Comic: "Secret Invasion #1"
Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: Leinil Yu

Reviewer: Protoclown
Posted: 4/14/2008

Plot: Skrulls launch an all-out assault against Earth after years of planting secret agents within the world government structure.

Review: The first issue of Secret Invasion, Marvel's big event for 2008, is out, and despite being written by Brian Michael Bendis, it's not as bad as I expected it to be. In fact, it was pretty decent (especially compared to House of M) and it has a lot of potential, but there's still plenty of time for things to go south in the seven remaining issues. I have my problems with Bendis's writing, which I have discussed at length, but none of the usual annoyances were present here, thankfully. He seems more capable of juggling the large cast required for an event like this than he did previously as well.

For those of you who don't know, the premise of this year's event is as follows: a shape-shifting race of aliens known as the Skrulls (who have been around almost as long as the Marvel universe) have been plotting an invasion of Earth for quite some time, and many of Earth's most powerful people, from politicians to superheroes, have been secretly "replaced" by Skrull agents who've been biding their time, waiting for the imminent big attack to strike. It is currently unknown whether the people who have been replaced were killed or simply spirited away to some Skrull prison out there somewhere--probably a mix of both, depending on the importance of the character.

The big problem with this premise is that the Skrulls have never seemed particularly threatening to me. They look goofy, with their testicle chins, and I've never been able to take them very seriously as a result. Granted, I've never read the Kree-Skrull war storyline and don't know much about their history, but on the surface, I don't find them very compelling as villains. I also find it very unlikely that any major characters who have been replaced could be dead, thus robbing us of seeing the dramatic moment of their death. Minor characters, sure, but major ones? I'm not buying it. So basically, I don't really care all that much what the Skrulls are doing, invasion of Earth or no. I do try to keep up on the Marvel universe though, so I bought the book and found it interesting enough to come back for the second one.

I'm not going to reveal spoilers here of who's definitely been revealed a Skrull and who hasn't (they're easy enough to find online if you want to know, and that Elektra picture over there was revealed a long time ago), but in the first issue a Skrull shuttle is monitored entering Earth's atmosphere and crashing in the Savage Land. Iron Man assembles his Mighty Avengers to investigate, but not before Luke Cage's Secret Avengers get the jump on them, steal a Quinjet, and arrive in the Savage Land first. I have one major problem with Spider Woman (who recently defected from Cage's team and joined the official S.H.I.E.L.D. sanctioned Avengers) calling Luke and feeding him information about all this right in front of Tony Stark's ever-loyal butler Jarvis. That struck me as incredibly stupid on her part and was an obvious oversight of the writing.

Both Avengers teams eventually make it to the shuttle crash site in the Savage Land, and the inevitable superhero disagreement scuffle ensues with Tony giving the whole "You're under arrest!" argument versus Luke Cage's "You're a Skrull!" What surprises me about all this is that the people in the shuttle made no attempt to get out in the presumable hours it took for the Avengers teams to arrive. Apparently they were waiting for the dramatic reveal. The shuttle doors open and out pop a bunch of heroes dressed in older 80s and 90s garb, yammering about how they finally escaped and made it back to Earth. It's an amusing idea, but here's why it doesn't work: nearly every present-day Avengers character who traveled to the crash site is also represented by the time-capsule classic characters. So either nearly every single Marvel hero has been replaced by a Skrull for god knows how long (which would be Editorial suicide--think of how angry fans were about the Spider-Man Clone Saga and multiply it by 100), or in the far more likely scenario, all of these newly arrived guys are Skrulls. We know this. There's not a shred of doubt of this. If Bendis had wanted to cast doubt, he would have had one or two characters overlap instead of nearly all. Then everyone could have turned to Wolverine and said "Got something you want to tell us, 'bub'?" and the reader would honestly wonder which Wolvie was the real Wolvie. And he could have used the moment as a vehicle to bring back some old abandoned characters into the Marvel universe, but alas, he did not.

There are also scenes of Skrull sabotage throughout the book, where Skrull agents reveal themselves and do things like knock out the power to the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier, destroy the S.W.O.R.D. satellite, and send the Baxter Building to the negative zone. At the very end, a Skrull reveals himself and shoots another character whose powers almost certainly would prevent him from being killed in that particular way, so again, there's no real tension about this ending. The writing was better than I expected, and so far I'm more amused than sincerely interested, but the book succeeded in making me want to stick around for the next one, so it's a winner in that respect. Again, it's hard to judge a story based on the first chapter, but it has enough potential that I'd say if you like the Marvel Universe you should be checking this one out.

Overall rating: WholeWholeWholeHalf
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)

Reader Comments

That guy...
Apr 14th, 2008, 01:30 PM
I decided this is going to be the first big Marvel crossover I'm really going to get into. I like to follow whats going on in the Marvel universe, but being a hardcore comic nerd was never a goal for me. So thank god SI started out good.
Freelance Product Tester
Apr 14th, 2008, 05:59 PM
I just read the summary on Wikipedia. How the hellcould a shot to the face kill that hero? That's just stupid.
Apr 14th, 2008, 09:01 PM
Protoclown for Editor-in-chief.
Apr 14th, 2008, 09:03 PM
Am I the only one hoping that Spider-man got replaced by a Skrull awhile ago?
The Goddamned Batman
Apr 14th, 2008, 11:21 PM
Oh, I hope that Aunt May got replaced by a Skrull a long time ago. Then I would feel like some kind of twisted justice had been served.
Pickleman's Uncle
Apr 15th, 2008, 01:01 AM
What if a SKRULL was replaced by spider-man?
That would ruin their shit.
Apr 15th, 2008, 01:17 AM
wouldnt that be sort of a yakov smirnoff joke
Smooth Operator
Apr 15th, 2008, 03:35 AM
As far as "that hero that got shot in the face", it's perfectly logical. The skrulls are aliens. Alien technology is a blessing for fiction writers.
Plus the 5-issue New Avengers: Illuminate series contains evidence to stand against the acusation that it wouldn't happen.
Plus(this is just to earn my weekly fan-boy cred) the heros exiting the skrull ship are(mostly) dressed as they did in the 70's.
Apr 15th, 2008, 07:27 AM
Now, instead of "magic did it!" we'll have "Skrulls did it!"

Sweet Christmas!

Apr 15th, 2008, 10:21 AM
Wow Clown, I can't believe how much I really like the idea of aunt may being a skrull. But I know thats too much to ask for.
Forum Virgin
Apr 15th, 2008, 10:39 AM
Aunt May could very well be a skrull.
You'll thank me later...
Apr 15th, 2008, 12:23 PM
There are a fair amount of heroes there who overlap, but there's there are also a good portion who don't. It's likely that some of the heroes who came out of that ship are skrulls and some arn't.

Also to be fair, nobody said the hero who was shot is dead, we all know he's not going to die, I just assumed he was knocked out.

This COULD fix everything, but the way marvel handles things, it'll probably make things much worse. Fingers crossed folks.
Virgin Forum
Apr 15th, 2008, 09:09 PM
That struck me as incredibly stupid on her part and was an obvious oversight of the writing.
Its because she's a skrull as so is Jarvis, so it wouldn't matter if she did it in front of him! Conspiracy!
The Moxie Nerve Food Tonic
Apr 16th, 2008, 02:18 PM
I would put money on the table that there will be enough clumsy and confusing writing in this event to leave open any number of interpretations and misinterpretations, creating a huge mud puddle of people going "Okay, hey, wait now, that guy was a skrull when he did that thing right, but when he did the other thing that time, that was actually the real him."

PLUS I bet they end it by making you think they ended it and putting a big old question mark at the very end where some key character, like Reed, or Iron Man or Spiderman are maybe still a skrull but maybe not.

Doppleganger stories are even worse than time travel stories for tieing the brain up in stupid ass endless fan boy knots debated in parents basements and comic book shops all over the country.