Secret Invasion #5

Brian Michael Bendis broke a whole lot of the Marvel Universe to get to this issue. Spaceshifted the Baxter Building, crashed Helicarriers, sort of kind of erased dozens of years of character continuity. The Skrull Invasion had a lot of splash damage.

So it's no surprise that when things finally start to turn around for our plucky heroes and heroines (and they do in this issue) it happens quickly and inevitably. While in some ways this leads to same scattershot pacing, in others, the release of months worth of tension in a matter of a few extraordinarily violent panels is pretty hilariously appropriate.

While Leinil Yu is a great artist of action scenarios and high drama (once again greatly enhanced by the ink work of Mark Morales), he is a very average caricaturist. In a spread that's almost confusing (are the Skrulls manipulating the TV waves or has everyone from Stephen Colbert to Osama Bin Laden actually been a Skrull this whole time?) pretty much every celebrity on Earth parrots the simultaneous notice of the Skrull's takeover of the planet. It's one of Yu's more awkward performances.

And that's pretty much that. While we see the rather violent and widespread fallout in various crossover books, we don't really see too many more Skrull boots pinning down fleshy and vulnerable Humankind. Just what I'm guessing is Adam Corolla smiling awkwardly at America.

That being said, this issue is in no way a slide back to the boring slugfests of the first few issues. We've got daring prison springs, conniving Green Goblins, and a vindictively brilliant Reed Richards (always the best kind) flexing his brain muscles. That is, one must note, kind of all there is. This is one of the most strikingly "regular sized" issues of this $3.99 comic. All of five scenes (six if you count the TMZ spread), it certainly doesn't carry the wealth of happenstance of the last few issues. I remember reading that Marvel didn't really have an explanation as to why an issue of this comic cost more than other issues of equal size, but never was the strangeness of this decision more obvious and weird. In short, it's hard to see why this comic costs more than other comics of the same size.

One other thing that's starting to cohere into a bit of a large elephant in the room here is that even though this issue takes some strides to explain their motivations, the Skrulls are turning into kind of a lame duck of a conquering race. They're certainly strong enough and capable enough but, like, what's the deal? What does Earth really have that they need? I'm sure there are plenty more empty worlds in the Universe that they can terrengineer into habitability without all the trouble this entailed.

Hm, yeah. But where's the fun in that?

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