Things keep moving. I think more has happened in this issue compared to others, as you’ve got some big moments (Agent Brand rescuing Reed, Reed’s Skrull identifying plasma gun thingie, Skrull-Vell going AWOL again, everyone from the ship in the Savage Land officially being outed as a Skrull) that are still balanced with the character moments.
Things I liked:
LOVED the double page spread of the Skrulls’ media takeover. I don’t think it’s supposed to indicate that everyone on the TV screens have been replaced by Skrulls (John McCain, Barack Obama and Dr. Doom are Skrulls! Oh noes!), but it’s creepy and effective and has this otherworldly vibe to it that reinforces the “you’ve already lost” motif of the Skrull occupation/invasion.
I also like the way that Bendis is very specifically choosing the characters that are making waves in combating the Skrulls are just the folks that the Skrulls didn’t take into account. No one on the Skrull ship even recognized Agent Brand as a potential threat (or a likely candidate for a Skrull sleeper agent), which gave her the opening to rescue Reed. No one took Nick Fury into account (which is a little odd, considering they sent a Skrull after him and he killed it. Makes you think they would have found out about that one), which allowed him to burst on the scene with a bunch of other unknowns (his new Howling Commandos/Secret Warriors), warn Maria Hill to start using LMD’s, and coordinate the final battle. He’s got an in with Bucky, which would explain Cap joining the fray presumably in issue six. Everyone the Skrulls assumed would be a threat had been successfully compromised. That’s good planning on Bendis’ part.
Poor, poor, pitiful Hawkeye. Bendis takes him down a peg AGAIN (yep, Mockingbird’s a Skrull, but just like New Avengers 43 showed us, she didn’t know she was a Skrull, which’ll probably make him even more enraged) and he’s out for blood. Green blood. And I wouldn’t be surprised if his rage leads to some accidental red blood being spilled (watch your ass, Kate Bishop).
This is the macro side of the Secret Invasion story. It’s designed to hit every major and important story beat that will allow for the overarching story to be told from beginning to end. And Bendis realized that the story he wanted to tell was too big for one miniseries. I’m glad that the event has been structured in the way it has been because it allows for the story to be told in the best and most satisfying way. Yes, it is expensive. But you also get great stuff like Secret Invasion: Inhumans (I read it! It’s awesome! More on it later tonight or tomorrow!) or New Avengers or Captain Britain to fill in the gaps and create this rich tapestry of characters and events that reach all through the vast galaxies of the Marvel Universe. Bendis did set himself up for a fall in a way, because the only way to really pull it off and give every moment its fair shake is to sacrifice the main mini somewhat and turn it into more of a spine for the entire event, setting up side stories as waypoints into other series that will take the time to give them a fair shake. But I do think that Bendis has delivered from the perspective of the small moments that you do see in the SI issues (like the Hawkeye/Mockingbird confrontation from issue 2 or the Tony/Spider-Woman/Black Widow moments from issues 3 and 4, or Veranke’s monologue from 4, or the Agent Brand stuff from this issue) where he gets the chance to really delve into these characters and what would happen when faced with such an awful circumstance as a shape shifting alien invasion.
The book is not perfect, but it’s impossible to (and even if it weren’t, I resolutely refuse to) separate it from the rest of the event. Which is fantastically awesome. So it’s all gravy in my book. Delicious green gravy.