“Don’t be an idiot, son. There is no out.” You had to see that line or some other like it coming when it came to Sebastian, a.k.a. Druid. When he was seemingly fired by Nick Fury because he was a liability, that couldn’t be the end of him with regards to Fury, because no one walks away, especially guys with potentially limitless magical ability. Fury had to have had some plans for someone like that and, here, after the events of “Night,” we get to see what exactly Sebastian has been doing since he was fired six months ago.
Hickman both plays into and subverts our expectations when he has John Garrett show up and begin training Sebastian. You want to expect the usual mentor/protégé relationship where Sebastian becomes a lean, mean killing machine under Garrett’s watchful eye, eventually proving that he had the potential all along, he just needed more help than the others. Well, that does happen, but not completely, not overwhelmingly. By the end of the issue, Sebastian is still Sebastian, and it’s to Hickman’s credit that he doesn’t do a complete makeover of the character. What we see is another step in the process of the caterpillar program.
The actual execution is a little hit or miss. Garrett making Sebastian fill out a written test, looking it over, and saying it tells him that Sebastian is fat is a funny moment, but the actual training is exactly how you imagine it would be. You can almost hear Trey Parker singing “Montage” over top. It serves a purpose, but nothing too interesting or new is done with the concept.
What is shown is some of the development of the Leviathan/Hydra war that was mostly skipped over. Some didn’t like how Hickman glossed over that and, here, we get to see one of the inciting events, and what Fury’s group had to do with it. It’s a small moment, but makes for a nice inclusion.
The continued presence of Allessandro Vitti on the title is a good thing, especially in light of Hickman’s recent revelation that he will remain on the book until the end. Along with Stefano Caselli, Vitti has defined the look of “Secret Warriors” and he manages to capture Sebastian completely, able to show the subtle changes that he undergoes physically as the issue progresses without it looking like completely different characters. He also worked on the book so long that he absolutely nails how Sebastian reacts to Fury’s note, capturing the shock, pain, and uncertainty that comes with being fired like that.
As “Secret Warriors” heads towards the end, Hickman stops and gives us a breather issue, giving us a good look at Sebastian and that he’s able to live up to his potential more than we’ve seen. It fits into the larger context of the title while standing alone. It’s a pleasant issue, one for the fans.