Review by Frank Plowright
It’s difficult to know where to start, really. Possibly with the reiteration that this series is more about S.H.I.E.L.D. than the Avengers, only Black Widow, Hawkeye and Spider-Woman present throughout. It also needs said that there’s little point in picking up God Level and expecting to understand everything that’s going on. Aleš Kot has had a densely plotted thriller on the go since he collaborated with Nick Spencer in How to M.A.I.M. a Mockingbird, and at the very least Let’s Have a Problem and The Labyrinth are essential reading.
One thing we can be sure of, and should be grateful for, is that Michael Walsh is such an adaptable artist. Kot can delve into wild conceptuality or absurdism as easily as he supplies an action thriller, yet if asked to draw an ever-evolving, protoplasmic weapon of extreme war, or a group of telepaths imagining a new world into existence, he’s up to the task. Walsh is paid by the page, as are most superhero comic artists, yet how many of them would supply the effort seen on the sample art, repeat that often, yet still make their deadline every month? Not many.
In broad terms, the manipulating villain of the piece has been revealed, and several others who under other circumstances would be considered villains have been co-opted into saving Maria Hill’s control of S.H.I.E.L.D. The motivation behind the villain’s masterplan is simultaneously entirely logical and a completely disproportionate response to a problem. But then who likes bullies? Kot rolls out the plan in stages, following each with the explanation of what’s supposed to happen as discussed earlier. He switches tack for the final chapter, which is explained in hindsight, and provides pretty well all the wrap-up scenes we want.
This has been a great ride, the best Secret Avengers series of them all, and that’s no overstatement despite the prestigious names who’ve worked on other iterations. It’s multi-layered and something you can come back to and notice something new, and if taking the not universally accessible ideas of Jorge Luis Borges and making an enthralling superhero comic from them isn’t something to applaud, then what is?