Skrull Avengers – Assemble!


Thirty days have passed, and you’ve had your chance to get your fill of Secret Invasion tie-ins, which means it’s time to check back in on the stand off between the Marvel heroes that stepped off that wrecked space ship, and the Marvel heros that arrived from the mainland. You can bet there are more secrets to be revealed, and more spoilers ahead – you’ve been duly warned.

SECRET_INVASION_2.jpgOne thing that has always amazed me, whenever heroes meet for the first time, is how poor their diplomatic skills are. It’s a wonder characters like the Fantastic Four or Iron Man can be ambassadors when the first thing that crosses their mind when meeting someone foreign is to fight it out. Even when faced with your doppelganger, one would think you would have enough cool to try and figure out what is going on before punching said double in the bread basket.

Too bad that’s not the case with the amalgam of heroes that are face to face with potential Skrulls of the Savage Land. Even with Ares ordering calm among everyone, all it takes is a few wisecracks here and there before all hell breaks loose.

Brian Michael Bendis’ pacing leading up the battle is really well done, and being backed up with the art from Leinil Yu had me thinking of the Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, where the trio face off at the end of the movie, the music swelling, and the director intercutting between the close ups of faces. If you’ve read the issue, play the classic Ennio Morricone score in your head, and tell me it doesn’t work out almost perfectly.

Even in the chaos of the battle there are a few revelations that make one wonder what is really going on. The conversation between Sentry and The Vision lead me to believe that this entire secret invasion could be taking place in the head of a deranged hero – that, or Sentry is a key to the whole Skrull plan to get back for turning their kind into cows.

Even though we can differentiate the heroes from one another thanks to the 70s costume designs, the battle is eventually broken up by the appearance of one of the beasties from the Savage Land. This allows the battle to move into the jungle, where hero can fight hero mano a mano.

As present day Wolverine and Luke Cage look for survivors, there are a few revelations to be made.

Are you ready for it?

Two big revelations?

Two more heroes revealed to be Skrulls?

Last chance…
Spider-Man and Hawkeye are revealed to be Skrulls.

No really.

Okay, so the Skrull impostors are the two heroes that stepped off the crashed ship, and not the web head and arrow slinger we’ve come to know and love, but you got to admit it got your heart racing for a moment.

Probably the most touching moment of the entire fight is the reveal that not everyone stepping off the ship are Skrulls in disguise. I’m not going to spoil that moment, but I thought it was a great way to reunite lovers.

It’s also hinted that the Captain America from the wreckage may in fact be the real deal, but considering the screwy nature of the legion of Steve Rogerseseses running around (dead Steve Rogers, Grand Director Steve Rogers, and now potential Skrull Steve Rogers) , your guess is as good as mine on this one.

For those worried about Tony Stark, he does make his escape, and if the story is going where I think it is going, we may see a new Iron Man suit of armor in the near future.

Oh, and New York City is attacked by an army of… well, you really have to see it to believe it. Ookla the Mok, anyone?

The Good

  • Editing and pacing of the issue was really good
  • I’m still not convinced present day Tony Stark isn’t a Skrull
  • Those Marvel Teaser Posters were correct, but misleading in a fun way
  • There are still plenty heroes fighting it out in the jungle, who may or may not be Skrulls
  • Don’t Trust Anyone!
  • Super Skrulls Attack!

The Bad

  • I waited 30 days for this?
  • What’s up with Pym and Reed?
  • I need more, damnit! MORE!
  • $3.99? Really?

I think Marvel is hoping Secret Invasion is going to be a big jumping on point for new readers, but some of the exchanges between characters; specifically Sentry and The Vision were lost on me, and I’m afraid it may also confuse those who are picking this series as their introduction to the Marvel U. As much as people bag on Bendis for his time decompression, I thought the drawn out build up to the fight was done really well. I’m disappointed the majority of the issue was spent battling it out, but I guess it gives Yu a chance to flex his artistic muscles.

Considering this is an eight issue run, this second installment proceeded at the pace I expected. No major revelations were made, there were just enough cliffhangers to make me go OH CRAPZ!, and the art was nice. I know this is a major event for Marvel, but jacking the price on a book that is still 22 pages long seemed like a bit of a rip to me. By the end of the last page, I’m only giving Secret Invasion #2 3.5 out of 5 Stars. A slight slip from the first fantastic issue, but still a great read that continues the story, and it gives me the chance to say “Skrull!” whenever I get the chance.


The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. Mr. Dou
    May 7, 2008 at 11:10 pm — Reply

    Ok, I have a theory about the Captain America ordeal:

    I think that the Captain America on the Skrull ship is John Walker, whom replaced Steve Rogers as Captain America when he first became the Nomad, whom we know these days as U.S. Agent. Eventually, Steve came back, they fought, Steve became Cap again and John Walker became the U.S. Agent. I thought this from issue number 1, based more on a hunch, then, but now, I feel like I have evidence: #1 – I have never heard Steve Rogers refer to Iron Man as “Shellhead”, #2 – Steve Rogers would not throw in such casual swearing, and #3 – that look about him, the glare he gave to Hawkeve/Ronin/Clint/Whatever just had a striking way about it… I don’t know…

    I think this could lead to some interesting conflict, because NO ONE is going to think that this Cap is the real deal, because we saw the body! He didn’t turn Skrull! but the reveal would be that it really IS Cap, just not Steve Rogers…

    Maybe Walker could have been abducted before Steve Rogers came back for the mantle, and that’s why he’s in the Cap outfit still. So, in summation: Steve Rogers – Real/Dead, John Walker – Abducted, U.S. Agent on Alpha Flight – Skrull!!!!

    Anybody convinced?

    (Oh, and by the way, I love the character who was brought back, and I am so thrilled she’s back…)

  2. mosdef
    May 8, 2008 at 1:32 am — Reply

    just picked it up just read it. i loved the love reunion, it actually gave me chills. i dont really know her history enough to care about her, but the way they realized who each other was, it was touching. this issue wasnt as great as the first but it was still great. i loved the banter between the characters, u can feel the tension, and ares trying to stop the fighting…i liked that alot too. it says alot about the situation and whether to use brains or brawn. captain america i have no friggin clue, ill just wait to see what happens. the ship skrull spiderman made me take a breath cause that would be a HUUUUGE copout by marvel, even though spiderman could still be a skrull right? right? the last page had me blown away, i mean DAAAAAAAMN. those skrulls dont play and they are serious. that army of skrulls looks like they could kick some serious ass. yu art so far is spectacular, i love it. and i hate the f******* sentry, get over it. stop crying and runnign away like a little toddler. as to whether the vision is a skrull or not thats in the air, he could be and just royally f**** with the sentrys head, or he couldnt be and really be the void.(oh god no) thats it. great issue

  3. Randallw
    May 8, 2008 at 3:20 am — Reply

    “Ares ordering calm among everyone”

    There’s your imposter right there.

  4. steviecool
    May 8, 2008 at 8:41 am — Reply

    1. I think the fact that his son appears in another title verifies Ares is the real deal.

    2. I find it hard to believe the “no one knows this secret” thing would work WITH A TELEPATH RIGHT THERE. Skrull.

    3. I like the symmetry of Hawkeye giving up a costume of another hero that he’s currently wearing to become Hawkeye again. Just like the Kree-Skrull war.

  5. Eddie Sheridan
    May 8, 2008 at 9:30 am — Reply

    U.S. Agent was in the Omega Flight series not that long ago. I don’t think that could be him.

  6. Carl
    May 8, 2008 at 9:54 am — Reply

    While John Walker was Captain America, Steve Rogers used the identity of The Captain. It was more than a decade after he’d used the Nomad ID, which had already passed to Jack Monroe. When he became Nomad, he voluntarily gave up being Captain America due to discovering the American government being corrupted at the highest levels. When he became The Captain, it was because the Commission took the Captain America identity from him since he didn’t want to be a government employee.

  7. Mr. Dou
    May 8, 2008 at 11:08 am — Reply

    Either way, John Walker could have been abducted while he was in the suit.

    And Eddie, I’m suggesting that the U.S. Agent in Omega Flight is a Skrull agent.

  8. Jim
    May 8, 2008 at 2:43 pm — Reply

    I’ve enjoyed the Clint-Bobbi relationship since back in the WC Avengers mini-series days. I either don’t remember or wasn’t reading comics when she was canned. So that Bobbi was a skrull? Was there a body? And I’ve lost track of how Clint is alive…. Was the Hawkeye killed in “Avengers Disassembled” a skrull, or was that the same Clint we have now, who somehow miraculously survived a jet engine?

    I still don’t get why Sue Storm and Jean Grey are in this group, though….

  9. May 8, 2008 at 10:08 pm — Reply

    The one thing that I think is a positive coming out of this is that we may see the end of Tony Stark’s command of Extremis … he’s working on new tech because it has been comprimised. Since its inception I’ve thought its just one of those terrible macguffins.

  10. Steven R. Stahl
    May 8, 2008 at 11:27 pm — Reply

    Mockingbird died in AVENGERS WEST COAST #100, very obviously, definitively, and irrefutably. It’s impossible for the Mockingbird who died to have been a Skrull, and equally impossible for the Mockingbird in SI #2 to be the “real deal,” unless Brevoort and Bendis are essentially saying, “The !$#* with continuity! (#@) believability! We’re bringing Mockingbird back and there’s nothing you can do about it. Ha, ha.”

    Another major flaw in the issue is the notion that the “alien” virus unleashed in SI #1 would be able to damage Stark’s equipment. Computer viruses don’t do that. They destroy files, not hardware, and, in any rationally organized system, the files would be replaceable. Even the equipment would be replaceable. I don’t know what Bendis was thinking when he wrote Stark’s dialogue to the effect that he would have to rebuild everything from “scratch.” The mishandling of the computer virus in MIGHTY AVENGERS #6, though, was an indication that Bendis really doesn’t understand what viruses are, or what they do. Maybe he thought an “alien” computer virus could have unearthly effects? Um, no, it couldn’t.

    I’ve seen several comments about the “fighting” in SI #2, but the opinion that there’s fighting going on seems strange when one compares the pages to Stern’s AVENGERS, Englehart’s AVENGERS or WEST COAST AVENGERS, Thomas’s AVENGERS or AWC issues, etc. Using powers against each other tactically and actually exerting force against each other is fighting. What appears in SI #2 is Bendis’s standard NEW AVENGERS approach of filling space with splash pages, having characters trade quips, and having some characters occasionally punch each other.

    I’ve seen some readers, whether or not, they’re aware that the miscarriage bit Bendis throws at readers is fabricated history, comment that the exchange between Barton and Mockingbird doesn’t prove anything. There could have been a telepath involved. . . If one wants to believe that an incompetent writer is doing the work, then, yes, a telepath could be involved. An honest writer would inform the reader that a lie was being told.


  11. Mark I.
    May 9, 2008 at 12:16 pm — Reply

    Steven, how bout a SPOILER warning!!!! Just kidding, I dun’ care.

    My theory about Bobbi (posted previously) is that Mephisto let her out of Hell since he didn’t really have anyone else reliable to help the humans fight the Skrulls. Mephisto plagues humans, Skrulls want Earth, therefore the enemy of my enemy is my enemy…but that’s just a guess. I’m sure the real storyline is going to be more illogical than Spock after he got high on that happy pollen.

    Doesn’t mean it can’t be fun.

  12. Maximus Rift
    May 9, 2008 at 2:15 pm — Reply

    You mean Clint is back to being Hawkeye? Lame. Liked him better as Ronin. Always wondered why he didn’t just use a bow & arrow and throwing weapons while using the costume. What about the Young Avengers: Hawkeye? Does she get a name change?

    Mockingbird back? Well, I liked the character so “cool”. As to how? Why not just tie it to the OMD horror?

  13. Steven R. Stahl
    May 10, 2008 at 10:12 am — Reply

    Mockingbird’s soul is in Hell; her body is, presumably, decomposing within the grave it was placed in in AVENGERS WEST COAST #100. Escaping from Hell isn’t just a matter of going from one dimension to another. There are ways to get a replacement body–Warlock and company took possession of fresh corpses after they exited the Soul Gem, for example–but it’s a moot issue, because Mephisto isn’t a human entity or personification. As a manifestation of universal Evil, he (it) would interact with humanoids all over the universe He’s no more dependent on humans for energy than God or Satan is.

    Back when “Avengers Disassembled” came out, I was interested in developing fixes for the unwanted plot developments, plugging plot holes, etc., but Marvel Editorial’s sorry record since then has killed my interest in such things. Now I just want the company to produce material that’s worth paying money for. The fact that Marvel wasn’t forced to retract “One More Day,” or backtrack in other ways, due to fan resentment, was unfortunate, because it showed that there are new and undemanding, uncritical readers that will accept anything that isn’t obvious garbage.

    That attitude is more pervasive than one might think. The plot for YOUNG AVENGERS PRESENTS #3, for example, placed the Vision and Scarlet Witch’s house in the wrong city–Cresskill instead of Leonia–and failed to mention a battle between Master Pandemonium and Wanda (in the SCARLET WITCH miniseries). Those obvious errors ruined the story, but many, if not all, online reviewers missed them completely. One prominent blogger, when told about the errors, dismissed them. She didn’t know the characters, and didn’t care whether their histories were handled correctly. The only things she cared about were the social relationships.

    Many of Marvel’s events can be dismissed on the basis of flawed premises. “One More Day, “ for example, is “Peter and M.J. must sacrifice their love for each other to Mephisto, so that the demon will prevent Aunt May’s death.” “Avengers Disassembled” is “An insane Scarlet Witch attacks and kills Avengers whom, she believes, are trying to take away her nonexistent children.” “House of M” is “An insane Scarlet Witch tries to create an alternate reality in which Marvel heroes live out dream lives, but can’t handle the stress.” I don’t think that Marvel Editorial cares whether a given event has a flawed premise any more, as long as it looks like something that can be promoted.

    If the story’s premise is flawed, unfortunately, the plot that’s based on it will be flawed as well. The best way to avoid the problem with flawed premises, IMO, is to base the story on character development, to have the character overcome a threat or reach a desired goal. If obvious problems, such as a deux ex machina, are avoided, and the writer understands the characters, then the worst that will happen is that plot developments will seem forced. The end result can still be complimented. The problem with such character-based stories, I suppose, is that they can’t be promoted easily. The audience has to be fairly sophisticated and involved with the characters. New readers might not be interested. It’s not impossible to combine a threat that can be promoted easily with character development, but doing so takes work and doesn’t happen in editorial conferences. That’s the result of individual effort and writing skill.


  14. ~wyntermute~
    May 22, 2008 at 12:40 am — Reply

    srs. get a blog, dude.

  15. ~wyntermute~
    May 22, 2008 at 12:53 am — Reply

    and as much as i hate to double-post….

    SRS: sure, a LOT of the points you make are valid, but there are forums and blogs and stuff. I mean, your posts are well-thought out, and well-written; they could be articles somewhere. :) I kinda see that my initial comment could be seen as snark, but i’m only semi-snarky. seriously, if you’re going to spend that much thought on this stuff, put it up and cross-promote yourself — other people here do (did?) it. (that “evil” guy with Dial B for Blog, for instance)…

    however, one argument i’ll counter with is that not everybody cares about the details. i know that may seem like a shame to people like you (and i, cuz i appreciate continuity too, and well-characterized plots, etc), but money has never cared about what’s interesting. money goes where people go. people are driven by what they’re driven by, and not everybody is driven by detail. if people like us were in the majority, would they not cater to us? After all (and this is meant with no disrespect whatsoever), people like you aren’t afraid to speak up when you dislike something. at least we’ll have the satisfaction of saying “i told you so” when everything goes to ashes. :D

    just my perspective, however distorted it may be…

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