Over the past few months I dreaded the day that Secret Warriors would come to an end, as it has proven to be one of the most enjoyable, densely plotted and well thought-out comics that Marvel Comics has put out in quite some time.This series has been a love-letter to Nick Fury, diligently and lovingly assembled by Jonathan Hickman, and although it’s a given we’ll see Nick Fury again, he’ll likely never again be written with this much passion and care.Despite its title, this series was always more about Nick Fury than a team, or the characters that comprise that said team, but by the end of this issue, the utilization of all these characters comes together in a fascinating way.
There are two different ways to write a series finale, one is to pack it with huge, climactic moments, that leave the readers’ heads spinning, and the other is to have the climactic events take place in the issue or two preceding, and then focus on the aftermath, and what it means for the characters involved.Hickman does the latter method here, and it definitely fits in perfectly with the style of writing he has employed on this title since the beginning.We get some answers, but not all the answers, which is a good thing as Hickman sets the table for some of these characters if someone else wants to play with them later on.He sets up a new team, or rather a force, and plays Nick Fury brilliantly off the stage. If this was vaudeville, he would have been perfectly played out, as Nick Fury’s last appearance here is note-perfect.
There’s a fantastic closing sequence here between Fury and Steve Rogers, and it acts as a fitting bookend to how the series first began, as a prologue chapter in a Dark Reign one-shot.The book started with Fury relating a story about a speech Rogers once gave, about being the one man to stand tall, to fight for what was right, and so it’s only fitting that Hickman closes the book in much the same fashion, yet poignantly flipped.
The artwork for this closing chapter is provided by Alessandro Vitti, one of Hickman’s main collaborators during this series, and I can’t imagine there being a better artist for this series (aside from Caselli, the series’ original artist, whom Vitti’s artwork perfectly matched in style and tone).There are a number of quite moments here, yet they are handled with all the care and panache that would go into depicting an explosive, action-packed sequence.
If there’s anything that hurts this issue, and this series in general, it’s the serialized format. On the one hand, the cliffhangers are best-suited for a monthly book, but on the other hand, this book is a great example of long-form storytelling, and when read in one sitting, it’s one of the most densely written, most engaging reads that Marvel’s ever published.HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!