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Secret War #1: Review

Apr 2004
Brian Michael Bendis, Gabriele Dell'Otto

Story Name:

Secret War Book One

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Secret War #1 Review by (December 14, 2013)
Review: A gritty spy story featuring several Marvel heroes? Count me in! Whoa, foreign terrorists are funding American supervillains? And it’s Latveria involved? Oh, Dr Doom’s dead right now? Close enough. So what do we have? Terrific dark and dirty art by Gabriele Dell’Otto sets the right tone—and covers writer Brian M Bendis’ usual flaws. Everyone talks in witty one-liners and character is often sacrificed in the name of “cool” (really, would straight-laced Jasper Sitwell take part in a brutal interrogation—and laugh about it?). Some intriguing bits but that Jasper scene threw it off for me. We’ll see what happens next….

Comments: First appearance of Lucia von Bardas. Iron Man and Thor appear in a film of Killer Shrike’s arrest. Villains named in Nick Fury’s briefing include Jack O’Lantern, Grim Reaper, Goldbug, Lady Octopus, Scorpion, Grizzly. Whirlwind’s armor can be spotted in the Tinkerer’s workshop. Spider-Man is on the cover but does not appear in the story until issue #2.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Secret War #1 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

On their way home, Luke Cage and Jessica Jones stop so Luke can ask some street punks about a local drug dealer. Entering their apartment, they are met by a sinister woman in the shadows. An explosion ensues….

When he hears about the incident at a SHIELD briefing, Nick Fury rushes to the hospital where he finds Luke Cage in a coma. Jessica and Danny (Iron Fist) Rand explain how Luke suffered internal injuries and doctors are unable to penetrate his skin to perform the necessary surgery. Then Jessica wonders why Fury is there….

One year ago: Villain Killer Shrike was being interrogated by Jasper Sitwell and Jimmy Woo, asking how such a third-rate criminal could afford all the high-tech gear. After beating and threats, Shrike agreed to reveal who was backing him. In Philadelphia, Killer Shrike led them to the lair of the Terrible Tinkerer but when he tried to enter, he was electrocuted. SHIELD agents burst in but the Tinkerer had escaped. A short time later, Black Widow called Nick Fury from the airport in Latveria; the Tinkerer is there and he was met by one of the highest government officials. Fury reported to the President what they had discovered: a cadre of high-tech American villains were being funded by Lucia von Bardas, the Prime Minister of Latveria elected with US support. Fury was startled when the President told him not to follow up on this because von Bardas was America’s ally. Fury decided to stop the threat to America without official sanction….

…and now in Luke Cage’s hospital room he sees the result of his actions…. 

Additional material:

Character profile of Jack O’Lantern and a transcript of his interrogation, alluded to in the story (seven pages)

A one-page text article on Spider-Man

Seven pages of pin-ups by Gabriele Dell’Otto.

Gabriele Dell'Otto
Gabriele Dell'Otto
Gabriele Dell'Otto
Gabriele Dell'Otto (Cover Penciler)
Gabriele Dell'Otto (Cover Inker)
Gabriele Dell'Otto (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Iron Fist
Iron Fist

(Danny Rand)
Luke Cage
Luke Cage

(Power Man)

(Peter Parker)

Plus: Jasper Sitwell, Jimmy Woo, Killer Shrike, Lucia von Bardas, Terrible Tinkerer.

> Secret War: Book info and issue index

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