Nick Fury’s cadre of Secret Warriors starts the ball rolling in volume two with misdirection (a common feature of this series), the crew sticking it to Hydra and forcing Baron Von Strucker to turn to Norman Osborn and H.A.M.M.E.R (supposedly the good guys) for help against a common enemy. Fury in turn needs Osborn to assist in flushing out a greater threat to national security than Hydra, one sleeping in the depths of the US treasury department.

H.A.M.M.E.R agent Ares (God of War) is trying to get his son Alexander (Phobos, god of Fear) back on side, highlighting the complicated father issues each Warrior has. The Warriors in turn have to move beyond their hang-ups and face up to the harsh reality of what they signed up for, old faces returning just in time to help kick Hydra and H.A.M.M.E.R in the teeth.

Still tying into the events of Dark Reign as in volume one, Hickman continues to pen a story that supports the tie-in yet also stands completely independently of it. That Eden, Alexander, and J.T. would want to impress by rescuing alluring operatives is believable, the inter-personal dynamics (and occasionally the lack thereof) that make God of Fear, God of War work. A father wanting the best for his son, said son wanting to forge his own path, is a primal narrative of humankind. Functioning alongside that is the missions the team is sent on and what Fury is prepared to do for his country prompting the question: Is it really black or white, or how black is white? Fury’s methods seem justifiable but do they make him good or bad? While the story is sidetracked by the Ares/ Alexander arcs, the moral underlay retains the interest in a thought-provoking way.

Alessandro Vitti takes over the art, his work crisp and clear with bigger frames than his predecessor, scenes spanning two pages and therefore occasionally getting lost in the central gutter. Digital editions generally avoid this as the page separation is not as prominent. There are some very nice flourishes on simple backgrounds, backed up by atmospheric coloring by Sunny Gho of Imaginary Friends Studios.

God of Fear, God of War is a consistent story that maintains steady character and plot development. It does lose traction from time to time because some plot elements are tied up in Dark Reign, but not so much that you would be entirely clueless as to what’s going on. In typical Fury fashion, he doesn’t go into the cave to poke a sleeping bear as much as thumps it over the head to see what it will do, the results of which spiral in Wake the Beast. Both are also available in a bulkier paperback The Complete Collection Volume 1, and with all other Secret Warriors material in an oversize Omnibus edition.