I read a library copy of the paperback. This volume is the second in the newest run of the Secret Avengers. They're secret this time, even from themselves as they are mind-wiped after each mission As a set-up it has a position within the Marvel universe but there's an awful lot of political shenanigans here and the last two collected issues are so affected by the Infinity/Inhuman event that the main storyline gets derailed. Those last issues appear to debut a new hero but there really are enough of those to choose from for this series as it is and nothing seems unique here. The first half of the trade is an engaging adventure concerning Shield and AIM leading to a change at the top of Shield itself and the promise of continuation... On the downside the renditions of Maria Hill and Daisy Johnson who play big parts here are so similar it's like watching twins bicker! Bear in mind that the Hulk appears on the cover here and whilst he is in the mix it's not a very involved appearance. This may be in the shadows of Marvel but the title deserves a spotlight on it.
S.H.I.E.L.D. have recruited superheroes Black Widow, Hawkeye, Hulk and Mockingbird to join Agent Nick Fury Jr and Agent Phil Coulson to their covert ops team. When missions are carried out, or they become compromised, a simple key word will give the agents a mind-wipe, ensuring deniability.
S.H.I.E.L.D.s Director is the 19 year old Daisy Johnson. She's a bit out of her league, having caused a diplomatic incident and ordering the assassination of A.I.M.s Supreme Leader.
Villainous group A.I.M. have become a recognised independant state and part of the UN. The island of Barbuda is now known as A.I.M. Island. They have acquired a fleet of the Iron Patriot suit of armour and given them semi-sentient AI.
Taskmaster has been recruited by S.H.I.E.L.D. to infiltrate A.I.M. and pass on intel.
This volume 2 continues where the last one left off with the mission to kill the Scientist Supreme going awry on Barbuda. Agents are in trouble and Daisy Johnson is deposed as Director, with Maria Hill taking over. Mockingbird, undercover using camotech as a scientist, has her mind wiped by the failsafe protocol. Whilst the rest of the agents escape Barbuda, Mockingbird is left behind, as the failsafe also wipes their memory of their fellow agent accompanying them on the mission.
War Machine is recruited to help with the drone Iron Patriot problem - their AI deferring to Rhodey's instructions and following his lead, effectively backfiring on A.I.M.s plans to use the armoured fleet.
Mockingbird then has to deal with being behind enemy lines, disguised by her camotech - I hope the batteries don't run out on that.
The volume then takes a diversion from the A.I.M. shenanigans as rather unhelpfully, the mad Titan Thanos invades Earth. With the main Avengers teams away in outer space, S.H.I.E.L.D. has to combat the alien threat. The main Thanos tale is contained in Infinity Volume 1 so what we have here is an Infinity tie-in, lasting the remaining 2 issues of the volume. The Inhumans have released Terrigen Mist which is affecting humans across the globe, turning some into Inhumans themselves. One minute they're human, the next, they're waking up out of a cocoon and drastically changed. Many with super powers. One such human is a lowly S.H.I.E.L.D. tech operative who suddenly finds herself joining Nick Fury et al to defend Brooklyn from alien invaders. All in a day's work if you're an employee of S.H.I.E.L.D.
I much preferred this volume than the first, mainly due to the welcome tie-in to the Infinity event. Also, artist duties are split between Luke Ross and Butch Guice. Whilst Ross is no slouch, I do prefer Guice's work, so I was very content to see him involved.
Politics, intrigue, covert ops, lots of Iron Patriots and invading aliens - what's not to like? Nick Spencer continues to weave his plot and things touched on in Volume 1 are making more sense now, and we have to wait until volume 3 to discover the fate of Mockingbird. This is an overall improving tale which started in volume 1, so make sure you buy that before buying this one.