Finally. I mean that on so many levels.
First, “finally” I’m getting this review up. Second, “finally” it looks like the tables are turning on so many things. Thirdly, “finally” I’m able to root for heroes again.
I have heard a lot of negative things about Secret Invasion. Let’s be honest though, the story is coherent, well thought out, and has for the most part been well-executed. Compare that to Marvel’s “Distinguished Competetion’s” big crossover event. Raise your hand if you have the slightest clue what’s going on in Final Crisis. I don’t, and I don’t think it’s because I’m stupid. I think it’s because Grant Morrison has taken every idea he’s ever had and squashed it into an 8 page mini-series.
The success of this series so far for me is that you don’t have to purchase every tie in to enjoy the story at hand. The tie ins make the experience richer and give us a much broader scope of the Skrull Invasion, but they are not necessary if you don’t regularly collect the titles that the crossovers are happening in.
Secret Invasion 5 begins to show us what makes our super heroes heroes. It also shows us why some of the most beloved villains are still beloved to this day.
The issue starts out right where the latest issue of Thunderbolts left off. Captain Marvel (a skrull version of him) has shown up at Thunderbolt Mountain to destroy the T-bolts. Norman Osborne, one of the greatest manipulators in the Marvel U, is able to deduce that this Captain Marvel only recently realized his Skrulliness and talks him from self doubt, to self loathing, to anger at his empire for sticking him in the form of a Kree dog. He leaves without harming the Thunderbolts and Norman kicks into gear using Oscorp technology to mobilize his team. Throughout these panels he bemoans the fact that world is so into Starktech because that’s what’s gotten them into this mess.
We get to see a secret base of the great Nick Fury who has been working behind the scenes for months getting his newest team of Howling Commando’s up and running. Suddenly, Fury announces “It’s starting.”
Across the globe, Skrulls use the airwaves and the forms of familiar leaders, politicians, and celebrities to try and reassure the world that they are here to help. (Very remniscent of “V” the miniseries and television series from the eighties.)
In space, Agent Brand of S.W.O.R.D. has made her way into one of the Skrull ships, when we left her in the last issue, she had found Reed Richards. Now, she is encoutered by Skrulls and it takes a bit, but as her translator kicks in, she’s able to convince the Skrulls for a moment that she is a Skrull, and she pulls rank on them. Taking one of their weapons she takes the whole little brigade out and frees Richards who doesn’t trust her because he heard her speaking Skrull-ese. Even weakened, Reed manages to get the upperhand and knock Brand out. This a Reed we’ve not seen in a while. Determined, tough, and a bit scary. She comes to and he apologizes, but tells her he confirmed she is indeed human, and now they have to get back to stop the invasion. He is a man who has been a POW. In one of the Avengers crossovers, we find that they used Reed Richards’ ideas through manipulating clones of him to plan this whole attack. Looking at how they did things he realizes this. So, wracked with guilt over his unwitting role, and grief over the apparent loss of his family, Mr. Fantastic launches into action.
On the Helicarrier, we return to Skrull Jarvis demanding the surrender of Commander Maria Hill who has been surrounded by Skrulls. She begins to say that when this is over, she’s gonna have a T-shirt made. Skrull Jarvis tells her he is only interested in her surrender, not to use sarcasm to make it harder on herself. Well, Maria Hill is a Life Model Decoy. The real Hill is perched in a sniper’s position and takes a shot before leaping off the Helicarrier and engaging the self-destruct with an interesting string of passwords. By the way, the T-shirt? “Nick Fury was right.” This is awesome stuff people.
Meanwhile, “Captain Marvel” makes his way to and through the Skrull Armada. He begins tearing up the ships and makes his presence known in a huge way.
Reed Richards begins his plan to reveal the Skrulls.
In the Savage Land, the survivors are fighting about who is a skrull and who is not. As the battle of words comes to a crescendo and is just about to come to blows, Reed initiates his weapon. The Skrulls are revealed. The heroes make quick work of them and decide it’s time to head back to New York, with one very angry Clint Barton.
This is what I’m talking about. Human ingenuity rising to the top. Our heroes backed up against impossible odds beginning to claw their way back from the ashes. Reed Richards showing all the haters that he is a force to be reckoned with. The plots of the bad guys unfurling because they refused to simply kill the greatest threats to their plans. Instead, they wanted a trial, and ultimate revenge. Now, they pay for their mistakes.
While Secret Invasion 3 didn’t quite do it for me, Secret Invasion 4 started to turn that around a bit. With issue number 5, I feel like the whole Marvel Universe is turning a corner, not jsut this storyline. All of the wounds and mistrust from Civil War have to be put aside. All of the anger and turmoil from World War Hulk pales in comparison to what has been done by the Skrulls. Now, the heroes have to unite, now the enemy is clear. Now, we get down to some serious fighting. Hopefully. There are still three issues of this series to go, and I don’t know that Bendis and crew are gonna write a big three issue fight with Super Skrulls and super heroes going totally nuts on each other…but I wouldn’t mind that so much.
Hopefully, we won’t get one big issue of everyone sitting in a circle planning their next move. I really do hope for some real knock down, drag out action.
As for this issue though, it was a wonderful turning point. Classic stuff. Just when all is lost, the tide turns. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHH!!!! I really am stoked about this.
The final verdict from me?
Story 4 out of 5 – I love what’s happening here. I love the little moments. I’m ready for all of the main guns (as it pertains to our heroes) to come to the rescue, but the set up has been fun. My only problems with the story was the complete lack of going back to the person who was at the end of the last issue with the binoculars and we didn’t get to see what Thor was doing from the final pages of the last issue. Also, I Could have done without the rehashing of the fact that no one can trust anyone. The Savage Land stuff was getting a bit tedious, so it was nice that a bolt of lightning broke up the monotony. By the way, Spider-Man was awesome in these scenes. In fact, he’s a better reason to read what’s going on than the actual situation. His quips smack of classic Spidey.
Art 3 out of 5 – Still not sold on the art in this series. I’m not an artist, so I hate to be critical of anyone’s art. There’s just something about it that doesn’t sit well with me. I think it has more to do with Tony Stark than anything. I know that the Starktech virus is physically affecting him, but dang…he needs to at least still look like Tony Stark.
Main Cover Art 2 out of 5 – The covers of this series have not been the most gripping things. I’m not a stickler for what you see on the cover reflects what happens in the book, but I do feel like the cover needs to grab a person…especially in a big event like this. This cover just doesn’t. It’s menacing. It’s a great picture of a Skrull. I like the fact that it’s a bit misleading in that you think it’s gonna be more of the Skrulls getting the upper hand story than a “the tide is turning” story. However, I really think Marvel should have put less creative energy into variant covers and more creative energy into making one cover for each issue that grabs long time readers and new fans alike.
Overall, I’m enjoying the series and looking forward to when I actually have the next issue in my hand. Though it comes out today, I probably won’t have it til next week. So…expect a review then.
Until then don’t embrace change…EMBRACE THE PARADOX!!!