Dark Reign: The List - Secret Warriors #1: Review

Oct 2009
Jonathan Hickman, Ed McGuinness

Story Name:


Review & Comments

4 stars

Dark Reign: The List - Secret Warriors #1 Review by (May 8, 2018)
This is the 4th of the almost weekly Dark Reign: The List 1-shots after DRL:Avengers, DRL:Daredevil and DRL:X-Men. (The order I use I take from the Marvel Chronology Project, which is also the order in the List TP. It's not quite the publishing order which has Punisher and Hulk the other way round.)
This is the 1st time we actually see Norman Osborn's physical list. It's amazingly prescient as it gets the events almost in the above order, except for Frank Castle again. But this time Punisher swaps round with this issue. And unless Osborn is rewriting it as he goes along then he included Daredevil before the DD situation came to his attention - he certainly didn't mention it in DRL:Av.
As is proving to be usual this issue is more relevant for the 'target' than it is for Osborn and Dark Reign. And just wait 'til we get to DRL:Punisher.

This issue also contains a reprint of the SHIELD story from Strange Tales #168 - a 1-issue Jim Steranko tale called "Today Earth died" which is actually a dream which Fury has.

This design of flying car dates back to SHIELD's 1st tale in ST#135 before Steranko came on board. But he made lots of use of it, and glider wings called the H.A.W.K. harness were his creation in ST#166.

This can't be Ares' normal axe (but he has lots of weapons) because he left that embedded in the chest of Secret Warrior Stonewall in SW#9, and he won't get it back until SW#10.

Seth Waters showed knowledge of Pieta and Zodiac in SW#9, and that Garrett was Aquarius. This issue connects Zodiac to the Great Wheel. We won't learn what this all means until SW#25.
We 1st met a group called Zodiac in Avengers #72 which was led by Cornelius Van Lunt as Taurus and had Jake Fury as Scorpio, but none of the other Great Wheel members. SW#25 will explain how the Wheel fractured into SHIELD, Hydra, Leviathan and the criminal Zodiac. It will also rewrite what we know of Nick Fury's brother Jake.

This explains why Nick Fury used the codephrase "Fury Gemini Zodiac" in Secret Warriors #1, Baron Strucker had "Strucker Sagittarius Zodiac" in #2 and Dum Dum Dugan used "Dugan Libra Zodiac" in #6. Leviathan will feature in SW from #11 on. The base Pieta and the Great Wheel will show up next in #16, when we'll also learn that Pieta was Zodiac's base.

That's the end for Seth Waters.
Ares and Nick Fury continue straight into SW#10.
Norman Osborn will be in DRL:Punisher, and Victoria Hand will join him in DRL:Hulk.
John Garrett will pop up again in SW#16.
Bullseye will be with his Dark Avengers pals in their Annual #1.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Dark Reign: The List - Secret Warriors #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Nick Fury and John Garrett are sitting in a car in New York going over their plan. Nick is going in, and if it all goes wrong John is to shoot him and go to Dum Dum Dugan and tell him to start the endgame. It's then that we discover they're in 1 of those SHIELD flying cars hovering over Avengers Tower.

Fury jumps out and glides down using membranes stretched between the arms and legs of his jump suit, which also has a cloaking field. At the right moment he switches on antigrav and attaches himself to the wall of the Tower with suction cups. (The preceding gizmos and the style of the last full-page image are an homage to Jim Steranko's seminal SHIELD issues.)

He manoeuvres across to a hatchway which his gloveprint opens. Inside he climbs a ladder in an access tunnel, deals with 2 H.A.M.M.E.R. Agents and takes a security pass which gets him through another door. Where he's confronted by the Dark Avenger Ares ...

... who lets him pass. Nick says "In the morning. You know the place." Ares replies "Tomorrow then." (We'll find out what that is all about in Secret Warriors #10.)

Now Fury is in Norman Osborn's bedroom, and wakes him up. Nick cuts through Norman's bluster and says he's here because they have a mutual problem of national security. Osborn asks why he should trust Fury, who asks him to consider which 1 of them is actually a patriot. Norman shows Nick a list by his bedside, 1 entry of which says "Kill Nick Fury" (this is basically the List behind this sequence of single-issue titles). Nick heard about that and shows Norman his own list with only 3 entries:- "Save the world", "Punch Norman in the face", "Have a beer". Now that they know where they stand they can get on with the business at hand.

(Osborn is after Fury on general principles. Part of Norman's powerbase used to be Nick's, and Fury knows too many secrets. And Fury's Secret Warriors are significantly *not under Norman's control*. Osborn tried to capture Fury in the just-finished crossover of SW#7-9 with Thunderbolts #134-136.)

Later in Washington DC 2 HAMMER Agents break into the Treasury Department to arrest Seth Waters. 1st they have to stop him from committing suicide. (Fury sent Garrett to meet with Waters in SW#9 where Waters practically bragged about being a member of some sinister group - and Fury had better back off.)

Later still, back in New York NF and NO are watching Waters through a 1-way window with Victoria Hand and the Dark Avenger Bullseye. Hand gives them a rundown of his career but adds that they've discovered a large amount of money in several secret accounts. Also a search of his office turned up a strange data device.

Osborn enters the room with Bullseye and starts an interrogation. Waters cockily ignores his questions to take control of the conversation. He reasons that they've found the device but they can't access it or decrypt what's on it. Therefore they have no incriminating evidence so someone must have tipped them off about him. And he turns to greet Fury through the 1-way glass. Osborn assumes that means he works for Hydra, but Waters is insulted - *his* gang are so much *more* than Hydra.

Osborn leaves Bullseye to get Waters to tell him *who* he works for. Bullseye produces a pack of 500 toothpicks. To the accompaniment of screams Norman talks to Nick. Fury admits he suspected Waters wasn't Hydra. Osborn wants to know about the data device. Nick asks to examine it. Norman is suspiciously reluctant, but is confidant Fury can't escape with it so hands it over.

Bullseye calls them in saying Waters is ready to talk. We see the victim with various toothpicks sticking out of his head. Osborn asks who he works for and Waters says "Leviathan". Fury contacts Garrett and says "Do it now." There's a shot and Waters slumps forward dead. We see Garrett in the flying car with a very long-barrelled rifle. (And the bullet seems to have penetrated walls.)

Osborn realises he's been played. Fury punches him in the face and asks John for covering fire. Between them they get Nick to a window which he jumps through to land on the roof of the flying car. (He was presumably in Avengers Tower which seems to be next to the Oscorp Building.)

Fury takes over driving to avoid 3 pursuing helicopters while Garrett leans out and shoots at them. 1 hits the side of the OsCorp HQ, another explodes, and the 3rd is taken out by an axe thrown by Ares. Nick says they have what they came for - Waters' affiliation and the data device. And he got to cross 1 thing off his list.

The duo go to Fury's secret base #7 in Rome, called Pieta. Nick *does* know how to access and decrypt the device. A screen displays the word Leviathan in the Cyrillic alphabet. And an addendum to the story describes the contents.

This is similar to some of the files shown in SW#1 where Fury discovered SHIELD had been part of Hydra all along. We see that Fury logs in as Gemini. There are 2 parts to the data.

The 1st is about Leviathan and shows its 9 bases, all in what was the Soviet Union. (Similar maps in SW#1 showed Hydra and SHIELD bases, plus Fury's secret bases like Pieta, some of which we've seen in SW issues.) Crucially we are told that since the Zodiac event Leviathan has been in condition Overwinter, and the top echelon have been in condition December, dormant in base #9 - the Long Winter facility in north-eastern Siberia.

The 2nd part describes something called the Great Wheel, a round table with 12 places named after signs of the Zodiac. SHIELD had 3 places occupied by Nick Fury (Gemini), Dum Dum Dugan (Libra) and John Garrett (Aquarius). Hydra had 3 places:- Baron Strucker (Supreme Hydra) (Sagittarius), Shoji Soma (Hand Grandmaster - so the Hand were part of Hydra) (Pisces) and  Kraken (Leo). Leviathan had only 2:- Vasili Dassaiev/Magadan (Capricorn) and Viktor Ulavarov/Orion (Cancer), both now in Overwinter. The other 4 were independent:- Aries, Cornelius Van Lunt (Taurus), Jake Fury (Scorpio) and Il Professore (Virgo).

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Ed McGuinness
Tom Palmer
Chris Sotomayor
Ed McGuinness (Cover Penciler)
Dexter Vines (Cover Inker)
John Rauch (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Dave Lanphear.
Editor: Tom Brevoort.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Iron Patriot
Iron Patriot

(Norman Osborn)

Plus: H.A.M.M.E.R., John Garrett, Victoria Hand.

> Dark Reign: The List - Secret Warriors: Book info and issue index

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