The main event is here.
Title: Secret Invasion #1
Author: Brian Michael Bendis
Illustrator(s): Leinil Francis Yu (pencils), Mark Morales (inks) and Laura Martin (colours)
Cover Date: June 2008
Cover Price: $3.99 US, $4.05 Can
Detailed coverage of all applicable issues of all Secret Invasion related titles can be found at this address. Expect massive updates in the next few days as I catalogue the fallout of this issue.
For months, we’ve known that the Skrulls have started replacing characters in the Marvel Universe. For years, Brian Michael Bendis has been dropping hints of what was coming. Today, it starts coming to a head, with major Skrull activity and a few character reveals.
There’s a particular Skrull reveal that really pleased me. I hadn’t seen specific evidence of this replacement, so I didn’t list it as one of the theories in the above PDF document, but it’s one of the first people I’d have replaced had I been planning the Skrull invasion.
I could easily change my mind on this if there’s another Skrull reveal down the road (which would actually make a lot of sense): Why would Spider-Woman make that call in front of Jarvis unless she and Jarvis were both Skrulls? If she thinks he’s human, then she thinks he’s loyal to Stark and this will cause major problems for her. Therefore, logical consistensy dictates that she can’t think he’s human. She’s not freaked out about it, so logic also dictates that she’s a Skrull too. One could also argue that the Avengers see Jarvis as part of the furniture, thus supporting his replacement, but as Bendis pointed out in “Mighty Avengers #7,” Spider-Woman is an Avenger, a trained S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, and a trained Hydra agent. That’s not the kind of mistake she’d make. Of course, if she’s a Skrull, then all of her actions could have been designed to orchestrate the lack of trust the Avengers have in each other. After all, if they didn’t know they were being replaced, they’d trust each other and coordinate when the big invasion hits. She could be a Skrull plant who brought Elektra’s corpse to Tony Stark in order to get the other Avenger team paranoid. Without Spider-Woman on the New Avengers, they’d need another plant, which they tried to get in last week’s “New Avengers.” End spoiler. If we don’t get that Skrull reveal, we’ve got a logical error.
If we do eventually get that Skrull reveal, then I’m drawing a complete blank on a low point for this issue.
This is an original take on Skrulls, clearly drawing from some sort of religious belief rather than some sort of manaical conquering instinct. I give it 5 out of 6.
The artwork is going to be a sticking point for me through the series. I don’t like Yu’s linework on faces. The weatherbeaten look may work for Wolverine or Nick Fury, but not for everyone. It’s significantly reduced compared to his other work, probably due to Morales on inks rather than Yu himself as in my other exposures to him, but it’s still an issue for me. I give it 4 out of 6.
The story is very well written. There’s no buildup within the issue itself. We’ve seen that since “Avengers: Disassembled.” This is where the payoff begins, and it begins in a very big way. I give it 5 out of 6.
The characterization is great. Luke Cage and Cloak in particular have two great lines of dialogue. (Luke Cage: “I hope it’s a Skrull trap. I’m so sick of hiding. I’m sick of not trusting each other. I miss my wife and kid. I want to put this right. I want things to go back to normal.” Cloak: “You need some teleporting cloak? No problem. Stealing Tony Stark’s car? You guys have fun.”) Most have very little time to actually react to what’s around them, so it’s just a few scattered lines of dialogue, but each comes out with a voice distinctly in line with that character. I give it 6 out of 6.
The emotional response was great. I’ve been anticipating everything but the art, as I really like long term, well planned stories. That’s exactly what this looks like. Throw in a few unexpected surprises, such as the nature of the attack on the Fantastic Four, and you’ve got me on the hook for the entire event. I give it 6 out of 6.
The flow is also very well done. The pacing is great, making it fell as though the entire issue takes place in less time than it takes to read it. Of course, some major distances are traveled, so it’s probably more like a couple of hours, but the last 27 pencilled pages depicting multiple coordinated attacks could have happened quite literally in a matter of seconds. I give it 6 out of 6.
Overall, I’d say this is a very strong issue. I had my doubts after “House of M” (which, it seems, also has seeds planted for this I need to go back and review) but this is off to such a great start that I’m willing to give all of the teams the benefit of the doubt for the duration. I just wish they had David Finch here instead of Ultimatum, given that he was on Disassembled when this whole thing started. I give it 5 out of 6.
In total, Secret Invasion #1 receives 37 out of 42.
Additional Notes and Comments
The PDF linked above will contain spoilers, analyses, and numerous references to past story arcs that may or may not get their own reviews. (I certainly haven’t reviewed 100 comics in the past two months, but I’ve summarized considerably more than that.) That will get updated more often than the related articles will get reviewed, so if you’re interested, bookmark it and check back again. (The date of the latest update will always appear on the title page.)