"Secret Warriors" is winding down, and here we've entered the final storyline, "Wheels Within Wheels." And for better or for worse, the book is still showing off both its strengths and weaknesses.
With the information recently given that Nick Fury had not one but three Secret Warriors teams, we finally stop in on the third one that's run by Mikel Fury, and features a strange assortment of team-members. From telekinetic powers to creepy twins to a cyborg, Mikel's team runs the full gamut of options. And then, we get to see them in an ill-fated mission.
My best guess is that Hickman is trying to show us how Nick Fury's plans are all crumbling (especially after the main cast's mission went down so badly), and I get that. But it still feels like an experiment gone slightly wrong in this issue, to introduce and then wipe out an entire cast of characters. (And not in a parody, "X-Force" #116 sort of manner.) Most of the members of the Grey Team get two or three page introductions, although some don't even warrant more than a brief mention in dialogue. And then, even faster than they were introduced, they're gone... and what stands out is an immediate and visceral reaction of, "Who cares?"
By introducing all of the team and giving them sketches of personality, the insinuation is that we should care about them. (Otherwise, why even bother?) They come and go with such a quick, one-two punch that there's no time to actually develop any sort of emotional attachment to the characters. And on some level, that's the big weakness of "Secret Warriors." It keeps wandering off in different (often interesting) directions, but it feels like it lacks a certain focus that keeps it from sustaining any sort of greatness.
The swift arrival and death of the Grey Team could have been interesting, but Hickman setting it up and knocking it down in the same issue smacks of (despite having been told for a while that the book was ending soon) running out of time, cramming too much into too few pages. So while you can go back and admire the work from artists David Marquez and Alessandro Vitti, there's not much else memorable, save for a quick reference to Hickman's "S.H.I.E.L.D." series that features Galileo as a supporting character. When "Secret Warriors" clicks, it's a great series. The number of fantastic ideas present in any given issue is always high. But as the title lurches towards its conclusion, right now I'm worried that the book is going to end with a conclusion that feels like half of the pages were left out by accident.