Secret Invasion #4 Review
Secret Invasion #4 review by Donna Jackson
Written by Brian Michael Bendis
Art by Leinil Yu
Marvel's biggest event of the year is now four issues deep, and at its halfway point, it seems that it finally brought its biggest guns to the fight against the shapeshifting alien army of the Skrulls. The issue begins with Reed Richards captured, being probed and stretched to torturous lengths (Yu's artwork looks especially good in this scene) by the invaders. An unnamed Skrull narrates on how what they are doing to Earth is no different than what man has been doing since the beginning of time: taking what they want, no matter who stands in their way. Secret Invasion #4 also marks the return of long-gone head of S.H.I.E.L.D. Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos (a reference to Fury's 1963 debut) have just made a return to the scene, and are taking down anyone who they think might be a Skrull in disguise. Even villains are seeing the need to be involved in the fight, with its newest crime boss the Hood getting ready to mount an attack of his own. Meanwhile, Spider-Woman has convinced Tony Stark that he may not be who he thinks he is, and even the Black Widow has doubts over if the Iron Man that orchestrated the Superhero Registration Act is really a mind-wiped Skrull or not.
Artistically, Lenny Yu has really found a supporting team where his hard lines, piercing eyes, and detailed upper lips can be used to their full effect. Yu's work in Secret Invasion is leaps and bounds better than in his other popular works, such as the infamously delayed Ultimate Wolverine vs. Hulk and Superman: Birthright. I've always thought that Yu's pencils can work better with a truly talented inker and colorist, and Mark Morales and Laura Martin fill their respective roles nicely. There are some great visuals of Skrulls with superhero abilities, which reminded me a bit of the OMACs taking over the DC villains' body during one of Infinite Crisis substories. It's always fun to see artist's imagination go nuts when in and Secret Invasion has had a good share of these Skrull amalgams. From Spider-Woman's absolutely stunning features to Nick Fury wielding what can only be described as an over-grown NES Zapper ™, this is one fine looking book.
I originally feared the whole Secret Invasion storyline would suffer the same problems as World War Hulk and other Marvel events. It seems that after all is said and done, few happenings in the house of Marvel leave any lasting marks. Though Civil War made arguably the biggest change in the status quo of Marvel in years by having Spider-Man unmasked, the move was eliminated in Brand New Day. Hulk came back to Earth only to be locked up again. Also, Bendis' pacing of his story has been a bit disoriented, with some issues without any major developments. Tony Stark and Jessica Jones have been standing together in the same discussion for three issues. You wouldn't know that Secret Invasion has taken place over 24 hours so far. Brand new day indeed.
As you can see, I'm still pretty torn about the whole thing. While there have been some excellent moments that have the ability to turn the Marvel universe as we know it completely upside down, at the very core, Secret Invasion is really is just another shape-shifter/clone storyline. Sure, it has the whole political parallel that Marvel storylines are becoming increasingly filled with, but I've had just about my fill of these changeling stories from the big two, save for a few characters such as Mystique, who can still keep the whole gimmick fresh. For now, Secret Invasion has enough twists and action to keep you reading until the last Skrull is wiped off the face of the Earth.