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.

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Comics: Mighty Avengers #15

Mighty Avengers 15

Mighty Avengers 15

I was thinking about writing in regards to Secret Invasion #3 when I happened to pick up MA #15 and was really impressed by the overall story and artwork.  I’m a big fan of John Romita Jr’s work…he has a very distinct style….some may say ‘blocky’ when it comes to character renditions, but for some reason I’ve always found it visually appealing.

It should be said that Romita is credited with the ‘breakdowns’ where two other artists do the ‘finishes’, but clearly John Romita Jr’s work beams through on most of the panels.

With that said, the story itself stood out as a great pre-cursor to Secret Invasion in just how the Skrulls were able to infiltrate and impersonate some our the Marvel Universe characters.  At first I thought this was a very unique take on the plot, but after thinking for some time, it dawned on me that one of the plot points was very similar to a scene within the Indiana Jones movie ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’.  See, in the comic a young, attractive female college student is seen sitting in the audience making goo-goo eyes to Dr. Henry Pym as lectures on genomes and physics.  In RotLA, a female college student makes goo-goo eyes to Dr. Jones as he lectures on archeology in a fairly like manner.

But that’s where the parallels stop.  In MA #15 we get a glimpse of the tenuous relationship between Hank and Janet (aka ‘Wasp’) as Janet comes home one night drunk where Henry is working in his study.  I must say, Janet was looking ‘pretty good’ in her disheveled state (messed up hair, blouse unbuttoned, etc.) and as far back as I can remember this was the first time I had empathy for Hank and why he ‘may’ have a tendancy to ‘snap’ at his on-again/off-again wife.  Clearly there are two sides to every story.

As Janet gives up and leaves, we advance a few days or perhaps even a week, and shockingly Dr. Pym is shown in some very risque panels with his female student.  While tastefully done, there is some amount of ‘teasing’ the reader on Dr. Pym’s adulterous behaviors.  There are some great moments all within a few pages which you can understand just how the Skrull’s learn the weaknesses of their targets.

Without giving away the ending or ‘spoiler’, let’s just say the transition of Hank Pym now makes sense if you are a reader of The Initiative and we get a clue to the larger puzzle of how the Skrulls were able to do what they did.

As a stand alone issue, Mighty Avengers #15 won a lot a favor in my heart,