Reviews: Secret Invasion Part 10A: The Secondary Characters

WAY too many books to review from this last shipment, so I’m going to split this up into three installments. After this one will come the Avengers books, followed by whatever’s left over.

Incredible Hercules #120 (*****)

I love the way that everything going on with the Eternals matters. The Dreaming Celestial is standing in the outskirts of San Francisco, and every book I’ve read that has involved San Francisco in some way have either explicitly mentioned his presence or at least shown him in the background of a panel (we’ve seen this in both Uncanny X-Men and this very book). Hell, the Eternals are all up in Hercules’ bidness, and I’m not just talking about Ajak being a member of the God Squad. Let’s put it this way: HE is not the Beyonder. HE is not anyone we’ve ever seen before. But the concept behind HE and who HE is caught me completely by surprise, but makes a whole lot of sense in a super awesome way. It’s not hard to make the claim that the Eternals are the true movers and shakers of the Marvel Universe right now. Not the Illuminati. Not Tony Stark. Not SHIELD or the Red Skull or any of these people. It’s groovy. And as a whole five issue arc that starts with the Eternals thinking Hercules is Gilgamesh and ends the way it does, this will stand as masterful comic work regardless of its affiliation with a major event going on at the same time.

This is a book that shows the true potential of a shared universe, because it brings in ideas completely alien to its original concept borrowed from other books that allow new avenues of storytelling to unite and divide. Stories like this are why we NEED these big earth shattering crossover events, whether we like them or not. Because it’s all about potential. And I’m not the type of person that’s just going to assume that it’s going to fail or not sync up because there’s no specific reason for it to do that. I don’t need these books to be validated by having their story threads show up in the main Secret Invasion title. Because I know there’s no room for it, and I’d rather Bendis focus on the story he wants to tell and pace it the way he wants to without having to worry about the added pressure of filling in the gaps or making sure everything gets mentioned. After reading this issue, I’m going to know exactly whom the Skrulls are referring to when they say “He loves you.” Do I care whether it’s mentioned there or not? Hell no! Because I have the information. I’ve been saying this from the beginning, but Secret Invasion as an event is too big not to have this many crossovers. Does it suck for those who don’t have the time or resources to read it all? Maybe. But I’ve read 67 Secret Invasion books (counting the Infiltration prologues), and all of them but one have been solid to great reads (sorry, X-Factor #33. Even though the rest of the arc was good, you still sucked). So what’s to complain about? Not a thing.

X-Factor #34 (***)

Does the art still suck? Pretty much. I know some people enjoy this Larry Stroman art because he’s basically the diametric opposite of the Greg Lands and Salvador Laroccas of the world, but I think there’s a breaking point when you can’t actually recognize characters easily. And when it gets in the way of actually being able to easily follow and enjoy the story, you’ve got a problem. But as for the book itself, we have the continuation of the X-Factor/She-Hulk/Secret Invasion Detroit series (which Nova actually gets sucked into a bit, but more on that later) with Jazinda and Nogor’s dealings with Darwin (the Talisman of the Skrull gods introduced in She-Hulk 31) at its center. We also get a little more of the new “Embrace Change” aspect of the series, as Nogor is convinced that Darwin is the evolutionary missing link between humans and Skrulls (the idea being that Darwin’s ability to adapt to any situation on the fly is not far removed from the Skrulls’ ability to shape shift to fit any situation), and he could be the one to unite them all. Of course, it doesn’t take, and Nogor is tied up and taken away (where is he taken? Why, She-Hulk #32, of course). I think Nogor is a wonderful premise and a fantastic character, and for that reason and that reason alone, I think these issues are well worth reading (though you can probably just skip X-Factor 33. You might be a little lost, but that issue is pretty painful).

Nova #16 (****)

Not as good as our Galactus storyline, but that’s a pretty high water mark to deal with, and a bit of a recession should be expected. Kl’rt enters the Secret Invasion scene here (took him long enough, eh?) and the results are not exactly what Nova would expect. There are some great moments afoot, however. I particularly enjoyed a little interaction where Nova is shocked and dismayed that the Skrulls disguise themselves as children in order to set a trap, and Kl’rt points out that when you’re a shapeshifter, subterfuge is really your only option. We also deal with the continuation of Nova coping without the Worldmind and how difficult it has become for him to do even the most mundane things due to his internal suit mechanics being the equivalent of a prerecorded customer service phone chain. There’s a lot of good here, and most of it comes from Kl’rt’s characterization as the grizzled veteran that’s been forgotten by the Skrull invasion forces, partly because he’s been busy with all these Annihilations that keep popping up and partly because he can’t win a fight to save his life. He’s the outmoded old tech that sits in a corner and rots. He’s the old Pentium 1 PC that’s been in your garage for fifteen years. But he still wants to be part of the action, and he needs to find his daughter. And that leads us to…

She-Hulk #32 (****)

Woo! Shared universes! Kl’rt shows up fresh from Nova to confront Jazinda in this issue, as we have more interactions with Nogor the Talisman, who is still written very well by Peter David. I just really like this character and the tension between his fate and the fate of the Skrull invaders. You threaten him and the Skrulls just might relent, thinking their plans are not ordained by the gods, but if you kill him, they’ll launch into such a religious fervor that they’d probably completely exterminate the human race. So She Hulk and Jazinda are stuck with this guy, and they can’t trust Tony Stark enough to let him deal with the problem. Kl’rt’s arrival really mucks up the works as well. These She Hulk issues have really shown the strength of a lot of these crossovers, in that we’re getting all kinds of ancillary benefits that there would never be room for in the main mini.

8 thoughts on “Reviews: Secret Invasion Part 10A: The Secondary Characters

  1. based on your reviews, aside from X-Factor (which i have officially dropped), these tie-ins continue to impress. i’m definetly looking forward to reading about the orginal Super Skrull’s return.

    the only review i didn’t read was the Herc one, cus i want to be surprised on Wednesday when my shipment comes in. 🙂

  2. Oh, Kl’rt. My second favorite character after Deadpool. I love how they worked him into Nova, but didn’t like how they worked him into She-Hulk. I like the previous She-Hulk issue, but this one… well, I just didn’t like Kl’rt in it. In Nova, he was awesome. In She-Hulk… he fought very sloppy and he just didn’t seem to be the same amount of bad-ass that I expect in my Kl’rt.

    SPOILER, if you care. As for Herc, well, I was kind of disappointed, and I can explain why very easily. This should be over now. I mean, the Skrulls just lost their gods. The Skrulls that are invading are part of an extremely religious sect that believe that Earth was given to them by their gods. Which means Herc and pals beating them means that…what? Nothing? Shouldn’t Skrulls feel something about being abandoned by their deities? I don’t know. Still, basically, the only outcome that I think would have worked well would have been to be a stalemate, and Herc goes back to Earth to fight Skrulls. Should Herc have won? Well, it is his comic, but still, that is kind of silly to me.

  3. Keep in mind that the time line for a book like Herc is most likely going to be different than the main mini. We’ve barely seen a day and a half go by in the first five issues. So we still might see it play out, but it might not sync up until issue seven or eight.

    Bendis did mention in the first part of the new Bendis Tapes that the sixth issue is going to address the events of some of the tie ins, so we might get some answers from there. Also keep in mind that they simply might not know that anything happened to the gods. The X-Factor/She Hulk issues mentioned that the Skrulls can feel the presence of the Talisman, but not necessarily the gods. Although, one would assume that those events would have a negative effect on the Talisman, but who knows?

  4. Okay, I understand all that, but I mean, come on. Look at it this way: You have a whole bunch of Christians raiding the holy land, because they feel they deserve it according to what God said, and then Zeus kills God. Or one of the Skrull gods kills God. Maybe Nietzche killed God. Whichever way it happened, look at those Christians. They believed that their all-powerful deity gave them divine right to conquer. Now, their deity, obviously not all-powerful at this point, is dead. What now? It should have a huge impact on everything. Like the Captain Britain series, there should be huge impacts, but really, those won’t be as big as it seems.

  5. This is all true, but we can’t know that any of this is meaningless until the end. Hell, we haven’t even seen an issue of SI since this book came out, so there’s a chance it’ll all come up in SI 6. I see no reason to be pessimistic until I am proven otherwise. It helps with my sunny disposition.

  6. Okay, let’s say it does get seen in SI 6. How? I mean, what impact would this have other than that all the Skrulls just give up hope? I can’t see a way this would end well with the Skrull gods defeated. Sure, maybe as a wrap-up to the whole event it could possibly be a way out, but really, I still think that Bendis can’t come up with a good way that the Skrull gods just happened to have been killed.

  7. The one thing that I failed to mention is the fact that Mikiboshi (forcefully) took over Kyl’bn’s place as God of the Skrulls. And it seems like he’s gung ho about the continuation of the whole invading earth thing. So their gods just got replaced. And as long as the religious zealots are still spurred on by a god of their religion, they’re going to keep on keepin’ on.

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