Secret Avengers #7: Holy crap, shit hits the fan in this issue. I really enjoyed that Spencer had Daisy be so arrogant and naive that she did, in fact, order Dr. Forson's assassination. I've never understood why Steve Rogers decided to make a teenager head of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Daisy's comments about not caring about the politics of her actions (when all that matters as head of S.H.I.E.L.D. is the politics of your actions) show how bad of a move that was. To prove the point that the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. has to make difficult, politics-driven decisions, Spencer has Maria Hill take out Mockingbird in order to keep Dr. Forson alive. (I can't wait to see how Bobbi manages to extract herself from A.I.M. Island.) However, she's also forced to re-write the memories of the other agents in the field, removing their memories of Bobbi being on the mission so that they can leave the island as quickly as possible. This action obviously raises some serious moral questions that go beyond just "Maria Hill can make difficult, politics-driven decisions." After all, Clint and Natasha agreed to have their memories of missions wiped; they didn't agree to an ongoing mind-control process. This series keeps raising questions about S.H.I.E.L.D. and its moral code and, as such, keeps getting better and better.
Secret Avengers #8: Unfortunately, after I wrote the above review, I'm now forced to write a not-so-great one. I was really excited about this issue, because I wanted to see Bobbi's ingenuity on display as she escaped from A.I.M. Island. However, Spencer leaves a lot of this issue unclear. For example, I don't understand why Bobbi doesn't know that she's not the A.I.M. scientist. Isn't she just using a cloaking device (a.k.a. "camotech")? Wouldn't her body feel the same as her usual body? Also, what the Hell happened with Jude the Entropic Man? At first, I thought that he melted Dr. Forson, but it was only in re-reading the issue that I realized that it was just some random A.I.M. dude. Why exactly is he killing off scientists? Does his power grow from that? In the end, those questions left me wanting a lot more answers than I got here, particularly when they seem to come more from logic gaps than intriguing conundrums.
Wolverine and the X-Men #34: Holy effing crap, Bobby as Voltron is about the best thing I've ever seen in a comic ever.
Wolverine and the X-Men #35: Honestly, for all the grief that I've given this series, I couldn't be more pleased with the outcome of this arc. Broo returns to us, thanks to some divine inspiration from Nightcrawler. (I love that this connection came thanks to Broo biting a Bamf.) Toad saves Husk, though I'm eager to learn why she lost her mind in the first place. Idie discovers the redemptive power of first love, finally seeing the beauty in the world again. It's all hugs and puppies and it's about damn time that Broo, Husk, and Idie get a happy ending.
But, it's really all about Quentin Quire, a statement that would thrill him. In fact, reading this issue, you realize that this whole series has always been all about Quentin. We finally see him complete his journey to becoming a hero, a conclusion that he reaches organically (with maybe a little inspiration from the aforementioned redemptive power of first love). Aaron never rushed the story, letting Quentin get there himself. It's what makes the reflective moment that Quentin enjoys after the battle so powerful, where he says to himself, "So that's how it feels to be a good guy" as he watches everyone's tearful reunion with Broo. (My second favorite moment of this issue is clearly Quentin punching Kade after he says, "I think I'd like a hug before I die.") This epiphany feels hard won, not a sudden change of heart that we see so often from authors taking short cuts.
Of course, one of the reasons that it took so long to get here is that Aaron has only recently started treating the kids as people. He often focused on the hijinks at the expense of the emotions. Here, he got the formula right, to a really fantastic degree. Quentin still gets to be snarky when it comes to telling Idie that "girlfriend" sounds too "human," but he also allows him the emotions of a teenage boy who grew up a bit. It's why I teared up a bit at the good-guy quote, because I could actually feel Quentin feeling that way, for once enjoying a victory won for the right reasons.
It's really rare that a series wraps up so many plot lines in one arc, an aversion born, I think, from the worry that people will see it as a good time to drop the series. But, I had the opposite response to this issue. With Aaron no longer treating the kids as simply vehicle for one-liners, I'm excited to see them continue to grow, particularly as a team. In other words, welcome, the next generation's "New Mutants." You're finally here.