Secret Avengers #21.1 (Marvel): You can definitely see what Rick Remender was going for here, but it just didn’t work for me on so many levels. The idea of a Point One (have I mentioned I hate the very idea of Point One, I hate saying it, I hate typing it, I hate the name, I hate that it exists?) diverting to show the transition of team leadership from Steve Rogers to Clint Barton, while setting up the new arc, is probably about as good a use of the silly Point One nonsense as you’re going to get, but the execution falls short. It opens with this highly expositional banter that just never lets up. When characters have lines like, “remember, blah, blah, blah is currently happening,” that’s never a good sign. These types of lines tell us that this place is x, our suits do y, and the bad guys want z, and it’s just awful scripting. The characters are essentially saying stuff to each other that they already know, so the lines exist for no other reason than to inform the reader. It’s petty as hell I’ll admit, but I don’t even like some of the spelling choices, like “cameraed.” I know what it means, but “camera’d” would just flow so much smoother visually. The humor is awkward too, Remender is forcing his characters to try to be pithy and funny with a sledgehammer, and they’re just not. The title of the book is Secret Avengers, so why Clint would intentionally blow his cover to a corrupt Senator on an unauthorized covert mission in a sovereign nation when he just said he’s in possession of some SHIELD stealth imager thing is beyond me. Steve and Clint bicker like an old married couple For. The. Entire. Issue. By the time Ghost Rider showed up, I was just about done. If ever a screen version of a character ruined the comic character for me, it’s Ghost Rider. It’s an instant turn-off. I had no interest in him before, and I have less than no interest now thanks to the one-note acting of Nic Cage, yet Remender seems intent on continually shoehorning GR into stories. Get! Steve says “I’m bored to hell with your attitude, Barton” and that’s basically how I feel about this issue. Zircher’s art is competent I guess, a little more loose and messy than Alan Davis, yet not as menacing or dark as Laurence Campbell, somewhere in between the two, which means that it’s not offensive, just inconsistent. I guess Steve does a good job of psycho-analyzing Clint, but it just feels so forced. By the end, the ultimate point is lost to Hickman’d out villains (<- see how that works with the ‘d? I didn’t say “Hickmaned” did I?), the layering of the twisty script, and all of the political grandstanding. It’s books like this that make me think there could be a day when I no longer read comics. So y'all creators are on notice, you have one more issue to wow me before I drop this book. Grade C+.