Thursday, July 10, 2008

Secret Invasion #4 Review

Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Leinel Yu

The only thing I can say about this issue is that it's about freaking time Bendis started this event. That's a pretty strange thing to say about the 4th issue of a line-wide comic book event, but it's true. Nothing has happened in the first three issues aside from cliched, every other week helicarrier crashes, Baxter Building explosions and New York invasions. The heroes have been in the Savage Land almost since the very beginning and their conflict with the Skrull imposters still isn't even resolved.

Thankfully, Bendis seems to have finally taken one giant step forward and kicked this event into at least middle gear, if not high gear. I'm still not completely sold on this event, but I, at least, don't feel like I'm wasting my money anymore.

The issue started off with something I immediately liked - showing us where Reed Richards is and what the Skrulls are doing with him - and continues with an interesting narration of the events that lead up to the invasion that acted as recap, but was still an interesting read at the same time. This narration started to drag on a bit after the first dozen or so pages, but was still pretty effective as far as the story goes and in a nice twist, it ended up being Spider-Woman / the Skrull Queen talking to Iron Man the entire time, which added to my overall enjoyment of the long winded narrative.

That gun Fury is using is ridiculous.  
One of my first problems with the issue, however, comes in the form of Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos. For a Nick Fury trained team of newbies, I didn't expect every single one of them, even the little kid, to be masters of banter and to be all using Bendis-speak. I know Fury is good, but these guys should at least play the role of the new guys instead of everyone cracking wise and acting like they've been doing this forever. Also, that gun Fury is using is ridiculous and whoever's idea that was should be shot.

Furthermore, what was the point of Fury's attack? His Commandos take out a few Skrulls and then he shoots Ms Marvel, who is not a Skrull and was busy fighting dozens of Skrulls at the time, before they all teleport out of there, leaving her to the Skrulls to either be taken captive or die. Why didn't he just shoot one of the green skinned Skrulls instead of randomly taking a pot shot at a human-looking super hero and hoping he guessed right she was a Skrull?

This is about when they cut to the Savage Land and we find out it was Spider-Woman messing with Tony's head with the narration thing. Black Widow snuck up on them and, just as she was about to attack Spider-Woman, is, herself, attacked by Pheonix and Beast. If you read the Who Do You Trust one shot, you'll know they went to great lengths to try and make us doubt whether this Beast was really a Skrull or not and it was a great story with him and our non-Skrull Wonder Man.

Well, toss that issue out the window because Black Widow kills both Pheonix and Beast with her, uh, guns and both revert to Skrull forms. Ya, Skrull Pheonix, based on one of the most powerful characters in the universe, died to ordinary hand guns. Moving on.

Widow quickly gets Iron Man back up on his feet with a shot of adrenaline and we cut to Agent Brand, who has snuck aboard a Skrull spaceship, and it appears she will be playing a bigger role than I originally thought in this series as she looks to be the one that will free Reed Richards based on what we see here.

Finally, the issue ends with a bang, literally (well, technically it's a KRAKABOOM), as Thor brings the thunder and promptly kills a large group of Super Skrulls attacking some fleeing civilians as Captain America (Bucky version) looks on with his binoculars. I love the promise this scene has, but thought I was missing the final splashpage after seeing the To Be Continued at the bottom of the page. It was just a series of 4 or 5 panels and Thor is in shadows (despite most of the page devoted to his panel) and we only see a few close up of Cap's shield and his binoculars. I was expecting some dramatic Civil War #3-like Thor splashpage or some combination of he and Cap to end the issue. Not this generic looking finish.

Verdict - Must Read. Despite some complaints, I'm still giving this a Must Read. This issue finally got me interested in this event and I'm honestly looking forward to the next issue, a feeling I haven't had for any of the Secret Invasion issues to date. Add the fact that Thor and Bucky Cap have basically existed in their own bubble universes over in their own books for the last few years and seeing them show up in this event seems to have way more impact than it should for these two characters.

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