Marvel Comics' hit "Secret Invasion" event is rocketing towards an explosive climax. With the sixth of eight issues in stores now, it's once again time for SPOILERS OF WAR, our in-depth analysis of the latest issue of "Secret Invasion" with writer Brian Michael Bendis. If you're late to the party, don't worry! We've got you covered with handy, dandy links to parts one, two, three, four, and five of our feature.
In "Secret Invasion" #6, Thor made sure lightning struck not once or twice but multiple times, and the Marvel Universe's most famous battle cry announced the assembly of one of the largest gatherings of Avengers ever, courtesy of superstar artist Leinil Yu.
CBR: "Secret Invasion" #6 opens by taking things globally and showing the many international battlefronts of the Skrull invasion of Earth. Here, we see the Black Panther defending his kingdom of Wakanda, Shana the She-Devil hunting Skrulls in the Savage Land, and Israeli superhero Sabra doing her best to protect her country.
Brian Michael Bendis: Last issue, the Skrulls announced their "Embrace Change" slogan and now we're looking around the world to see what the reaction to that is. Where is the president? Where are the X-Men and the Inhumans? People following the tie-ins might have an inkling but these pages do two things: They paint a picture of the world and all the different strife, but they're also a narration that has the Skrulls taking things a step forward. They're putting things back to normal as best as they can. They're giving the people of Earth a cookie, and this is a very human war trick.
You take away something like electricity and than you give it back. It's like, "Behave! Or I'll take it away again." And the argument has been made that people will fight more for their lifestyle than they will for their lives. It's like, "Do what you want! Just give me my TV!" So the Skrulls are saying, "Everything is going back to normal; go to work, enjoy your family, do whatever you want and slowly but surely we'll make your lives a lot better. The only thing standing in the way of making your life easier are these fucking superheroes and S.H.I.E.L.D."
And I love Sabra! I'm not killing the only Israeli superhero. Sabra rocks!
At Camp Hammond, which is now the Earth beachhead for the Skrull invaders, the Skrull impersonating Hank Pym gets a status report on the invasion.
I saw some people questioning why Hank Pym is so important and I think right here shows you. Hank Pym was at a place that was very politically advantageous, and he's one of those characters like Elektra who's friends with people but not close to them. And not everyone thinks the world of him. So if he's acting differently, people won't think any more or less of him.
And here he is at Camp Hammond, which is now the Skrulls' military base. The Initiative has been taken, which is one of the reasons why they went to their effort of making sure they had a Hank Pym.
In front of the New Avengers' former headquarters, Doctor Strange's Sanctum Sanctorum, we meet some people who are actually quite happy the Skrulls have come to Earth.
I used that as a touchstone because we're in the Village, which most people know is probably the more liberal area of [New York City]. I was either going to do the Village or Union Square, but I thought in the Village we have a Marvel touchstone and one for the New Avengers as well. It's kind of where they were last happy [laughs] and they weren't that happy there.
This is also the Portland guy in me. If aliens landed in Portland, half the city would be like, "Yay! We love you!" And other than that idiot girl in "Independence Day" who held up that sign just before she got blasted, you don't see that much in these kinds of stories. You've got to remember, the Skrulls are selling hard the promise of a better life. We see a lot of strife but here's the other reaction, people going "Woo-Hoo! Utopia is just around the corner."
The God of Thunder gets involved by sending his own unique signal to both sides of the Invasion that the time for the final battle has come.
Thor knows what has to happen. He knows the only chance the humans have is a face-front battle. It's "Everyone come here and lets finish this!" So that's what he does. It's the old school Asgardian style of battling. You don't go running and hiding. He sends the beacon into the skies and everybody knows. The Skrulls, too. The Skrulls are going, "They'll come here, so we might as well go there."
The heroes of Earth begin answering Thor's call to arms, and we get to see the historic first meeting of the resurrected Thor and new Captain America, Bucky Barnes.
This is thanks to [writer] Ed Brubaker for letting the leash off of Bucky for a little bit. And anyone who reads "Captain America" knows what a fantastic job Ed has done with this character. I would argue that he's a more interesting character than Steve Rogers. You read even just the last six issues of Ed's "Captain America" run and it's fascinating.
Ed did a little bit of Hawkeye, some Falcon, and a little bit of Tony Stark. He's slowly integrating [Bucky] into the Marvel Universe, but this is really the time when the new Captain America makes his debut and gets to show everybody who he is. It's ballsy for Bucky to get up there in front of all of Steve Rogers's friends and go, "I'm Captain America." It would be a little embarrassing if they ignore you, but look, here he is, the first to the party.
The calm before the storm passes as the defenders of Earth come face to face with the planet's would-be conquerors. Queen Veranke, the Skrull invasion leader who has been impersonating Spider-Woman, declares that her god is the reason behind the Skrulls' invasion.
This is what she believes. She thinks she's doing the work of a higher power. She think she's doing the divine work, and when someone tells you they're doing divine work by destroying you, really, that's going to be annoying. So you get the line I ran by everyone of my friends before I even typed it, which is, "Yeah? Well my god has a hammer!" I'm sure I'll get a letter because anytime you say "god" in anything you get a letter.
And I've seen people guessing who "He" is and I know some people wanted the reveal to be like the Beyonder or Annihilus or someone else who came from out of nowhere. All of that wasn't really the point of the story, though. Anybody like that would have been an example of a terrible Deus Ex Machina. This story is about [Veranke's] belief in what she's doing is 1000% right. For people who need to see the Skrull gods, you can [in the recent "Sacred Invasion" arc of "Incredible Hercules"] but there was no room for that here. Her belief is what's propelling her.
Tony Stark sounds the battle cry, and the registration act and all other divisions between hero and hero -- and even hero and villain -- are forgotten as one of the largest assemblies of Avengers ever charge forward to defend their planet.
This is what the whole series has been about. This double-page spread. This is the reunited Marvel Universe for the first time in maybe ten years. Even before I was on Avengers, they weren't this group. And to here's the holy trinity of the new Cap, the resurrected Thor, and Iron Man. And there's Nick Fury, Spider-Man, Norman Osborn and it goes on and on. That's the stuff. That's what I sold in our meetings. I literally stood up with my imaginary hammer and sold this moment.
And if Lenil Yu is drawing the book, chances are Howard the Duck is in the book.
He is, in between Reed Richards and Cassie Lang.
That's the fifth time he's put Howard the Duck in a book where I haven't written Howard the Duck. Now that's a Deus Ex Machina!
BENDIS'S FINAL THOUGHTS ON "SECRET INVASION" #6
If that big double-page spread didn't work, it's kind of like the whole series didn't work. It's kind of hard to say to your artist, "Listen, if you fuck this up, you might as well not even draw the rest. We might as well not even put it out." But I said, "This is what it's all about." And than the art came in and in every form -- first the pencils came in and I was like, "Jesus Christ." Then Mark Morales sent me the inked version and I hope we'll be able to show people just the inked version. It's maybe one of the best inked spreads in the history of comics. It's perfectly inked and the coloring did nothing but make it even greater.
This image has been has been in my head for two or three years, and to have it end up being twice as great as the one I had in my head is the best feeling ever. I could retire now-- I won't, Internet haters! But I could.
Let's all hail Lenil Yu! He's done what very few people in comics have done and he's done it on time.
BENDIS LOOKS AHEAD TO "SECRET INVASION" #7
They're going to go back to the Savage Land -- no, I'm joking! You're going to get a big battle and not everyone is going to walk out alive. It doesn't go the way you're assuming it's going to go, but you are going to see Thor, Iron Man and Cap fighting together. You're also going to see some people jumping in to be heroes that you never imagine would. You'll see giant Skrulls versus giant humans. You're going to see some cool shit. And I believe the Watcher might show up.