Not a popular concept in the realm of NCAA basketball, at least with college fans who hate seeing their freshmen head off to the world of Big Man Sports after only one sensational year. (Ask any Kentucky fan from last season.)
But as a writing device, the innovation did help Fantastic Four reach new heights and was utilized even when Marvel was stronger continuity-wise than in current days.
One-and-done during a span of six issues is what readers of Secret Avengers will see when fan-favorite writer Warren Ellis (Thunderbolts, Astonishing X-Men) takes the helm of this black ops version of Marvel’s most popular franchise.
The roster of the book, created by Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato, should stay the same, although Ellis will be playing Gardner Fox with his team members.
“The cast changes every issue -- I'm not changing the overall cast, just picking and choosing smaller teams from within that cast for each mission. Matching skillsets to mission targets,” the writer told
“There's really not a lot of room for that sort of thing in self-contained single issues. If they want to be on the team, they take the missions, and each issue is about the mission, not their personal lives. The problem -- the problem the book embraces -- is that these are either not team players, or people very used to working with different teams. They have the skills, but not necessarily the group cohesion. Which makes their jobs more difficult.”
The six individual adventures of Ellis’ Avengers are also remaining secret thus far, although he did tell Newsarama that “… yes, I'm still using the Shadow Council. But it amuses me to fold some old Marvel history in there too. I just hope Ed (Brubaker) doesn't notice. Ed is very powerful. I think that, when he dies some 200 years from now, he will become some kind of destroying angel and Criminal will become the new Bible. I am hiding this warning to the world in this interview in the hope that he does not notice.”
Thus far, the only artist slated on the run is Jamie McKelvie, but others are expected to also contribute.
Secret Avengers started off as one of the most popular of the relaunched Avengers franchise at the beginning of Marvel’s Heroic Age, but quickly hit a downward spiral, especially in the eyes of Marvel Cosmic fans, for its particular treatment of the Nova character. Brubaker’s second arc featuring Shang-chi was not greeted with enthusiasm by some critics and fans, who began considering it another Captain America mag rather than a team book.
Ellis said he may consider staying on after his six-issue one-and-done run depending on the deadline woes of his other projects.
Black ops Avengering and Ellis seem to be a natural mix. Here’s hoping the venerable writer can salvage a great concept that has thus far not been so excellently executed.
Secret Avengers #16 hits stores this July!