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Secret Warriors #1: Review

Feb 2009
Jonathan Hickman, Stefano Caselli

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Secret Warriors #1 Review by (August 12, 2019)
SHIELD Agent Daisy Johnson was involved in Nick Fury's Secret War against Latveria that got him thrown out of SHIELD. Fury persuaded her to recruit the others for his Secret Warriors team in Mighty Avengers #13 in preparation for the Skrull Invasion he suspected was coming. Then they were involved in Secret Invasion itself. In a tale in Dark Reign: New Nation Fury decided to use the team to oppose the insane villain Norman Osborn who's now leading SHIELD's replacement HAMMER. Most of the previous apps of Quake or the Warriors were written by Brian Bendis. Now Jonathan Hickman takes the reigns but Bendis co-writes the 1st 6 issues.

The issues in this series don't have titles, but the covers of the 1st 6 issues bear the title of the later TP - Nick Fury: Agent Of Nothing.

The provenance of the override code "Fury Gemini Zodiac" will become a bit clearer in Dark Reign: The List: Secret Warriors 1-shot.

Because of Marvel's sliding timescale references to things like who the President is are labelled 'topical' and cease to be 'true' after a few years. However, 'topically' the Pres here is Barack Obama. Secret Invasion happened in George W Bush's term of office, and he put Norman Osborn in charge of US Security. Obama is continuing the status quo.

2 of NF's New York secret bases *were* used by Captain America's resistance in Civil War I. They got the 1st in #2, but it was then considered compromised by defectors to the other side and they got another 1 in #5. But the 1 in #2 was just referred to as base #23 of 28 (not #20 or #25 of 27). And I can't find the other 1 being named or numbered.

The Caterpillars were Bendis' idea. The 1st hint of them was a conversation in New Avengers #14, and then Daisy was told to recruit some Caterpillars in Mighty Av #13.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Secret Warriors #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Nick Fury's Secret Warriors team is on a mission at a SHIELD secret storage facility Black Ice in Odessa, Texas. Quake (Daisy Johnson) surveys the scene while Hellfire (JT James) complains that this spying gig hasn't had the perks he expected - cool gadgets and hot women. Daisy is in touch with the rest of the squad and using code names she sends Slingshot (Yo-Yo Rodriguez) to move in for a closer look. But then there are shots fired and the team call for help. Quake and Hellfire respond.

Soon they're all (including Sebastian Druid and Stonewall (Jerry Sledge) caught in the crossfire between Hydra and Norman Osborn's HAMMER Agents led by the Sentry of his Dark Avengers. Johnson successfully leads her team out of the situation. And Hydra stay only long enough to teleport away a box which they came for.

Our lot return to their Caterpillar base the Cocoon in New York, Fury's Secret Base #17. Fury's not happy to see them and wants to know why they didn't follow orders. They were to see but not be seen. Daisy takes the blame for telling the team to get closer. Nick stresses the need for discipline, then you don't need luck. He dismisses them, but holds Quake back for something else.

They pass the youngest team member Phobos (Alexander Aaron, son of Ares) playing an online video game. Nick is angry that the boy has hacked the base's computer system to get access to the Internet. They leave the boy and Nick tells Daisy to keep an eye on the teenage Greek god. But it turns out he's not so concerned about the messed up mission as what the presence of Hydra and HAMMER meant.

1 month ago Fury infiltrated the Carousel, the SHIELD Datacore facility in Chicago. After dealing with some LMD guards he tried to login but the system denied him access. However the override code "Fury Gemini Zodiac" got him in, and he downloaded full information about the command structure of SHIELD, its assets and a list of remaining known Agents. As he left the building blew up behind him.

2 days ago Fury sneaked in to the Oval Office in the White House to ask the President why SHIELD was *really* dismantled. The Pres said it was because they needed something more accountable after the Skrull Invasion. Sensors in Nick's wristwatch told him the man was telling the truth (at least as he knew it). Fury in turn owned up to destroying the Carousel. He left a list of other covert SHIELD shadow bases in the US for him to look into, and then made his way out of the building.

Daisy Johnson is amazed that her boss can get into the White House past the security. Fury says he has his own secret entrance. But what's more important is that there are 9 SHIELD bases that the Government doesn't know about. This Cocoon site isn't 1 of them, it's 1 of a set known only to him. Nick tells Daisy he misled the President, there were only 2 bases on the list he left. 1 was the Black Ice site, the other he knows the Government has already found.

Fury now admits that he sent the team to Texas to see who turned up. He was expecting Hydra, but he wanted to see if HAMMER showed up as well. He wanted to see how high Hydra had infiltrated the Government  - to see if it was high enough to stop the President sending HAMMER in. The experiment proved to him that the current administration was clean.

Nick also says that Hydra weren't stealing something from SHIELD, they were retrieving something that belonged to them. He shows Daisy a schematic of Hydra's subsidiaries that he downloaded from the Datacore, and SHIELD is 1 of them. "I've been working for the bad guys the whole damn time!"

The story is followed by some more info Fury has put together. Some of it is what he got from the SHIELD Datacore, other stuff is from his personal files.

The Hydra hierarchy lists 2 companies, Typhon and Echidna, and 3 subsidiary organisations, Secret Empire, Them and AIM (including AID, RAID and AGM). It  lists SHIELD separately, and also agents embedded in the US, Canadian and Russian governments.

There is more info on Typhon and Echidna. The Typhon Group is a major pharmaceutical company with philanthropic tendencies. But behind the scenes it also manufactures chemical weapons for many armed forces including the US. Echidna Capital Management is a venture capital institution that invests in, and gains control of, cutting edge technology.

Next we see a map of Hydra bases, SHIELD shadow facilities and Fury's secret sites.

There are 3 known Hydra bases. The original HQ Tsunami (Hydra Island) in the Pacific was sunk way back in Strange Tales #158. The replacement Ichor, also in the Pacific, was destroyed recently (as we'll see in a flashback next issue). Hydra's financial base the Crown in Japan is still in operation.

There are 7 suspected sites. Ravenous in British Columbia, Canada is the recruitment centre. The function of the others is currently unknown:- Nemesis in Sumatra, Tarantula in Western Australia, Hell's Heaven in China, Omega Point in Italy, the Hive in the Indian Ocean and Gehenna in New Zealand.

Of the 9 SHIELD secret shadow bases we've already heard about Black Ice and the Carousel. Fury told the President about another site he knew was already in HAMMER's hands. There are 2 such mentioned on this list:- the Dock base for helicarriers in the Caribbean and the Torch black ops base in Hawaii. There are 2 sites compromised much earlier:- the Cube prison in Kansas(?) taken over by Noh-Varr during Civil War I and the Utopia holding facility in Alaska wrecked in X-Men v2 #189 when the Children Of The Vault rescued Northstar.

That leaves 3 active(?) sites:- the Red Worm base for Psi-Agents in California, the Barracuda weapons factory in Wyoming(?) and the mysterious Sunburn in North Dakota(?).

Then we have Nick Fury's own 27 secret bases, which are split into 4 categories:- Ones he inherited from WWII. 2nd and 3rd generation bases he had constructed later. And some labelled Protected which even *his* files don't describe.

The 8 original sites are:- #2 the Queen Cold War safe house in what was East Germany. #9 Thunder remote quarantine facility in Sweden. #10 Minuteman in Hong Kong, originally a base for ops in China. #13 Hotspot in Paris for ops in Europe. #17 the Cocoon in Brooklyn, the base for Caterpillar ops where the Secret Warriors live. #18 Snowstorm in the Savage Land. #20 Homerun in the Bronx which was compromised in Civil War I. #23 Memorial access to the White House, presumably what Fury uses this issue.

The 8 2nd generation sites are:- #1 Stinger safe house in Madripoor. #3 Apollo 'perpetual power station' in Austria. #4 the Sandbox in the Sudan, base for ops in Africa and the Middle East. #5 Radiant in Moscow, base for Russian ops. #11 Challenger in Nantes to support ops in France(?). #14 Columbia in London for UK ops. #19 Chariot in Florida 'termination protocol alpha station' - Marvel Fandom Wiki suggests it may be where faulty LMDs go to die. #25 Valhalla in New York, compromised in Civil War I.

The 5 3rd generation sites are:- #6 Brimstone in Carpasia, compromised by Carpasian rebels (but that doesn't happen in Carpasia's only app in Wolverine & Nick Fury: Scorpio Rising). #12 the Rocket, a launch site in the New Siberian Islands. #16 Carbon in Colorado housing Fury's AUTOFAC mainframe. #21 Providence/the Bunker long-term storage facility in South Dakota(?). #22 Inside Straight replication facility in Arizona(?).

The 6 mystery sites are:- #7 Pieta in Rome, #8 the Playground somewhere around Syria/Iraq/Saudi Arabia, #15 Telescope on the Chile/Argentina border, #24 the Dragon in New York, #26 the Hammer in Alaska and #27 the Anvil in Colombia.

The next page is a list of Caterpillars, superpowered people who Fury has located but are otherwise under the radar. It starts with the ones he got Daisy to recruit for this team (in Mighty Avengers #13), plus Layla Miller who turned the job down. Layla was introduced into the X-universe in House Of M but apart from her, as per spec, none of the chars have previous form. We'll meet them all before the series is over.

Next is Nick's overview of Hydra history.
The origins of Hydra can be dated back to 3rd Dynasty Egypt. (This comes from Captain America: Hail Hydra #2 where agents of the Order Of The Hydra in 2671 BC raid the tomb of Gilgamesh for an ingredient of an immortality formula. #2-3 show them seeking more ingredients over succeeding ages up to 1522 AD and Ponce de Leone's search for the Fountain Of Youth, and using the Inquisition to mine for alchemist's secrets)
References to the Order disappear after the Renaissance. (But CA:HH has them resurfacing as the Thule Society in WWII.)
Fugitive Thule Nazis and the Hand in Japan joined forces to become modern Hydra.
Baron Strucker took over Hydra and created Hydra Island/Tsunami (Captain Savage #4).
He used Nazi gold to expand Hydra and found the Typhon Group.
SHIELD was created under Rick Stoner (Fury 1-shot) to oppose Hydra. During that period occurred the Zodiac event and Fury's 1st encounter with the Kraken (we'll learn about these later). Eventually Stoner was killed and Fury took over SHIELD (Fury again).
Strucker died in the destruction of Hydra Island (Strange Tales #158). Hydra split into AIM, Secret Empire, Them etc.
Strucker was resurrected and retook control of Hydra (NF(1989)#20-21). Typhon went public and Echidna was created.
There was a civil war within Hydra between Strucker and the Gorgon, leader of the Hand. Gorgon won for a while and Strucker was put in stasis. But it eventually ended with Gorgon killed by Wolverine and Strucker back in control. (There were too many comics involved in this to mention.)
Hydra then went quiet until the Skrull invasion during which the Ichor base was destroyed.
But now Hydra is back at full strength.

Another page details the Termination Protocols.
SHIELD was disbanded after the Deltite affair (in the NF vs SHIELD limited series). When it was rebuilt Fury set up these Protocols in case SHIELD was terminated or corrupted again. They kicked in when the organisation was decommissioned after Secret Invasion.
The defunct Cube and Utopia bases were ignored. Agents were successfully removed from the Dock, the Torch, Barracuda and Black Ice and replaced by LMDs. The Carousel DataCore was blocked off. At Red Worm the Psi-Agents were automatically mind-wiped and LMDs put them in stasis. We're not allowed to know what happened at Sunburn.

Then there's a list of SHIELD Agents.
The Executive Directors were Nick Fury, Dum Dum Dugan (now running Howling Commandos PMC), GW Bridge, Sharon Carter, Maria Hill (now working with Tony Stark) and Tony Stark.
Psi-Agent Olivia Hook and Agents Gabe Jones, Eric Koenig and Jasper Sitwell are now also in HC PMC.
Yuri Brevlov and Alexei Vashin are with the Russian GRU and SVR respectively. Seth Walters is in the US Treasury Dept.
Fury's son Mikel Fury is supposedly back in Carpasia with the Separatist Movement (see the Wolverine & Nick Fury: Scorpio Rising 1-shot for some background to this).
John Warden is listed as in biostasis at Red Worm. He was the the Psi-Agent responsible for getting himself and all the others into stasis.
3 Agents now seem to be working for Hydra:- John Allen Adams is working for Echidna, Gaffer/Sidney Levine is at Gehenna base and Dr Myron MacLain is at Tarantula base.
Nails/Joan Eaton, Kid/EB Farrell, M-80/Sayuri Kyota, Silicon/Gerald Simms and Skul/John Skulinowski (all previously the Elite Agents Of SHIELD) are listed as Rogue Security from the Torch.
John Garrett and Natasha Romanova are active but their whereabouts unknown.
The file doesn't know the status of Rigby Fallon, Val de Fontaine, Alexander Pierce and Clay Quartermain.

The very last page is a set of entries from the official journal of Yo-Yo Rodriguez. Fury told her that she, like all the others, should keep such a record. But much later when she mentioned it to the others they informed her that Fury and never said that to them. But she kept it up anyway. And it reveals that she came to understand why Fury was training them so hard.

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


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Plus: H.A.M.M.E.R., Hellfire (JT James), Phobos, Quake (Daisy Johnson), Sebastian Druid, Secret Warriors, Slingshot (Yo-Yo Rodriguez), Stonewall (Jerry Sledge).

> Secret Warriors: Book info and issue index

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