Super may need to sell some vital organs to buy all these issues.
This week, we look at everything Avengers related because they all decided to come out on the same week.
We also have a blast from the past look at Fantastic Four 204. It's time to get down! Spoilers Ahead!
Back in full effect! If you're behind (and I know I am) you'll find the entire collection of Super Reads SI through that link to your left. Your other left. If you're ready for more, this time around we'll be taking a look at The New Avengers 42, The Mighty Avengers 15, Avengers: The Initiative 14, Ms. Marvel 28, Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers 1, and a look at an oldie: Fantastic Four 204.
Let's get that ball rolling, shall we?The New Avengers #42
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Jim Cheung
Spider-Woman is a Skrull. Not only is she a Skrull, she's the Queen Skrull: Veranke. This much we know. Now, we learn how our Spider-Woman was replaced and what happened after.
Veranke/Spider-Woman told her side of her new "origin" back in New Avengers #14. How it played out was that Hydra approached her about getting her powers back, she went to Nick Fury, who approved the whole thing and thought to use her as his agent in Hydra. Hydra knew about the meeting and wanted her back in SHIELD. Nick had it all planned out how the deal would work between them, though Spider-Woman was hoping that he'd get her out of it instead of ordering her into the thick of it. She gets on the operating table and 17 months later she gets her powers back. Lotsa stuff happens after that including Nick going underground but the important stuff is listed already.
Because that was the last we saw of the real Spider-Woman.
The Hydra agents were Skrulls and after she went under on the operating table, Veranke effectively replaces her. How so? We get the first of two glimses at the ceremony used to replace a hero. This is different stuff than just LOOKING like the person. This is basically BECOMING them to the point of being undetectable so it's a very different process for the Skrulls to undertake.
And you've gotta be naked. These are the rules.
So how does our history work after that? Well, Veranke/Spider-Woman wanted back into SHIELD so the Skrulls have to place her there. In a secret meeting, they discuss how this will come about and we get a look at the fact that the Skrulls are already pretty well placed in SHIELD and Hydra and work is being made to put more Skrulls in both organizations. Within, the speak of the three main hurdles that the Skrulls must deal with before a full invasion force is brought into play. Vibranium.
It can be made into weapons that the Skrulls can't counter. That means the Skrulls need to collect it all and get rid of it. SHIELD is given the task and blame is going to be handed out to Maria Hill, the new Director of SHIELD. She's new and is set up for a nice fall. We've seen the Skrull/ SHIELD agents playing in the Savage Land. We just haven't seen their dealings in Wakanda... yet. Mutants.
There are too many of them. At this point the mutant population is HUGE and their just aren't enough Skrulls in a crazy religious sect to counter them, either. The solution at the time is to increase fear and paranoia. There's probably a better solution, right? Right? Super-Powered Dudes.
There are a lot of them. The solution is to infiltrate, get them to start fighting each other, and take out the heavy hitters. The ones listed are: Doctor Strange, Doctor Doom, Namor, The Scarlet Witch, and Hercules. Thor is considered dead at this time. Reed Richards and Tony Stark are given an honorable mention. Those two are going to be kept alive to punish later after the fall of earth in the throne city of Galax... which sounds like a great place to visit. The could ALSO be talking about Reed and Sue at this point as the dialogue is unclear but Tony gets a curse word earlier so I'm betting the hate is for him.
This leads nicely into Veranke/Spider-Woman being assigned to the Raft and the breakout that happened there in the opening issues of The New Avengers. Yes, the Skrulls were behind it. They formed mustaches just to twirl them in celebration. The Skrully downside is they put the Avengers back together and that Veranke/Spider-Woman is asked to be a member. In a meeting with Skrull/ Pym, he's a little ticked off to not be included, but it's one of those "you had to be there" things. By the way, this is a continuity glitch since according to The Mighty Avengers #15 (released the same week which is why the glitch is so obvious), Pym was in the UK when he learned about the Breakout incident and the team formed the next day... Pym wouldn't be Skrullified for a while after that. Not a long period, but more than a day for certain. Suggestions for a No-Prize begin here!
Veranke/Spider-Woman's going to join the team if only to get access to Tony's new technology... which is followed up on in Mighty Avengers. But first she has to deal with one of her "handlers."
Madame Hydra. She's as happy as a peach about the whole deal which is funny because she wasn't behind it and she's talking to the one who was. Anywas, Madame Hydra thinks she's got an inside agent in the Avengers while the inside agent is actually on a whole 'nother level. There's a scene right after this where they all discuss how crazy Wanda was during Disassembled. Sum up: She's nuts because of her father probably maybe. I'm glad we left her in his care.
And then we skip to a scene with Maria Hill, SHIELD Director, where they talk about who's the corrupt SHIELD agent and who's the outstanding citizen. Hill's still set up to take a fall at this point.
This scene is interupted because Skrull/Pym is meeting with other current/ former Avengers and the Astonishing X-Men to discuss whether killing crazy Wanda is a good idea and he thinks that Veranke/Spider-Woman should be there.
She shows up, of course and we're given that white glow scene as the House of M begins. Also, a "To Be Continued..." message. Will this continue next issue or will we have to wait? U-Decide!The Mighty Avengers #15
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: John Romita Jr.
And now we learn how Hank Pym was replaced.
Following the events of Avengers Disassembled, Hank Pym took a fellowship at Oxford. Janet Van Dyne joined him. This issue begins with him lecturing about Advanced Genetic Analysis. This basically means he gets to answer questions about hanging out with Thor and some of the cooler Avengers... and then Hank invents a different costumed personality. This time, things go in a different direction as a Gwen Stacy clone has apparently entered the audience and is actually interested in him instead of the cool Avengers.
But first he needs to ditch his wife. Or maybe things go in a different direction and she ditches him. I know, wierd. While Hank is diligently working on his computer (possibly looking at porn, but we'll pretend he's actually working), Jan comes home drunk off her mind after hanging out with some friends. They get into a fight which culminates with her packing her things and leaving. But she leaves a well thought out note.
It says, "bye."
So now, Hank Pym sleeps with the Gwen Stacy clone. I know! Rebound. Hank, STAY AWAY FROM ALL BRIDGES! That's Spider-Man territory and then we'll get into a fight about which bridge it actually is and there'll be crying.
Anyway, Gwen Stacy clone is all excited about making babies with Hank, Hank's excited that he has a groupie. It's win/win. This is when continuity glitch comes into play as she shows him a shot of the New Avengers during Breakout on her computer. Note: He's still human and would need to be skrullified in less than 24 hours to make the scene in New Avengers make sense (where Veranke/Spider-Woman is talking to Skrull/ Pym before accepting membership in his lab at Columbia University). Still, Marvel time is crazy and maybe that one day thing is now stretched. Who knows?
So Gwen Stacy clone and Hank spend some time together as she grills him on any number of personal life questions. This all leads to discussion of the Kree-Skrull War. Hank explains how the Kree are awesome while the Skrulls are dirty and disgusting filth. Filthy filth. That, of course, leads to this:
Anyone who didn't catch on already, I need to take away your geek card. They weren't even TRYING to be subtle about it. It's a short fight. Hank loses. There's blood. Then Jan shows up to find a naked Gwen Stacy clone wrapped in a blanket. Jan tells her that there's a divorce coming and that she's going back to america. Also: "Aim higher." HaHa!
We then get our second look at the secret Skrull Invasion Ceremony as our young Gwen Stacy Skrull becomes a Hank Pym Skrull. Another skrull... possibly Veranke/Spider-Woman... doesn't see the use of a Skrull/Pym, but Skrull/Pym just smiles and says, "give me a week."
We cut ahead to the Mighty Avenger's opening arc and the Ultron attack. This is where Ultron turns Tony Stark into a female Jan Van Dyne lookalike. Skrull/Pym is called in for assistance because Hank Pym created Ultron back in the day. Through this whole deal, Skrull/Pym learns that Tony's technology has gone organic. They now know how to penetrate Stark's defenses because of Ultron. And then...
Skrull/Pym gives Jan a new growth formula. This formula is apparently a vast improvement to the current growth formula. It's also a terrible trap!
Dun Dun DUN!
And so, the whereabouts of the real Spider-Woman and Hank Pym remain unrevealed... but that was a lot of blood to come out of Hank's head...Avengers: The Initiative #14
Writers: Dan Slott % Christos N. Gage
Penciler: Stefano Caselli
This issue opens up with how many times Skrull/Pym has had to fool people into thinking he could do things that he couldn't really do or wouldn't really save him. Usually, that means telling people that he shrunk to subatomic size very quickly to escape this or that when in reality he just used a different power set. He was also the Skrull inside Camp Hammond first seen in the Avengers: The Initiative Annual.
But he's not the ONLY Skrull hanging out at Camp Hammond. Crusader is ALSO a Skrull... just one of the Skrulls that's happier on earth with humans than with Skrulls (read: defector). He learns that Skrull/Pym is a Skrull and freaks out because there's no way to reveal Hank without revealing himself that he can think of.
Meanwhile, a recent graduate, the new 3-D Man formerly known as Triathlon, is headed to his new assignment: Team Leader of the Hawaian Point Men. As a graduation gift he was given the original flight suit worn by the first 3-D Man. He quickly incorporates the visor into his own costume... which will have some interesting effects down the road. But for now, it's all about getting to know his new team. Let's see... there's Star Sigh. She's human. That's Paydirt... human. Devil Slayer's a bit Batman-like but still human. Finally, there's Magnitude who's also hu-- SKRULL! The visor lets him see Skrulls!
Back at Camp Hammond, Crusader's trying to find someone to confide in without giving himself away. He almost goes to Trauma, but then chickens out.
In Hawaii, Skrull/Magnitude is taking out the Point Men. In the end, 3-D Man beats him because the Skrull is still trying to hide and nothing can hide from those goggles. That accomplished, 3-D Man teleports to Camp Hammond to give warning while Devil Slayer takes care of the fallen.
Arriving at Camp Hammond, he announces that he can see Skrulls. It's like seeing dead people but different. Crusader freaks out. In order to hide himself, he uses his Freedom Ring to counter 3-D Man's visor and in so doing... everyone looks like a Skrull.
Well, that was a one issue advantage. Thanks Crusader. Thanks a lot. Ms. Marvel #28
Writer: Brian Reed
Penciler: Adriana Melo
This issue picks up during battle of Manhattan currently going on in Secret Invasion proper. Most likely BEFORE reinforcements show up but Manhattan's a big place. Maybe Ms. Marvel just hasn't run into any other heroes.
Maybe there aren't any there.
Anyway, Sharon's fighting a heck of a lot of New Super Skrulls and having a good time doing it. One of the themes of the Ms. Marvel comic is about her becoming an awesome super hero (from my look ins, though, she's not doing a very good job). This issue she gets to put that to bed and just be a soldier. THAT is something she's damn good at. You can also kill Skrulls without feeling too bad about it, so she does that. She flies a Planet Hulk New Super Skrull into space where no one can hear you breath. One down. Now to bring up all his friends.
The battle is going pretty well until the Skrulls remember they can shape change. When they start looking human, they suddenly don't seem as killable. They also blend into the background pretty well. This... is a conundrum.
While she's trying to figure out what to do, the New Super Skrulls are making hit and runs on her and also killing the humans in the crowd. Now, that means you either just start killing everyone or come up with a comic book answer. Fortunately, this is a comic and that means we get a comic answer!
Marvel throws out a wide beam JUST strong enough to knock a human down but leave these New Super Skrulls on their feet. It also turns them back into Skrulls, apparently. Now, this means the crowd doesn't trust her because they all fell down. It also means the Skrulls are out in the open. She remarks that while these Skrulls are fighters, they aren't warriors. That... makes about as much sense as Vision's left handed revolution for a nuked out world, but we'll go with it because she's winning.
That just leaves one more New Super Skrull out in the open: the giant one. Probably get to him in the next issue.Secret Invasion: Runaways/ Youn Avengers #1
Writer: Chris Yost
Penciler: Takeshi Miyazawa
We open on Tarnax VII. There's lots of Skrull ships in the sky. And on the planet, there's an arguement going on between two Skrulls. Fremn takes one side while Chrell takes the other. Something about a child and what the heck are they doing out here. In the end, they meet up with Queen Veranke who requests Chrell's service. Fremn protests and Chrell shoots him in the face. Hopefully killing him.
This is significant because Fremn was a close friend and trainer and Chrell shot him anyway because of religious differences. We're probably going to get back to that left handed revolution again... but first, let's listen to Veranke. She wants Chrell to train her soldiers and, when the time comes, to kill the Prince. That's Hulkling. I got that part.
Let the confusion continue!
I'll be honest. I am NOT up on my Runaways trivia. I missed out the first time around and just never got into later on. I love my Young Avengers and how little sense their origins make, though, so I happily buy everything that comes out with their name on it. This lead to the excellent purchace of Civil War's meeting of the two teams which if probably the first and last time I checked in on Runaways. If I get the names wrong, it's probably your fault. So go sit in the corner.
So the Runaways are in New York having Klara say good bye to the city? Anyway, the big deal is questioning Xavin's loyalties because even I know he/she's a Skrull. Xavin get's "rulers" and "leaders" mixed up (many would say Tony Stark does that ALL THE TIME!
) and we are all witness once again the the Skrull Invasion of New York. Apparently, on this front it's more normal Skrulls that New Super Skrulls.
But the uniforms are still cool. Xavin then captures the team.
A few blocks away, the Young Avengers are joining the fray. Luckily, their Skrull member (Half Skrull) isn't all about betraying them and they get to actually do some fighting. While that's happening, the Skrulls are doing recon looking for Hulkling. Cause it's time for some killin'.
Back with the Runaways, Xavin is looking more Skrully and talking to some New Super Skrulls in the Skrullian Language of Skrulls. Skrulls!
OK, I'm better. Whatever he/she says, Xavin is able to take the Runaways away in invisible forcefields. This is ruined when Nico is able to pop those forcefields and Victor and her are able to counter Xavin. Which is when Xavin explains that he was rescuing them. These are religious extremist Skrulls and Xavin doesn't want anything to do with them. He convinces them that the battle is already over and it's time to run away. That's the modus operandi.
Meanwhile, Chrell has identified Hulkling AKA Dorrek VIII. The Young Avengers are joined by the Initiative just like in Secret Invasion 3.
The Runaways are working on their escape. They get airborne just in time to face two New Super Skrulls.
Xavin, however, isn't with them. He/She's got his/her own plan. Witnessing Chrell about to execute Hulkling, Xavin uses his/her flame powers to rescue him. They escape to the sewers but are themselves confronted by New Super Skrulls.
And now a look at Fantastic Four 204:Fantastic Four #204
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Penciler: Keith Pollard
It's another day in the life of the Fantastic Four. Reed's wrapped up in his science stuff, Sue's wrapped up in her worrying about Reed stuff, Franklin's riding Ben like a horse, and Johnny is directionless in a drifting life. But all that changes soon!
Johnny takes off to see if he can get reinstated in some sort of college thing, but that's for later. Right now, we're dealing with a strange beam that's siphoning the power from the FF computer. Reed doesn't know what it's doing or why it's messing about and that just doesn't sit well with him. Agatha Harkness appears suddenly to take Franklin away so that he won't bother us for a while. Sue walks off in a huff after being ignored. Ben is preparing to go hang out with Alicia.
That's when the strange beam teleports a regal looking half naked woman into the Baxter Building. As Reed shouts out, "NEXT FRIDAY! TODAY'S NOT A GOOD TIME!" the girl speaks a gibberish language that Reed can't understand but understands the panic behind it. She's quickly followed by a Skrull that displays some FF-like abilities (like flaming on). The Thing returns for a good tussle but the Skrull is finally defeated by Reed's lightning gun. If you're curious and for naming's sake, this Skrull will be known as Skrull-X in the future. Look for it!
The regal lady is injured but expresses confidence that she will be healed from her injuries. Oh, and she's learned english pretty quickly too. It's time to learn about Adora and her world:
Her world was an advanced paradise. There was peace but then not so much with the peace. Invaders came and sucked all the energy out of the planet. This caused the planet to implode and killed off most of the inhabitants even after the invading ship was repelled by Romann Dey, the planet's champion. Still, parts of the planet were spared... possibly through the work of the Watcher who's not supposed to interfere but totally does. All the time. Try and stop him.
Four bits of the planet were surrounded in force fields and the people took no time to begin connecting the sections and again building a life. But the invaders returned in force and again went about destroying the remains, working their way to Adora. One of Adora's people discovered a beam originating from earth that could be turned into a teleport beam and quickly did so. Adora's love, Tanak (who is dressed as a member of the Nova Corps) volunteers to head there and look for help, but Adora takes the mission herself. They are interupted by Skrull-X and Adora is pushed into the teleport beam. She was obviously pursued by Skrull-X.
While Adora is telling this story, Johnny is goofing off with a girl. His disinterest in his own adventures bores the girl and she walks off in disgust. This is just about time for one of Johnny's past girlfriends to show up and rub it in and there's Frankie Ray right there to do it. There talk about how their dates were interupted by Fantastic Four business is interupted by Fantastic Four business as Johnny is called back to HQ.
When he's apprised of the situation, he is the only member to back out of the mission. Not because he's got better things to do, mind you. Simply because he wants to do other stuff. Frankly, his disinterest in saving an alien race from Skrull invaders is kind of disgusting. While the rest of the FF go off to do something heroic, Johnny tries to find an actual reason to avoid going. He contacts every hero he knows but they're all out saving people. He needs to find a lower class of hero. Someone in his own class range, maybe.
Finally, he opens a letter handed to him earlier that includes and invitation to join Security University. That only raises a million red flags, but Johnny's bored. He hits campus just in time to save some students from an exploding building. After that excitement, he's lead around campus by the Dean, Joseph Wayne, as the Monacle twirls his mustache. Monacle has a monacle, if you're wondering. I know. Suprising.
And that's it for this little adventure. Join me soon as I give blood to continue to look for ways to afford every Secret Invasion issue. Until then: Who do YOU trust?
Posted originally: 2008-07-08 17:04:38