This time we look at Mighty Avengers #16, The Incredible Hercules #119, X-Factor #33 and then jump into our time machines to finish off the Xandar-Skrull Invasion with Fantastic Four #'s 208 and 209. Let's do this thing!
It's that time again. Time to Secretly Invade Marvel.
Once again, if you're looking for more Secret Invasion goodness, you can check that "Super Reads SI" link on the left. You'll come back again and again and this time it's NOT because you have the memory of a goldfish. It's because of the love. :)
Without further ado, we're ready to work:
The Mighty Avengers #16
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Khoi Pham
Dead Skrull-Elektra gets more appearances than many cool alive characters. I'm not saying it's the new hard and fast rule but if you REALLY want to succeed in comics you may need to be killed first.
This is Dead Skrull-Elektra's story of success through dying.
Way back in The New Avengers #1, third rate Spider-Man villain, Electro, was hired to break Sauron out of the Raft and to make a lot of noise while doing it. We never knew who was behind that but lately we've had some green suspects on our radar. This issue we get confirmation: Skrull-Elektra and the Hand were responsible.
But how did a Skrull actually replace Elektra? How indeed.
Months before the events of The New Avengers #1, the real Elektra was doing some meditating in Osaka, Japan. She was lookin' REAL old doing so too. I mean, there are crow's feet and then there's whatever's going on with Elektra's face. If DD was in panel, you'd be seeing another "Dude... how drunk was I?" joke, but fortunately Matt Murdock isn't around to witness ugly Elektra. This is what happens when you return from the dead. Your skin just isn't the same.
Anyway, in her ugly meditative state, she senses an approaching assassin. And who is it? It's her. And then they ninja fight. Actually, it's more like Street Fighter II where one person chooses a character and if the second person chooses the same character the costume changes colors. Hmmm... they ninja street fight.
Until Player 2 Elektra realizes how outmatched she is. That's when she enters the cheat codes and goes all super powered with a flaming skull and laser eyes. This isn't enough. Player 1 Elektra pulls off a Bullseye finishing move and takes Player 2 Elektra out of the game. Cheaters never prosper Player 2 Elektra.
Yes. In death, Player 2 Elektra goes as skrully as Skrull-Elektra will eventually go. Elektra just has to taste that blood, too. It's a ninja thing I guess. Delicious Skrull blood. I swear it's gonna be a taste sensation when the FDA approves it for sale at your local McDonald's. Goes great with french fries.
But wait, if Elektra survived on Skrull attack, that just means there's more coming. And so after burning the first assassin, she goes looking for more fights. A Skrull Daredevil and another Skrull Wolverine are happy to comply and start immediately using powers not normally used by DD and Logan. Skrull-Daredevil uses some Cyclops blasts to knock her off the building they're fighting on, but it's just a feignt to separate the two so that Elektra can pick them off one by one. Which she does, though she does take a concussive force blast to the back before downing two more Skrulls.
And that pretty much sets her up for the fourth Skrull who uses Collossus arms to beat her into a bloody mess before replacing her.
Time passes as other Skrull agents like Veranke/Spider-Woman set themselves into position. Around this time Skrull-Elektra meets Veranke in New York and they plot with plotting. Not happy plotting. The two do the girl on girl kiss thing which is so popular with the kids these days as Veranke tells her their plan. Skrull-Elektra is going to die and her death is going to seriously F with the heroes of earth.
That's right. Skrull-Elektra's death in The New Avengers #31 was planned. Veranke and Pagon (the infamous Skrull-Elektra) appear to be pretty close, too, so the revenge Veranke took on Echo in Secret Invasion #3 was probably very personal.
But before Skrull-Elektra can die, she needs to set up her death. That means taking over the Hand. She does this by first assassinating some Hydra flunky that's been guiding the Hand around and then by killing the current master of the Hand. When all is said and done, she is in control of the Hand and then uses them to bring about her own death.
Now, you may be asking yourself: "Self, how the heck does Mark Millar's Wolverine run fit in with this? Was that Skrull-Elektra or real Elektra?" Ugh. You are just ASKING for Dead Skrull Elektra to make ANOTHER appearance to explain that, aren't you? Well, the time frame would indicate that that was Skrull-Elektra but the fact that the Elektra in the story was killed again and resurrected again by the Hand doesn't really fit considering that when an impersonating Skrull dies they go back to their Skrullform... except that Skrull-Elektra was a New Super Skrull and could have used someone else's powers to fake death to go along with whatever plans would come from that. Also key is how easily she slipped out of the Hand's control with a one off line no less of having broken control once before and simply doing it again. I'd actually put that down as a Skrull-Elektra appearance and leave it at that.
Dammit, we're gonna see another Dead Skrull Elektra appearance to explain it. It's probably going to be in an Avengers Annual a year or so from now. You just can't stop her continued dead presence. Don't even try.
The Incredible Hercules #119
Writer: Greg Pak & Fred Van Lente
Penciler: Rafa Sandoval
When we left Herc last issue, a very glowy green eyed Kirby was watching Herc score with Snowbird. Skrulls are pervs.
This issue begins with that crazy Queen Veranke quoting from the Book of Worlds. What she says doesn't really sound good because it's her from years ago quoting passages predicting what's happening RIGHT NOW in Hercules.
No, not the nookie.
It's predicting that this rag tag troop of gods would be on their way to kill Kly-Bn and Sl'Gur'T and that the least of them would be their downfall.
And look at that Skrull-Kirby. Bastard coyote pups...
So when was Kirby replaced? Right after World War Hulk. They took Herc one way to get a talking to by Ares. They took Amadeus Cho another way to steal his puppy and replace it with a Skrull. Seriously. They took his coyote.
Right now, though, the God Squad is approaching the lair of Kly'Bn and Sl'Gur'T. It's surrounded by defeated gods and goddesses from every world the Skrulls have conquered.
Meanwhile, Herc is enjoying his morning after with ackward pillow talk as he and Snowbird get dressed. Yes, Skrull-Kirby is still there. But not for long. He leaves and impersonates Amadeus, tricking Atum into giving him control of the ship and then crashing the dreamship. It blows up real good. Snowbird grabs the map and the various other gods work on getting themselves reoriented. Fortunately, someone was paying attention. Atum makes short work of the Skrull impersonating Kirby.
Hopefully the real Kirby is alive in some SHIELD detention area. Hopefully.
Unfortunately, with the ship gone, the God Squad has to find another way up to the Skrull God palace. That means first fighting a lot of defeated pantheons. That means Herc gets to shine again. Also, Amadeus uses that big brain on him to find a way through the various pantheons. Unfortunately, that also means that Snowbird is gonna have to get ugly. I mean, beyond meditating Elektra ugly. She becomes the incredibly destructive Neooqtoq the Ravager and kills anything in her way.
Also unfortunate: she had the map.
And now it's faceoff time as the remaining gods get ready to meet and greet Kly'Bn.
He loves you, y'know. But that "he" apparently isn't Kly'Bn.... hmm.
Writer: Peter David
Penciler: Larry Stroman
The return of X-Factor alumni artist, Larry Stroman, is... confusing reading.
OK, backstory first: X-Factor is hiding out in Detroit but they aren't doing a good job of it because Val Cooper of O*N*E has found them and made Jamie Madrox work for her. Besides Strong-Guy, Jamie hasn't told the rest of X-Factor.
And for some reason Darwin is now a white dude hanging out with Longshot.
OK, you're as caught up as I'm gonna get you. Now I'm gonna explain to you about the difference between "cross-overs" and "mega-events." A "mega-event" is usually a blockbuster storyline that is mostly contained in one maxi-series. It usually involves characters from multiple titles with spin-off stories taking place in many other books but these stories merely enhance the event or maybe define moments from the maxi-series in more detail. "Cross-overs" are a bit different. They involve multiple characters from different books but the action takes place in one title and then is continued in another title. This may have made sense but here's the curveball:
X-Factor is a cross-over within a mega-event.
Deal with that.
While a part of the Secret Invasion mega-event, X-Factor is also the first part of the "He Loves You" story arc that crosses over with She-Hulk. You'll see the cast a She-Hulk a bit this issue but much more in her own title next week.
Anyway, are we all thoroughly confused now? Good. Then we can continue.
Longshot is picking a fight in Detroit. This is bad news, but not for Longshot. Why? Because he has luck powers. Instead of beating on him, the offended instead start beating on Darwin. This isn't terrible because Darwin can adapt to anything thrown at him. It's just annoying. Darwin doesn't exactly want to get in a fight and Longshot isn't really helping.
At X-Factor HQ, Darwin's dad is trying to hire them to locate his son... who is conveniently in town. Val Cooper and O*N*E are listening in and we get a lot of interesting backstory to Darwin and his dear old dad. All in all, daddy has some issues but claims to be working through them. He just wants to see his son.
Around this time, Darwin gets sick of being a punching bag and does a little fighting back before going the escape route. This is about the time Longshot's luck fails him and he becomes the new target. This is all observed by a lady with a headset on. We'll call her Jazinda since that's her name. The fight ends because Longshot disappears. Jazinda sees a suspicous punk leaving the scene and follows him.
Turns out that suspicious character is a Skrull. Not just any Skrull. This guy looks important and has burning lava eyes to prove it. Then he turns from Skrull-form to Longshot form and walks away. Not unnoticed, though. Jazinda's also a Skrull and sees him leave while disguised as a rat. It took me forever to figure that scene out. Damn Skrulls and not knowing who Jazinda is...
Right about now, X-Factor is on the case.
Val Cooper is not happy for some reason. She wants them to work on one of her cases. Madrox doesn't budge. Cooper threatens to expose him. Madrox is speechless.
Man, I miss Layla Miller. She knew stuff.
Darwin's still ticked. Apparently Longshot was supposed to lead him to Xavier but this is X-Factor. Xavier's over in X-Men Legacy. Longshot lead him to the wrong comic book. Darwin notices that Jazinda's been following them. Longshot says something Skrully. And it's fight and run time!
The fight is, of course, a bit of a misunderstanding. That's how these things work. One thing leads to another. Darwin defends who he thinks is a friend. Jazinda defends herself from Darwin. Monet comes on the scene and takes out Jazinda (since she's looking for Darwin). Finally, She-Hulk shows up ready to fight.
And then the "to be continued in She-Hulk #31" gets thrown down. We'll catch up with part two next time.
OK all you Secret Invaders, it's that time and we've got some serious ground to cover!
Once again, if you're looking for more Secret Invasion goodness, you can check that "Super Reads SI" link on the left. It's a great timewaster. Also, it's just great. B)
Alright, let's hit the ground running...
Fantastic Four #208
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Penciler: Sal Buscema
We are now gonna try finishing this storyline. As well as we possibly can, at least.
When last we left Reed, Sue, and Thing, Nova and his New New Champions had destroyed their space craft and killed them.
But we all know that killing the FF, even when they're aging incredibly rapidly, isn't just something you do. At the last moment Sue put up a forcefield and kept them alive while their ship blew up around them.
The Champions bring the three FFers about simply because the Skrulls couldn't possibly have the same powers as the FF do. That has never happened ever and don't you dare look at half the Skrull army to prove otherwise. Stop looking. Oh, you are just hurting the validity of pulling the FF aboard. Nova's not smart, ok? Is that a better reason.
Fine. Let's move on.
When the Fantastic Three get on board they are not very happy to see the Sphinx as part of the crew. He's apparently a "bad guy" and goes about being an arrogant jackhole until Reed steps up for him. If Nova trusts him, he's ok in Reed's book.
We've already noted Nova's lack of judgement skills.
Yeah, no sooner is Reed's trust given than the Sphinx senses the power of the Xandarian Super Computer and teleports away to get some of that power. He's followed by Doctor Sun. This is a completely trustworthy crew. My complements to Nova.
So who's left? We've got Diamondhead, Powerhouse, Crimebuster, Comet, and Nova. So a lot of people we'll forget ever existed in... who were they again? I remember Nova because he's cool if of poor judgment. Hmm...
Anyway, we're reminded again that Reed, Sue and Thing are suffering for rapid aging and then we're reminded that Johnny had other stuff to do. He's bored now, though, so he's ready to actually get involved in this storyline. He hops on the teleport beam and takes a quick trip to Xandar. Once there, he meets up with Adora moments before being reunited with the rest of the FF.
Fortunately Master Xar isn't around to give tours of the Xandarian Super Computer... but they're headed that way anyway because to hell with the Skrull invasion. The FF have a new shiny and Nova brought him with: The Sphinx.
Oh, there's Master Xar. He's full of power from the Xandarian Super Computer. He takes the Xandarian defenders and leads an attack against the Skrull invaders. Those Skrulls are off panel so as to not distract the FF or the dear reader from the new shiny threat.
Apparently the Xandarian Super Computer has given the Sphinx super-ultra powers. He's friggin huge. He's also damn near unbeatable. For the next few pages, the FF and the Champions try and try again to beat the Sphinx but he just knocks them all around and makes them think he's killed their loved ones before the continue to fight.
Seriously, this storyline suffers a lot from ADD. Not Marv Wolfman's crowning achievement, that's for certain. It's gonna get worse before it gets better, too.
Sphinx had a death complex before but now that he has super-ultra powers, he's all about living. He's headed to earth to be a super-ultra threat and someone has to stop him.
The FF decide that someone is... not them. Like, they just got beat down. They're gonna get Galactus.
The Champions remember that there's sort of a war going on. They may want to stay to deal with that. With that, the two groups part ways to deal with their respective issues.
Fantastic Four #209
Writer: Marv Wolfman
Penciler: John Byrne
Before we actually get to some Skrull action, this issue has two milestones you may want to mark down. It's John Byrne's first pencilling job for the Fantastic Four but even MORE IMPORTANT it's HERBIE's first appearance!
This should seriously be an Invest Comics pick of the week... possibly for one. Last. Reason.
Anyway, using Xandarian Super Science, Reed makes HERBIE (Humanoid Experimental Robot B-Type Integrated Electronics) to help him do super math. Yes. HERBIE is one huge pocket calculator. With an attitude.
He totally trips up Thing but no one notices. Not even Thing.
For all those not in the know, HERBIE was the Human Torch's replacement on the Fantastic Four cartoon... mostly because a burning man isn't really a great role model for kids of the late 70's. Or early 90's. We all learned a valuable lesson from Beavis and Butthead: Fire is cool. I mean, it's not cool. You'll burn down your house while grunting and laughing in the background. It's a sad tale of fire being cool.
Anyway, I can see why you'd want to replace the Human Torch around this time. Dude doesn't have his head in the game.
So that's all we'll deal with the FF this issue. Oddly enough, they are no longer important to the Skrull storyline as they have left it in the capable hands of Nova, freshly escaping his cancelled title, and his team of Champions.
Also, Master Xar from last issue and the remaining Xandarian Defenders. To be honest, the Skrull battle is pretty much over.
Dorrek VII is angry. He doesn't believe that the Skrulls are losing. They've cursed and everything. Still, he sees a strategic removing himself from the battlefield to be in order and prepares for that... until he's shot in the back. Apparently, R'Klll got bored with her second vacation and decided to take out her husband instead. She does it in a very Skrull-like way, actually.
Thus, Empress R'Klll assumes command of the Skrull Empire and the reign of Emperor Dorrek VII ends the way it began: with the death of an Emperor.
Empress R'Klll agrees to the strategic retreat of the remaining Skrull forces, though. The only change she makes is that it's actually a regrouping. They will reassembled their forces and strike anew.
The Champions watch their retreat and know that it just means that a bigger attack is coming. They prepare for the worst.
Which... um... never happens. After this Marv Wolfman was obviously bored of the Skrull Invasion storyline. Hell, he kept interupting it as is. I'd blame it on his editor but Fantastic Four was self edited.
So, the Champions, Nova, and Skrull plotlines are left behind as the Fantastic Four race ahead to find Galactus. And besides one or two dangling plots that actually do find answers, this story is at it's end.
Still, this last tale DOES expand the Skrull story. Emperor Dorrek VII is put to rest. The right of succession is claimed through treachery though apparently Dorrek only ruled legitimately through his wife anyway. He still managed to kill R'Klll's father in order to replace him and that is the just and honorable way of doing things for Skrulls.
Also, it established "Dung Dog" as a legitimate Skrull curse.
And that's about it. FF has a bit of ADD and we're ready to move on. Until the next we meet... Who Do YOU Trust?
Posted originally: 2008-07-29 17:07:23