Writer Rick Remender has been doing some interesting things with the Secret Avengers title since he began his run in issue #22. Coming right off the “Descendants” story arc, issue #26 begins a brand new story: the Avengers vs X-Men tie-in. This is natural, being an Avengers title, and especially because it is established in the AvX-proper series that the Secret Avengers have been designated as the space-expedition team tasked with intercepting the approaching Phoenix Force before it reaches Earth. As we were left hanging not knowing exactly becomes of the team when they finally run into the giant space-firebird at the end of AvX #2, this issue satisfies that particular cliffhanger, while also setting up a couple new ones.
Only some of the book’s regular cast are present: Beast, War Machine, Valkyrie, and Captain Britain. They are joined by Thor, Ms. Marvel, Protector, and Vision. Seems odd that half of this story’s cast are not actually part of the Secret Avengers team, but I digress.
Renato Guedes’ art is solid, particularly in Beast’s opening dream sequence. There are a few annoying inconsistencies throughout the issue (Ms. Marvel can’t seem to decide whether or not she wears a mask, as well as sleeves), but these are minor. The art definitely creates some excitement during the fight scene between the team and the Phoenix Force, although I don’t think it quite captures the Force’s cosmic power and proportions.
Overall, this is a good issue, and it has some pretty major implications for the team, and the Marvel Universe as a whole. Also, I’m enjoying that not all of the Avengers vs X-Men tie-ins are solely about Avengers fighting X-Men. Secret Avengers gets a 4 out of 5.