what? Battlestar Galactica? The War on Terror? Bendis’s need for a gazebo?
I liked Secret Invasion #6 (here is the Abhay review in question) well enough. I really did. I’ve generally enjoyed this series.
I can’t entirely tell you why, mind you. It hasn’t done a ton of things with the Invasion of the Body Snatchers style paranoia the premise suggests, which was one of the draws of the series for me. I get the feeling that some of the roughly 1,500 tie-ins may be, but I refuse to buy those.
The pacing is glacial, which is something you can always throw at Bendis when you’re so inclined. I mean, things are happening, in the sense that there is screaming and explosions and tears that look suspiciously like another bodily fluid if you really want to go there; it’s not just entirely set up and verbose conversations, and whatever else Bendis did in five of the six issues of his storylines when I was regularly reading his work that I can’t hazily remember.
But the plot in the mini proper has barely advanced at all, and there’s the whole “there is no scope to how this is affecting the rest of the world beyond the Savage Land and New F’n York”. Bendis has achieved this weird feet, at least for me, of making this series seem like its going somewhere very quickly while not really doing that all. Like he’s gesturing wildly to mimic great strenuous activity while just really running in place.
But really, pacing schamcing; I don’t read these comics to see craftsmanship on display. I don’t really read anything for that. When I do get that out of something, I am of course pleasantly surprised and appreciative and willing to donate any theoretical children to whatever edlritch purposes the writer might need them for at a later date; I’m not a total ingrate. So, right now, I owe kids to Charles Burns, Alan Moore, Dan Clowes, Chris Ware, Both Hernandezes, and Kevin Nash.
But I specifically just read superhero comics for the entertainment value; the excitement, the spectacle (empty as it may be), the melodrama, even it is basically action figures hurtling at each other, as I am sure blog gadfly Dan Coyle once said about crossovers. Anything else is gravy.
So, what is the gravy here? There’s a lot of space devoted to what was at best a pretty stupid diversion mocking dumb protesters/Independence Day lift (and at worse a sign that Bendis is a right wing fascist, I guess? I can’t really follow what that one commenter was saying at SC to that end; I zoned out after he (?)called Bendis and Millar meatwastes and hell I think it’s JesseBaker’s ghost saying all that). Seemingly important things happen off panel, but we get a lot of double page spreads of New York.
A thing on the whole “there’s too much focus on New York” that Abhay and roughly one million other people have criticized this and roughly every other Marvel Comic published in the last two centuries about; well, yes, but Marvel has always been New York centric. That was part of the initial appeal of what we now call the Marvel Universe for branding reasons; it was centered in a real place, as opposed to amalgamations like Gotham or Metropolis. That and all of the damn superheroes live there. Sure, this is probably a profound bit of painful obviousness, but if I did not cause physical pain with my attempts at insight at least once in one a post, what kind of blogger would I be?
Overall (and without really getting in to any of them), all of the criticisms Abhay had of this ring true, just like they did in his famous (infamous? Those are interchangeable now for some reason, aren’t they?) takedown of Countdown to A Whole Lot of Crises. It is not very good when viewed in the light of actually thinking about it or have any expectations of it at all.
That said, I liked parts of it. I really thought the whole “Avengers Assemble!” moment this issue pretty much hinged on, with all of the assembled heroes and villains pulling together in an us vs. them moment, was pretty cool, any possible political/social/psychosexual subtext aside. It wasn’t quite a F*@% Yeah! or mark out (and holy crap, I may have just discovered my new favorite blog ever there) moment, but it was close.
That, and as totally anti-climatic as it was, New Cap meeting New-ish Thor for one panel was something I enjoyed, even if it was totally anti-climatic. I mean, we’ll probably never see that scene in Ed Brubaker’s Cap, you know? That’s something that crossovers are for. And hey, from there, with the way my mind works, it was a quick hop, skip, jump, and Family Circus recurring gag to imagining what a Brubaker written, noir drenched Thor would be like, and that is greatly amusing. I take it where I get it.
I always feel weird when I don’t hate things people hate on the internet. I don’t hate many things, no matter what any 60 deep list I wrote whilst bored might tell you otherwise. I don’t love many things either. I have this weird wiring where I am indifferent, or at least neutral, on vast swaths of things. SI is like that for me, except the moments where I do feel less of the icy grip of foul neutrality clenching my heart, I usually enjoy it.
And I really don’t know why that is. Objectively, I know it is not terribly good. It’s at least really flawed, and I could probably (absolutely) be spending that $3.99 a month better. I know part of the draw of the book lately has been following along with Abhay’s reviews, which are more fun than that and pretty much everything else in existence, really.
But really, is buying this just to laugh at someone else mock it any better than people buy/torrent things they hate? And beyond that, is there any value to this at all beyond internet rubbernecking from mad blog geniuses? Why do I not hate, and even sort of enjoy, this thing?
Are my standards really that low? Did the premise and characters that appeal to me blind me to its deficiencies? Once you buy one of these things because the Hulk totally flattens Reed Richards in one issue, do they have their claws in you for life? Even when confronted with its failures, why do I not care about them that much? Most importantly, why can’t I find love? I mean, other than the fact that I never leave my house except to procure comics, video games, and food, and women never seem to be in any of the places I go for those. This damned comic is really pretty deep once you start projecting your own neuroses on to it.
Oh, crap, I forgot to mention the art of this comic at all here. It was okay. I has been the whole way through. Not great, not bad, pretty unexceptional. I used to really like Leinil Yu’s style, and it is idiosyncratic enough that it at least brings a weird charm to this kind of thing that a more classical, neat and potatoes adventure comics kind of penciller wouldn’t. That said, he’s not a kinetic enough penciller to elevate this kind of thing the way John Romita or Frank Miller can, so I’m not sure how excited I am for issue #7. But I really like the end of issue #6, and Yu had something to do with that, certainly. I’m not entirely sure what the division of labor is there, considering he has an inker (Mark Morales), but he deserves some credit for my moderate enjoyment of this objectively terrible comic!
I always find the clash of the objective and subjective fascinating, especially when it’s two voices in my brain doing the clashing. So, if I avoid institutionalization between now and then, anticipate more on this topic. Like you anticipate a swarm of locusts, sure, but I still think that’s the right word for it.
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