The last couple of weeks have been fairly light on Secret Invasion content, so naturally the “Secret Invasion: Who Do You Trust?” one-shot stands to sell fairly well, despite the feeling that it’s following the pedigree of the fairly underwhelming Civil War one-shot, “Choosing Sides,” which was an anthology of Civil War-themed vignettes that plugged continuity gaps and tied up otherwise unresolved threads.
And, on closer inspection, that’s exactly what we’ve got here. The opening short, which is presented by the most recent “Captain Marvel” team of Reed and Weeks, is designed to bridge the gap between the end of the “Captain Marvel” miniseries and his appearance attacking the Thunderbolts in “Secret Invasion #1”. His rationale for this is slightly suspicious, and it’s hard to judge without knowing where his story’s going. This issue shows it as a choice he makes, whereas the unspoken implication in “Secret Invasion” has been that his Skrull programming simply kicked in. Mild confusion aside, it’s a fairly strong opener.
The next short features Agent Brand, who is finally free to appear outside the pages of “Astonishing X-Men,” as she floats in space following the destruction of the SWORD base, bridging “Secret Invasion” issues #1 and #4. Carey’s decision to flesh out Brand’s character is a welcome one, as is his attempt to explain how and why the person in charge of monitoring alien threats managed to miss this one. Timothy Green III’s art has a unique, stylish look that displays elements of Leinil Yu’s comics work, and Sadamoto’s expressive anime character design. Each page looks fantastic, and he’s definitely worth keeping an eye on in the future.
Gage/Perkin’s Wonder Man and Beast story fits in somewhere after the T-Rex attack in “Secret Invasion #2”, and shows the current Wonder Man alongside the (possibly Skrull) Beast, sharing some nice character moments regarding the gradual disintegration of their once-strong friendship, ending with a little twist. I love seeing little continuity-nuggets like this addressed in a positive way, and as a result this story is perhaps my favorite in the title. There’s plenty of enjoyable dialogue, and it leaves me almost hoping that this Beast is the real one.
The final two stories are a “Marvel Boy” short that shows events following his appearance in the “New Avengers: Illuminati miniseries” and an “Agents of Atlas” story by Jeff Parker. The former achieves little movement for the character, and the latter struggles to fit a substantial and largely unfamiliar cast into the limited space. Nothing truly bad, but after three fairly decent stories they drag down the overall quality of the title a little.
If you’re a big fan of any of the characters featured, you’re certain to get at least one short you’ll enjoy, but ultimately it suffers from the same problem as almost every other anthology comic — you’ll probably find yourself disliking roughly half of what you read. For anyone other than the most dedicated Secret Invasion fan, it’s probably not a shrewd investment.