Ant-Man and Venom take centre stage in Rick Remender’s Secret Avengers #31. With Hawkeye and Valkyrie under the control of the “Abyss”, Black Window back at Lighthouse Station, and the rest of the team in Malaysia, Ant-Man and Venom are forced to go it alone for much of this book. The result is a very fun, extremely action-packed, and intensely plotted issue.
Remender continues to hit a high note when it comes to this series. He plays off of his intimate understanding of Venom to focus the story around him. Flash Thompson also narrates much of the story as well. It is a voice that Remender is familiar with, and it translates extremely well, and yet, we aren’t allowed to forget that this is a team book.
To prevent the “Abyss” from spreading, the duo head to the airport. The resulting scene is fast-paced and wonderfully rendered by artist Matteo Scalera and Matthew Wilson. Personally it is my favourite part of the book. Remender mixes in the appropriate amounts of big moments and spectacle to make this a stand out part of the comic. Colourist Matthew Wilson does his best work of the book during this sequence as well. Racing down the runway is exactly as it should be- a high-speed adrenaline rush that is exciting until the very end.
As good as they are- Ant-Man and Venom can’t stop every plane. Hawkeye and Valkyrie, along with a contingent of possessed villains, manage to take off. Enter: Black Widow. The next sequence was a little weird for me. Not because it was written poorly, in fact, it was written quiet well. But because Widow seems to be…out of proportion, and as would be expected, it is extremely distracting. So much so, that it makes the scene more difficult to follow than it should be. It is a good example of how you shouldn’t portray female characters in comics…ever.
The Widow misstep aside, I enjoyed the rest of Scalera’s art for this book. The runway scene is outstanding and certainly one of the most exciting panels of the week. This issue will just have to settle for hitting a very high point, and a very low point, just pages apart.
Fans of Remender’s run should continue to eat up this series like it is Grandma’s apple pie. The dialogue, the plot, the character, everything is done extremely well, and represents a strong case for why Remender was given the reigns to one of Marvel’s most important NOW! books, Uncanny Avengers. There is more airplane action between Widow and Hawkeye promised next issue, here’s to hoping that Matteo Scalero sees a female, any female, in between now and then.
Story – 8/10
Art – 7/10
Overall – 8/10
Follow Cody on Twitter, he’ll probably be Tweeting pictures of Black Widow all week: @codymudge.