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Secret Avengers #4: Review

May 2013
Nick Spencer, Luke Ross

Story Name:

Mission 004: Tehran

Review & Comments

4 stars

Secret Avengers #4 Review by (January 10, 2024)

Review: And so the good guys are again caught up in the villains’ machinations and trying to find a way out. Fortunately, they have Bruce Banner on their side for the smarts, though I’m sure that wasn’t the primary reason they recruited him but it helped. But the good guys strike back, first by dropping Hulk on the problem—it’s nice when SMASH! will solve everything—and then by assassinating a foreign head of state, which moves us back toward international crimes. How can they get out of this moral bind? Will they get out of the moral bind? Do they know there’s a moral bind? The answer to the last question is yes so stay tuned for next issue.

Next up: solving the mystery of when Bruce Banner grew such big ears.

Comments: First appearance of Hulk/Bruce Banner in this series; this story takes place while Hulk is allied with SHIELD in THE INDESTRUCTIBLE HULK series (2012-2014). First appearance of James “Rhodey” Rhodes in the series; he will officially join the team in issue #6.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Secret Avengers #4 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro

An army of Iron Patriot drones takes off from China and spreads a swath of death and destruction through the Middle East….

At the SHIELD Helicarrier, Dr. Mendel reports to Phil Coulson that there is no progress on reactivating the damaged Jocasta that was recovered from the Gate….

A helicopter lands atop the craft, discharging several divisions of SHIELD troops, guarding a single prisoner, Dr. Bruce Banner. He is greeted by Maria Hill. Director Daisy Johnson is surprised at how well it went, considering the history of both Bruce Banner and Hulk. At a briefing of scientific personnel, Johnson reveals that six hours after A.I.M. stole the Iron Patriot prototype, an army of Iron Patriot drones took of from a factory in China and raided the Middle East, targeting terrorist training camps, leaders’ homes, weapons depots, all good targets but many were not verified and the drones had no concern for civilian casualties. The US will not launch an attack on Barbuda because it’s better to claim the drone strikes were planned than admit that a US weapons system was hacked and deployed by an enemy. So she asks the assembled brains how to stop them. Bruce Banner replies that they don’t: the drones aren’t drones, they’re sentient. So they have a sense of identity and survival instinct so they should talk to them, reason with them, as they think what they are doing is in the best interests of mankind. But it has to be someone who can understand how machines think….

And so, Phil Coulson meets with Tony Stark remotely, a small monitor mounted inside a remote-controlled Iron Man armor. Tony has many reasons why he can’t accommodate them but Coulson has a confession: he’s actually there to talk to James “Rhodey” Rhodes….

And so, having learned that the Iron Patriots are headed for Tehran, SHIELD cannot allow an act of war to take place that the USA would be blamed for, so to buy time, Bruce Banner is dropped from a helicopter. And the Hulk lands among the drones and smashes all of them into tiny pieces. Hulk turns back into Banner and he is captured by SHIELD troops. Daisy Johnson makes a statement for the press that Hulk, controlled by Mentallo, was dispatched toward Tehran so the US Government allowed SHIELD the use of the drones to stop him, which they did. The incident is still under investigation so there is no word on retaliation against A.I.M., known to be Mentallo’s employer….

Meanwhile, Nick Fury Jr. leads an underwater mission of the Secret Avengers (Black Widow, Hawkeye, Mockingbird) to infiltrate Barbuda. Mockingbird will work with the on-site asset (Taskmaster) to learn how the drones are being controlled while the other three are approved to assassinate the Scientist Supreme….   

Luke Ross
Luke Ross
Matthew Wilson
Tomm Coker (Cover Penciler)
Tomm Coker (Cover Inker)
Daniel Freedman (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: Clayton Cowles.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Widow
Black Widow

(Natasha Romanoff)
Bruce Banner
Bruce Banner

(Robert Bruce Banner)

(Clint Barton)

(Bruce Banner)
James Rhodes
James Rhodes

Nick Fury Jr.
Nick Fury Jr.

(Marcus Johnson)
Phil Coulson
Phil Coulson


Plus: Daisy Johnson.

> Secret Avengers: Book info and issue index

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