Review: ‘Secret Invasion’ #1
The first issue of Marvel’s big Secret Invasion Summer Extravaganza Skrullfest ’08 (or whatever they’re calling it) is here, and there’s just too much to talk about for it to fit in my Weekly Haul reviews roundup. So let’s break this one down between the good, the bad and the ugly. And, be warned if you haven’t read it, spoilers lurk below.
First, let me just say how happy I am that Marvel let Brian Michael Bendis continue his partnership with Leinil Yu, who is quickly becoming one of my favorites. His art has a uniquely nervy feel, and it would’ve been easy for Marvel to peg someone more “safe” for their big event. And while I like Yu’s work better when it isn’t inked, his inked work in Secret Invasion is still quite good.
Another strongpoint is the barrel-full of action, making this issue the complete antithesis of the yawner of an opener to House of M. Things develop quickly and the final pages are bang-bang-bang with big reveals and bigger reveals. In a sequence of just a few pages the SWORD base explodes, the negative zone is unleashed in NYC, Iron Man is taken out, Reed Richards is taken out, the “other” heroes show up and a Skrull army says hello.
I also got a kick out of the little details Bendis wrote in. For instance, every Skrull reveal is foreshadowed throughout the book by the art. Every character who is shown only in complete black outline somewhere in the issue turns out to be a Skrull. Well, aside from Sentry and Wolverine, who haven’t been outed yet.
Normally I find Bendis goes too far with the offbeat dialogue and cultural references, but with this issue he seemed to stray from that style entirely, with only a few little quips that could’ve come from any writer. Add to that the cliches coming from the “other” heroes and the scene-by-scene writing is very average.
There are a few plot points that don’t seem all that logical. Tony Stark isn’t a complete idiot, which makes it all the more surprising that he didn’t have better safeguards on his armor when he knew the Skrulls were on the warpath and no one could be trusted. And you would think the Fantastic Four would have enough security on hand to notice someone shapeshifting in the lobby, or to realize that Sue was in two places at once.
Also, while I liked the aforementioned foreshadowing, it did take away some of the impact from the Skrull reveals. Lets hope they don’t use that shading device throughout the series.
One of the things about Secret Invasion that has long been talked about as a strength is how much work Bendis did in laying the tracks for the Skrull attack. For me it’s a huge negative, because I’ve been consistently turned off from Marvel comics by the lead-ins to this event. I’m supposed to care about Nick Fury’s disappearance, but that goes back to Secret War, an overblown event that was so delayed I completely forgot about it. Then House of M bored me to tears and Civil War brought its senseless spectacle, and by the time rumors of the Skrull event cropped up I’d given up on much of Marvel’s line. That leaves Secret Invasion with more work to do in convincing me to care.
I will say I’m more apt to stick with this series than the previous two Marvel events, but I’m far from sold.
Van Jensen is a former crime reporter turned comic book journalist. Every Wednesday, he braves Atlanta traffic to visit Oxford Comics, where he reads a whole mess of books for his weekly reviews. Van’s blog can be found at graphicfiction.wordpress.com.
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