Thursday, December 4, 2008

Secret Invasion 8

It's been a long, confusing, angry road with many a "twist" and a lot of decompression. So how does the story end? How does Bendis finish the
Secret Invasion? Well, if you've heard what Dark Reign is, then the "surprise ending" isn't surprising at all.

The Wasp goes all Kirby-dots and then Thor makes a whirlwind and then the Kirby-dots consume only the Wasp, making her the first casualty of the issue. Everybody gets angry and poses, even though they spent most of issue 6 and 7 posing and being angry. How more angry can these heroes get? Aren't they already hoppin' mad? All the heroes rush at the Queen, but lil' Normie Osborn blows her head off with a 90's-gun. That takes care of that. Iron Man returns, in an old-school suit so that the virus won't affect him (hello, a trick already done in the vastly superior
Ultimates) , and he leads the heroes to victory. They also find all the missing heroes, including Mockingbird. Jessica Jones' kid gets whisked away by the Skruvis (get it? Skrull-Jarvis?) and she gets hoppin' mad. Nick Fury disappears with his Secret Warriors and the President dissolves SHIELD and puts Osborn in charge. He gathers a cabal of Loki, Doom, Emm Frost, Namor, and the most evil villain of all time, The Hood (ha!).

Hokay, so. First of all, the whole issue is told in flashback, which frustrates me when Bendis does this. It doesn't create tension to tell the story in flashback because we know then that everybody survives and wins.

Not only does this narration rob the story of suspense, it is redundant. The narration was fairly useless and told us what was happening on the panel, as opposed to showing us. For example:

We know who the character is, and we know what he's getting up to. The narration is telling us what we already see. Now, far be it from me to tell Bendis, a professional comic book writer, what medium he's working in. You'd think he would know. But I'm going to have to say it. Bendis, you're working in a medium that combines text and pictures, and true skill in that medium in a combination that creates something new, like Alan Moore's skill of juxtaposes contradictory or ironic information in text versus panel.

Also, Bendis tries to pull off a Grant Morrison here. One of the Bald God's tricks is to have characters say they're going to or they did something incredibly cool and not show that. It gives the story a more epic feel, like there's more happening than just what we're seeing (this device works against the story when I know it's just for elbowing in the ribs, Millar I'm looking at you). Bendis has the narrator say that Ares took down an entire warship by himself. I'd rather read that than have a page devoted to Iron Man and Thor being rude to each other, or six panels devoted to Iron Man reaction shots. When Morrison does it, it's huge and epic, and when Bendis does it, all I think of is missed opportunity.

Also, the surprise ending isn't even close to being a surprise. The next six months of Marvel are called "Dark Reign" so I guessed it was either the villains who took over, or the Skrulls won and became dictators. Now the Skrulls winning, that would be a ballsy move. That would be interesting. But having the villains in charge. Didn't Warren Ellis do that in
Doom 2099?

I guess the artwork was good. I don't mind Yu's pencils, I find them satisfactory, and he delivers a decent issue here. Things aren't confusing and I understand mostly what's going on. It's not crisp and clear like Hitch, but it's not overly rendered like Juan Jose Ryp.

This review sounds overly negative, now that I read over it. There are some good points to this issue. It's not terribly disappointing, and the ending seems to come naturally from the preceding events. But the taste of the decompression, and the glacial-speed plot leave me completely sour. On top of every other complaint I have is that it's a week late. I'm just hoping this reads better in a trade.

Secret Invasion 8 was a lackluster issue, a decent ending to a mediocre series, and love it or hate it, it's the talk of the comic town right now.

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