Although Siege (and to a lesser extent Avengers vs X-Men) served as the culmination of Bendis’ time as head Avengers writer and general shepherd of the Marvel Universe’s direction, it’s really Secret Invasion that everything he’s written has been building to. 

The Skrulls have returned and have infiltrated Earth society, and as they claim dominion over the planet, it’s up to not only the world’s heroes but also their villains, to band together and take back the planet. 

Published by: Marvel Comics
Written by: Brian Bendis
Art by: Leinil Francis Yu
Year: 2008

Collects: Secret Invasion #1 -8

PLOT: For years, the Skrulls have secretly been planting sleeper agents into Earth society. Undetectable by conventional methods, and able to access the memories and powers of those they’ve replaced, they have now infiltrated enough of the major organisations to be able to destabilise the planet. 

As the Avengers head to the Savage Land to intersect an incoming Skrull ship, the Baxter Building is torn apart from the inside and the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier falls out of the sky. 

In the Skrulls mind, they’ve already won. But the heroes and villains of Earth won’t give up their planet without a fight. 

REVIEW: While this may not be the best Marvel event, I do believe it is the best written by Bendis. While House of M and Siege are enjoyable enough, they each have their own flaws that hold them back in some way. Secret Invasion, on the other hand, has actual stakes and tension and is much better paced. 

The premise, for one, is great. The Skrulls slowly invading Earth over a long period of time, to the point where they could be anyone – is genius. Like House of M, the premise isn’t always taken as far as it can (to tell you the truth, not many major players turn out to be Skrulls, which is a shame, but also, conversely, makes sense), but it still makes for a lot of tension in the way it plays out. 

The build-up manages to succeed at not only setting up the event itself but also tying in the past few years of major Marvel storytelling; it weaves into the tapestry of the world Bendis has created from Avengers: Disassembled onwards perfectly. 

The stakes continue to rise to a point where the threat truly does seem genuine. Of course, we all know the alien invaders aren’t going to win, but the heroes are laid low in a way that makes their eventual counter-attack all the more exciting. 

The art is also excellent. Looking at this, and comparing it with New Avengers: Revolution makes for a fascinating study in the art of Leinil Francis Yu. Conventionally, his art is murky and sketchy (not in a bad way), but here, it’s clear that a colourist can make all the difference. His work here is bold and bright. Everything is clear and crisp. I’m a fan of his art in general, but the stuff on display is really quite beautiful. So props to both him, Laura Martin and Emily Warren, their union makes all the difference. 

And on top of that, what this comic represents (especially if you’ve been reading all of these books in order) is also great. At this stage, Thor has been generally absent from books outside of his own title, and Captain America obviously has been killed off and replaced at this point in time. So seeing the central Avengers trio of Iron Man, Thor and Captain America reunite in some form for the first time since… before Avengers: Disassembled (? I don’t even know when they were last together off the top of my head) makes for some impactful storytelling and some really awesome, rousing visuals. 

In many ways, Secret Invasion is the comic’s Avengers: Endgame. Obviously, in both cases, things continue on afterwards, but both of them are a sort-of final battle. All the heroes coming together to wage war against the ultimate foe. In the films, it was Thanos and his armies, but here it’s the Skrulls, who have been manipulating them in some way since New Avengers: Breakout. It’s cathartic and exhilarating, and although it makes some contrivances to get to where it needs to be occasionally, overall it’s a great ‘event’ comic. 

All-in-all, I give Secret Invasion a…

Thanks for reading! What’s your favourite comic-book event storyline? Let me know in the comments below!

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