As I usually do going blindly into massive comic book sales on Black Friday, I asked my buddy Ronell (www.thecomicbookteacher.com) what titles I should be on the look-out for. He texted me six titles, and I bought as many of the titles as I could (and I usually do, since I really trust his taste). The first one of his picks that I read had me though seven straight issue without putting an issue down: the new Secret Avengers’ story-line written by Ales Kot.
Maaaaan, fans of the Fraction Hawkeye will love this book. It’s not as disjointed as Hawkeye, but he’s in it, and it’s funny. But it’s not just funny; the story is entertaining, engrossing, and extremely well-paced. I booked through the seven issues on a plane ride while pumping some sweet mash-ups through my iPod, and maybe the music was well-timed, but the action sequences in the story quickened my heart-rate a bit. This may also be the result of some amazing art in the book by Michael Walsh and Matt Wilson, who totally bring Kot’s vision to life in a very traditional, yet explosive way.
And I cannot discount the oddness of the Secret Avengers team: Hawkeye, Phil Coulson, Nick Fury, Black Widow, Spider-Woman, and M.O.D.O.K.; it’s a very interesting combination that lends itself to unique situations and conversations. And don’t worry, if you are not a hero-comic fan, the book does a great job of explaining each character, what history they may have that’s important, and fun facts. This ragtag group of characters split-up multiple times in the first seven issues, and some never interact at all (thus far). I’ve very excited to see where Kot takes the story since already, two major villains have died and returned, only to add mystery to the already mysterious relationships in the book.
It looks like I will be teaching a graphic novel course next year (fingers crossed)…it’s a semester course, but still, I’m very excited! By that time, I’m guessing the first two trades of the Secret Avengers will be in print, and I’m considering using them in my class. Now, I have not fully developed the layout of the course as of yet, but I know there will be a large segment dealing with story lay-out and portions dedicated to hero books; this title fulfills both in a fun and intriguing way. I may want to toss this title into the mix with Fraction’s Hawkeye, and Soule’s She-Hulk (which has been cancelled after twelve issues, so that sucks, but now it’s an even two trades). These titles open up a very interesting discussion about the process of story-telling and the role that the art-form/style has on the telling of the story as well. I’d heavily rely on the tone and mood created by the color palettes as well as the panel/page layouts. Since the issues are fairly new, I might compare the page layout of a single issue to that of the trade’s layout and discuss how, if at all, the page layout has an effect on the story-telling of a scene or the story as a whole. I also want to take a good look at the single-issue covers of these books (variants and all) and discuss artist choice and interpretation: What does Katie Cook see in these characters that Tradd Moore might not have?
Oooorrrr…what if we design our own variant covers?
If I end up having more experienced comic fans, I might want to differentiate a bit and have them reflect upon how things might be different if the Secret Avengers included a Captain America…or an Iron Man.
Lots of cool stuff to do with this series, but seriously, the best thing you could do with it is read it, and love it! You won’t be disappointed…
Ronell, thanks for recommending it to me.
Happy reading, everyone!
Be sure to hit me up on dem emails and dem tweets: