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Secret Warriors #14: Review

Mar 2010
Jonathan Hickman, Stefano Caselli

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Secret Warriors #14 Review by (December 10, 2019)
The code Dassaiev. Capricorn. Zodiac indicates a link between Magadan and Nick Fury (#1), Baron Strucker (#2) and Dum Dum Dugan (#6) which will be explained in #25. But we have already seen these names and Zodiac signs linked in the Great Wheel organisation in the Dark Reign: The List: Secret Warriors 1-shot. Magadan/Vasili Dassiev was Capricorn and Orion/Viktor Uvarov was Cancer.

The box and its contents and their connection to the array of tubes will also be explained in #25-26.

Somewhere along the way the Contessa must have been recruited into Hydra. Which may have been easy because Hydra was supposedly controlling SHIELD from the start. So Hydra thought she was a mole in SHIELD for them, but really she was spying on both for Leviathan. But then Leviathan went into hibernation for many years.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Secret Warriors #14 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The story opens in Nick Fury's secret base #21 Providence (which in the map in #1 appeared to be in South Dakota), which appears to be where the Secret Warriors were each sent individually to at the end of last issue. Except Daisy Johnson (Quake) has just learned that Fury overrode her wishes and sacked Sebastian Druid, and she's understandably angry about it.

JT James (Hellfire) supports her anger, and the others don't look too happy. Fury tells them to leave him and Daisy alone. She reminds him he promised it would be her decision. But Nick says she wasn't going to make the *right* decision so he did it for her. He's a long-time leader of men and he *knows* who won't cut it. Daisy walks out on him and accepts JT's offer of going for a drink.

In the Siberian Leviathan base Long Winter Madame Hydra has brought the mysterious box to the Leviathan leader she now names Magadan, ostensibly in trade for Viper who they kidnapped in #12. Viper tells her not to do it, but Madame H just hands it over not asking *anything* in return. And she confirms that it is in working order. Viper asks how she can do this after all Viper gave up to get it (referring to breaking her relationship with Silver Samurai)? And how can she betray her convictions? But MH replies that her loyalty remains where it has always been ... and shoots Viper in the heart.

Magadan commends Madame Hydra for a job well done, and says everything is now ready for the rebirth. MH says she'll just go change out of this Hydra uniform and takes off her helmet to reveal the face of Val de Fontaine (which we've known since #6).

This segues into a brief secret history of Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine. 15 years ago in Rome she meets up with her parents only to see them blown to bits before her eyes. 2 days later she is approached at the funeral by a man who speaks to her in Russian (presumably Vasili Dassaiev who will be known as Magadan). She's been desperately waiting for contact because her parents' cover is failing. He assures her that that will be dealt with and she can continue the family tradition of spying for Russia. But he expects a unique opportunity to come her way. Next day she's approached by Dum Dum Dugan and recruited for SHIELD, who believe that her parents were *anti-Communist* agents (as mentioned in her 2nd-ever app in Strange Tales #162).

Daisy and JT are out having that drink and sharing their anger and frustration at Fury. She's grateful to him for rescuing the troubled teen from her boring life into SHIELD (as told in the Secret War: From The Files Of Nick Fury 1-shot) and then making her team leader of the Warriors (Mighty Avengers #13), but "Rarrr!". She changes the subject by asking him what JT stands for. He says his mother named him after the singer/songwriter James Taylor. She tries to order another drink from the waitress but JT signals they've had enough. Daisy asks JT why *he* puts up with Fury. He says he doesn't believe in the cause, he thinks Fury is a delusional old man who's fighting a war that's already over. He only stays because of *her*. Daisy deflects the moment by returning to the revelation that his name is James Taylor James. She coyly suggests she she's not sure how she feels about something like that.

In Hydra's Gehenna base Gorgon subjects himself to psychic scrutiny to verify *he* is not the traitor. Kraken says that they, Hive and Baron Strucker can now be sure of each other. Gorgon complains that Kraken has not been tested, but Strucker says that Kraken has been with him in Hydra since the beginning. Gorgon agrees that it is now obvious that Madame Hydra, who left last issue before she could be checked, was the mole all along. Kraken says he prepared for the contingency that the guilty party would flee. He fitted all the craft in this base with tracking devices so they know she's gone deep into Russia. But it seems they don't know about the Leviathan base. (They probably think she was spying on them for SHIELD instead of the other way round as she was supposed to be doing.)

In Long Winter Val has strangely changed into her trademark (see her Wikipedia entry) SHIELD 'uniform' (in the exact pose from the opening of ST#168, the only time she actually wore it in the early Steranko days). She reports to Magadan on the status of Hydra. They have been very good at keeping up with cutting-edge technology, while Leviathan's stuff dates back to when they went into their long sleep. Hydra is still rebuilding its forces but Leviathan will soon have all their old manpower back. Most importantly Hydra is riven by factions while Leviathan always presents a united front.

1 of their 'demon' scientists says they're ready to start the process but they need Magadan's authorisation code. He inputs 'Dassaiev Capricorn Zodiac'. They connect up the contents of the box and begin the defrost cycle. We see the ranks of linked tubes and the special tube in front. This opens and a man called Orion steps out. Magadan and Val bring him up-to-date as he dons a uniform. He's slept for 14 years. The Soviet empire has collapsed and Russia has become capitalist. Their old enemies are thriving. This is what he predicted. Now is the time to settle old scores. "Taunt the Baron. Tempt the Fury."

On the final page Nick gets a text from Val suggesting they meet for dinner again where they did in #3.

Stefano Caselli
Stefano Caselli
Sunny Gho
Jim Cheung (Cover Penciler)
Mark Morales (Cover Inker)
Justin Ponsor (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Dave Lanphear.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Plus: Baron Strucker, Gorgon (Tomi Shishido), Hellfire (JT James), Hive, Kraken, Leviathan (Gargantua), Madame Hydra (Val de Fontaine), Magadan (Vasili Dassiev), Orion (Viktor Uvarov), Quake (Daisy Johnson), Secret Warriors, Viper (Madame Hydra).

> Secret Warriors: Book info and issue index

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