either.  Worse still, it all ends in a way that sounds like little more than a shill for the upcoming Captain Marvel ongoing series.

It’s not all bad though: there’s some really great character work done with Captain Britain and a bit of a redemption for the character in this series, which gives a nice pay-off to his abrasive relationship with Beast.  It’s definitely a very cool, very exciting moment for the character and fans of him.  I certainly enjoyed it quite a bit, as Captain Britain gives us some grade A superheroics.

Conclusion: It’s not a bad issue, but it’s a disappointment.  As a conclusion, Remender acts as though this was a much longer, better established arc than it is, while the loss of Breitweiser’s colours is a letdown.

Grade: C+

– Alex Evans