Saturday, October 25, 2008
Secret Invasion 7
Ah, the penultimate issue. Do you remember what my review for the previous issue was like? I spent most of the time comparing it to Infinity War, the nineties-era Jim Starlin-written crossover that made me love comics. I concluded that the aforementioned cosmic crossover was better than Secret Invasion if only because things happen. Now, let's go back further, and see my post comparing the two big events from this summer. In this post, from way back in March, I decided that I was going to stick mostly with Final Crisis, if only because the Morrison-Jones combo was too good to resist. But unfortunately, we all know that Jones isn't able to finish it. Which means, in my review for Secret Invasion 7, I'm going to have to give it some respect for coming out on a monthly schedule, staying on that schedule, and not resorting to fill-in artists. But what about the story itself?
When we last saw the combined forces of the Avengers and the Skrulls going toe-to-toe, some people shouted and grimaced and fought for awhile in big splash pages. Now, a month later, we return to the battlefield to see... more grimacing faces, shouty dialogue and confused fight choreography. In terms of plot, Iron Man leaves the fight to repair his armor (important!) and Jessica Jones leaves her possibly Skrull baby in the arms of Skrull-Jarvis so she can punch some faces in Central Park. And the Wasp turns out to have consumed a Trojan Horse growth formula given to her by Skrull-Pym which makes her crackle with energy. We also find out that the Skrull invasion isn't about living or dying; it's about spreading the message and taking out a lot of people.
So... that's the issue. I've got a couple problems with Secret Invasion, the story as a whole, and with this issue in question. First of all, why aren't we getting the sense of danger and doom that this issue is so desperate to convey. Spider-Man comments that the Watcher only shows up when things are terrible, and then you turn the page and there he is, silently watching like a giant baby-headed Peeping Tom. It's almost a joke. Remember when the Watcher would only show up when the Earth was about to be eaten by a giant in a purple suit? Then, he showed up every week, like the time that Wolverine slipped on an icy sidewalk.
I don't want this review to end in a diatribe about the constant barrage of danger, which translates to no suspense, but come on, Bendis. That pulled me out of the story faster than a grappling hook to the cheek.
The other major problem, with story and with this issue, is the lack of forward momentum. Honestly, is there anything else we're going to talk about with this event? Every Joe Blogger and Jane Reviewer (and vice versa) are talking about how slow this event is. You know what that means? It's a justified complaint. Obviously we need the events to have better pacing.
Part of the pacing problem is the passivity of the main characters. The entire Secret Invasion story, rather than plot, has been heroes reacting to the invasion. They stand around and let problems tumble down around them, then they get mad and become wide-jawed muscle-y madmen. Only in the sixth and seventh issue do we see the Avengers do anything other than argue with themselves. But not in the entertaining, emotional way that I predicted way back when, and then talked about in my last review. They're just going around in circles saying the same things over and over again.
I'm so disappointed with this series in the monthly format. Maybe, with a one-sitting read, I might enjoy the whole thing. Considering that the events of the main title happen over a span of a day or two, it loses its excitement when it's stretched over eight months. Unlike, Final Crisis, which seems to increase in enjoyment when delayed by five weeks. Just kidding.
I'm unimpressed, but my story might change once we're in the trade paperback format. Otherwise, Secret Invasion is a failure as a mega-event, but it got my money anyway. Here's to you, Bendis and Yu for putting out this event on time and with no fill-ins!