Today, we check out Secret Invasion #8, The New Avengers #47, Secret Invasion: Front Line #5, and then blast from the past looks at Fantastic Four #'s 371 & 372. Let's end this thing and look forward to an exciting future!
The last call light is on and we're officially ending the main Secret Invasion storyline RIGHT HERE. It's not a clear cut ending over all as there are a LOT of titles with "Secret Invasion" on them coming out in the coming weeks. Basically, we're not done yet, but this is the ending to the biggie.
You can celebrate this occasion by taking a trip though memory lane and reading through all 28 earlier installments of Super Reads Secret Invasion! Off to your left, you'll see a link titled "Super Reads SI" where you can check out what happened in every issue dealing with Secret Invasion. Looking for a lazier way? You can also check here to catch up or remember back. Relive the highs and lows in Marvel's 2008 mega event.
Now, without further ado, let's end this thing.
Secret Invasion #8
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Leinil Francis Yu
This issue is basically all aftermath except that we left last issue on a cliffhanger of sorts. Ronin (Clint Barton) had just put an arrow through the Skrull Queen, Veranke's, head and, in retaliation, Criti Noll (the Skrull Yellowjacket) activated the crazy voodoo they had planted in Janet Van Dyne. With that, Jan started being all glowy and explody.
This issue starts as we learn that Wasp has become a chemical bomb that will kill everyone (potentially the whole planet). Jan's in agony and she's taking everyone in the area on the same trip. All this is happening while the Watcher watches. He's creepy sometimes.
Also, most of the beginning to this issue is talked over by two distinct voices. One is basically reporting what went on during this whole scene while the other asks questions and some additional color. I'll break the secret code early so you aren't torn apart with curiousity. The voice in the green boxes is Norman Osborn. The voice in the lavender boxes is the President... most likely Bush since the Marvel U uses the real guys.
First, we watch the heroes deal with Jan. Unfortunately, "deal with" is about all you're gonna get. Thor is the one doing the dealing and, even after multiple readings, I can't definitively tell you what Thor does. My best guess is that he teleports her away. He swings his hammer which is a definite sign. Killing Jan probably wouldn't end the chemical bomb's threat. Finally: no body is seen. The voice with the green boxes (Norman Osborn) declares her "dead" and it's likely but doesn't seem to happen on panel. Odds are good that Thor ported her away to an area where she could die without killing anyone else.
Or, y'know, he ported her somewhere where she just didn't kill anyone and will eventually return. It's nice and open ended enough to allow the possibility.
But for now, a founding Avenger has died. It's time for some friggin' payback. Looks like Veranke took an arrow to the head and lived to tell the tale. Her jaw is hanging in an unnatural way, but she's still walking around.
For about a half minute at least. Revenge time. Every human in the area makes a rush for her but they all miss that tasty revenge when Norman Osborn shoots her in the head.
Veranke is dead and someone just got some NICE publicity.
Tony Stark gets back to the battle wearing his Classic Armor. I'd personally rather see him in the Modular Armor, New Classic Armor, or Silver Centurion, but everyone loves that classic look so there ya go. Soak it in.
He and the flyers head into space to take on the Skrull Warships in orbit while Ares destroys the one in New York. The human forces make short work of the Skrull ships and Iron Man is able to locate a very special ship during the conflict. Even the classic armor is able to take over the systems on this ship. Tony takes control and flies it back down to Central Park.
In Central Park, the battle has been won. The Skrulls have surrendered or been killed and they're all curious about what gift Tony's just brought them.
It's the gift of lost friends! Every human that was replaced by a Skrull was kept alive on this ship. SHIELD agents, Hydra agents, and others start walking out. If you look very carefully, you'll see a guy that looks like Elvis in there. Well, Elvis probably never had hair as crazy as this guy but that's who he looks like to me.
You're probably wondering why the Skrulls kept these people alive. There's a very well crafted reason for that: they needed them around to resupply the genetic process the Skrulls used to imitate their powers.
Hank and Spider-Woman get the most attention when they come off the Skrull ship. Hank is greeted as a friend while Spider-Woman is not trusted one bit. Well, Ms. Marvel trusts her and is happy to learn that her friend is alive and well. The rest look at her like she's Hitler.
The Hood and his Syndicate run off now before someone decides they belong in jail.
When Jarvis shows up, Tony finally figures out why his Extremis abilities were so compromised and Jessica Jones freaks the hell out. Understandably. She left her baby with a Skrull Jarvis. By the time she flies to Stark Tower, Skrull Jarvis and her child have escaped. Cage catches up and learns the whole sad turn of events. They're back together, but their baby's pulled a Baby May Parker.
Countess Valentina Allegra DeFontaine and Dum Dum Dugan see what they believe is a friendly face in Nick Fury but it doesn't seem the feeling is mutual. Nick and his Secret Howling Commandos teleport out as Dum Dum and the Countess look on.
A surprise on the ship is Mockingbird. Considering she died LONG before the Invasion was planned, it'll be a wonder how they explain her inclusion on the ship. That explanataion will be for another time, though. Today, we just need to watch her and Clint Barton reunite and hope this doesn't end as badly as it did a few issues ago.
There's another reunion happening. Reed and Sue are together again. Sue is the first to realize that the Baxter Building isn't looking like home anymore. The two race off to find the rest of their family. At the Baxter Building, they discover their other two teammates arguing over a Negative Zone control panel as their two kids draw pictures.
Sue greets her kids and Reed works on returning the Baxter Building to normal. The top floors don't really come back in great shape but that just means that Reed can rebuild it... make it stronger...
In Central Park, Tony and Thor are reliving the good times.
Oh, that crazy Tony. Thor is still pissed off about that whole incident and will NOT work with him on anywhere near a permanent basis. Looks like Captain America (James Barnes) has a similar frame of mind.
The final scene at Central Park involves the Young Avengers. Hulkling is the son of a Skrull (Princess Annelle) and a Kree (Captain Mar-Vell). He has little knowledge of the Skrulls outside of that one time they attacked the Young Avengers in order to bring Hulkling home as their new Emperor and their encounters with Xavin from the Runaways (Teddy's surrogate mother was also a Skrull but I digress). Based on that little experience, he totally knows that this was the act of millions of extremist Skrulls and has no relation to the Skrull Empire as a whole (The Skrull Empire is also pretty evil, but at least they aren't extremist/terrorists). When the Young Avengers wonder aloud why the Skrulls would go through all the effort to possess the Earth, a captured Skrull brings it on home for them. The remnants of the Skrull Empire have been shattered. The Empire was gone and this was their last chance for a home. Hulkling may have to step up and lead his people sometime in the near future.
And now we can start hyping the future.
First things first: fire Tony Stark. While Tony did everything he could to prevent this invasion from happening, it's pretty obvious that he wasn't able to do so. He is the official fallguy for the Secret Invasion and he is absolutely out of favor with the US Government. His company lost a lot of contracts in this deal, too, as Starktech is not going to be a part of any plan moving forward.
Next on the list: Put Norman Osborn in charge. Not only did he get the kill shot for the Skrull Queen, he was also able to secure Washington D.C. from Skrull Invasion in Thunderbolts (they had a LOT easier time than the X-Men did fighting for San Francisco, by the way). He's the man of the hour and all thoughts that he was once a raving lunatic running around in a green and purple costume (that was, like, last week) are quickly forgotten.
He's not in charge of SHIELD, though. That division has proved unviable and is disbanded in it's current form. He's basically given blanket authority to protect the US and the planet from those who would attack it inside and out. It's like Osborn is now some minor deity and I'm certain he'll ACTUALLY do what everyone thought Tony Stark was going to do. Go totally evil. Stark never did because he was essentially a hero. Osborn's not. Should be interesting.
In fact, you'll notice that Stark hasn't pulled himself back together yet. It looks like he's still suffering from the viral attack unleashed on him and his tech by the Skrulls. Maria Hill notices Tony staring off in the distance while she's talking to him and it becomes apparent that he's drifting. Or drunk. Good gravy, Marvel, don't give me another "Tony falls off the wagon" story.
Our issue closes as Norman Osborn waltzes around Avengers Tower (because once you upstage someone and get their job you ALSO get their stuff). He checks his watch and makes his way to a special meeting. In attendance: Namor, Emma Frost, Dr. Doom, Loki, and the Hood. The Dark Illuminati calls it's first meeting. Looks like the bad guys are in charge here.
The New Avengers #47
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Penciler: Billy Tan & Michael Gaydos
Are you ready for the flashback within a flashback issue? OK!
Back in the recent past, Luke Cage is learning how to change diapers and, basically, being freaked out by his little bundle of joy. As we've learned, babies are creepy as hell and Cage's baby has been one of the creepiest. His wife and him have a heart to heart about how she doesn't know everything and they'll have to work out all this baby raising together. If you're REALLY paying attention, you'll notice a picture of Luke Cage and Iron Fist. In the pic, Cage AGAIN has the tiara on backwards... Yu got that right after initially messing up. Looks like Billy Tan didn't get the memo.
Luke decides to tell his girl a story but it turns out Jessica already took all the good ones. So Cage has to tell the story of when he fell in love with his wife.
We flash back to the further past. Cage is hiring Jessica for a very special case. Luke wants to find his dad.
Basically, Luke's dad believes that he isn't a very nice person. His dad knows he went to jail and doesn't believe that it was for a crime he didn't commit. Being a superhero doesn't make things better because Cage's pop thinks it's a scam. Luke's tried finding him many times but, every time he gets close, his father runs further away.
Jessica wonders if he should just let this go. If his dad doesn't want to be found, maybe Luke should just respect that. Well, it's very hard to lose connection to your family and Cage won't be happy unless he gets to look his dad in the face and tell his side of the story.
After learning that she's the third investigator on Cage's list to find his dad, Jessica happily goes to work. She gets a bead on Daddy very quickly and phones Cage in the middle of an otherwise unimportant super hero team-up with Spider-Man, Daredevil, and Iron Fist.
The trail to Cage's father leads to Atlanta, Georgia. Jessica has a nice talk with a lady who turns out to be Luke Cage's new step-mom. Cage's dad is currently going by "James Geary" and got married about a year back. Now, "married" doesn't mean that she's got all the info, but Mr. Geary has opened up enough to tell her about Luke. He's not ready to talk to his son but he HAS been following Luke's career.
Jessica asks Mrs. Geary to tell her husband that they were by. Yeah, Luke Cage is ALSO there.
For a brief moment, father and son look at each other through a screen door. It's just too soon to do anything more.
Luke and Jessica head down to the local Dairy Queen where Jessica comforts the former Power Man as best she can. That's right. It's tiara jokes. It's at that moment that Luke Cage falls in love with a private investigator.
We cut back to Luke as he finishes telling this story to his baby daughter. They talk about responsibility and what being a super-hero will mean for the life of their kid. It complicates things but it also opens up doors that they wouldn't have realized before.
Finally, we cut to the current present (SI #8) where Jessica Jones just realized she left her kid in the hands of a Skrull. She races back to Avengers Tower with Ms. Marvel and Luke Cage following. Jessica tells her husband all that's happened. A Skrull has kidnapped their baby girl.
Secret Invasion: Front Line #5
Writer: Brian Reed
Penciler: Morco Castiello
The final issue of Front Line also deals a lot with the aftermath of Secret Invasion. Get ready for an emotional rollercoaster.
Our cast got together in Avengers Tower last issue for their first and only meeting. Ben Urich and Melanie Crane ended up leaving to see if they could find some help leaving Jonathan Bryant, Officer Bill Dawson, and Lisa Dobson together in the tower.
Our first casualty of the issue is Jonathan Bryant. He was a cab driver who hadn't been having a great week. He caught his girl cheating on him, got his cab wrecked during a battle between Spider-Man and Menace, and got shot in the chest by gang members while trying to help a group of refugees travel through the subway. That's all over now, at least.
Elsewhere, Ben and Melanie are witness to the Battle in Central Park. After reporting everything up to this moment, Ben is left speechless. All he can do is watch.
We get to the Janet van Dyne chemical bomb moment with just as little clarity here as in SI #8 proper. In fact, since this is from Ben's perspective, we're given even less information. He and Melanie end up running because the chem bomb is hurting them, too. Soon, they are nearly hit by a falling, burning body. The explosion knocks them off their feet and Ben is put in the position of rescuer as he carries Melanie from the scene. Now, who WAS the burning body? It was rather large. Could THAT have been Janet van Dyne dying? Was that the Galactus New Super Skrull meeting his end? It's unclear and all we got was a silouette of the body engulfed in flame.
We leave the Battle in Central Park and flash forward to the post-Invasion wrap-up. Ben just can't write any of this down. Not because he doesn't WANT to. The words just won't come out. He's attending a lot of funerals, too. Doctor Molly Young. Jonathan Bryant. Melanie's father, Vincent Crane. An unlisted one that we'll get to in a bit.
Melanie Crane has kept going. The events of Secret Invasion have effected her deeply and she's not willing to talk about it. She's having nightmares and breaks out crying for no real reason.
Officer Bill Dawson was injured in the Invasion and took the front desk job at his local precinct. It's a hell of a job but it keeps him busy. Turns out he and Lisa are now seeing each other. Not only does war give you emotional issues, it also draws you closer together.
Ben's got emotional issues all his own. While he was stuck in the middle of the Secret Invasion, his wife, Doris, died (the unlisted funeral). We got scenes of her medication and knew that they had a resident nurse helping take care of her. This was not a surprise death. Ben blames himself for not being there for her. When he could have walked home, he kept roaming the city, reporting on the Invasion. That is a story he just can't write now. The words refuse to come. He meets with his psychiatrist (a very Jarvis-like psychiatrist) as the two talk this through. In the end, the psychiatrist isn't able to give him any immediate answers of comfort.
Meanwhile, New York does what it always does. It recovers. Seriously, New York City deals with threats big and small all the time. It's a construction company's dream.
Ben is taking a break to collect himself and maybe work out how to tell this Secret Invasion story. While he's working on that, news is still happening. Norman Osborn is given all Tony Stark's power plus tons more. He's Super Tony Stark. Seeing as Ben Urich wrote the book, Legacy of Evil, that outed him as Green Goblin a while back (granted, Osborn was dead at the time), this is news that might possibly affect him more personally than other news reporters/ editors.
Naturally, Ben is there for the big press conference.
Ben does grill Norman Osborn pretty hard, but it is NOT Ben Urich's day. It's Osborn's. He's the hero of the moment and, while there will be time to raise him on a pike later, right now he's in his groove. Osborn snipes back at Ben's grilling and invokes some patriotic spiel that ignites the crowd of reporters into applause.
Defeated, Ben leaves before he's able to make a bigger fool of himself.
Robbie Robertson talks him up when Ben returns to his Front Line office. Yeah, it was a stupid move, but it's was admirable and brave, too. Robbie takes off for home after learning that Ben has finally found his muse.
Urich sits in front of his computer and begins to type it out:
Dark Reign: Norman Osborn Takes Control.
Well, there's one paper that's not giving Norman a free ride.
And there you have it. The main thrust of the Invasion is finally over. The Skrulls are pushed back and there's a new sheriff in town. Now, let's check in with the FF one last time to get some last minute Lyja action.
Fantastic Four #371
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Penciler: Paul Ryan
Yes, that bit of red IS the cover. It was another nineties trend where the cover image was given a degree of volume but only the single color. Some trends are odder than others.
So, the side story here (at least in our case) is that Alicia Masters has been captured by a rogue Watcher (as Reed finds out in the beginning of this issue) named Aron. The Thing and Reed are going to rescue her but they need to head back to Four Freedoms Plaza to try and contact Uatu (another Watcher). When they get there, the Thing has to deal with a date he's now going to have to break with the former She-Thing, Sharon Ventura. Sorry Sharon. Rescuing people comes before dating.
Reed's got lady troubles of his own. Sue has gone through a personality change and that has resulted in her changing costumes BIG TIME. Her nineties costume is all about skin. Even the "4" is cut out for some Power Girl action. Reed is a little concerned about this new look but he's more interested in rescuing Alicia. That, of course, starts a fight between the two. Their kid, Franklin, does something to stop this fight that involves glowing eyes and looking creepy. See? Not only babies are creepy. Kids are too.
Paibok the Power Skrull and Devos the Armored Devastator (and one unnamed butt cheek) are busy watching the Human Torch land at Empire University. They have plans for revenge that revolve around Johnny being married to a Skrull and obviously defiling her in all manner of ways and MAKE THE IMAGES STOP! But, anyway, they have a vendetta. They don't need a really good reason.
Back at Four Freedoms, Thing has finally brushed off Sharon, Reed has been brushed off by Uatu, and Sharon has side stepped her brush off to reappear mere panels later dressed in her Ms. Marvel gear and ready to adventure with Reed and Ben. She's secretly working for Dr. Doom, but that's not super important to the story. Just thought you might like to know.
On ESU's campus, Paibok and Devos attack Johnny Storm... but first Paibok freezes the girl that Johnny was trying to flirt with. Yes, he could have just tried freezing Johnny to see if that would work or not but INSTEAD froze a random and ruined the element of surprise.
The two attack the Torch while Johnny works on leading them AWAY from the frozen girl. Once he's done that, he works his way BACK to the frozen girl and dethaws her before his enemies can catch up.
Reed, Ben, and Sharon enter work on following Aron the Rogue Watcher. They teleport away to his general location while denying the Puppet Master the right to come with them. Puppet Master is not amused and thinks of another way to help rescue his step-daughter.
Alicia's rescue, or at least her location, is found promptly. Unfortunately, finding her and rescuing her are two different animals. Aron appears and immediately starts gloating before our scene change.
So, Johnny has saved the frozen girl and has been attacked by Paibok and Devos again. Before he can charge into battle against them, he is taken out from behind by... Lyja! Yep, she's back and not as dead as you'd expect. She's also aquired super-powers.
There's a subplot building about how she's really having Johnny's kid even though she's already played this bluff before. We're not gonna go into it because... it's dumb. "Ooooh, I'm having your child even though last time I said that I admitted I wasn't! Maury Povich here we come!" If we followed that plot to it's completion, we'd learn that, no, she was NOT having Johnny's kid. It was some monster or something. We'd all collectively face palm and wonder why I followed the Lyja storyline as long as I had. As it stands, we're just going to get through the next two issues and then move on to more interesting Skrulls.
Anyway, Lyja and Johnny fight it out until Johnny realizes that he's fighting three really strong people and could probably use some back up. He fires off his signal flare and a cranky, mostly naked Sue runs to the scene.
She better hurry because the trio really has the Human Torch on the ropes.
In Johnny's panicked state, he unleases a Super Nova attack. This scatters his opponents but also sets ESU on fire. Someone's gonna have to pay for that...
Fantastic Four #372
Writer: Tom DeFalco
Penciler: Paul Ryan
...and that person is Johnny Storm. Code Blue comes over to arrest him and it leads to a big fight with cranky, mostly naked Sue Richards. Johnny, of course, feels guilty over his actions and ends up surrendering.
That means it's time for a freakish kid to show up: Franklin Richards. Remember when he was less creepy? Yeah, it was only a little before the current creative team took over. Now, Franklin either has freakish proportions or evil glowing eyes or runs with his hands straight out... oh, that last one is a Liefeld thing... never mind.
Anyway, Johnny declares Franklin the man of the house, everyone laughs because Johnny is totally not the man of the house or the guy to declare the NEXT man of the house. He then gets on with being arrested.
And just because this comic needs as many ackward scenes as it can get, Sue attends a tenant meeting in her underwear... I mean, "costume."
Before the meeting is over, Sue's used her powers to make everyone naked. They all leave before they lose their lunches looking at one another. It's a power we never want Sue to use ever again. EVER AGAIN.
Meanwhile, Puppet Master has found someone to fight his battle for him. Molecule Man! Yeah! PM makes a little radioactive puppet of MM and then makes him head off after Aron the Rogue.
In a Skrull ship above earth, Paibok, Devos, and Lyja are laughing about Johnny going to jail. Still, it's not bad enough, so they decide to MAKE it worse. All this, and Devos lightly threatens Paibok with destruction.
At the Daily Bugle, J. Jonah Jameson orders his news team to cover Johnny's arraignment. That includes Peter Parker because this comic just needs Spidey to guest star for a panel or two.
As Johnny is being lead into the courthouse for arraignment, he notices Lyja and Paibok in the crowd, taunting him. They look human, of course, but switch back to Skrull form just enough to give Johnny a show. Paibok begins firing on the crowd. The crowd begins to panic. Johnny begins to show accute signs of taunting.
Johnny flames on and pursues the Skrulls. He is stopped by New York's Finest opening fire on him. In the gunfight that follows, Johnny loses site of Lyja and Paibok and flies away in frustration.
In a dream sequence, Ben, Reed and Sharon live out different lives without super powers. Alicia's there, too. She's married to Ben and the two have three creepy kids. Oh, she's not blind, either.
All of this is being manipulated by Aron the Rogue for some hidden purpose or another. It doesn't really matter. What DOES matter is that Puppet Master's champion has arrived! It's Molecule Man vs. Aron the Rogue!
In New York, Spider-Man looks for his fugitive friend. He wants to talk it out with him and maybe help him. Torch thinks that Spidey's hunting for him and doesn't reveal himself. He's a fugitive and all alone from now on, forever.
Finally, because J. Jonah Jameson loves to throw money around, he hires Silver Sable and her Wild Pack to hunt down Johnny Storm! I know! Jamesone hates his heroes!
And that is it for this week! Catch us next week as we learn more about Dark Reign and try to squeak one or two more Skrull packed Blasts from the Past in before switching it up to something more evil. :)
Until then: Who Do YOU Trust?
Posted originally: 2008-12-10 08:12:02