Comics : Secret War #3

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This review was first published on: 2004.

Background...

A year ago, Nick Fury puts 2 and 2 together, figuring that there is no way high tech super criminals could possibly afford all their gear considering the 'income' they attempt to bring in, a trail which leads him to the country of Latveria.

Without govermental aid or approval, Fury adopts the preemptive strike strategy using some big name heroes, however there appears to be more to the story than that.

Today, one by one, the heroes involved are being ambushed, Luke Cage being one of those unfortunate individuals, currently lying in a coma.

In Detail...

Secret War #3
Oct 2004 : SM Guest
Summary: Spider-Man Appears
Editor:  Andy Schmidt
Writer:  Brian Michael Bendis
Painter:  Gabriele Dell'Otto
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 Partially Reprinted In: Ultimate Alliance (Promo Mini-Comic)
Articles: Doctor Octopus II (Carolyn Trainer), Hobgoblin V

The first thing you see is everyone involved in an intense battle, which is obviously a flashback, what is interesting to note is many of the similar looking soldiers appear to have some knock off technology of their more recognizable counterparts. For example, one has four metal tentacles attached to him, while another is sporting wings, and yet another has a very familiar tail appendage... I can tell you now they were not Doctor Octopus, Vulture, or the Scorpion.

As we get into the story, its none other than our hero Peter Parker who is having this all-too-real daydream right in the middle of his anniversary dinner with his wife, Mary Jane. The daydreams haunt him at night as well, waking Peter up from blissful slumber, so you know he is about to go out for a little web swinging.

At Mt. Sinai Hospital, Steve (Captain America) is clearly pissed off with Nick Fury. As angry as Steve is, he softly speaks with Jessica and Danny, urging her to take Luke and get to a safe place, not revealing any details.

Daredevil seems to be on his way home from the usual patrol, sensing that Peter is in his apartment long before he reaches it. Peter, startled by the sudden appearance of Matt blows milk all over his counter. Peter confides into Matt about the war dreams he has been having, and I think its interesting that Peter does so, not so much because they are good friends and trust each other, but the nature of the problem itself and who he is ultimately asking to identify it with.

The problem being the images Peter sees in his head, yet he is asking Matt about them, who is of course, blind. Matt shares in no memory, and Peter is just about to dismiss the whole thing until they hear the message Jessica left on Matts answering machine. She briefs him on the situation, clearly upset and asking for his help. Peter naturally offers to go along with Matt to the hosptial.

No sooner do they both exit the window when Daredevil senses they are not alone. Explosions ring out, forcing our heroes to dive for some cover. They pause to listen discovering that Diamondback and Scorcher are the ones on their tails, or more specifically, Daredevils. The hero pair take it to 'em, and Spider-Man obviously being more than Scorcher bargained for, makes a strategic withdrawl, causing Diamondback to quickly follow.

At the hospital, Steve tells Fury how he was ambushed in front of his home, and at this point Daredevil and Spider-Man show up, revealing he was also just attacked in front of his own apartment. While Spider-Man laments his luck about being involved yet not targeted, Steve hints he knows what is happening, informing the heroes that tonight is the anniversary of their secret war.

Fury snaps a cold stare at Steve, clearly not approving as Daredevil and Spidey still have no idea what Steve is referring to. Before any more is shared on the subject, Daredevil senses trouble brewing... big trouble. The four can barely have a second to react as cars explode right before them, and coming toward them through the smoke and flames are no less than 18 super villains. No words are spoken but its clear they have only one objective in mind: To kill them all.

In General...

Thats a hell of a cliffhanger!! Now comes the agonizing wait for the fourth issue!! There are plenty of bonuses to be had in here, a few transcript pages of Steves conversation with SHIELD just after his ambush he had referred to earlier. Also a nice behind the scenes look at some character and costume designs, and (thankfully) a page indentifying all the baddies looking to crack skulls. They even include a plug of sorts for the Pulse, considering the tie- in application with Secret War.

I have to say, while some may complain about the $4 price tag, I think its a virtual steal on this book. The story is definitely starting to kick in, and the artwork is nothing short of amazing. Without a doubt some of the best I have seen amongst all the books I have.

You know, I would almost have one gripe about this series, but considering there are two issues left it could become a moot point. Issue one was total setup, while issue two was mostly year-ago flashback, and Bendis almost makes the overthrow mission sound more exciting than the counterattacks that are taking place in the now, so I feel like I am being cheated not having seen that initial mission that took place a year ago!

But like I said, there are two issues to go, so I hope we will get some more of that punched in between whats going on now. I find its doubly interesting that Spider-Man and Daredevil, while they seem to have 'volunteered' for the initial mission, now appear to display no memory of it. I have to wonder the reasons behind this possible memory blocking, because that would definitely suck since Fury could easily cheat them out of a paycheck...

Kidding aside, I am sure there is much more to it than that, I will just have to suffer until the next installment!

Overall Rating...

Oh c'mon! Do I really need to list the reasons for this nice rating?? Its Bendis, its Dell'Otto, Spider-Man is all over the place, what more could you want??