Overview

Secret Invasion #8

Review

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Secret Invasion #8

Credits

  • Words: Brian Michael Bendis
  • Art: Leinil Francis Yu
  • Inks: Mark Morales
  • Colors: Laura Martin
  • Story Title: N/A
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Dec 4, 2008

The war ends, quickly, but the set up is what is key and that is a doozy.

In the era of the big event crossover, the story often times is not as important as the actual set up for the universe in which it occurs. Infinite Crisis did not even properly end but set up the events of 52 and the return of the Multiverse. House of M fizzled in the end but set up major stories that are still unresolved. Civil War shook the status quo of the Marvel Universe to its very core while providing one of the most illogical and unsatisfying endings ever. World War Hulk ended and no one knows what its point was.

So, Secret Invasion, like all these other events, has to be measured on what it means to the Universe it effects. Marvel played it brilliantly along the way placing television ads that implied a Skrull win. With the book’s massive decompression and late momentum, it was easy to be fooled into believing that all the images stating "embrace change" might actually mean something. It seemed very unlikely that the event could end in one issue.

To a certain extant, that feeling was right. Even though the event did conclude here, it was at once a horribly shallow and empty feeling while still being terribly exciting. The book itself is not that exciting. In fact, there are several things that are confounding. Just who is speaking in the narrative boxes? The reader is lead to believe it is the President and his new right hand man, but early conversation dismisses that. There is also the strangeness with the opening sequences and the death of a beloved character. What exactly happened? There are massively confusing elements involving Tony Stark - from his disabling of the Skrull’s technology, to his bizarre and out of place scene with Bucky, to the odd last scene with Maria Hill.

While all of this confusion is set in the reader’s mind, there is also some of Bendis’s best writing ever. When Jessica realizes the implications of a Jarvis Skrull agent, your heart almost breaks. There is a heart warming scene with the Fantastic Four. However, all of this is nothing when compared to his best ensemble writing ever. All too often in New Avengers and this title, he has followed a character or a couple of characters instead of making the book feel like it stars the Marvel Universe or a team of heroes. Given a couple more of these event things, he might be able to pull one off perfectly.

That’s all technical stuff though. As mentioned earlier, the real importance of an event book is what it means for the Universe it is supposed to have shaken. When Civil War ended, it was a heartbreak for the fans, but within a couple of months, the idea of the Initiative began to become clear and it created compelling stories. In the end, that book was a success but it took a bit for it to really seep in.

This time around, it is made abundantly clear. First and foremost in the book itself, the implications for Nick Fury, Tony Stark, Hawkeye, the Thunderbolts and the direction of the universe as a whole are interesting and seem to be great ideas right off the bat. Of course, there has been much concern over the cryptic nature of the Dark Reign solicits for quite some time. So, Joe Quesada takes the time to give this book an afterword in a special Cup O' Joe. Here he lays out what the idea behind Dark Reign is and it is the kind of idea that gave this reader goosebumps. This is a genuinely good idea that has already set the fanbase afire with heated debates in shops and interesting conversations online. That in and of itself is a good thing, both for Marvel and comics in general.

Yu turns in his best work under the tutelage of Bendis. There are a couple of pages with confusing layouts, but nothing that horribly detracts from the story. More surprising is that everything actually happens on the page as it was written this time. No missing panels leaving fans wondering what actually happened, like when Reed made his triumphant return earlier in the series. There is the odd character design here and there. Fury looks weird and Hulkling was nigh unrecognizable, but for a book that has suffered from confusing panel after confusing panel, just telling a straightforward story here was a plus.

Secret Invasion is like any other event book. It didn’t really end, so it is dissatisfying. However, it should lead to exciting things and that means it did its job. It is now Marvel’s job to take this mandate and give the readers its full potential. Only by creating compelling and interesting stories from this point forward can Secret Invasion be judged a success or failure.

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