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on 23 July 2011
This is the second volume in what is fast becoming my favourite Avengers team in many years. The story concerns the darker histories of some of the characters, namely Shang Chi, Master of Kung Fu, and our very own team leader, Steve Rogers.
The ressurection of Shang Chi's father, Fu Manchu (whose real name is finally revealed later in the story)is the first plot line, with the Shadow Council in full flow, bringing back one of my all time favourite villains from fiction, and also breathing new life into one of my teenage years heroes.
There is action aplenty for those who like the all-fighting storylines, with Steve Rogers even having a sparring session with Shang Chi, which is rather short, and to my mind, rather one-dimensional, but that's Marvel for you - you can't have Steve Rogers getting beaten by a good guy, now, can you?
The second story arc concerns a figure from Steve Rogers' escapades during World War 2, which brings him into contact in the present day with the first Super Soldier, a man who fought in the Civil War, World War 1 & World War 2.
This character even manages to take down Steve Rogers in hand-to-hand combat, something which I admit I cheered about, being quite tired of how Mr Rogers is seemingly able to take down any and all comers, super-powered or not.
Quite refreshing, that particular bout of conflict.
Although he is somewhat saved by the erstwhile Valkyrie, who vanquishes the bad guy quite well, and although he's bullet proof, isn't a match for a sword crafted by Odin, it seems.
Valkyrie has one of the best one-liner remarks to counter the villains surprised reaction to her sword being put to full use for once (normally she only uses the flat of her blade, but here she uses it as it was meant to be used).
This series is rather more mature than the previous Avengers titles, dealing with many conflicts among the main characters as well as within themselves, and the writing is superb, the art spectacular, and the pace rolls along at a healthy rate, which actually does leave its readers wanting more after the last page has been turned.
I am along for the ride with this series (despite Nova no longer being on the team since the Thanos Imperative story in another title), and am enjoying it thoroughly for someone who has an inate dislike of Steve Rogers in the first place.
For my own personal taste, I'd like to see more use of the other team members (such as Beast/Moon Knight/Carol Anders/Ant Man), rather than the usual focus on Steve Rogers/Black Widow as the ones who carry the day.
Yes, Steve Rogers was Captain America, and has super-powered strength and exceptional training/experience, but it'd be nice if he took a background role to the others for once, and let them show their mettle in both combat and intelligence roles, and not have to play second-fiddle to their team leader all the time.
Apart from that little gripe, I love this series, and can't wait to see how things go from here, especially if they take the King of Orphans character onboard as a team member, as he adds a good sense of mystery and usable powers to the team.
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on 13 February 2012
I wanted to like this volume better than I did. The Shang-Chi storyline starts okay but fizzles out and the book feels more like a Cap/Steve Rogers solo effort - with friends - rather than an Avengers volume - Secret or otherwise.! - and who is this Prince of Mists guy? - the 'original' super-soldier mystery takes over from Shang-Chi's - after we get the bit-flat revelation of his dad's real name. - and doesn't really go anywhere. Good concept but this book is beginning to fail to deliver.
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This story runs through Marvel Comics' Secret Avengers issues #6-11, and now collected as [Secret Avengers: Eyes of the Dragon v. 2] [by: Ed Brubaker]. This is one of a group of Avengers teams recently recruited by Commander Steve Rogers (formerly Captain America), this time for the sort of secret operations that got Nick Fury fired in `Secret War' some years back, and they find themselves up against the sort of evil ancient secret organisation that Nick Fury found himself up against in `Secret Warriors' more recently.

In the previous volume - Secret Avengers v1 - Mission to Mars - a rogue LMD of Nick Fury called Max Fury popped up, working for a secret organisation called the Shadow Council. Now the Council, or at least their agents Max Fury and John Steele - an old friend of Captain America's from World War the Second - are out to kidnap Shang-Chi - Master of Kung Fu - in a nefarious plot to resurrect his father - who is not Fu Manchu, due to lapsed licensing agreements - using the mystical and mysterious artefacts, the Eyes of the Dragon.

Issues #6-9 are the Eyes of the Dragon adventure, featuring all the action and excitement we've come to expect from Ed Brubaker and Mike Deodato, and are worthy to stand alongside Captain America and the Winter Soldier's best adventures. We also get a superb reminder of why `Master of Kung-Fu' was so highly thought of, as on the covers especially, the spirit of Paul Gulacy's work on that series is evoked. The story and artwork are just superb here. This has been described as `the best Avengers book', admittedly by a blogger who could be anybody, quoted on the back cover, but having read the other Avengers books, I must agree with him.

(Come on Marvel, pay the money for the license and give us the MoKF Omnibus!)

Issues #10-11 features "the Trouble with John Steele", as Steve Rogers tries to discover why a Second World War supersoldier now works for the other side, as we share some of their WW2 adventures. This is also a very good story, and is obviously going to lead us into further adventures for the team.
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on 24 December 2014
Well packaged, arrived well within the time stipulated. The book itself has fantastic artwork and the story follows on nicely from Vol 2.
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on 15 October 2015
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