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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Review of Secret Invasion #5



Story by: Brian Michael Bendis

Art by: Leinil Francis Yu

Cover by: Gabrielle Dell'Otto and Leinil Francis Yu

Publisher: Marvel Comics




Brief Synopsis: I'm a little behind on this review, seeing as how this book has been out for almost two weeks now. What can I say? I had to read a lot of Secret Invasion tie ins before I got to this book and frankly, I think those issues hurt my enjoyment. In one week I had to read Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers which basically followed the two teenage groups who each have a Skrull on their team as they fight at ground zero in New York; Secret Invasion: Thor which reintroduced Beta Ray Bill to the Marvel Universe as a hostage of the Skrulls who is beaten, tortured, and thrown towards Earth as a warning (isn't this invasion supposed to be secret?); and finally Secret Invasion: X-Men where the Skrulls attack San Fransisco for no apparent reason but run into the X-Men in their new adoptive home. This all leads into Secret Invasion #5. Truthfully, by the time I read this, I was ready for something new already.

Captain Marvel, who is in fact a Skrull sleeper agent, gets a pep talk from Norman Osborn of all people and gets sent out to protect Earth, like the real Captain Marvel would have done. The Skrulls take over the airwaves and deliver their message of peace disguised as the people the populace would trust. On board a Skrull war ship, Agent Brand (who looks too much like Polaris for my liking) takes out a bunch of Skrulls and frees Mr. Fantastic. Reed literally pulls himself together and formulates a plan to defeat the Skrulls. Maria Hill, who was captured by the Skrulls, turns out to be a Life Model Decoy and the real Maria Hill is free. Captain Marvel attacks Skrull ships in space which allows Reed and Brand time to make it back to Earth. The heroes in the Savage Land continue their pissing match to see who is in fact real and who is a Skrull. Mr. Fantastic shows up pretty pissed with a weapon that reveals the Skrulls true identities. Everyone on the ship that landed in issue #1, including Hawkeye, I mean, Ronin's wife Songbird are revealed to be Skrulls and they are promptly dispatched by the heroes. Clint Barton must listen to old school Metallica because he wants to kill 'em all.


Pros: I think this is the best Reed Richards has been written in a while. He was tortured beyond most men's limits and used to further the Skrull's cause. When he is finally freed all that frustration and anger he has built up is unleashed via his greatest weapon, his mind. He quickly comes up with a way to reveal the Skrulls for what they are. This is the guy who came up with a way to stop Galactus of all things. Now he is motivated by not only saving the planet, but extracting revenge? Yeah, the Skrulls have no chance.

The reveal that Songbird was in fact a Skrull was still surprising even though most everyone knew all of the 'heroes' that got off the ship in issue #1 were in fact Skrulls. Bendis did enough to cast just enough doubt about her that when it was revealed, it actually had weight to it. The fact that Clint had to kill her was even more gut wrenching.

I liked Clint Barton, a.k.a Hawkeye, a.k.a. Ronin, finally snapping and wanting Skrull blood. Here is a man that has had his entire life (and death) turned upside down by the Skrulls. Just when he thought they couldn't do anything more to him, they pose as his dead wife and in a round about way force him to kill her. Just like Reed, he is beyond his breaking point and there is revenge to be had.


Cons: I'm not sure what the whole Captain Marvel thing is supposed to be about. Are we supposed to think he is going to turn on the heroes? Or he is going to sacrifice himself like the real Captain Marvel did? I'm just not following his arc, which started back in his limited series.

It really is a by product of reading too many of the tie ins so I shouldn't count it against this particular book, but I'm just getting tired of the whole concept. That's not good considering there are three more issues of the main book and numerous issues of tie ins and limited series to go. I know Marvel likes to get everyone involved, but reading so many titles that basically say the same thing is tedious. Once again, like "World War Hulk", Marvel has watered down a great concept and stretched it out way too far.


Conclusion: I was a little let down by this issue, especially coming off the great ending of issue #4. I'm a big fan of gathering the team stories and stories where the big guns show up at the darkest hour to bring hope to the masses. That is how issue #4 ended, with Captain America and Thor showing up in New York to join the fray. I have to admit that I geeked out a little for the end of that issue. I was hoping for more of the same, but other than Reed Richards all of a sudden becoming a bad ass, most of this issue was kind of boring to me. I hope the last three issues tie everything together and are not used as a launching pad for something else.


Disagree with my review? Leave me a comment.

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