I plan to maintain the “one a day” schedule for event comic reviews, with reviews of “Secret Invasion: Thor,” “Nova #16-18” and “Final Crisis: Resist” over Saturday, Sunday and Monday, getting the reviews caught up next week. I’ll also be updating the checklists below, as some of the ship dates have changed.
Title: Secret Invasion: Amazing Spider-Man
Author: Brian Reed
Illustrator(s): Marco Santucci (pencils), Mark Pennington, with assists on issue 3 by Dave Meikis and Victor Olazaba (inks), Jeromy Cox, with assists on issue 3 by Chris Sotomayor and John Kalisz (colours)
Cover Date: October through December 2008
Cover Price: Each issue $2.99 US. Issues 1 and 2 were $3.05 Can and issue 3 was $3.50 Can.
Detailed coverage of all applicable issues of all Secret Invasion related titles can be found at this address. That will get updated after the release of “Secret Invasion #8,” so I can more effectively filter the relevant background stories and know what is and is not important.
The bulk of this story takes place in Manhattan during “Secret Invasion #3.” Spider-Man is in the Savage Land dealing with the Skrull down there, while Jackpot finds herself in a position to protect a few members of the title’s supporting cast when a Super-Skrull attacks the DB! looking specifically for the wall crawler.
The explanation of the “F-F-4-8” code was quite amusing, particularly given where that code was obviously derived from. Another great moment was the Rocket Robertson bit.
For something titled “Secret Invasion: The Amazing Spider-Man,” shouldn’t Spider-Man appear before the final wrap up? Go in expecting “Secret Invasion: Jackpot” and you’ll be much more satisfied.
This is not one of the more original tie-ins. This is a defense against a Skrull attack, that doesn’t seem to cover much else. The only thing it really does differently than the rest is omit the title character, and that’s not really a good thing. I suspect the concept came from editorial originally. “Spider-Man: Brand New Day” has been selling well, but anecdotal evidence suggests that is because it served as a jumping on point, and they lost some faithful readers as a result of “One More Day.” I wonder if they thought they could win a few more readers (either lost by OMD or entirely new readers) by showcasing the current look and feel of “Amazing Spider-Man” in a tie-in to “Secret Invasion.” If memory serves, this was originally solicited as “Secret Invasion: Amazing Spider-Man: Brand New Day,” which would have been an incredibly long title, but would have been a better indicator of the content: it’s filled with Spider-Man’s supporting cast, but not Spider-Man himself. Given the unique flavour found in Brian Reed’s other work, I strongly suspect that the editorial offices conceived this tie-in, and then found a writer who could do it well. I give it 2 out of 6.
The artwork is well done. It’s got the vibrant, energetic look and feel that “Amazing Spider-Man” has had during Brand New Day, clearly depicting the action as well as the emotions (which, granted, were almost always fear.) I give it 5 out of 6.
The story is executed well. The characters are brought together in a reasonable way, and they way they interact throughout is entertaining. My only complaint is setting the denoument after the conclusion to the main title, thereby revealing at least some of the survivors. I think I understand the choice, though, which I’ll detail under spoiler-guard (highlight to read): The only way to include Spider-Man at all was to bring him in after “Secret Invasion,” since he’s kept busy enough in the main title that he doesn’t have time for a three issue story parallel to this one. The options were to reveal that Spider-Man lives (which isn’t a shock) and continue on, or leave him out of the title anyway. Including him was probably the better choice, but I maintain the best option would be to have a more appropriate title for the series in the first place. End spoilerish discussion. I give it 4 out of 6: it’s well executed, but can’t overcome some obstacles rooted in the concept.
The characterization is well done. We get some back story to Joe Robertson, who has been lacking back story for a long time, in addition to revealing the characters involved in Spider-Man’s supporting cast quite nicely. Even Dexter Bennett has an impressive moment when Betty Brant is in danger. I give it 5 out of 6.
The emotional response is better on the second read. The first time through, I kept expecting Spider-Man to come back and join the fun, expecting further escalation at that time. That doesn’t happen. On the second read I knew that, and it plays out far better. There’s already a lot of action in here, but without the title character, it just felt wanting. I give it 4 out of 6.
The flow works well enough, given that things are pretty hectic throughout. Like much of “Secret Invasion,” the time spans are so short that there’s not a lot of room for scene or time jumping. I give it 5 out of 6.
Overall, the miniseries should be easy to enjoy provided you go in with accurate expectations. Jackpot is the star of this show, and Spider-Man’s role in the story doesn’t actually require him to appear in the story. It won’t have lasting implications, but it’s still a fun enough read in the flavour of “Brand New Day.” I give it 4 out of 6.
In total, Secret Invasion: The Amazing Spider-Man receives 29 out of 42.
Secret Invasion Review Checklists
- First appearance of Skrulls (Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #2)
- Creation of the Super-Skrull (Fantastic Four Vol. 1 #18)
- Kree Skrull War (Avengers Vol. 1 #93-97)
- Annihilation (complete event)
- Skrull Infiltration revealed (New Avengers #26-32)
- Avengers: The Initiative Annual #1
- Captain Marvel #1-5
- Mighty Avengers #7
- Ms. Marvel #25-27
- New Avengers: Illuminati #1-5
- New Avengers #38-39
Main Event reviews (including date the last issue should be available):
- Secret Invasion #1, #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #8: November 19, full series: November 19
- Avengers: The Intiative #14-19: November 26
- Black Panther #39-41
- Captain Britain and MI 13 #1, #2, #3, and #4.
- Deadpool #1-3
- Guardians of the Galaxy #4-6
- Incredible Hercules #117, #118-120
- Iron Man: Diretor of S.H.I.E.L.D. #33-35: November 19
- Mighty Avengers #12, #13, #14, #15, #16, 17-20: November 26
- Ms. Marvel #28-30
- New Avengers #40, #41, #42-47: November 26
- New Warriors #14-15
- Nova #16-18: October 29
- Punisher: War Journal #24-25: November 29
- Secret Invasion: Amazing Spider-Man #1-3
- Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #1, #2, and #3.
- Secret Invasion: Frontline #1-5: November 19
- Secret Invasion: Home Invasion (online only)
- Secret Invasion: Inhumans #1-4: November 12
- Secret Invasion: Runaways / Young Avengers #1-3
- Secret Invasion: Thor #1-3: October 29
- Secret Invasion: Who Do You Trust?
- Secret Invasion: X-Men #1-4: November 19
- Thunderbolts #122-125
- X-Factor #33-34, She-Hulk #31-33
Aftermath (Dark Reign) reviews:
- Avengers: The Iniative #20-?
- Dark Reign: New Nation
- Invincible Iron Man #8-?
- Ms. Marvel #34-?
- New Avengers #48-?
- Secret Invasion: Dark Reign
- Secret Invasion: Requiem #1
- War Machine #1-?
- several unannounced titles, I’m sure