New Avengers vol. 3: Secrets & Lies

New Avengers vol. 3: Secrets & Lies TPB Review

2006, Marvel
Brian Michael Bendis
David Finch, Rick Mays, Frank Cho
Danny Miki, Jason Martin
Frank D’Armata, Rob Schwager, Jason Keith

The New Avengers continues its rather slow set up; 17 issues later we have the official roster being publicly announced. Whereas volume two dealt with the Sentry’s inclusion into the team, Secrets & Lies focuses on Spider-Woman, returning to a scintillating plot begun in the series’ first issues; the HYDRA spy in our team’s midst. Refreshingly, Jessica Drew’s back-story is an elaborate one, and one that has not been retold a thousand times over.

New Avengers vol. 3: Secrets & Lies

New Avengers vol. 3: Secrets & Lies

Still the title suffers from small-time antagonists – regardless of the recent supervillian outbreak responsible for the team’s reassembly – in this case Silver Samurai and a crew of Electra’s Hand ninjas. That our New Avengers can wisecrack as they slap their way through Japan’s elite assassins really empathises the omission of a greater threat that the series is suffering from. The presence of HYDRA, a menace long-defanged, is far too ominous for its own good; it’s hard to be exited when we know so little of their plans. “Up to no good” is not a sufficient hook.

New character Ronin finally makes his/her appearance, only to disappear soon after and be absent during the team’s announcement. His/her identity is one that will please fans of Bendis’s Daredevil run, but I can’t help but feel that ninjitsu skills and a pair of nunchuks pale in comparison to the Sentry’s truly superhuman abilities.

David Finch and Frank Cho take over from Steve McNiven’s superior art, though both do a good job. An eight page section from Giant-Size Spider-Woman #1 is a pointless inclusion, considering that the same events are recounted a few pages on, and Mays’ pencils are frankly horrible.

New Avengers started with a bang – technically, it was an electrical surge – but doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Bendis’s direction keeps it entertaining, but already the team needs to be shaken up a little. By some kind of Civil War, one with devastating consequences for the entire Marvel universe, perhaps…


Carl Doherty has written about movies, video games, comic books and literature for almost a decade, forging ill-informed critiques for numerous websites, blogs and publications that no one has ever heard of. His debut novel, the epic fantasy comedy Welcome to The Fold, is available now on Kindle here (UK) and here (US).

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