Was surprised no one started one for the books yet. Lots of stuff happens in this issue as the tension between AIM and SHIELD continues to escalate here and we get some great character moments (Maria Hill in particular I love here). Here's a brief recap:
- Issue picks up as in the previews, with the Iron Patriot's attacking hotspots around the globe. Internal monologue suggests that the armour is doing this to protect us.
- Next Coulson is checking up on the Jocasta the team recovered, still unresponsive. Meanwhile an entire(-ly nervous) platoon os SHIELD agents are welcoming Banner abroad the carrier.
- Hill and Johnson are discussing the team with Daisy proclaiming her surprise that the Hulk with his "hostile aversion to mental programming" would submit to the required memory implants to be used as an asset. Hill reminds her that the Secret Avengers were supposed to be her initiative to run as she see's fit, to which Daisy replies yes its Hill's baby, but its still part of Daisy's organization. Hill handily reminds her that she's not the official director yet before they arrive at the briefing room.
- Here we see that the Iron Patriot's are actually attacking areas that the US already had under watch for suspected terrorist activity. One of the SHIELD scientists argues how is that a bad thing, when Daisy explains that the reason SHIELD hadn't moved in on these zones was because some of these targets were simply suspected of terrorism, and others were in densely populated areas. Things the drones don't seem to care about. As a result, the US is taking responsibility for the attacks, not wanting to admit that their propriety technology has been twisted and used against them. They want the drones shut down before things get worse though. Speaking of drones....
- Banner makes his entrance, explaining that the heightened reaction times the Iron Patriots displayed in the videos show that they're not drones at all, but are sentient. He then suggests just talking to them, using their perceived concern for humans as common ground to open a line of communication with them.
- Scene shifts to Coulson showing up at Stark Resilient with Tony, controlling his armour across the galaxy via remote lists off all his current commitments and explains why he can't help SHIELD when Phil cuts him of to explain that he came to see none other than James Rhodes (I can only hope this means War Machine coming soon.)
- The Iron Patriot's launch another attack before SHIELD can try to communicate with them. Hill then asks Banner to Hulk out and stop the IP's before they cause an international incident, buying SHIELD more time to work on their plan.
- He makes short work of the armours, de-Hulk's but is promptly arrested by SHIELD as his memory is wiped (through use of captions we see Maria apologize via email to Bruce that things had to turn out this way). At a press conference later on its revealed that its Maria's plan to say the Hulk was mind controlled by Mentallo and as a result required SHIELD to call on the US governments to help stop his rampage. Being that Mentallo is affiliated with AIM Island its asked if AIM is danger of either being retaliated against which Maria outright denies...
- Which leads to the next scene which shows the field team consisting of Fury, Widow, Mock, and Hawkeye as infiltrating AIM island by sea. Bobbi has another cool moment with the camotech (I like that that's her thing here. Fits her name really well) while abroad the island Daisy gives them clearance on Protocol D, assassinating the scientist supreme.
What did everyone else think? I thought it was another fantastic issue. Lots of things happening in this issue. I love watching the game between AIM and SHIELD play out both on the field and behind the scenes. Hill's even using the media as her unwitting pawns in the agency's game. Lots of intrigue and twists. I've come to expect a huge twist at least once in each issue, but the surprises come in so many different forms that I'm still shocked. The art is similarly amazing with his distinct renditions of Hill and Johnson, two characters who are too easy to draw alike but here they are clearly distinct individuals.