Marvel thought it would be a good idea to release Secret Invasion #5 at the same time as FOUR of its tie-ins. Apparently, the powers that be at Marvel believe their fans have an abundance of cash burning holes in their pockets and are doing everything they can to save the pants! A noble campaign, for sure. Well, I only got two of their tie-ins (Inhumans and X-Men), but I added three back-issues (Fantastic Four) to the pile. As we’re keeping score, that’s six skrullicious comics in one week. I have a feeling Marvel’s pockets are in better shape than mine right now.
Secret Invasion #5 was much better than last month’s borefest. Lots happens and most of it makes sense, despite Leinil Yu’s muddled artwork (seriously, has this guy always been so….not great?). Apparently, the ship that landed in the Savage Land really was full of Skrulls, though it seems the Skrulls themselves didn’t realize they were actually Skrulls. There’s some kind of secret agent/hypnotism angle working here (see the X-Men tie-in review below). In fact, it’s starting to look like some of these Skrulls aren’t really on board with what they’re doing. Take the case of Captain Marvel. He was definitely identified as a Skrull last issue, right? Because he’s not too happy about that now and it looks like he’s going to do something about it. Also not very happy about how things are going down?
HawkeyeRonin. He thought he wife was back from the dead, but it turned out she was just another damn dirty Skrull. But, if one man has cornered the market on pissed-off retribution, it’s Reed Richards. Agent Brand (turns out she totally kicks ass) rescued his strecthiness, and now he’s shooting some fantastic gizmo to determine the pink from the green. This is how we find out Tony Stark isn’t a Skrull after all. Bummer. Not a bummer? Agent Hill (turns out she also kicks ass) teaching SkrullJarvis a lesson, despite his best efforts to not learn it. There were a few problems with this issue, but they’re hardly worth focusing on. Secret Invasion is back to being fun, so I’m just going to enjoy it. B+
Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #1-3 was sitting on the shelf, the “compleat” run, when I went to the comic shop. I decided I wasn’t really interested, but then Dan pointed out it was drawn by Barry Kitson. I swooned for a moment as I flashed back to the happiness that was Kitson and Waid’s Legion of Super-Heroes, then had Dan grab all three issues, despite having not loved Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s writing in the past. So, what have Johnny and Ben (and the kids) been up to while Reed’s been stretched to capacity (I forget where Sue’s been)? They’ve been hanging out in the Negative Zone, thanks to Johnny’s ex-skrullover, Lyja. Giant bugs yadda yadda yadda lover’s spat blah blah blah Lyja is going to stay in the Negative Zone ho hum. Franklin has the son-of-a-genius idea to raid his dad’s prison to find someone to fix the transporter back to the real world, so they end up forming an alliance with the Tinkerer, who is now apparently a harmless old grandpa. Okay, sure. This mini-series was okay, but nothing special unless you’ve been screaming inside wondering where in the green hell Lyja has been all this time. I haven’t. B-
Secret Invasion: X-Men #1 is here to remind you that Nightcrawler can be rendered semi-retarded by simply questioning his faith. The Skrulls invade San Francisco and are shocked to be confronted by our merry mutants. Somebody did some bad recon, but don’t worry, he got shot in the head for his shoddy work. It’s in the shadow of the Golden Gate Bridge that we learn of a mysterious purple orb that is here to save our souls (and may be controlling the Skrulls; perhaps it is how He of “He loves you” fame is pushing his agenda?). And, when it comes to souls, no one is more tortured and confused than Nightcrawler, whose IQ drops to seventeen as soon as he comes in contact with the clearly evil ball of trickery. I hate the way Cary Nord draws the X-Men, but I love the way he draws the Skrulls, so the art’s a toss up. I like how Mike Carey writes Cyclops (totally badass), but everyone else is kind of just there, doing exactly what you expect of them. I can’t believe this is going to be four issues, or that I’ll actually get them all. C+
Secret Invasion: Inhumans #1 is the best thing to come out of this event so far. Tom Raney’s boobtacular handling of Crystal aside, the art is really good and the writing by Joe Pokaski (what’s this guy done that I would know?) is spot on. The Inhumans are as wonderfully inbred and angry as you expect. Maximus makes a scary and bored king and Medusa is coming into her own as one of my favorite women in all of comics. The Skrulls are planning to use Black Bolt as the “greatest weapon the Empire has ever unleashed.” I’m thinking this desire to use all of Earth’s heroes as weapons against Earth’s forces isn’t going to work out in the end. Just a hunch. I don’t want to tell you too much about this issue because, if you’re going to read anything Secret Invasion related, I want it to be this. A-