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Six titles in one week. Maybe the invasion isn’t so secret after all. Heck, Marvel is counting on everyone finding out what the secret is. The real question is are they worth the money and how relevant are they to the main story? From the minis that have colons after the event’s name, to the ones that carry it on their front cover, to the main event itself, lets take a look.

Secret Invasion #5

Norman Osborn takes an invasion of his mountain as a reason to step up as a true hero, Nick Fury and the Young Avengers watch a Skrull telecast, Agent Brand becomes the biggest badass in the whole Marvel Universe, Hill punks Skrull Jarvis, Reed Richards comes to save the day, and Clint Barton finally wakes up and smells the coffee.

After one heck of a opening salvo, Secret Invasion seemed to settle down into a decompressed nightmare of nothingness. Every issue seemed to have the entire comic reading audience groan "they’re still fighting in the Savage Land?" every Wednesday. It was an exercise in patience. As the short recap above points out, number five is alive with a whole lot of action.

Seems like Bendis finally remembered that he was writing a big summer popcorn-worthy blockbuster this time around and everything comes flying at the ready in a fast and furious pace. Character development may be short here, but what happens is solid from Clint’s dark turn to Tony’s realization that he has been played. Agent Brand gets the most treatment, finally showing that all that bravado shown on the Break World was backed up by action. There is also the trade mark commentary on the state of the world, seems Secret Invasion might be all about the human inability to responsibly use its resources.

Now that all the dopplegangers are out of the way Yu’s storytelling starts to make sense again. He draws a heck of a super-hero, but he can be problematic at conveying a coherent tale. There are still problems here - for instance Reed wasn’t really being tortured he was hooked up to some kind of mind tapping device. Or even further what exactly did Reed's big gun thingy do?

Relevance: This is the main event and unlike the last three issues, this one is absolutely essential to the plot.

Brian Michael Bendis (W), Leinel Yu (P), Marvel Comics, $3.99

Captain Britain and MI:13 #4

The Skrull invasion of the United Kingdom comes to an end with Captain Britain resurrected, Wisdom unleashing a horrible evil on Britain, and the sword being passed on.

All chaos has broken loose, but "Guns of Avalon" comes to a close with Britain wielding his sword like he was He-Man. Unlike the cartoon hero though, he is not afraid to slice fleshy things to pieces with it. This is a thrilling conclusion to the storyline that has been a surprise hit and an awful lot of fun.

Kirk has been on this reader’s radar since the great Agents of Atlas and while I can’t say that I am not disappointed that he won’t be leaving this book to return to Parker’s great team, I am happy that this book is as much and maybe in the same vein of underdog sleeper.

Relevance: Hard to say. This is the end of the Secret Invasion storyline in the book, but when Wisdom lets one sentence fall from his lips, it seems that maybe we are being foreshadowed in a big way. Is House of M a bigger piece of the puzzle than we thought? Only time will tell.

Paul Cornell (W), Leonard Kirk (P), Marvel Comics, $2.99

Secret Invasion: Inhumans #1

The Skrulls have been revealed to be active on the Moon, will it tear up the "family"?

I’m not completely up to date of my Inhumans knowledge. I read Silent War and I know that the moon was taken care of before the invasion proper began, but that’s about it. So it was cool to see Medusa all upset over her husband’s fate and to watch Maximus put the community in a kind of martial law-type state. This will be an interesting thread to watch.

Raney does a fantastic job here, the storytelling is spot on and the stain glass style for the recap stuff in the front is awesome. The quirky ship designs appeal to my sensibilities, but the character designs should make more mainstream fans happy as well.

Relevance: Again, another tough call. Didn’t this all sort of happen already? But the ending of the book makes one wonder what kind of tricks the Skrulls will have up their sleeve as the main book plays out its last few issues.

Joe Pokaski (W), Tom Raney (P), Marvel Comics, $2.99

Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers #2

The Marvel Universe’s two young teams with outed Skrulls as members confront the war on the front lines.

Turns out that Xavin may have an in on the religious side of the invasion. Just a few months ago, he was listening to the prophet’s speeches. All of this points to Dorrek - is he the messiah of what Xavin heard at home? Yost still shows an ability to write these characters, something that even Joss Whedon fumbled a bit with on his run of the Runaways book. Hopefully, this will serve as a nice bridge to what Moore will do with the characters in a few weeks.

Miyazawa’s art seemed a bizarre choice in the first issue, but much like every artist to tackle the Runaways before him, he is doing something similar to the last artist but still his own.

Relevance: It is doubtful that this mini is important in any respect. If Hulkling were to be a big character in the main book, he would have been introduced already, but who knows? Maybe his absence in that book so far is a clue.

Christopher Yost (W), Takeshi Miyazawa (A), Marvel Comics, $2.99

Secret Invasion: Thor #1

Blake’s day job is interrupted by the invasion, well maybe it is just Beta Ray Bill coming to warn of the impending danger. Doesn’t help that there is a storm blowing town and Asgard itself.

Fraction writes an old school Thor that appeals to the old fans. Those that think the main Thor book may be too little of a super-hero book would be well served by checking out what he is doing in the one-shots and this mini.

Loki also gets some screen time here in the new female form. How could Loki not use this chance to place the seeds of doubt in his fellow gods?

Braithwaite is one of those guys that is revered in the comic world. This isn’t his best work, but it effectively tells the story and looks better than any of the uninked artists are turning in.

Relevance: This one has got to be low. It seems to be taking place before the main title and in a very remote part of the country and with the Skrull plan for Thor and his compatriots, there is little doubt this book will be self-contained. However, it is a compelling read.

Matt Fraction (W), Doug Braithwaite (P), Marvel Comics, $2.99

Secret Invasion: X-Men #1

The broadcast has been made and the Skrulls have come to San Francisco. Seems they didn’t really see the X-Men as a threat there.

Bearing a "Manifest Destiny" logo, this book gets to be a crossover in both the main event and the non-event of the X-Men moving cross country. This is a solid X-book, nothing too surprising or shocking, although Scott seems to be a little more ruthless then even his X-Force incarnation.

The thought wall is a really cool idea, they should find someway to use that in the main X-books sometime soon.

Nord is gorgeous as always. He draws the characters a little more bulked up then they normally appear, like mutants on steroids. Add in the hazy coloring and this is a dark and brooding book.

Relevance: Nada, nothing to see here. This book is not a part of the bigger picture. Heck, it is an event title with the X-Men in it. It might as well say Elseworlds on the cover, no matter who published it. That being said, other than the main event, this was the most fun to read!

There’s not a bad book in the bunch. They are super-hero books, they are fun and diverting. It is hard to say that any title that is not Secret Invasion-proper or has the word "Avengers" in its title somewhere is absolutely essential to the event, but some of them may provide clues, while others are just plain fun. So you decide which ones interest you and do your own invasion of your local shop. Oh and remember, Marvel loves you!

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