Deadpool #1 (****)
It’s a good start. Basically continues the standard approach for Deadpool with the added wrinkle that he’s not got a second set of narrative captions that is arguing with the first. There’s obviously not a lot to the character. He’s not an essential piece of the Marvel Universe. He serves a purpose, which is basically to act as a humorous foil to what is going on in the books that may need a bit of levity. He’s very similar to Ambush Bug in that respect, both from the perspective of constantly breaking the fourth wall and lampooning the goings on of major continuity events. Here we have the Deadpool look at Secret Invasion. Basically, the Skrulls are forced to deal with another hero on Earth they didn’t count on. And someone as unpredictable and dangerous as Deadpool could easily unravel their plans simply by being himself. So the Skrulls throw everything at him and can’t take him down. But of course, this is Deadpool, so things aren’t going to play out the way you think, and you have a nice little crazy cliffhanger that is perfectly within Deadpool’s character. The humor is there, the art is good, Deadpool reads true and things are starting well.
Secret Invasion: X-Men #2 (***1/2)
This is the best X-Men storyline going on right now, and it’s mostly because of the side story involving Nightcrawler. He’s always been among my favorites of the Claremont Byrne X-Men, and I do enjoy the way Mike Carey uses Nightcrawler as a way to link the X-Men and the Skrulls as agents of change. Between the main book and the tie-ins, these may be the most well developed villains we’ve seen in comics in a long time. They combine excellent tactical skill with religious zealotry, which is certainly an odd and dangerous mix for an invading force. So even though the Skrulls were immediately caught by surprise without the knowledge that the X-Men had relocated to San Francisco, they still managed to gain the upper hand. It’s really only the appearance of X-Force that turns the tides. You’ve also got some nice moments with Emma and the Stepford Cuckoos. This isn’t high art, but it’s a good book with nice characterization.
Secret Invasion: Front Line #3 (****)
It’s a bit disappointing that this book has not yet touched on the Embrace Change movement, but the story being told is compelling in its own right, so it’s no bad thing. Front Line is such a good concept that everyone seems to bad mouth due to the last few issues of the Civil War installment. It’s good that Brian Reed is really focusing on the core of the book and looking at just how the average Joe would actually deal with the Skrulls’ largest invasion force dropping right over his head. This book continues the thread of multiple story lines, but these all comes together in the locked down Stark Tower that has the claustrophobic fear of a classic horror movie, where the aggressor stalks the populous in an enclosed area. This book just reads differently than the other SI books, and it’s always a refreshing cleanse of the pallet.
Secret Invasion: Young Avengers/Runaways #3 (****1/2)
As someone who has read little to no Young Avengers or Runaways books in the past, the biggest thing about this three issue series for me was learning about how charming these characters are. But that doesn’t mean that these issues were a simple flight of fancy. The story of Xavin and Hulkling continues and the tension within Xavin between loyalty to the true heir of the Skrulls and their current religious holy war outlook. I also quite enjoyed the continuation of Xavin’s back story in relation to the Skrull that taught him how to fight in the army, who of course shows up during the invasion for a confrontation. This isn’t the kind of book that is going to be necessary for the main story (unless they decide to make Hulkling a bigger part of the ending), but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a three issue series of really good writing and art. It was more than worth the money, and both the wrapped SI minis thus far have been very enjoyable.
Ms. Marvel #30 (***)
We see what the hell happened in the Raft at the end of the issue, and it’s not exactly what I expected. It’s fascinating that the best and most powerful Super Skrull was actually created by HYDRA, and of course he’s completely and totally unstable to the point that his bloodlust is undeniable and unquenchable. The book ends up devolving into a long fight, which is a shame considering the potential here. Brian Reed probably should have done more with the concept here. Seems like he’s throwing more of his time into Front Line (just because it’s better), but that could be completely off base.