Saturday, March 10, 2012

Uncanny X-Periment # 157: Secret Invasion

Hey. So okay, where were we?

Oh yeah . . .

New Avengers: Illuminati # 1 and 5, Secret Invasion # 1-5, Secret Invasion: X-Men # 1-4, Secret Invasion # 6-8

Shortly after Kree/Skrull War and the first meeting of the Illuminati, Mr. Fantastic, Iron Man, Black Bolt, Namor, Dr. Strange, and Professor X went to the Skrull homeworld and had words with the emperor. After blowing up his ship, they were swiftly captured whilst trying to escape. They were tested and studied until Tony Stark started freeing them and they finally escaped.

Years later, Iron Man presents the dead body of a Skrull posing as Elektra to the Illuminati. While debating as to what to do, Black Bolt is revealed to be a Skrull and attacks. They subdue him and other in-coming Skrulls, then part ways, unable to trust each other.

Shortly thereafter, Tony brings together Mr. Fantastic and Doctor Pym in the hopes of using the Skrull/Elektra corpse to uncover a secret to detecting them. Meanwhile, a Skrull ship crashes in the Savage Land, near where the New Avengers had their first mission. The New Avengers find out from Spider-Woman and highjack a Quinjet to tackle the Skrulls first. The Mighty Avengers follow.

Once in the Savage Land, the ship opens up, revealing “prisoners” of the Skrulls, including Captain America, Mockingbird, Iron Man and others. At the same time, Jarvis launches a virus into all of Starktech, which cripples SHIELD, Stark Enterprises, and Iron Man himself. The Peak (SWORD’s base) is destroyed, the Baxter Building is thrown into the Negative Zone, the Cube shuts down, and Thunderbolt Mountain is attacked by Captain Mar-Vell. Agent Brand, in a bubble of atmosphere, watches as the Skrull armada shows up. Pym shots Mr. Fantastic, turning out to be a Skrull all along.

The battle in the Savage Land is interrupted by a T-Rex, sending everyone scattering. Ronin finds reason to believe that Mockingbird is who she says she is. Ms. Marvel heads to New York, the Sentry is dealt with, and Iron Man is dropped off at the remains of the Mutate citadel. In New York, the Young Avengers are faced with the arrival of Super-Skrull ground forces.

Jarvis demands Maria Hill’s surrender of SHIELD, but she escapes and blows up the Helicarrier. The Initiative joins the battle in New York, and eventually, so does Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos (later known as the Secret Warriors). Ms. Marvel shows up, but Fury shoots her, believing her to be a Skrull.

Back in the Savage Land, Spider-Woman approaches the ill Iron Man has him convinced he’s a Skrull. Black Widow shows up and guns for her, but she manages to escape in time. Wolverine then stops by, survives Black Widow’s gunshots and helps protect Tony.

As Fury’s forces regroup in his secret base, the Skrulls announce their intentions to the world: to rule them peacefully and help humanity move beyond it’s struggles. Norman Osborne is able to talk Captain Marvel into being Captain Marvel and the Skrull brainwashed to be a Kree heads into space.

Up in orbit, Agent Brand infiltrates the Skrull vessel holding Mr. Fantastic. As she frees him, Marvel attacks. In New York City, Thor and Captain America (Bucky) arrive on the scene.

In San Francisco, the invasion is just beginning. The X-Men launch attacks against the Skrulls, forcing them to stand-still before they themselves regroup. Cyclops, seeking an ace in hole, has X-Force recover a Skrull body for Hank. Nightcrawler, in the meantime, retrieves a orb from a Skrull priest, which speaks to him about the holiness of change and transformation. As the X-Men launch more attacks against the Skrull, Nightcrawler takes the Orb to Beast, which inspires Hank to use the Legacy Virus against the Skrulls. He talks to Cyclops about it, uncertain about whether or not he wants to use it. Meanwhile, the Skrulls load up buildings with civilians, willing and ready to wipe them out if the X-Men don’t surrender. The X-Men do and release an modified Legacy Virus against the Skrulls. Cyclops offers them the antidote if the Skrulls leave. The X-Men are released and the Skrulls blow themselves up instead.

Spider-Woman joins her fellow Skrulls at Camp Hammond, where the Skrulls are planning the next step in their plans. Meanwhile, back in the Savage Land, the rest of the fake hero Skrulls finally meet up with the New Avengers and Mighty Avengers at the Mutate Citadel. Just as another fight is about to break out, Mr. Fantastic and Agent Brand show up and reveal just who the Skrulls are – including Mockingbird. The Skrulls are finished off or chased off and the Avengers (along with Ka-Zar) head to New York City, while Shanna sticks around and hunts down the rest of the Skrulls.

Once in New York, Thor gathers the heroes in Central Park. Captain America, the Hood’s syndicate, the Thunderbolts, the Howling Commandos, the Avengers, and the Initiative all gather together and face off against Spider-Woman, Yellowjacket, and her Skrulls warriors. The battle is joined quickly and soon enough, Marvel Boy arrives, having been inspired by Captain Marvel.

Wolverine and Ronin take down Spider-Woman, leaving Yellowjacket with one option – he activates the Skrull’s last ditch plan. Wasp suddenly begins to grow wildly and releases a biological weapon. Dying, she tries to flee, but is unable to. Thor wipes out his hammer and sends her away. The heroes, pissed as all get out, charge the Skrulls. Spider-Woman gets back up, faced with a herd of rampaging super-heroes, and begins to pray. The heroes don’t reach her in time – Norman Osborne blows her head off.

The heroes begin to gather up the rest of the Skrulls as Iron Man leads everyone else in space. The armada, now in shambles, is starting to retreat. Iron Man locates a Skrull ship with the humans on board and brings it to Earth, bringing with it those that were replaced – including Mockingbird. As Mr. Fantastic is reunited with the Fantastic Four and Jessica Jones realizes that her baby has been kidnapped by a Jarvis Skrull, Thor, Cap, and Iron Man part ways.

In the aftermath, there’s a lot of chaos and a lot of blame falls on Iron Man for not doing a better job at protecting the world. SHIELD is dismantled and rebuilt as HAMMER, with Norman Osborne as its leader. Shortly after this and as New York begins to recover, Norman heads into an elevator, taking him into a sub-basement, where Emma Frost, Namor, the Hood, Loki, and Doctor Doom are waiting for him.

As a whole, I like “Secret Invasion.” The mini-series leaves something to be desired, however, as the issues of New Avengers and Mighty Avengers help add weight to it. But in it of itself, it’s pretty good. It’s very exciting, very energetic. Yu delivers with the line-work, giving us something so much better than what he was producing on New Avengers. The inker and the colorists also add quite a bit in that context.

The writing for the mini-series lacks in places, though most of it is forgivable . . . save for the Wasp. Bendis never really was able to get a good handle on Pym or Wasp. I don’t think he hated them, as many have claimed, but he just sucked at writing them. Pym, we can blame it on the Skrulls. Wasp, we can blame it on Bendis. Her death was so meaningless and flash-in-the-pan that I felt no emotion over it. As opposed to say, Kitty’s death, where I was punched in the stomach.

But there are a lot of little things that did come out of Bendis’ writing. His Iron Man/Thor/Cap dynamic was well done. The Skrulls attack was nicely portrayed. The final battle itself (while filled with far too many rallying calls and “let’s get ‘em!”s) was rather epic – especially the “Avengers Assemble!” scene. Marvel Boy’s “rise,” as it were, was great and another strong point of the event.

As for the X-Men’s side of things, it was pretty cool to see all of these X-Men in action. I was a little disenchanted to see more of Cyclops’ “I’m a badass” attitude, but his gambit paid off and was his plan was well-executed. Good characterization for Nightcrawler, I must say, and a lot of characters got nice little moments.

Now, as for Dark Reign . . .