Thursday, December 04, 2008

Secret Invasion #8 (of 8)

Brian Michael Bendis & Francis Yu
Another mega Marvel crossover event has come and gone...leading right into the next one, Dark Reign (in fact, the last few pages of this final Secret Invasion issue set up that event). Overall, the lead-up to Secret Invasion was far superior to the mini-series itself. The mystery, the bubbling conspiracy and the implications of what Elektra's skrull body meant...that was executed well. Once the full-scale invasion of the skrull empire was got a little dull, a little unwieldy trying to tie in several books to the main series, and ultimately, utterly underwhelming. The first issue of Secret Invasion set up the skrull invasion on several fronts, and the final issue touched on those set-ups, but briefly. If a reader didn't pick up Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #1-4, for instance, they would hardly care less that The Baxter Building went into The Negative Zone and then...came out of it (shocking development). But then again, what happened between the first and final issues of the main Secret Invasion mini-series? I hardly remember. They were fighting in the Savage Land at one point, then fighting in New York. But nothing too important really took place. It all felt very padded. The secondary Avengers titles, New Avengers and Mighty Avengers flushed out how people were replaced, and how things occurred exactly, making for a more interesting read overall.
So, where does Secret Invasion leave the Marvel Universe? Marvel's been teasing fans with images of skrulls and humans coexisting for months, but of course none of that came to fruition. The "Dark Reign" isn't the skrulls ruling over the earth. The skrulls lost, of course, but not without repercussions. The Wasp died. All of the heroes that were replaced were returned, including the long-dead Mockingbird. Jessica Drew is going to have to earn people's trust again following the skrull queen's impersonation of her. Jessica Jones and Luke Cage's baby was kidnapped by skrull Jarvis. And then the final chapter of the tale that leads into dark reign, something that's been set up in Thunderbolts and other titles for awhile now: Norman Osbourn is seen as quite the hero in all of this. Starktech was hacked, SHIELD and SWORD were infiltrated, but not the Thunderbolts. Norman and his group of misfits were the only superhero team to come out on top, and Norman played it up for the cameras, garnering quite a bit of admiration. So much so that he's replacing Tony Stark as the most powerful man in the US, overseeing the 50 State Initiative and in charge of homeland security. And so Norman's dark reign begins. The final page of Secret Invasion #8 is of Norman meeting with a dark version of Tony's Illuminati. The new power behind everything in the form of six individuals: Norman Osbourn, Namor, Doctor Doom, Emma Frost, The Hood and Loki. I think the potential for this coming mini-series is far more exciting than the drivel we've been dealt over the past year from a weak alien invasion (let's face it: it could have been a lot better). And while the lasting impact of Secret Invasion perhaps isn't what we expected, we are going to feel them for years to come, hopefully with some storylines that will have made the invasion worthwhile.

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