Inside you'll see thrills galore in: Secret Invasion: Frontline #3 as well as a blast from the past look at the Avengers/Skrull team-up continuing in The Avengers #259 and #260. Read on!
Weeks like this are rewards to me for buying 9 different titles for the week prior to this one. One new book. One! It's like a day of rest.
Because of our syndicated status, I can't just tell you to click that link on the left marked "Super Reads SI" unless you're viewing this at Bludnet. If you're viewing this somewhere else (Thanks!) then you'll want to run off here to catch up on all 18 previous articles. It's just one of the many services we render for you.
Another service is giving you the run down on every SI title on the stands. Let's serve that one up now.
Secret Invasion: Frontline #3
Writer: Brian Reed
Penciler: Marco Castiello
How's our Frontline cast doing? Not as awesome as they would like to be doing. Ben Urich is learning that he isn't as brave as he's like to be but that just means he's as alive as he'd like to be. Doctor Molly Young is learning... well, she's dead so if there are lessons for her to learn, I'm certainly not privy to them. Jonathan Bryant is learning just how many cabs he can ruin in one day. Vincent Crane is learning that there is a killer about... and that killer is probably a Skrull. Melanie Crane is learning that cell phones make good flashlights in a pinch. Officer Bill Dawson is learning that being a bus driver isn't as fun as they make it seem on television.
But most of all, everyone is learning to share.
OK, down to business. Ben's out of the hospital that got blown up last issue and is, unfortunately, headed for Times Square. I say "unfortunately" because that's where the Battle of Manhattan started to rear it's ugly head and at this stage in the war it's a pretty big combat zone. Hey, there's Ms. Marvel (or, according to Fury in SI #4: Ms. Skrullvel) flying over head. Just then, Ben Urich walks right in on Secret Invasion #4. There's Fury and his Secret Commandos. There's a bunch of New Super Skrulls. There's Ms. Marvel again. And... there's a scene change.
Maybe you need some backstory on Melanie Crane and her dad, Vincent. No? You pretty much got that Vinnie and Mel's mom were getting a divorce or separating and Mel wasn't taking it well and decided to visit Daddy at work? Well, here's some panels explaining that bit anyway. This thing is five issues long. We gotta fill it up somehow. To ruin Vincent's death later on in the comic, Melanie announces her dad's death in her caption boxes. Yes, I just ruined it too.
But that's the future talking about the past. We need to get to the present. Or something. Oh, there it is. Looks like Vinnie, Mel, and all those work associates are still going down the stairwell in Stark Tower. The menfolk carefully shuffled everyone past the dead bodies (and the vampire Skrull). Since they aren't in our action piece, that makes them our horror characters... also, vampire Skrulls are probably more horror inclined. It's around this time that they lose track of one of their own: Jim.
It was probably the vampire Skrull hanging from the ceiling.
Everyone books down the stairs. It's too bad that the last ones are already getting picked off.
Officer Dawson is learning other lessons. He's been put in charge of a bus load of people and that bus is being surrounded by New Super Skrulls. Dawson has a plan. He distracts the aliens while the others escape from the bus. He fires a shot or two and his adversaries and, yes, he's incredibly out numbered.
Running away from the Battle of Manhattan, it's our favorite reporter, Ben Urich. Ben is picked up by Jonathan Bryant who directs him down to the subway. Urich tries to phone his wife again but the phones still don't work. Jonathan has basically been bringing people down here since we last saw him. He's pretty worn around the edges but it's pretty cool that he's been helping people.
In Stark Tower, that vampire Skrull is still having fun chasing down Vincent, Melanie and what's left of their friends. It takes very little time for father and daughter to lock themselves off in a room without their companions. OK, at this point, it's probably worth noting that we WON'T be seeing the Cranes' friends again. That vamp Skrull is pretty good at killing.
What we DO see, thanks to Melanie, is an unblocked window. That frustrating part of the situation is that while they could escape Stark Tower through this one unblocked window, they are still far too high up to actually survive the fall from this height. Anyway, the two have an argument about blocking the door since Melanie hasn't written off the others yet. Vincent has.
It's just too bad that the vampire Skrull hasn't forgotten about them. He's breaks through the blocked door and quickly fulfills that already known about death... Vincent is no longer a cast member. If we didn't already know that Melanie survives long enough to at least talk to Urich, it would probably be time for us to draw a close to this story.
But it's not. It looks to me like Mel is making a dash for that unblocked window. 30 stories up. Hmmm...
Officer Bill Dawson has done his job. He's distracted the New Super Skrulls long enough for the bus passengers to escape. He's paid for it. They are kicking the crap out of him. Then they see someone flying over head and instead of finishing Bill off, they take off for the next shiny. Thank you ADD New Super Skrulls.
Lisa Carter returns and helps Officer Dawson off the street. They make their way to the Subway. Looks like Bill's gonna live for a little while longer.
Back to Ben Urich and Jonathan Bryant. They're making their way to Stark Tower via the subway system. The only problem is they're going through Rolling Sevens territory. Apparently, it's a street gang that lives in the subway system. I don't know. Maybe their just down there like everyone else and simply acting tough. The point is, the Rolling Sevens decide to play alpha dog. Jonathan has had a DAY and just doesn't want to put up with crap anymore.
That gives him a bullet in the chest.
So much for human solidarity. These are the most selfish humans ever. Aliens attack and they're gonna defend their territory against poor human refugees. Let's hope there's a New Super Skrull in their future next issue.
OK, that's it for the new, let's get to that Avengers/Skrull team-up.
The Avengers #259
Writer: Roger Stern
Penciler: John Buscema
Remember when I blamed Captain Marvel for the destruction of a Skrull planet last article? Well, it turns out I wasn't exactly 100% correct on that score. It turns out that the Skrulls and their planet are a bit more resilient than you would have assumed.
Nebula isn't as fooled as the reader, though. She's looking over the wreckage and notes a bunch of things.
1. One anti-matter missile wouldn't have done this much damage.
2. Where are the casualties?
3. Where are the ships?
I mean, this looked better than it really should have and then it turns out the reason for that is that it WASN'T as good as it looked.
Still, there's no reason to let this place exist. One well directed anti-matter missile shot to the planet core takes out the entire planet.
A week passes.
Firelord is busy paying his debt to humanity by destroying nuclear waste. This is obviously Hercules' plan. When Herc messes up big time, he's all about the labors. turns out he's putting Firelord on the Hercules 12 labors plan to a clearer conscience.
Back at Avenger's Mansion, we get a good luck at some of the current residents. Yep, that's Wyatt Wingfoot and She-Hulk: part of the Fantastic Four cast. They've been hanging around the Mansion since the Baxter Building was destroyed.
But we've got more important things to do. For example: pick up a distress signal that was transmitted last week from the Andromeda Galaxy. Also, Black Knight has a new ride. It's the Atomic Steed and while it's a cool flying transport for a knight, it could be a bit more asthetically pleasing. Ah well. It'll do it's job.
OH! The distress signal! Yeah. It was sent out a week ago and should have been instantaneous except someone (Nebula) was trying to block it. The Avengers and Firelord are going on a space trip. Someone pack the trail mix.
The heroes head into space in a modified Quinjet and then pick up a larger craft sent from Starfox's father, Mentor, from Titan. Able to travel through Subspace, it'll be a lot quicker journey for the group than the week it took for Captain Marvel's message to hit them up.
Meanwhile, in the Andromeda Galaxy, Nebula is asserting her power on a local Skrull Governor who fancies himself the new Emperor (since it's a slot that could use some filling). Nebula shows off her new ship (from last issue--this is Thanos's old ship: Sanctuary II. With it, Nebula and her allies control one of the most powerful starships ever created.
The Avengers' craft enters the Andromeda galaxy and is immediately beset by the remains of the Skrull Armada. Instead of just destroying them all, the Skrulls want to talk. After a little infighting (a Marvel staple!) the group agrees to meet with the Skrulls.
They end up meeting with a very alive Captain Marvel, who leads them to General Zedrao and his command team. They are deep in important discussion:
We all know it's Colonel Mustard in the Library with the Candlestick.
Actually, like every Skrull everywhere, they're debating an alliance with the Avengers and reminding Zedrao how annoying humans are. Still, General Zedrao recognizes the threat they all face and has already made up his mind.
When the Avengers arrive, Zedrao goes through the recent history of the Skrull Empire. We all remember when Galactus devoured Throneworld and the reigning Empress with it. Well, with her death and the death of her daughter, the line of succession was brokin and civil war loomed. Governors stepped up and continued to declare themselves Emperor of the Skrull Empire. The problem is, there was now regulation in place to declare who had the most rightful credentials for the job as Emperor.
Zedrao was commander of the Skrull Armada and to everyone's dismay, he had kept above the politics of this Civil War. He refused to choose a side. He shielded his bas and waited for the Civil War to end... hopefully with a united Skrull Empire which he would faithfully serve.
While this Civil War was raging, it allowed for an army of outcasts to form under Nebula. This army took world after world but, because of Zedrao's defenses, was unable to destroy the Skrull Armada.
Until Captain Marvel showed up. While investigating the Sanctuary II, Nebula siezed control of the powerful starship and brought it to the Andromeda Galaxy. A truce of sorts was formed with Captain Marvel, though no trust was placed in it. While scouting out Zedrao's shielded base, she took out a small section of that shield, allowing an anti-matter missile to break through.
Things happened VERY quickly at this point. Marvel was able to deflect the missile. She then joined the armada. Seeing that they were still open to attack, the armada made it seem like the missile had done it's job, destroying their own base. Having done that, the armada jumped into subspace and escaped.
Over Firelord's protests, an alliance is formed between the Avengers and the Skrulls. They make ready to attack the Sanctuary II. In the confusion wrought by this move on Zedrao's part, Nebula is able to kill the Skrull Governor and blame it on the invading force.
And it's game on.
The Avengers #260
Writer: Roer Stern
Penciler: John Buscema
Who indeed is Nebula?
That's not as answered as you might think, but it's STARTED to be answered.
Before we get there we have to get through this battle and before we get to the battle we have to check in with Firelord.
Y'see, Firelord is from Xandar. You may recognize that civilization. They are the founders of the Nova Corps. They also reside in the Andromeda Galaxy and have been at war with the Skrulls since that Fantastic Four storyline from Marv Wolfman that just meandered out of control.
With the destruction of Throneworld, Firelord look to return to his people. He imagines the war to be over and his people rejoicing in peace and prosperity.
He's half right. The Xandar-Skrull War is over. Unfortunately, it didn't bring peace and prosperity. As Adora explains, the end of that war brought the beginning of a new one with the forces of Nebula. Look! Nebula's a threat and now Firelord has a good reason to maybe possibly join the fight.
The combined forces of the Skrull Armada and the Avengers first ask Nebula to surrender but we both know that's not how this thing's going down. This is gonna be a slobber knocker... unless some hippy god-thing intervenes, but what are the odds of that?
The battle is joined and we get to see Nebula's forces get owned. The problem is Sanctuary II has pretty good defensive barriers. Captain Marvel's working on them. That's when Firelord joins the battle and does his own damage to Sanctuary II's shields. He'd thought of as a pretty good threat, considering he's a former herald of Galactus, so he is knocked away and lands on a nearby planetoid.
Captain Marvel manages to weaken the shields but it leaves her momentarily drained. Still, she's given the Armada an opening and they use it. In through the hull of Sanctuary II comes... Thanos!?
Well, isn't he currently dead? What's th...OH shapeshifting aliens. Still, it's enough to distract the mercenary defenders. Cap stops "Thanos" from making a kill because war is a terrible time to start killing people... but whatever. Thanos turns out to be our General friend and every Avengers with them besides Cap turns out to be a disguised Skrull.
See, THIS is how Skrulls should be fighting in Secret Invasion. Combat should be all about becoming the enemy. Confusing them. That's what the Skrulls are doing here and it's good tactics.
Firelord is waking up on his planetoid to be greeted by... the Beyonder. Yes, this turns out to be a Secret Wars II crossover thing. Beyonder is looking for the Avengers and he's ALMOST found them. Firelord charges the Beyonder in the end of Nebula before collapsing again.
So the Beyonder gears up for war...
Or something. He actually heads to the Sanctuary II with shoulder pads that would make Rob Liefeld cry tears of utter joy. I mean, look at them things. They are marvelous in a 90's/ Image sort of way.
Her ship being boarded, Nebula is working her way OFF ship. She and her faithful are loading up supplies on an escape craft when she's confronted by Starfox. He's quickly laid low after finding out that Nebula might be Thanos's grand-daughter but is replaced by that Beyonder dude.
Beyonder, all dressed up for combat, uses his powers to get rid of Nebula and her mercenary group. Apparently, he sent them away which ticks off everyone. Beyonder leaves before he can fix any of the damage he caused and leaves the Skrulls and Avengers standing around in victory. Unsatisfying victory.
Alright! We're done for this time. Join me next time when I get to a few Annuals and a pivotal moment in Skrull history!
Until then: Who Do YOU Trust?
Posted originally: 2008-09-29 11:02:12