HUGE one: Secret Invasion #5, Captain Britain and MI:13 #4, Secret Invasion: Runaways/ Young Avengers #2, Secret Invasion: X-Men #1, Secret Invasion: Thor #1, Secret Invasion: Inhumans #1, as well as blast from the past looks at Fantastic Four #'s 257 and 262. Let's dig in!
Mother of Christmas, this was a huge week for Secret Invasion. We get over the hump on the main series while finally opening up some storylines for the X-Men and Asgardians and finishing up the Battle of Britain.
All of that and we watch Galactus eat the Skrull Throneworld.
Ready, Set, GO!
Secret Invasion #5
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Leinil Francis Yu
So, lots and lots of stuff happened in the last issue of Secret Invasion and we all ended up with warm fuzzies by the end. I mean, unless you were a Skrull. Things haven't been going well for the Skrulls and we've still got a few months to go. Makes you think there are a few more twists to come...
But first, some more pure awesome.
At Thunderbolts Mountain, Norman Osborn is still confronting the Skrull Captain Marvel. This follows up on events shown in Secret Invasion #3 and the exact same events in Thunderbolts #122. Norman gives a nice little speech about how they both have green dreams. Captain Marvel has had just about enough of talking to the Green Goblin so he gets out of there. Norman's reinforcements show up. Osborn grabs a gun and tells everyone else the gosh honest truth.
We're at war.
I know. We know that. No the T-Bolts know that. they'll probably do something about that in... oh... I don't know... Thunderbolts #123? That sounds about right.
Meanwhile, at one of Nick Fury's secret bases, the Young Avengers are having a reunion... well, besides the Young Avengers showing up in the Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers book who aren't really featured here. Interesting fun fact: Vision didn't die. That's ok, but if there was ever a great Skrull execution scene that was probably it. Anyway, we've got Stature, Patriot, Hawkeye, and Vision hanging out with other superhero survivors from the Battle of Manhattan. These are people that Nick Fury apparently trusts... or at least trusts ENOUGH. He probably doesn't trust A LOT.
Anyway, they're waiting for their favorite TV show: Skrull Invasion announcement! It's the newest show for the Fox Network. The announcer Skrull (or several announcer Skrulls) turns into everyone from Tony Stark, Oprah Winfrey, Steven Colbert (and so can you!), or even Scientology's Tom Cruise! It's a star studded cast announcing the inevitable conquering of Earth and just how much the elusive "He" loves you. Everything's gonna be ok because we're now in the Skrull Empire's tender embrace.
That's not them strangling you at all. Put that thought out of your pretty head.
When last we caught up with Agent Brand, director of SWORD, she was being confronted by Skrulls aboard a Skrull ship. Well, turns out that after a moment of panic she's able to fake her way through a conversation JUST enough to disarm a Skrull...
And then use that self same gun to kill both of them. It's good times if you love your killing green and messy. She then goes on a little bit of a killing spree. She may be angry that these people blew up her space station. And the whole invasion thingie.
After killing the Skrull captors of Reed Richards, she signals for the rest of the Skrulls to evacuate the ship, thinks better of it, and vents the Skrull crew into space. Reed's in bad shape but recovers quickly, attacking Brand in anger before being convinced that she's not a dirty Skrull. He is TICKED. Apparently the Skrulls used his own mind to plan this invasion.
Wait, wait, wait, wait. When was that? Maybe we'll find out later.
Right now, we need to get to Deputy Director Maria Hill's surrender of SHIELD to a bunch of smug Skrulls like Skrull-Jarvis. Oh, wait, it's Maria Hill. Odds on a surrender? Not great. She decides to talk the Skrulls to death and gives a smug speech of her own about a T-shirt she's gonna wear when this is all over with. The Skrulls get annoyed at this pointless story and shoot her up a lot... and she's an LMD! The LMD Hill ends her speech by saying that T-shirt of hers is gonna say, "Nick Fury was right." Remember back in The Mighty Avengers #12 when Fury told her to use LMDs? She listened.
From one of the towers, the Skrulls notice the (probably) real Maria Hill with a sniper rifle. She tags exactly one Skrull in the ensuing gunfight before jetpacking away and blowing up the helicarrier.
Let's hope it was less occupied that I think it was. Those things usually have humans aboard.
Back up in space, Brand and Reed are learning to trust. Reed's checked out Brand's DNA and confirmed that she's not a Skrull. Then the other Skrull ships have noticed the Skrull bodies vented into space around their ship and they start attacking. Luckily, Captain Marvel has chosen a side. It's ours. That gives Reed and Brand a chance to get to earth.
But they aren't heading to New York just yet...
In the Savage Land, Tony Stark is puking his guts out. That damn virus has really messed him up. Remember when Spidey, Ka-Zar, Shanna the She-Devil, and Zabu started heading towards Black Widow's gunfire in The New Avengers #43? They weren't the only ones. We've got That 70's Thor, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Ronin (Clint Barton), Mockingbird, and Echo (yeah, Spider-Woman-Veranke didn't kill her apparently... or DID she? Mwahaha). They're joined by That 70's versions of the White Queen, Ms. Marvel, Invisible Woman, and Jewel as well as Mighty Avengers' Ares. The accusations are a flyin' and, of course, no one trusts anyone. This stalemate could go on for a long time except for the timely arrival of Reed Richards and his scientific gun. One blast and all Skrulls get a whole lot more Skrully.
And, surprise surprise! Everyone from the ship was actually a Skrull. That includes Ronin's love:
Now, most if not all of these were sleeper agents with now idea that they were actually Skrulls in the same way that the Captain America from the ship had no idea he was a Skrull. At this point the only ones that appear to have known who they were are the Vision (who tricked the Sentry into freaking out) and the White Queen (who openly lied about sensing who was who).
Still, killing Skrulls is like killing Nazis: it's awesome fun for the whole family. Everyone gets in on the act with special care given at showing Ronin's rage and Cage's reaction at the Skrull impersonating his wife actually being a Skrull.
When all is said and done, the Skrulls are killed, Tony's vindicated (not a Skrull), and they're all ready to head to New York to settle this. Well, except for Shanna the She-Devil who's not a skrull but still IS frickin' nutzo. There ARE still Skrulls hanging out in the Savage Land, though, so having her and the rest of the natives taking care of them is a good thing.
Ronin gets one last rage shot in as he shouts bloody murder on the Skrulls for messing with him like this. And we are FINALLY getting the hell out of the Savage Land.
It's about time, really.
Captain Britain and MI:13 #4
Writer: Paul Cornell
Penciler: Leonard Kirk
So, Captain Britain versus New Super Skrull Magic Skrull dude. It's a cool battle but underscored by the fallen body of the Black Knight. Dr Faiza Hussain is still working on saving him and with her new powers she has a good chance of that.
In Avalon, Pete Wisdom and friends aren't doing as well. They're all ready for execution. Spitfire tells the story of how Captain Britain picked up the sword and saved them before she told him to go to earth to the fight. Unfortunately, they got recaptured.
John Lennon Skrull knows the score. The rest are offered a position of servitude in the Skrull Empire but Lennon, being a traitor to the Skrull way of life, know that won't help him one bit. He's shot in the face before we get very far.
It's too bad, really. He was one of the more interesting cast members in a team filled with interesting cast members. He'll be missed.
Captain Britains battle isn't going as well as the awesome ending of our last issue would have lead you to believe. He's knocked around quite a bit. Dr Hussain is having trouble healing the Black Knight. Things are at their darkest.
And we all know what happens when things are at their darkest.
Dr Hussain pleads with Captain Britain to stop the Magical New Super Skrull in order to save the Black Knight's life. Cap Brit gets up, starts a speech, thinks better of it, and lobs off the Skrull's head. The magic is released to it's original sources.
In Avalon, that means rally time. The Skrulls that had just a few pages ago smugly declared their mastery over magic are suddenly on the defensive again as Satannish and a horde of terrible things rain down on them.
Black Knight is finally healed. The Skrull army, seeing their leader fall begin to move forward again in anger. Captain Britain isn't going to have any of that.
In Avalon, Satannish gives Pete Wisdom one wish for freeing them. This wish is only effective in Great Britain, but that's still a damn good deal. Too bad it's just one wish...
"No More Skrulls."
Every Skrull that threatened Great Britain is burned away in fire and death. So the Secret Invasion is no longer in effect for them. With that, Wisdom gives John Lennon Skrull a eulogy and he and Captain Britain plan out their new super team to help them defend Great Britain and maybe put some of those demons back where they belong. Brian, not really being a sword kind of hero, puts Excalibur back in the stone and they make their way home.
Doctor Faiza Hussain, being influenced by Merlin, is compelled to pull the sword herself and follow them.
Wacky adventures inevitably ensue.
Secret Invasion: Runaways/ Young Avengers #2
Writer: Chris Yost
Penciler: Takeshi Miyazawa
A while back, Xavin from the Runaways was just a young Skrull living on Tarnax VII. He went to Skrull church like a good Skrull and learned "He loves you" like a good Skrull.
In Skrull church, Xavin was told all about Hulkling. They called him the "Uniter." His commander didn't think much of this, being more pragmatic and not much of a believer.
Or was he?
On earth, right now, it looks like Xavin's seen better days. Fighting three New Super Skrulls by himself to defend the "Uniter" isn't really working out that well.
Fortunately, the "Uniter" has a boyfriend. That boyfriend has a twin brother. The odds are even. As Speed openly mocks the lameness of some of the New Super Skrull's powers his brother, Wiccan, uses magic against another one. Unfortunately, the New Super Skrull with the flaming head gets the jump on the two of them.
In another bit of luck, Xavin has recovered a bit and hits this Skrull with... an appendage...
Kind of reminds me of Mallrats for some reason. I'm the only one that's gonna get that joke but I've already hinted too much.
By the way, Speed is officially awesome. Suddenly he's more snarky than Spider-man and it's a good look for him. Xavin is still freaking out because they aren't moving fast enough. He knows what's coming, though. They don't.
Back with the rest of the Runaways, more New Super Skrulls. The Runaway crew picked the WRONG time to come to New York. Granted, this stuff is happening everywhere but the bulk attack is right there in the Battle for Manhattan. It's just a good thing they brought their Velociraptor. Don't leave home without 'em.
Their ship crashes and they aren't going anywhere. Plus, more New Super Skrulls. One short battle later and it's time for Nico to explain why they're bolting and Xavin isn't along for the ride.
But we're going to follow Commander Chrell now. He's what Xavin's fearing. Chrell sends an agent against Hulkling with orders to kill and then kill and finally to kill some more.
Back in yon tunnels, Xavin is chewing Hulkling out for not living up to his destiny. Hey, we all saw Hulkling try. Skrulls are thick-headed. Xavin's not listening to any of that "try" crap. It's all "do or do not" to him. He might even get the reference. But before that, they have to fight a New Super Skrull with... ugh... Elektra powers. Yes, another one. Apparently it doesn't get any better than Elektra. The Young Avengers fight but that's not what Xavin wants them to do. He's a Runaway. They...hmmm...what is it they do... oh yeah! They yadda yadda yadda.
So after running away, Commander Chrell is informed that Xavin is helping Hulkling. Since he knows Xavin just as well as Xavin knows him, he knows exactly what to do. He leads a bunch of New Super Skrulls agains the Runaways. I wonder who he's after...
Secret Invasion: X-Men #1
Writer: Mike Carey
Penciler: Cary Nord
Come and knock on our door. Take a step that is new. Cause blah blah blah blah blah her's and her's and his Three's Company too!
Anyway, the Skrulls attack sunny San Francisco because apparently San Fran is part of the earth now. Who knew?
The Skrulls have no idea the X-Men have set up shop and so there's a lack of New Super Skrulls on the San Francisco mission. Still, the commander actually seems competent compared to his Wakandan counterpart. It's possible he won't freak out too much by that... um... X-Factor.
Drop Captain Ssrov is by the books and cautious to a fault. He's also following religious scripture and believes that this is a holy war. The priest still blesses the warriors, though, because a little more holy isn't going to hurt matters.
The only real defense that San Francisco has besides mutants are local law enforcement and the one thing they're doing is freaking out. I mean: alien invasion. "Not in job description." But if they're the only ones able to do the standing up and fighting schtick then they aren't gonna flinch that duty. Just complain a bit about it.
Problem is, they aren't equiped to fight an alien invasion.
Luckly, the X-Men are.
Cyclops is a lot like the Skrull Commander. He's the man with the plan. Pretty much every X-Man has targets. They fight back and, seeing as this is what they do, they start the winning.
Now, here's where the Skrull Commander of the San Fran attack trumps the Skrull Commander of the Wakandan attack. Seeing odds turn incredibly against him, he decides that torching the city from orbit is a damn good idea and makes ready to depart the battlefield.
Easier said than done.
Cyclops and team are ready to take this ship down and they take all aboard captive. The Priest, Sar T'Llrk, is a pompous jerk and gets a little bit of this:
Still, pay attention to that sphere thing. Nightcrawler catches it and, being a mutant of religion himself, finds himself being enlightened by it.
The Skrull commander learns about the X-Men and orders psychics to mess around. Cyclops is about to lose his ability to easily communicate telepathically to his troops. We'll see how he handles that.
Meanwhile, the sphere has begun to talk to Nightcrawler and Nighty's beginning to do the whole Smeagol bit.
Thought wall is in place, Psychic communication is out, and the commander has the foresight to order in an air strike. While Kurt Wagner is being slowly converted by the religion sphere, he's also getting assaulted by New Super Skrulls.
The Skrull Commander is wondering who the heck didn't do the proper background on this city prior to the invasion. Finding the culprit, he pulls his gun and shoots him in the face. There's no room for mistakes that stupid in the Skrull army.
We only make stupid mistakes in the Black Panther book. Huzzah!
Secret Invasion: Thor #1
Writer: Matt Fraction
Penciler: Doug Braithwaite
Hell, this is a lot of comics. Woo.
OK, so Thor. Opening pages show what happens when a humanoid becomes a meteor. Fortunately, this particular humanoid is one of those nigh indestructible kinds. Let's find out where it lands.
But maybe later. Right now we're watching Doctor Don Blake examine a pregnant lady. She was a little freaked out because of near-baby time freak out stuff, so Blake was called over to check things out. It's just about then that that human meteor lands. Yep. PRETTY close.
Blake knows that it's hit Asgard. He knows the deal and he knows he's needed but he's also a doctor with one of those patient things and has to take one emergency at a time. Because her water just broke and now there's the small personal emergency and the big spanning emergency vying for importance.
Still, as soon as Blake can he bolts to become that wacky god of thunder, Thor. He gets to Asgard to see everyone milling about confused. He and Balder approach the crater to figure out who's attacking only to realize that no one's attacking. That humanoid meteor was actually and old friend.
Beta Ray Bill.
He's seen better days.
The back story is that the Skrulls messed him up and sent him to Asgard as a warning. That warning was: "Leave or else." Probably drop another psuedo god on the city. Anyway, Thor rallies the troops because it's not like they're actually gonna leave. These are ASGARDIANS! It's like a city of Herculeses. They love that combat. Having rallied his men, Thor has to take care of the nearby human towns since Asgard is currently near Broxton, Oklahoma.
He sends rain and the loyal citizens of Broxton deal with it like it was a tornado warning and duck and cover.
While Thor is doing his thunder god stuff, his brother turned sister, Loki, is messing with the Asgardians just like he/she/it always messes with the Asgardians. She turns them against Beta Ray Bill. What if he's a Skrull? Seriously, it's a good question.
Asgardians are easily riled up and soon the lynch mob is in full swing, only being turned back by Balder, the only sane Asgardian. Oh, and Thor some of the time. In fact, look! There's Thor coming back to quell his subjects and stop them from being crazy. Being ruler is a full time job... Thor does it part time. It's surprising Asgard is still standing.
Anyway, to prove that Bill is who he says he is, Thor throws him his hammer. You've got to be worthy of it to hold the thing and Beta Ray is totally worthy. So worthy he gets his whole horse face thing going on and powers up. Now, without that hammer, Thor powers DOWN.
And he stays there. Remember that minor baby emergency? Remember that part-time ruler thing? He's also the only doctor in the area and there's a baby to deliver. So the ruler of Asgard leaves it's defense to a guy who already lost the fight once and goes to deliver a baby.
Now, as far as priorities go, Thor is the worst war-time ruler ever. You think Mr Bush is bad? This guy just leaves. Yes, babies are important, but c'mon. No wonder Loki has such an easy time manipulating events. The ruler is just vacant.
OK, enough ranting about Thor's crappy leadership skills. Let's read...
Secret Invasion: Inhumans #1
Writer: Joe Pokaski
Penciler: Tom Raney
The Inhumans were the Kree's secret weapon in their war against the Skrulls. The problem with secrets is sometimes the person keeping it forgets all about it. Such was the case with the Inhumans. The Kree forgot they had them. As such, they never used them.
But that doesn't mean that the Skrulls haven't been paying attention. As we've seen in The New Avengers: The Illuminati #6, the leader of the Inhumans was replaced with one of the first New Super Skrulls. We haven't seen how that happened yet or even what has happened to any of those replaced, but now we finally see the Inhumans' reaction to their missing monarch.
The beginning of this book is all about Karnak telling us the history of the Inhumans. Pretty much what I just said except it mentions the Terrigen mist that give the Inhumans their diverse powers as well as mentions their strength: Family. The Royal Family, to be specific.
But what happens when you find out Daddy wasn't who you thought he was? On the SHIELD helicarrier, Iron Man has the duty to show the Skrull body to Queen Medusa and her cousin, Crystal. She doesn't take it was, understandably. The Inhumans aren't really on the best terms with humanity after the Silent War and Medusa just ends up pissed off. Tony's trying to put together some resistance movement to the impending Skrull Invasion but it's probably not the time or place.
Granted, it never is.
When this is brought to the attention of the Inhuman High Court, located in beautiful downtown Blue Area of the Moon, the Inhuman king, Maximus (the Mad) declares martial law and starts spreading fear. This is all sorts of deja vu and I bet it's totally intended to be. Anyway, Max does bring up one uncomfortable truth: Black Bolt is probably dead. I mean, why would you keep him alive? Black Bolt is one of THE most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe. Best just to do him off is you have the chance and he sides against you.
But more on that later. First, the distrust.
Gorgon accuses Karnak, Karnak proves he at least has his powers. Medusa contemplates the very real possibility that Black Bolt is dead and gets no comfort from Crystal's silence. Then Karnak goes down to the cathedral to make out with a corpse.
That's just a little too close, man. Back off the dead dude.
Maybe he needs to be that close for his powers to work...
Anyway, Karnak comes across Luna (daughter of Crystal and Quicksilver) and she's freaking out. She came to the Cathedral with a guy called Toros but... well, guess who's a Skrull?
Lots of people. This is an invasion peeps. While Karnak's dealing with that whole deal, Triton is taken unawares in his aquatic chambers. Crystal and Lockjaw watch a ship coming in. Gorgon is attacked by two of his guards. Finally, Medusa hopes beyond hope that the silouette on the terrace is her husband but, no, it's only an Inhuman based New Super Skrull.
The Invasion is on and the Inhumans have alienated their potential allies while also destroying their family.
Meanwhile aboard the Skrull Battleship Ryp'Ik, the Skrull with an orange rocky leg is pondering in his madness. Ryb'Ik has been made into a weapon powered by one of the most powerful characters in the Marvel Universe: Black Bolt.
Yes, he's still alive. Because he's useful. We'll see later on if Pym or Spider-Woman are equally useful.
And then we've got some FF comics all about Galactus and his eating habits.
Fantastic Four #257
Writer: John Byrne
Penciler: John Byrne
Galactus is dying. I know. It happens all the time, right? The problem with Galactus is that he was saved by Reed Richards and because of that he sort of feels guilty for eating planets that people are living on. So he's been trying this tofu thing but it's just not filling him out. He's wasting away and starving to death.
And the GUILT! That alone is killing him.
Still, Galactus is one of those constants in the universe. He's necessary for it's running for some reason and Death has to come around and remind him that he fulfills a very needed purpose and that he needs to eat something as soon as possible.
After that heart to heart, Galactus relents.
It's time to eat a planet, people.
Galactus' current herald, Nova, clears a path directly through the Andromeda Galaxy. She's found his meal and is wasting no time destroying the Skrull defense armada surrounding the Skrull Throneworld. She's been doing it for two issues now while Galactus has been philosophizing: "To eat, or not to eat..."
Oh, Nova was formerly Frankie Ray, one of Johnny Storm's many exes. She's also in love with Galactus. He's a whole lot of man.
Empress R'Klllis ticked off that the cloaking device they use to cloak the entire galaxy failed. She's also a little angry that the armada was defeated so easily. Finally, she's pretty pissed off that she gave birth to Princess Anelle. Anelle would make a fin human but makes a terrible Skrull. She's not even sneaky.
Galactus spoke not a word, but went straight to his work and destroyed the whole world. It's just one of his quirks. And laying a finger aside his nose, he gave us a smile and the Skrull world did explode.
You know, Dorrek would totally have had an escape plan. He would have had a way out. He was taken by surprise when R'klll assassinated him, yes, but something like this... yeah. He would have has one ship set aside to whisk him off to safety. R'kll and Anelle didn't have that ship so they die with their world.
The rest of the issue is filled with such excitement as Johnny Storm renting an apartment and Reed Richards declaring that the Fantastic Four AREN'T disbanding. It's climax after climax but when you kill a planet in the first half of your comic you really have no where to go but down.
Fantastic Four #262
Writer: John Byrne
Penciler: John Byrne
It actually takes the FF until issue 261 to learn that the Skrull Throneworld exploded. Things not too broken up about it. It's like killing a planet full of Nazis. It's hard to feel bad when you're doing so much good. :p
Anyway, while the Kree are all high fiving eachother, the Shi'Ar are going to make sure that Reed Richards pays for saving Galactus' life. See, the Shi'Ar don't hate the Skrulls like everyone else hates the Skrulls. They don't take any world destroying for granted. This is why the world is short one Phoenix, by the way.
Now, this issue has the misfortune to happen during Assistant Editor Month. That means it's got a wacky, unexpected twist to it. It's not as irreverent as John Byrne's Alpha Flight issue. That issue is THE BEST ISSUE EVER, by the way, and Assistant Editor Mike Higgins is quick to point it out in this very issue. Alpha Flight #6 was a full comic of empty panels. It was awesome and something that no one will ever get away with again. If you don't own a copy, go get one today. You'll laugh and wonder how they actually got away with it the first time.
Ah, the magic of Assistant Editor's Month...
Anyway, FF 262 isn't that wacky. Byrne had a lot of reverence for the FF and didn't push things that far. What he did was put HIMSELF in the comic. It had been done before, of course. Even Stan Lee and Jack Kirby showed up in the FF comic and they weren't the last by any means.
Still, Byrne was probably the first one transported to Shi'Ar space by the Watcher to attend the trial of Reed Richards.
Now, the story itself isn't that related to the Skrulls. It's just a trial to discuss who's to blame for the destruction of their world. Only one or two Skrulls appear within and them only in minor roles.
Still, it gives you an idea of yet ANOTHER reason why the remaining Skrulls have reason to hate Reed Richards. There's a part of him that is very responsible for the destruction of their Throneworld. He was declared innocent of course. He had some awesome witnesses. Odin shows up. Galactus himself shows up. The Watcher is his lawyer. Eternity finally shows up and opens the minds of everyone there to the exact purpose to Galactus and why the universe needs him. This fades in time but they all remember that Galactus DOES have a purpose and Reed helping him was necessary.
This opening of minds quite possibly shattered Byrne's. It's a theory, at least. His stories remain impressive as does his artwork. Unfortunately, he himself went quite mad. This may have been the cause. Bad Eternity! :p
Anyway, in the end, John Byrne gets his story for the latest issue of Fantastic Four and the FF get their leader back.
Now the Skrull Empire... that is a different story all together.
And we'll get into more of that later! Right now, we'll draw this action packed article to a close and ask you all once again: Who do YOU trust?
Posted originally: 2008-09-08 16:13:45