Comics: Secret Invasion #4

1 of 4 covers

1 of 4 covers

While it seems that DC’s Final Crisis is taking its sweet time to come out for its next issue and taking a little criticism to boot, (I heard that first few issues had lower than expected sales and there’s a notable percentage of readers who seem to be slightly let down so far, me included) Marvel is plugging away at Secret Invasion.

With issue 4 now out, (and four different covers) it seems there’s a brief sidestep of the agressive soryline that the first three issues really delivered on.  That’s not to say there is no action here in issue 4, we just aren’t hit with any new revelations or jaw dropping panels.  It seems that the heroes are taking a quick breath to collect their wits after what transpired in the Savage Land and the intense battle with the all new Super Skrulls downtown Manhattan.

We open with a captured Reed Richards being stretched out and interogated by the Skrulls, and a few panels updating readers the major hotspots.

Natasha Romanov (aka Black Widow) spies a confused Tony Stark and Jessica Drew (aka Spider Woman) Skrull imposter as Tony tries to repair his armor in a secluded area of the Savage Land (BTW: Where the heck did Ka-za and Sheena go?)  Natasha chases the fake Jessica away and tries to snap Tony out of his mental paraylsis when Wolverine comes on the scene.  Natasha has a few great lines here as she confronts the identity of Wolverine (I won’t give it away, but it’s classic Bendis).

In Manhattan it seems Nick Fury arrives with the calvary ( a group of new amateur/green heroes who just debuted last month) and helps the heroes limp away so they can regroup.  It appears many of the heroes are surprised by his return, and not quite sure if they can trust him or not wondering if this is just another Skrull imposter and another trap is about to be sprung.  For me, this story line and overall arc is a great way to bring Fury back into the mainstream Marvel universe.  Probably one of the best overall re-treatments of a character in a long, long time.

The one exciting moment for me, while brief, was the was the villain The Hood reacts to the Skrull invasion.  While his minions are happy to see the heroes duke it out with the Skrulls, he sees the bigger picture and to The Hood, it’s not about the heroes right now.  It’s about the humans and the Skrulls, and no way are the Skrulls taking over his territory.  So it looks like The Hood and his goons are going to join the fray on the sides of humanity,….another great way to take a B-list villian and not only flesh him out but elevate him in a way a reader would not normally expect.  Go Bendis!!

We close this chapter with everything in flux, but the last panel shows a sneak peak of what can only be Capt. America.  But which one?  Is it the new Bucky?  Is it an alien imposter?  Is it the time displaced Cap. from Secret Invaders?  Or is it our beloved Steve Rogers back from the presumed dead?

Comics: New Avengers #40

I’m becoming more and more impressed and geeking out to the likes of Marvel’s Secret Invasion and all the tie-ins.  While I am not collecting every single cross over issue, I really feel as if Marvel is doing a stellar job in keeping this years major story arc much more cohesive and fun to read than previous attempts (IMHO: Civil War, while conceptually compelling, fell flat on logic and continuity issues).

But then again it may all be Brian M Bendis.  This stand alone issue, very similar to Mighty Avengers 15 (that focuses on Hank Pym and his Skrull imitator), does an extraordinary job of weaving together past dialogue and back issue panels into the current Secret Invasion story for today.  Finally we see where and what Spider Woman (aka Jessica Drew) has been up to since her thrust into the spotlight a few years back from obscurity into the pages of the Mighty Avengers.

While I am not a big fan for paying for rehashed content (i.e. some of the dialogue and panels are ‘borrowed’ from past Avengers issues), this time I was really down with it, didn’t mind it at all, and actually excited to turn the page.  That is the sign of an excellent story…the fact you are excited to turn the page to see how everything fits together even though 20-25% of the book is a copy from earlier issues.

I’m totally enjoying how Bendis is portraying Nick Fury both past and present, and his treatment on Jessica Drew, Hydra, and the Skrull conspiracy.  The few moments between the Skrull Queen and her Earthbound infiltrators is ‘creepy’ in a good way, and makes the whole Invasion concept that more chilling and does a fine job of explaining how things like M-Day, Civil War, and the Initiative played out from the Skrull point of view.  Needless to say, these issues are a great compliment to the Secret Invasion series and I only wish DC could inspire me the same way with their latest Final Crisis wrap up.