With Bagley‚Äôs stint on the title over and the series now nicely back on track following the earlier delays, Bendis turns the title to "Secret Invasion" in earnest, specifically focusing his attention to the question of where Nick Fury has been and what he‚Äôs been doing. On hand to help out is Bendis‚Äô "Daredevil" collaborator, Alex Maleev.
Fury disappeared, ostensibly, in 2004 following the events of the "Secret War" miniseries which turned his allies against him and lost him his job. This issue picks up right at that moment, as Fury remotely broadcasts his ‚Äúfinal‚ÄĚ message to the group before going off the grid. A month later, Fury meets the Countess and discovers that she‚Äôs not who she claims to be. Killing her, Fury discovers that she‚Äôs a Skrull and confirms his suspicions that something very wrong is happening, and he then meets both Maria Hill and Spider-Woman in the months following as he tries to understand the situation.
Information about what Nick Fury has been doing during his surprisingly long self-imposed exile are certainly welcome - with Fury promising to play a large part in the forthcoming storyline, it‚Äôs fitting that we should catch up on his activities behind the scenes before "Secret Invasion" truly explodes. Unfortunately, this issue doesn‚Äôt really tell us that much - it‚Äôs very clearly the first issue of a larger arc, and it‚Äôs happy to play that part by giving what amounts to little more than a recap of who Fury is and what he does.
Anyone who‚Äôs solely a "Mighty Avengers" fan might find themselves reasonably upset by this issue. Most of the Avengers themselves don‚Äôt appear, and Spider-Woman‚Äôs scene is small even if it does contain a fair chunk of dialogue. This shift in the title‚Äôs style and tone conspire to make this feel far more like a "New Avengers" issue that anything we‚Äôve seen of "Mighty Avengers" so far.
Nonetheless, if you‚Äôre a fan of Bendis and Maleev ‚Ä" and I am -- then you‚Äôll probably find yourself more than pleased by this issue. There‚Äôs an air of the ‚Äúcalm before the storm‚ÄĚ in this issue -- Fury‚Äôs determination is palpable, and there‚Äôs a tense air as it seems even Fury, a man used to being on top of every situation, is still playing catch up as to who‚Äôs a Skrull and who isn‚Äôt. It‚Äôs a new role for the character, and a fierce reminder of what sort of intelligence got Nick Fury where he used to be, as head of SHIELD. Now there was a man who kept his Helicarrier intact!
Despite the tonal shift being more than a little jarring, Maleev‚Äôs art is more than welcome wherever it turns up. Bendis has described this issue as something of a trailer for their long-promised Spider-Woman series, and if that‚Äôs the case, we can all look forward to a stunning title in the future. Hopefully the next few issues of "Mighty Avengers" will round out Fury‚Äôs storyline into something a little fuller, but for now the scene is set masterfully - it‚Äôs now up to Bendis and Maleev to make good on that promise.