‘Secret Invasion’ So Far: The Main Story

Alan Kistler

Alan Kistler is a freelance writer who has contributed to MonitorDuty.com and PopCultureShock.com. He is a freelance video editor who occasionally acts in independent film projects. His blog is located at alantkistler.squarespace.com.

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9 Responses

  1. Laura Hudson says:

    Insightful and economical! Thank you for helping me save my time and monies.Also, amazing shirt.

  2. mike weber says:

    Thanks.Confirms my observation months – nay, years – ago that i didn't need to read much of anything from Marvel any more, and especially not this.

    • Alan Kistler says:

      Actually most of the other tie-ins are quite enjoyable, which makes the main series all the more disappointing.

  3. RD Francis says:

    1) As someone who has a trait that neither his mother nor his father had (wings on his ankles), Namor has been considered a mutant. Namorita was (at one point – this may have been "undone" since) a clone of Namora who was tampered with to give her Namor's ankle-wings.Since her AGENTS OF ATLAS revival, has Namora been shown to fly, or with ankle-wings, at least?2) Spider-Woman and Elektra are essentially outsider characters. They've been working alone, or have had reasons for inconsistent personal behavior (Jessica's work as a double/triple/whatever agent for SHIELD and Hydra; Elektra's deaths, most recently in the Wolverine ENEMY OF THE STATE storyline where she was basically brainwashed into being evil). Neither appears to be working in a close, day-in-day-out relationship with anyone who knew them previously. Hank's dupe will be working closely with the Avengers, with Tony Stark and Reed Richards, and will need to interact believably with his ex-wife.Of course, since we've been shown that they've had to swap "Hank" out at least once, probably more often, one hopes that the knowledge gleaned by the Skrull agent/first "Hank" was transferred.3) I'm pretty sure that it's been explicitly stated that the Savage Land situation was engineered to confuse and distract the real heroes (even more that the body of Elektra, Cap's recent death, or the whole Civil War aftermath). By having characters who truly believed they were the heroes, they ensured no slips in character, and made the confrontation even more difficult.Perhaps the tricks necessary to make the characters believe they were who they appeared to be didn't work because the Vision is an android.4) New York is the headquarters for the Avengers and the Fantastic Four, and the home to dozens of other super-heroes, as well as being one of the biggest cities on Earth, and the location of the United Nations building. We know that the Skrulls are attacking other areas; from what we've seen of their fights against the other Initiative teams, the Skrull on each team seems to be abotaging the teams fairly effectively. They got a surprise in San Francisco, in that a huge chunk of the remaining mutant populace is there. We did see British activity in CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND MI13, activity in the Midwest in X-FACTOR and SHE-HULK, etc.All that said, I'd say a few other things were unclear:Were the Savage Land Skrullvengers given the powers of the heroes they thought they were? Was it via the same means used to change the likes of the Hank Pym, Spider-Woman, and Elektra Skrulls? If so, then the one thing we know for certain that can reveal the truth about them is death. So, did the Widow kill the Spider-Woman Skrull to reveal she wasn't what she appeared to be? Or did her "widow's bite" just, by sheer dumb luck, have the chemical properties necessary to force the Skrulls to reveal themselves?Do the Secret Warriors get to go home in between training sessions and meetings? It seems implied to me that their training has taken at least days, if not weeks. What's to stop them from being Skrullified then? Surely not just their being unknown heroes; one of them is the son of one of the current Avengers, which would seem like sufficient incentive to snag him for a supporting role.However, if they don't go home, then how long has Ares' son been missing? That's the sort of thing that would tick Ares off good….

    • Alan Kistler says:

      1, I did state above that Namor is indeed a hybrid and mutation. But my point was that he is by no means the world's first mutant since Sabretooth, Wolverine, Mystique and Apocalypse are all older than him. And also, in Marvel Comics, the word mutant is used very specifically for x-gene carriers. For instance, in SECRET WAR, written by Bendis himself, Nick Fury clarifies to Daisy Johnson that she got her powers because her father was Dr. Zabo/Mr. Hyde but that she is not a mutant because she does not have the X-gene. So the Skrulls wouldn't consider Namor the same as Xavier, Magneto, etc.I know Namorita's origin and she has nothing to do with this article since she's been dead since Civil War. As for her flight, I seem to remember she had it again in her last couple of adventures, but I could be wrong and I don't have the issues in front of me.2. You know what, that's not a bad thought and it certainly works for Elektra. But Jessica worked regularly with Nick Fury and several SHIELD agents, people who are trained to be on the look-out for spies, LMDs and shape-shifters. Fury once found out that half of his people had been replaced with LMDs and SHIELD was disbanded as a result, if anyone is going to be on the look-out for an impostor, it's him. So I would think that Veranke as Spider-Woman would have to know how to behave in character just as much as Hank Pym, which brings us back to the question about the inconsistency. If there's an explanation, fine, but we're six months into an 8 month story now and I think we should've heard it said explanation. Also, one shouldn't have to hope that the Pym impostor's memories were transferred, we should know for a fact about whether they were or not via the text. If they were, then we require an explanation why that couldn't be done with the real Pym directly. If they weren't, then how did impostor Hank version 2 get preparation for his gig? I shouldn't have to figure out basic plot points, the holes shouldn't be there in the first place.3. I'm aware that the space=craft was meant to distract the heroes. That doesn't give me an answer as to why it would be necessary for the escapees to think they were genuine. I get your point, but Veranke did a superb job of distracting and confusing Iron Man and she was well aware of who and what she was and she and Hank Pym have been able to stay in character and fool people for months so why would fake memories be necessary for a distraction that was only intended to last a few hours at most? Also, if you can convince a Skrull that he's Captain America, I imagine you can convince a Skrull that he's an android as well. Add a couple of cybernetic implants and fake memories and I don't see the problem.4. I'm aware of what has been shown in the other tie-ins. That's not the point. This article was focusing on the main Bendis storyline and the point was that I think there should be greater emphasis of the global scale in the main series. It's not mentioned that anywhere aside from New York and the Savage Land are attacked until issue #5 and even then we're not shown anything concerning it until issue #6. ANd since the Fantastic Four were removed entirely in issue #1 and the Avengers are all sent to the Savage Land, New York no longer stands as an understandable first and major target. Yes, the UN is there, but the UN building is a small target compared to the centers of power in Washington D.C., London, and various other places, targets which would be easy to hit due to the lack of super-heroes and whose destruction would be devastating to the rest of the world.Veranke/Spider-Woman isn't dead so I'm not sure what you're talking about concerning the Widow killing her. And I think it was fairly clear that once Fury recruited his people, they weren't allowed to leave the training bunker. But you're right, it's a fair question. Even if Ares doesn't care about his son, how did Fury explain the kid's absence to mom or other relatives/guardians. He IS only ten.

  4. RD Francis says:

    Minor clarifications:a) While today a "mutant" may be expressly described as an x-gene carrier, Namor was considered a mutant going back as far as X-MEN 5 or 6 in the mid-sixties, and at least as recently as the 90's series by John Byrne. I wonder if Franklin is still considered a mutant these days, if the definition's changed….b) I doubt we're going to get a better explanation of just how the Skrull disguise process works, so all your statements on that certainly stand. For me, it's more of a minor irritant than a show-stopper, but still.c) Are we 100% certain that Veranke did not take time to infiltrate Jessica's life and learn about her? My memory is much better at remembering things I've read 20 years ago than what I've read six months ago, it seems sometimes….d) As agreed, the Savage Land ship was a diversion. By nature, diversions do not tend to be permanent. The Avengers reaction to what happened during the short time they were away, on their return to NY, perhaps explains why the Skrulls would focus there. That's where the Avengers would return; that's where the FF would return, if they could; that's where the X-Men would have been predicted to show up (if their disbanded status was not explicitly planned for). For better or worse, with Bendis at the helm, this story is being written as a very Avengers-centric story; therefore, Bendis is going to focus on Avengers-centric locations, and leave it up to the various companion books to cover the action elsewhere.d) OK, you've at least convinced me that all the SL Ship passengers should have been brainwashed into thinking they were actually who they said they were, or none of them should. Also, your points here go back to the lack of clarity on the Skrull ultra-disguise method. It would seem likely that someone would have to go through that to pick up the level of detail that Skrull Mockingbird knew about her relationship w/ Hawkeye/Ronin, but it's not clear that this is what happened to all the SL Ship folks (or that it could have happened – I seem to recall a promise that we'd know who'd been replaced by a Skrull, when, and how, but that's not clear for Dugan or Jarvis (unless I've forgotten something), and it's not clear if the SL Ship crew have that level of disguise. Without that level of disguise, one would expect that Wolverine would at least be able to take a stab as whether certain characters were Skrulls or not (Jean Grey in particular, if the SL Ship Jean was a post-Phoenix version – we *know* Wolverine was acquainted with Jean before that, and her scent would be one he wouldn't forget, one suspects).e) Sorry for the lack of clarity in my comment on Veranke – ironic, as my comment is on a lack of clarity. Since my memory is bad, let me lay out what I remember happening: Veranke as Spider-Woman is talking to Iron Man, when Black Widow blasts her in the face with something (gun, her "widow's bite" weapon, something) and she reveals she's a Skrull. My apologies if I'm misremembering this scene, and conflating it with a later scene – I'm pretty Natasha gets a Skrull to reveal themselves. What I'm unclear on is what the methodology here is. We know that Skrulls are revealed on death – it wasn't clear to me if they are also revealed upon "simple" massive physical damage, on reaction to whatever Natasha shot them with, or whether she killed the Skrull she revealed. Certainly, no one much seemed inclined to have her duplicate her stunt on everyone, so it's at least very dangerous (unless you have a healing factor) I assume.

    • Alan Kistler says:

      A, In the first couple years of X-Men, Magneto tried to recruit both Namor and the Stranger by convincing both of them that they were mutants and both later learned the deception and even then, Stan Lee talked about how true mutants were those born with an "extra" factor and who all had unique powers, hence why the FF and Spidey were never called mutants. John Byrne had Namor called "Marvel's First Mutant" on the cover because he was speaking of the publishing history. Within the comics themselves, he was never referred to in that way. But either way, this argument is academic and even if Namor was referred to as a mutant in the 60s, this story was not printed then, it was printed a few months ago.Franklin is indeed a mutant. His parents' irradiated body chemistry didn't give him his powers, it just caused them to develop prematurely. In various stories, they talked about how his powers weren't supposed to rise until puberty, like normal mutants. But he doesn't have any powers any more, so the point is moot.B, For me it's a problem, for you it's not. No problem, I can respect that.C, I've seen no evidence that she did spend time with Jessica. You're right thoguh, that may be the case. But if it is, let's see it or be told about it. There's the old rule of film and theatre, if it is not on screen or on stage and isn't mentioned, then it doesn't exist it's only supposition. The fact that they waited until Jessica was on an operating table and under drugs before replacing her implies to me they never had an earlier chance. We'll just have to wait and see.D. excellent points. And Dugan was replaced pretty much on the drop of a dime, as we saw in the marvel web-comic prologue (which was later put on paper in the Secret Invasion #1 Director's Cut). The Skrull pretended to be the Countess, met with Dugan, he realized it wasn't the Countess, they fought and the Skrull then stabbed him and shifted into Dugan's shape (meaning he/she would've broken the genetic lock too). Was this because the Skrull had already spent enough time around Dugan in another disguise as to learn enough about him? Or what? And an excellent point about Wolverine.E. No problem. I believe you are merging it with the later scene though of Black Widow shooting Phoenix and Beast and killing them, revealing their green blood and Skrull faces, and then Reed showing up a couple pages later and revealing everyone for who they are. As for the Skrulls, I don't think it's about the damage so much as the fact that several of the Skrulls, when they've been attacked, have resumed their true appearances when they've gotten really angry and figured "Screw it." But yeah, so far the most dependable Skrull detection is to kill them or have the 3-D man standing next to you.Thank you for all these points, by the way, it's been a good discussion.

  5. Sergio says:

    I want that jacket!!!! Kistler make me one. You can use some of the endless Secret Invasion reprints that they keep making. Or some of those horrible Twelve reprints. Oooooh I know, monkey variant jacket!!!!! They gotta be good for something!