“Secret Invasion Aftermath” equals “Skrulls in this issue.” That’s right, just when you thought it wasn’t possible for Skrulls to still be kicking around the Marvel Universe, this issue offers up a conflict between Beta Ray Bill and a splinter group of Skrull survivors. Brereton’s art, usually available in painted format, is limited to pencils here. His work is posed and stilted, with many of the figures in painfully posed robotic positions. The overall style is gritty and rough, suitable for a space adventure featuring the dregs of civilizations defeated and rendered inert.
Brereton’s Beta Ray Bill is an intimidating figure, while his Skrulls are just plain creepy, without any sign of being intimidating. This is in stark contrast to how Gillen writes the character. Bill is heroic to his core, doing right, simply because it is the right thing to do. An atheist after the horrors he has witnessed, Bill proclaims to the allies he finds in this book, “If there is nothing but what we make in this world, brothers, let us make good.” His companions question Bill’s dedication to this credo as his actions speak otherwise, but Bill aptly defends the choices he has made.
This issue is largely dismissible, or maybe misplaced, as the story is not strong enough to ingratiate readers to the cause of Beta Ray Bill, despite the gospel proclaimed by some of the characters within. This adventure is a slight chance encounter, fleshed out to fill a complete issue rather than a snippet from the greater adventures of Beta Ray Bill. That’s not to say this book is a total wash. It does provide Beta Ray Bill deprived fans with a chance to see their character in action; it just falls short of the potential.
The cover begs discussion, as the trade dress, coloring, and artwork rendered look and feel more like a Dark Horse “Star Wars” comic than a Marvel comic. I’m interested to see if this is a common perception from other readers. I think this issue certainly could have benefitted from a little more “space opera” on the interiors as well as the cover.