SPOILER WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for "Secret Invasion" #3.
The third issue of Marvel Comics' hit miniseries "Secret Invasion" is in stores now, which means it's time for another edition of CBR's SPOILERS OF WAR, our in-depth look at the events of the storyline with the "Secret Invasion" mastermind himself, Brian Michael Bendis. For those who've only read the first two parts of "Secret Invasion" you can catch yourselves up by checking out our commentaries for issues one and two.
In this month's "Secret Invasion" #3, readers are taken to various global hotspots and a furious battle erupts as the Skrulls decide that they'll take Manhattan, heroes turn on each other, a legion of Spider-Woman fans are crushed, and a long-absent Marvel icon returns to the fold. As always, CBR has enlisted the aid of Brian Michael Bendis to walk us through the action of the issue on a page-by-page.
The issue begins with the S.H.I.E.L.D Helicarrier, which has splashed down in the middle of the Bermuda triangle, where Maria Hill and the agents under her command are greeted by the Skrull agent impersonating Jarvis.
This is just as much a psychological war as it is a physical war. If he took the form of a Skrull it's more of an offer to fight but he's not offering to battle her here. Here he's saying, A) I'm creeping you out and B) I want you to fold. He's also drumming home the fact that they have no chance. He's saying we're everywhere and you don't know who we are.
In "Secret Invasion" #1, the Skrull agent impersonating Captain Marvel launched an attack on Thunderbolts Mountain. In this double-page spread, the attack comes to an end as Captain Marvel finishes off the Thunderbolts, an act which leaves him tears.
Of all the sleeper agents, he's taking it the worst. Having someone take the form of the noblest Kree warrior and a protector of humanity and not telling him who he really is may have been a slight misjudgment on the Skrull Empire's part.
Also in this scene, Thunderbolts leader Norman Osborn moves to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat when he senses the Skrull Marvel's hesitation to use lethal force.
Norman's stepping up. He may be able to work an angle. Norman knows a little something about having a dual personality where one aspect is in more control than the other.
The Skrull agent posing as Yellow Jacket shoves the forces of the Initiative headlong into what will prove to be a trap.
We flat out know he's full of shit. Here he's like, "Go! Go!" which we know really means, "Go get your asses kicked." This is a fun little scene because now the audience knows things the characters don't and they get a bit of a godlike view of things. It's like when you know there's a monster in the house and Jamie Lee Curtis doesn't.
Back in Manhattan, things aren't going well for the Young Avengers, who are valiantly taking on army of Super Skrulls by themselves. And here Hulkling discovers his royal lineage holds no sway with the invading shape shifters.
The name Anelle was the wrong thing to say. It means he's on the wrong side. Plus he's a half-breed so to them he's not pure.
I also think we should take a moment to enjoy [series artist] Lenil Francis Yu's work because there's a lot being asked of him. Some of these panels are almost a whole page of description in the script and there's no corners cut. He drew everything that was written. I think it's beautiful it's like choreographed chaos. Everything is there on purpose but it's meant to look like things are completely out of control.
We began with that quiet perfectly told Jarvis scene and now a few pages later we're going crazy in Times Square. Everything is perfectly rendered and perfectly told and it kind of shows why Lenil Yu was the perfect person to draw this.
The Initiative arrives to lend the Young Avengers a hand with the Super Skrull onslaught but we also see the arrival of a news crew, something which pleases the attacking Skrulls.
The Skrulls are out to make a point and they want to do it publicly. They want it televised for the whole world to see. They're letting people know, "If you stand up to us we will break you." So the less noble and less heroic factions of the Marvel Universe may back down
In the pages of "New Avengers" it was hinted that Spider-Woman had been replaced by a Skrull, and here her attack on Echo confirms it.
There are quite a few people on my message boards and the CBR ones who are gigantic Spider-Woman fans and they've loved me for bringing her back. With her being in a number one book, she's had a wave of good fortune that she hasn't seen since her heyday. And the whole time I was writing her I'd think those fans are going to fucking lose their shit because we've had this planned since "New Avengers" #1. You can go back to issue #1 and see hints. There's not a segment of the readership that I haven't felt worse about doing this to than the Spider-Woman fans. I want to express publicly that your love of the character will not be lost.
Now you know why the "Spider-Woman" series didn't happen. We thought about doing it and having her revealed as a Skrull in the first issue of her series. Last year, we we're going to do the series and at the end of the issue she'd do something wrong, go off somewhere private and revert to Skrull form. It would be like, "Woah! The lead character of the book isn't who she thought she was!" I wrote it, but in the end I just thought it wasn't selling somebody what they thought you were selling them. But if you did it as part of a team book it's much less bullshitty. You expect things to happen in a team book but if you're buying "Spider-Woman," you want Spider-Woman.
The Skrull impersonating Spider-Woman is the queen in charge of the Invasion conspiracy and here she makes a speech to Tony Stark that could be interpreted multiple ways.
What's she's saying certainly seems to be true. When you look at the things Tony Stark has done over the years you're like, "That does make sense." Why is he in charge of the world all of the sudden? So in this case it certainly looks like Tony is one of them. And if he is one of them will he go out fighting? And for which side? And where is Tony Stark? Is he gone? Is he only going to live in the movies from now on?
Or are there certain people the Skrulls want to fuck with until they die because these people are enemies of the state and their god?
The purple rays kayoing the various heroes are results of all the Skrulls here working together in one massive attack.
What you're getting is a combination of powers. That was the mandate coming from us. You can't over do that aspect. Imagine the bedlam, the chaos, the air even, when all these powers go off at once. When you see 80 guns going off all at once in a movie, all of a sudden the air is full of smoke. Now imagine that with superpowers.
Here in the bottom panels, Initiative member Proton is executed by the Skrulls.
I e-mailed Dan Slott and asked him, "I've got to start popping off some guys here, who can I pop off?" He gave me a list. I know people hate it when they find out there's an execution list. They're like, "I want to see that list!" But I 'm telling you this because Dan put a lot of thought into these characters and some of them were built for this. He knew going in what was going to happen. So this is Dan Slott approved. Blame him!
Nick Fury finally emerges from hiding and he's accompanied by a brand new team of heroes. Readers of "Mighty Avengers" got to see the team being assembled.
For those of you who haven't been reading "Mighty Avengers," no biggie. There's going to be plenty of information on these characters next issue but if you're looking for their first appearance it's in issues #12-13 of "Mighty Avengers."
These are all new characters but most of them are born out of Marvel lore. It's a cool way to bring in new characters yet honor what has come before. These are not outsiders. It's basically the next generation coming in and learning a hardcore lesson from the most hardcore guy in the Marvel Universe, Nick Fury.
BENDIS'S FINAL THOUGHTS ON "SECRET INVASION" #3
I just found out the issue actually sold better than issue #2, which bodes well for the series as a whole. "Secret Invasion" #1 did great and that was a relief but than to find out there's not going to be a dip as people go, "Boring!" that's awesome. So thank you everybody.
I think this is the best drawn issue of the first half of the series. Old school fanboys know a couple of things can happen with these kinds of books. Sometimes the art work can devolve into stick figures as the series goes on or it gets desperately late because everyone is trying to keep the quality up. But I'm thrilled to tell you that not only is the quality going up with every issue, like it should, but it's shipping on time. It would be really great if we could be the first event of the modern age that ships on time [laughs]. And barring any godly emergency, we're good to go. I know it seems like, "Yay! You did your job. You want a cookie?" But that's not what I'm saying. What I'm saying is in the history of these things going back to the original "Secret War," either the quality buckles or the book stops shipping. And we're not having that. So it's important.
Lenil is a machine. Everyone hands in pages on time but Lenil will hand in like ten pages. About every five days, you get ten perfect pages and there's not a cheat on them. He draws everything.
BENDIS LOOKS AHEAD TO "SECRET INVASION" #4
Issue #4 goes directly into the fall out from all these cliffhangers including Tony Stark, Maria Hill, and Nick Fury. Reed Richards is in issue #4 as well. In a very cool set piece, where in like, for lack of a better phrase, one giant camera move, we connect all the pieces all over the world: S.H.I.E.L.D., The Sentry, Ms. Marvel, Reed Richards, and there's hints that Agent Brand may still be alive. All these things connect and than you're right back down in New York City. And you can look forward to appearances by a guy with a hammer and a guy with a shield.