Since the X-Men are currently hip-deep in a rolling-relaunch showcasing their new status quo, the “Secret Invasion” crossover takes place, much like “World War Hulk” and “Civil War” before it, in a mini-series. This one is also stamped with the “Manifest Destiny” icon, though in practice this just means that it’s taking place in San Francisco.
Unlike all the other tie-ins, there’s no big mystery about which of the X-Men is a Skrull — indeed, there’s no discussion at all about whether anyone might be a Skrull. The infiltrating forces evidently missed the majority of the X-Men in their planning. Instead, we see the Skrulls arrive in San Francisco, and they’re the ones who are surprised to meet with fierce resistance from the newly relocated X-Men, and a fight ensues.
If you’re after some big, mutant-filled action, then this is clearly the book for you. Mike Carey, currently giving us a rather ponderous take on the X-Men franchise over in “X-Men: Legacy” has quite openly switched gears for this story, demonstrating the sort of big action that typified his earlier X-comics — though thankfully, it’s far more straightforward.
Nightcrawler gets the unexpected billing as one of the series’ central characters, as he encounters a Skrull religious artifact which, it seems, is beginning to subvert him. Even better, Carey gives the Skrull villains some much-needed personality. Too often, in this sort of story, the invading hordes can become a generic mess, but as written by Carey the characters are fairly three-dimensional for a change — more identifiable, on a personal level, than any other Skrull character we’ve seen so far during the crossover, bar the Queen.
Cary Nord’s artwork is enjoyable superhero fare of the kind that he’s good at. Using San Francisco as the battlescape gives Nord the chance to show off some nice city panoramas, effectively grounding the location and providing beautiful backdrops at the same time. Between his art and Carey’s writing, “Secret Inasion: X-Men” is a decidedly different take on the events of the crossover, and a welcome chance to see some of the more sidelined X-Men take a prominent role.