I hate this kind of ending. Having a mystery we didn't even know existed and couldn't have seen coming be explained to us (via it being explained to the only character not already in the know) is a boring, tired, cheap, lazy move. It tanks the conclusion of an otherwise pretty fun story, and leaves me feeling oh so deflated. Also, this is the first thing I've read with Nick Fury, Jr. and the guy came across as such an asshole. Arrogant and foolhardy.
The ending might have held up if the rest of the issue were amazing, but it's mediocre and sometimes worse. There is one pretty great scene where Madame Masque threatens to put cigarettes out on Kate's face, but it's too brief and never even comes close to actually happening, so in the end who cares? Other than that, it was a lot of poorly-paced action. Like why have the first page take place seconds after the next page? What is the point of that awkward, tiny time jump? It added nothing. Along those same nothing-to-add lines, Kate and Clint have a moment when, facing down a room of villains, they do a cutesy "Ready, Hawkeye?"/"After you, Hawkeye," thing, which is all well and good on it's own. But literally two pages later they stop, realize they need to go back for something, and face down the same exact group of bad guys while counting to three before charging back the way they came. These two pauses are way too similar to each other and too close together, and both are weakened because of it. If you want to prove to me that the Hawkeyes can handle a room full of evil-doers together, once is enough.
So yeah, Matt Fraction's script is lacking here. It feels rushed or, worse, less-than-fully-thought-out. And there's not a great deal of assistance offered by artist Javier Pulido. His pencils are fine as far as they go, but not to my taste and, I think, not as strong as they want to be. It feels like Pulido is aiming for something fairly grounded, but his style slides too far to the exaggerated side of the scale to pull grounded off. Everyone has big eyes and wide faces, and it's off-putting. There were one or two awesome pages, specifically when Masque fires her gun at Kate and Clint gets in the bullet's way, but beyond that it's middle-of-the-road stuff.
I will give Matt Hollingsworth's colors a nod because they more than deserve it. The coloring adds a lot of flavor and energy to the book. They're vibrant, almost pop art hues, and it works for the frenetic pace of the issue. So high fives for that.
But yeah, god, that ending. So lame. And needless. Why couldn't it have been Hawkeye who assassinated that dude? He fired and explosive arrow at a giant window in front of a room full of people. This is not a guy who seems worried about the well-being of his enemies. And if the Avengers are a government-sanctioned team now, shouldn't they be allowed to do things for the government? I don't get it, and ultimately it feels like what Fraction is aiming for is to make Clint seem noble and selfless through protecting the identity of the soldiers who actually did assassinate somebody. If that's the case, though, Fraction misses the mark, and instead we get this flub of a wrap-up.
Enough with this issue. Bring on the glorious return of David Aja!