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Secret Warriors #12: Review

Jan 2010
Jonathan Hickman, Stefano Caselli

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

4.5 stars

Secret Warriors #12 Review by (November 5, 2019)
We learned the origins of the other Secret Warriors in Mighty Avengers #13, so now it's time to complete the set with Stonewall. Absorbing Man was given his power in prison by Loki in Journey Into Mystery #114. Stonewall has his father's power to change his body to duplicate the properties of anything he touches. But also his normal body has abnormal strength and durability.

Absorbing Man was imprisoned after being part of the Lethal Legion's attempt to kidnap Norman Osborn in their Dark Reign: LL mini-series. After this app he's still a prisoner but he'll temporarily gain Cosmic Cube power in Mighty Avengers #32-33.

We heard about Hydra's financial base the Crown in #1. Tarantula in Western Australia was also mentioned then, but nothing was known of its function.

Leviathan's tubes here look strikingly similar to those in Jonathan Hickman's SHIELD v2 #4 where the mass of tubes seem to be 'batteries' powering stasis tubes holding 3 men for centuries. I am unclear whether the tubes here are also batteries keeping the 'beast' Orion in stasis or whether they are supposed to contain the 'horde' of other Leviathan agents also in stasis. (At this point SHIELD *v1* hasn't even been started.)


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Secret Warriors #12 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
The forces of Leviathan have invaded the Hydra Nemesis shipyard. Gorgon is fighting them. He's successful against the ordinary troops with his sword and his petrifying gaze. But the accompanying 'demon' seems immune. He says his masters have just awoken from a long sleep and they want to know about the modern world. To this end he burrows tendrils from his fingers into Gorgon's brain. But Gorgon cuts that arm off. The demon just says "We have the girl". Gorgon beheads him and rushes out of his quarters to see other troops taking Viper into their aircraft. They escape, leaving some of the troops as a delaying tactic.

Last issue Jerry Sledge (Stonewall) persuaded Yo-Yo Rodriguez (Slingshot) to visit her mother - she was afraid of the reaction to her new cybernetic arm. Now that it all turned out OK she's holding Sledge to his pledge to go visit *his* father. On the way Jerry is teaching Yo-Yo to drive his car.

Jerry's dad is a super-villain in Lacoochee Supermax Prison. He tells Yo-Yo how the guy  raped his mother before he had his powers, and that's how Jerry was born. Years later the powered version tried to attack the mother again. Jerry tried to defend her, but when the men touched something happened. Jerry woke up in hospital with his powers, and his mom was dead. After hearing this Yo-Yo is ready to let jerry off his promise. But he says he's at the prison now so he might as well go through with it.

Jerry introduces Yo-Yo to his father Crusher Creel, the Absorbing Man. Creel cruelly suggests when he gets out he'll dig Jerry's mother up.

Now we go back 6 years for the origin of 1 of Hydra's ruling council, Hive. In the Hydra recruitment centre Ravenous near Vancouver 1 nervous recruit is told he's been chosen for a special program. He's taken by Kraken to the Hive base under the Indian Ocean where he's thrown naked into a pit full of 'pods'.

Kraken tells Baron Strucker that the guy was chosen because he has a low IQ and also a weak immune system which won't be able to resist the process. They have developed a parasite which can take over a human being. Now they want to develop a host who can breed more parasites and mentally control the other infected people via a sentient group consciousness. There are worries that the parasites might mutate, but they're willing to take that risk. We see the pods open and fire multi-eyed blobs at the victim.

Of course the human host's consciousness will be destroyed. We see the man already converted physically into the Hive being we've seen in earlier issues. But Kraken says that it will take years for the parasites to transform the internal organs to their liking. And the brain and nervous system will be saved for last because the parasites want the adrenaline that the pain will produce.

And we see Hive now in Hydra's current main base Gehenna with Kraken, Strucker and Madame Hydra as Gorgon tells them how Leviathan kidnapped Viper, and also killed half the agents in the Nemesis base and destroyed 2 Dreadnought ships. He says they knew too much detail of the base, and this renews the suspicion from #6 that they have a traitor in their midst. Madame Hydra suggests it might be Viper herself, and the kidnapping was staged to divert suspicion. But Kraken has a plan - he will use the SHIELD psi-agents they acquired from the Red Worm base (#3) to scan all high-level Hydra operatives.

Last issue Nick Fury took Daisy Johnson (Quake), leader of the Secret Warriors his White Caterpillar team, to his base #15, Hotspot in Paris, to meet the leaders of the 2 other Caterpillar teams. His son Mikel Fury leads the Gray team which is an attack and response group concentrating on Leviathan. Alexander Pierce has the Black recon team looking at Hydra. Daisy says she has no idea what *her* team's role is. Nick tells her it's his personal hammer.

Pierce summarises his position. They've identified Hydra bases Gehenna, Nemesis, Ravenous, Tarantula and the Crown. They track people from the recruitment centre Ravenous to trace the spread of Hydra's tentacles. Mikel reminds his father that nothing but rumours of the Russian Leviathan organisation has been heard for decades until recently. Nick picks up that narrative to describe locating Seth Waters, a Leviathan agent in the US Treasury who unwillingly provided them with some info (Dark Reign: The List - Secret Warriors 1-shot).

Nick continues with some history. Just as Hydra rose from the ashes of WWII Germany and Japan, so Leviathan was born in post-WWII USSR. People think they know about the Russian spy organisations, but there was a whole totally secret other group Leviathan. And then 1 day all Leviathan agents vanished. Daisy asks what happened but we don't get an answer.

We now turn our attention to The Long Winter, Leviathan's 'cold storage' facility. The Leviathan troops from last issue bring Viper to their leader who demands to know where the box is. (We saw them last issue on the trail of the box that she and Madame Hydra got from Silver Samurai in #6.) She profanely refuses to answer. 1 of the Leviathan 'demons' painfully inserts probes into Viper's face and reports that she doesn't know where it is, Madame Hydra took it away.

The leader (not yet named as Magadan) comments that they were woken before the others to summon the horde and wake the beast. They obviously need the box to fulfil this task. We see a containment tube labelled Orion linked to a large number of other tubes.

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.

Absorbing Man
Absorbing Man

(Crusher Creel)

Plus: Alexander Pierce, Baron Strucker, Gorgon (Tomi Shishido), Hive, Kraken, Leviathan (Gargantua), Madame Hydra (Val de Fontaine), Magadan (Vasili Dassiev), Mikel Fury, Quake (Daisy Johnson), Secret Warriors, Slingshot (Yo-Yo Rodriguez), Stonewall (Jerry Sledge), Viper (Madame Hydra).

> Secret Warriors: Book info and issue index

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