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Is It Really a Secret Anymore? – Secret Invasion # 4 Reviewed!



Posted by Steve

secret_invasion_4_ign.jpgI really liked this series when it got started. It seemed like it was gonna be a good old fashioned throw down between good and evil. Tag on the question of who’s a skrull and who’s not and you’ve got an intriguing throw down as well. In my mind I imagined a story that would be frustrating as heroes fought Skrulls, villains fought heroes, and heroes watched each other out of the corners of their eyes as one by one it was brought to light who was a Skrull and who was not. Then I imagined a huge double sized finale where the Skrulls were defeated and maybe one or two little loose ends to be tied up in ongoing monthlies down the road.

While the story has been good, it hasn’t been as great as I hoped it would be. In fact, in the past month I’ve enjoyed some of the tie-ins from ongoing monthlies more than I have the core story of Secret Invasion.

Issue 4 ramped the action back up a bit, but not to the scale that I actually care about it. Black Widow shows up to run of Skrull-Spider-Woman who was still trying to convince Stark that he’s a Skrull. Still suffering from the virus that infected his armor, Tony is starting to look a little green. Widow believes that he’s not a Skrull however and gives him a pep talk to try to get him back in the game, but not before she takes out a couple of other Skrulls including the Skrull-Beast who shared a great tie-in Avengers issue with Wonder Man.

In New York, Nick Fury and his new Howling Commandos take down the Super Skrulls that invaded the city. Ms. Marvel is there to help. She apparently took out a lot of the Super Skrulls in Ms. Marvel #28. (I wasn’t able to pick that book up.) When the Commandos are done with the Super Skrulls, they incapacitate Ms. Marvel, not trusting that she is who she claims to be.

In this issue, we also discover that the Skrulls don’t want the Fantastic Four dead. They want to put Reed Richards on trial for his actions against the Skrulls waaaay back in Fantastic Four #4.

In a nice moment, we see the head of S.W.O.R.D., the space station version of S.H.I.E.L.D. that was destroyed in the first issue of Secret Invasion, get into one of the ships of the invading armada. We are led to believe that it is the craft where Reed Richards is being held. She finds a set of Skrull monitors and begins to see what is going on and is found out by a few of the green beasties.

Meanwhile, Skrull-Jarvis is still aboard the SHIELD helicarrier demanding Commander Hill’s surrender. As she takes a stand, everyone around her changes to reveal that she is surrounded by Skrulls.

In the last few pages, our attention is turned to a group of villains apparently being led by a guy I don’t quite recognize (sorry). The argument is made that this is the heroes battle, but that argument is shot down by an argument that favors survival and the order, “Gather everyone you can.”

In Central Park West humans are being rounded up concentration camp style by the Skrulls. As people begin to beg and some even pray, lightning splits the sky. Everyone looks up to see The Mighty Thor desceding from the Heavens. In the distance, he is being watched through a set of binoculars by someone wearing red gloves and some kind of blue armor. (It’s Captain America folks. The new Captain America. Winter Soldier. Bucky.)

That’s more like it. While I didn’t like this issue as much as I liked issues 1 and 2, it looks like things are hopefully about to ramp up again. My fear is that there will be a lot happen off of the main canvas of the Secret Invasion title though. However, this is not to express my fears of what may happen, it’s to express my opinion of what I read, and my opinion is, I liked it. I didn’t gush over it, but I liked it.

I made no bones about the fact that I thought the Skrull-Spider-Woman/Tony Stark conversation took up way too much time in the last issue. I was glad it was brought to a finish pretty quickly here and I like that Black Widow was able to convince Tony to do what he can to help because that’s what he wants to do.

The battle in Manhattan was handled well and Nick Fury. The ending has me hooked into getting the next issue, so it did what it was supposed to do. I was glad to see the fate of Reed Richards finally. It reminded me of Mulder when he was abducted in one of the later seasons of X-Files. He looks to be in pain in the midst of being stretched out across some surgical table/torture rack apparatus. I want Reed to be rescued. I want him to let the heroes know what needs to be done. I want to see him get his family back from the Negative Zone. I am invested in his fate.

Then there’s Thor and Cap. It’s about time the other two of Marvel’s Trinity came out of hiding for this shindig. So…yeah…I’m ready for round 5.

Story 3 out 5 While I liked this issue, last issue really put a damper on the momentum for me, so this issue seems to be in the process of getting some of that back, and when things are brought to a screeching halt for a reader it’s hard to get revved back up to the point where things are really kicking.   Also, it’s about time the villains got caught up in all of this.  No matter how evil they are, they have a vested interest in Earth not being conquered by the Skrulls.   I’m also glad we’re not going the route of “V” with this story.   I don’t think 8 issues would be enough to really delve into what would happen if Skrulls actually won and set up a government.  While things look bleak, there’ s still hope, and since we’re at the halfway point, hopefully things won’t go south right up to the last page of issue 8 where someone gets their hands on a cosmic cube and wishes it all away.

Art 2 out of 5 – I like Lienel Yu’s lines.  However, his character designs and faces are a little annoying to look at.  This was most apparent to me in the close ups of Tony Stark.  It’s a weird situation where he’s trying to give a certain realism to the work but still make it cartoony.  It’s a little too impressionist for me and instead of growing on me, it’s wearing on me.

Cover Art 2 out of 5 – I give the cover 2 because it has characters who are actually in featured prominently in the issue, that’s the good.  Other than that…I miss George Perez.  That’s all I will say about that.  Actually, it isn’t  none of these covers have blown me away.  They are all underwhelming to be such a huge event.  I would say the same of DC’s stuff right now.  This is your big crossover event people.  Make the covers count!

There you have it.  Liking the story, could be happier with the art.  In the past few months I’ve gotten various crossovers in the regular monthlies.  I think I’m gonna narrow those selections down to Hercules and on or two other titles I normally get.  The really good thing about this story arc is you can read the mini series without buying any of the crossovers and still have a fairly complete picture of what’s going on.  I applaud you for that Marvel.

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