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Secret Warriors #26: Review

Apr 2011
Jonathan Hickman, Alessandro Vitti

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Secret Warriors #26 Review by (March 17, 2020)
Hand boss Shoji Soma was invented for this series and has only ever appeared in this issue and the previous.

Jake Fury, Nick's brother, was introduced in a flashback in Strange Tales #159 and then featured in Sgt Fury & His Howling Commandos #68-69. He's had a couple of other flashbacks in his brother's comics before taking his big role in this series.
This series has established that he was part of the Great Wheel in 1961 (though without saying why he qualified for inclusion). And a few years ago he replaced Daniel Whitehall as Kraken and has been working for Nick Fury as a mole in Hydra ever since.  We don't know what he did in between, because we are now told he was never the costumed Scorpio. Also to explain how he like Nick has remained fairly young over the years since WWII the Marvel Fandom Wiki has to assume that Nick shared some of his Infinity Formula with him.
This issue also suggests that he had an affair with Nick's on-off lover Val de Fontaine, but this is not mentioned anywhere else.

In the rewritten history the Jake Fury LMD went rogue and became the costumed Scorpio as part of the Zodiac criminal cartel, and went after his 'hated brother' in the early issues of the 1st SHIELD series. Jake supposedly died then and was replaced by an LMD as a villain in the Defenders series, but we now say that 'he' was an LMD all along. Whatever, confusingly this LMD thought he *was* the real human Jake and in the end committed suicide. It was presumably this death that Strucker referred to this issue.
However the Jake LMD later reappeared with another Zodiac in West Coast Avengers. The Zodiac Key he used as a weapon kept reanimating him.

In #1 Nick Fury claimed to have only just discovered that Hydra controlled SHIELD. But this turns out to be another of his deceptions because we are now told he knew about it all the time, and really SHIELD controlled Hydra. So how come they didn't shut them down? Has Fury been keeping Hydra going to justify SHIELD's existence?


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Secret Warriors #26 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue is just Kraken, Nick Fury and Baron Strucker and some revelations about the past.

Kraken turned on Strucker in #22 and Fury surrendered to him in #24. At the end of last issue we saw them in a room with Fury and Strucker tied to chairs facing each other. Now Kraken leaves them to chat, but leaves a large knife behind with a threat.

Strucker says he's been captive for a week and that Kraken will kill them both when he returns. He proposes they both try to get loose, and whoever succeeds can free the other. Fury indicates he's ready to die as long as Strucker goes with him. Strucker says the best thing in his life was knowing that he and Hydra controlled Fury and SHIELD. His only regret is not being there when Fury found out the truth (#1). Fury congratulates him on obviously being the winner here. Strucker tells Fury he hates him. Fury says he's heard hate is really fear, and Strucker *should* be afraid of him.

Then Kraken re-enters the room and asks Strucker if he should cut Fury 1st. Strucker fearfully agrees. But as their captor turns to Fury the Baron can't help but ask why his Hydra colleague has betrayed him. Kraken decides to tell him *all* the truth. And of course being a comic we get to see it in flashback pictures.

Some years ago in the Clan Yashida base in Agarashima Shogi Soma, Grandmaster of the Hand, came to see Lord Shingen Harada and his son Keniuchio the Silver Samurai. He fears he will die tomorrow and asks to open a certain box tonight. At 1st Shingen denies having such a box, but then relents and sends his son to fetch it. He checks what is inside (the Brood power source from last issue). Shingen warns him that the very ancient box (as we heard before in #6) is cursed, and no-one who opens it lives to open it again. (But the power source can only have been inside since after 1961 (see last issue), so the curse has nothing to do with the contents of the box.) Soma repeats that he dies tomorrow anyway. And the next day Magadan of Leviathan kills him, but doesn't learn where the 'heart' is.

Kraken reminds them that Vasili Dassiev continued to search for it as the only way to safely extricate Viktor Uvarov and the thousands of Leviathan troops from the containment tubes they were left in last issue. Until Kraken told them where it was! (Presumably Strucker knew the secret already via his partnership with Soma, because Hydra sent Viper and Val de Fontaine, the 2 Madame Hydra's, after the box in #6. And supposedly Viper had only begun a much earlier relationship with Keniuchio to get close to it.) Val then took the box and heart to her secret masters Leviathan. And the enemy was reborn and Hydra was doomed.

Strucker can't understand this betrayal. He understood Kraken taking control of Hydra from him. But why help Leviathan destroy Hydra? They'd shared the same vision since 1961 and the Great Wheel (last issue). But Kraken says he's never been on Hydra's side.

And then he uses the knife to cut Nick Fury free, and gives him a briefcase containing his SHIELD-style uniform.

Strucker wants to know how long he's been working with Fury. His 'partner' tells him some of the times he's helped Nick. In #6 he was the secret source of the message that brought the Secret Warriors to the Dock to save Fury and the Howling Commandos from Hydra. He says he sometimes used the captured SHIELD psi-agents, risking detection. (This suggests that those agents hadn't really been turned to Hydra. The scene shown is Gorgon being mind-scanned by them in #14 in the search for the traitor. I can only guess that the psi-agents were responsible for Strucker insisting then that his old pal Kraken didn't need to be checked.)

Kraken adds that there were many other times that he thought a little slip had given him away to Strucker. (But the Baron still doesn't twig what we know from #16 that this Kraken isn't the man he met at Pieta in 1961.) Kraken adds that there were unforeseen complications that messed up his plans. He lost some men in the destruction of Ichor base during Secret Invasion. He didn't know Contessa Val was working for Leviathan (in which case how did he expect the alien heart to be delivered to the enemy?). He asks the Baron if he even knew the identity of that Madame Hydra. And turns to Nick to say it was a good job neither of them was in a relationship with her at the time.

Kraken then says their biggest error was not knowing Hydra's deep connection with Gorgon (and we see a Kraken giving Tomi Shishido the sword Godkiller in a flashback in #11). Strucker finally realises this means this Kraken isn't his friend Daniel Whitehall. Kraken says he killed Whitehall and took his comprehensive journals, which uncharacteristically omitted mention of Gorgon. And Kraken removes his helmet to reveal Nick's brother Jake Fury (another member of the Great Wheel at Pieta in 1961). Who leaves now to check on a vote. (We'll understand that next issue.)

Wolfgang Strucker is confused because he thought Jake Fury killed himself long ago. Now it's Nick Fury's turn to explain some stuff. Starting with what really happened on their mission for Aries in 1961.

Nick and Jake were sent with the Professor to investigate the tomb of Leonardo da Vinci in France. When they returned to Pieta they said they didn't find anything but we know they lied. Last issue we saw them uncover a robotic skeleton which attacked them with tentacles. Now we see the tentacles grab Jake and create a copy of him. The 'robot' was the original Life Model Decoy and it could create more. Now Strucker catches on quickly and realises that this Jake Fury LMD was the Scorpio/JF in Cornelius van Lunt's Zodiac who hated his brother. Nick says the early LMD's were mentally unstable. Jake LMD was schizophrenic.

Strucker says he would have liked to have seen this self-replicating Renaissance tech. Fury says he *has*, but 1st asks how Hydra managed to gain control of SHIELD. The Baron says that Thomas Davidson (the Professor) defected from SHIELD to Hydra. Davidson had created SHIELD's security/computer system based on the Pieta system (via the system he created for the containment tubes, which Leviathan then stole). He now created a similar system for Hydra which could spy on/control SHIELD (and presumably Leviathan). And then Strucker killed him.

But Fury's reaction makes Wolfgang realise he only killed an LMD of Davidson. And Fury confirms that the Leonardo LMD created a copy of the Professor that day in the tomb too. That copy was paranoid and Fury tricked it into defecting to Hydra. He and the real Thomas knew what the LMD would do, and the real Professor was prepared for it. So SHIELD could then access Hydra's systems! The horrified Baron now gets it - Hydra was working for SHIELD, not the other way round!

Alessandro Vitti
Alessandro Vitti
Imaginary Friends
Paul Renaud (Cover Penciler)
Paul Renaud (Cover Inker)
Paul Renaud (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Dave Lanphear.
Editor: Lauren Sankovitch. Editor-in-chief: Axel Alonso.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Plus: Baron Strucker, Jake Fury.

> Secret Warriors: Book info and issue index

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