Yes, I’m alive, and yes, I’m for the most part settled in my new apartment. So I have a TON of catching up to do, and I’m going to try to do a lot of it today before Rock Band 2 comes out tomorrow and my free time no longer exists. I’ve also decided to for the most part stay away from plot points and look at this issue as a puzzle piece and how it fits into and affects the entire event.
We’ve entered Act 3. This event is not what most of us expected. Huge and sprawling, but not in the way we assumed would happen. The action is in the tie ins. But Secret Invasion’s main mini is not without its purpose. It’s obviously written from the perspective of Bendis’ own characters. Avengers and their outlying character bases. It’s pretty much his only option. He knows these characters. We know he knows these characters. It’s the best case scenario to write to your strengths. This way there is less of a chance that he’s going to step on the feet of other Marvel writers. Sure, the characters overlap, but that’s not something you can get around when you’re doing an event like this. There really aren’t a lot of characters here that Bendis hasn’t written before. You’ve got the Young Avengers and Runaways, the new Secret Warriors (which is a Bendis creation, so it’s not like he’s stepping outside his bounds here), and a couple people here and there that he hasn’t really touched upon. Two of those characters are the James Barnes version of Captain America and the post reboot Thor. So we get their confrontation, which was a heck of a lot of fun. It was also a beautifully rendered panel that showed the difference in stature between these two mighty heroes that are really new kids on the block that have been around in their current incarnations for ten issues or less (and I am SUPER IMPRESSED that this book hasn’t had lateness issues. Look at those last two spreads! Damn!). But Bendis doesn’t do a lot with them. We’re not looking at any kind of character development beats here. This is a huge fucking event where the entire Earth is at stake, and you’d damn well better believe that Cap and Thor are going to show up and do something about it, even if it boils down to throwing some shields and hammers, being a heroic presence and not doing much else. So they’re not the focus. Nick Fury is the focus. Jessica Drew Spider-Woman is the focus. And that feels genuine to me. It’s the new look of Marvel comics that Bendis has helped create.
Heroes versus Skrulls is arguably just as simple as an event like Civil War. But Civil War was for the most part a straightforward event from a character perspective. Cap versus Iron Man. Shiny heroes versus street level thugs. There was a unified voice on each end. That wasn’t the case for a good portion of the early part of Secret Invasion. The Skrulls certainly had a unified voice, and that voice was established as Queen Veranke/Spider-Woman and her religious holy war. The heroes did not have this unified voice. But now with issue six, we’ve finally got that unification. It took Nick Fury, Captain America, Iron Man and Thor to do it, but the folks of Earth are finally coming together. New Avengers, Mighty Avengers, Thunderbolts, Young Avengers and Secret Warriors all banding together to fight back the alien invasion force. And this is how the book has turned. But the beautiful thing about it is the fact that considering the little things we’ve heard from Bendis and Marvel via previews and Word Balloon interviews and Retailer Summits and so on, it sure doesn’t seem likely that the heroes are going to come out of this one on top. We can postulate that the seventh issue battle could easily end on the side of the Skrulls, whether that is due to sheer overwhelming force or the possible wrinkle in the plan that is whatever is going on with Janet Van Dyne. But either way, I think change will be embraced, forcefully or willingly. And it’s a concept that can allow for a lot of growth, and has a ton of room for new stories and characters.
I wrote notes for this review last night after getting home at about 1 AM from the Allston bar Big City. So this review was a little scatterbrained and also somewhat influenced by alcohol. I wouldn’t call it my best effort, but things should hopefully get better the more settled in my new environment I am. New books will be arriving on Monday, so I’ll have reviews of that and some of the small press books I got at the Super Show in the coming hours/days/weeks.