SPOILER WARNING: THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR “SECRET INVASION” #7
“Secret Invasion” #7, the penultimate chapter of Marvel Comics’ hit event series, is in stores now and that means it's time for another installment of SPOILERS OF WAR, our in-depth analysis of the latest issue with series scribe Brian Michael Bendis. If you're just joining us, don't worry! Our links to parts one, two, three, four, five, and six of our feature will bring you up to speed.
In “Secret Invasion” #7, Bendis and his collaborator, artist Lenil Yu, bring readers the ultimate showdown in Central Park as the defenders of Earth and the invading forces of the Skrull Empire go toe-to-toe in one of the biggest slugfests ever to grace the pages of a Marvel comic book. What does writer Brian Bendis have to say? Read on.
CBR: Here we see that even in the heat of battle, with their invasion facing it's biggest challenge, the Skrulls hatred of Reed Richards still burns white hot as Queen Veranke orders her followers to make Mr. Fantastic their primary target.
Brian Michael Bendis: Reed is the physical face of terror to the Skrulls. This goes back to the “cow days” from “Fantastic Four” #2 and there's a grand history with the Skrulls and the trial of Reed Richards. Because of all this stuff that's gone on, the name Reed Richards is known throughout the cosmos.
And here the Hank Pym Skrull says that if they had taken Richards out earlier, this battle would have never happened, but Veranke replies that the invasion wouldn't have even got this far if it weren't for Reed Richards. They didn't have the technology to do this themselves. As we showed in previous issues of “New Avengers,” they went to a number of lengths to get information for their war, including poking around inside Reed Richards's brain.
The other thing I like about Veranke is that when faced with such strife, many religious people get super religious. And here she is almost loving the fact that her faith is being tested.
The Wasp makes for the Skrull agent impersonating her ex-husband, Hank Pym, and the shape shifter fells her by growing to giant size.
Even though the Thunderbolts and a lot of other heroes are present, there's a lot of Avengers momentum going on. It started with the Avengers and it's ending with the Avengers. The Wasp was a founding member of the team.
And I also wanted to set up early in the battle that there's a relationship between Janet and this one Skrull that we haven't really touched on in any of the books or the tie-ins. There's a real connection here and we wanted to establish it for what happens at the end of this issue
Here you pay homage to the romantic relationship between the new Captain America and the Black Widow.
I'm a fan of it and this is one of those happy moments in the art that wasn't in the script that was written. Lenil kind of gave them both a bit of business here and I rewrote the scene to reflect their relationship for those that are following it in the “Captain America” series.
The Watcher arrives to witness the battle, giving the participants an indication of how important things have become.
When I read “Civil War” and The Watcher showed up, I immediately went, “Oh shit, he should have showed up in ‘House of M.’ That's how you let people know shit is going down.” I forgot about him though because I had done this humor issue of “What If?” called “Wha . . .Huh?” and in there I got away with a joke about The Watcher hanging around outside a girl's bedroom touching himself. He looks at the reader and goes, “I am The Watcher.” And I had thought to myself that I had now done the best Watcher scene ever so I was never going to touch him again even though nobody read the book. So I kind of kept The Watcher out of things. Also I kind of look like The Watcher and I don't want to be accused of putting cameos of myself in there [laughs].
But I made a mental note because of what Mark Millar did in “Civil War.” So I added this Spider-Man joke that I went back and forth on as to whether or not it was too much. I decided if I found the right place for it though it would be a nice moment of levity in the midst of all this bedlam. Than you turn the page and here Lenil sells it with maybe the greatest Watcher drawing ever. Things go from being a little cute to damn serious again in the space of two seconds, which is just a good juxtaposition of mood. So it had to be in the right place and the fight had to be in a fever pitch. We're now in the issue where things could go either way and The Watcher shows up to make you shit your pants a little bit.
And not only do you get The Watcher but we get to back up the camera and show where we are in the battle and how things look. It's really just bedlam and chaos. So there's really two premises here.
When “Secret Invasion” began, Noh-Varr was known as Marvel Boy, but his talk last issue with the Skrull agent impersonating Captain Marvel and his explosive arrival here suggest that the “boy” part of his code name might not fit any more.
If you just read “Secret Invasion” you got a little hint of it, but I spent an issue of “Mighty Avengers” delving into what's going on in Noh-Varr's head and now here's this huge character shift. This guy came here and the last thing he said in his self-titled miniseries was, “I declare war on the Earth.” And now he's protecting the Earth. So he's grown up pretty fast and in a sense he takes up the mantle of Captain Marvel. He replaces Mar-Vell, which isn't what he thought he would be doing.
It's a pretty big character shift and I know some people were scratching their heads about why a whole issue of “Mighty Avengers” was dedicated to Noh-Varr and the Marvel Skrull, but the paths that lead there were pretty dramatic for those characters. And not to spoil anything, but Noh-Varr is going to be a big part of the post-Secret Invasion landscape. He's going to end up on an Avengers team but I won't say which one.”
In this double-page spread, Noh-Varr's arrival rallies Earth's defenders, and a husband and wife reunite as Jessica Jones covers Luke Cage's back
This is a long time coming and it's one of the moments I wish I had more time for. I think they couldn't be more cute here. They had all but broken up and here Jessica is doing the last thing Luke thinks she would do. Then all of the sudden he's saying he's having the best day and it's really been a pretty bad one.
You remember how like an issue-and-a-half ago he had to watch the Jessica Jones skrull get mauled by Zabu? Well, it's all been part of the same day. He had a pretty shitty day and all of a sudden his wife is back and he's got his second wind.
The Wasp falls from the sky and a flashback reveals she's the victim of a treachery carried out a while back.
When Hank gave Janet that growth serum, we did not know he was a Skrull. Tom Brevoort and I knew, but no one else did. And now we see that simple act of kindness was really the most devastating thing in the world. Poor Jan has been set up and turned into some kind of suicide machine, a doomsday chemical or genetic attack. And it looks like what she's been turned into is affecting everybody
The issue ends with The Wasp standing, revealed as a living weapon of mass destruction and an ominous statement about the Skrull invaders’ beliefs from the Skrull agent impersonating the Avengers butler, Jarvis.
He's saying that they just don't have what it takes to win this. There's a feeling about things like the wars in the Middle East that we as Americans can't understand the passion, drive, and logic that sets these battles in motion. There's a different mindset going on there and I think there's some of that in a battle like this. Not to get too heady, but when you're fighting someone in a battle like this, you just can't understand where they are coming from because you don't have the ability to.
BENDIS'S FINAL THOUGHTS ON “SECRET INVASION” #7
I've praised Lenil Yu up, down and all around, but you have no idea how much drawing this is. It's an immense amount of drawing and there are no shortcuts. Anything I asked for was there. I specifically said in the script, “Fill it. You can't overdo it. This has got to look like one of the biggest battles in Marvel history.” And he did it with a smile and got it done on time.
And I saw Mark Morales, our inker, when I was in Baltimore. He was putting the finishing touches on the opening double-page spread and I got to see it up close and really examine it. It's as close to perfectly inked as anything I've ever seen. You guys can't really appreciate it because it's been shrunk down and colored but in the blown up black and white version there's not a line that's wrong. Because of the nature of how these things print you may not be able to appreciate what Mark's done here, so I just want to take a moment to publicly applaud him and Lenil.
Those of you who are fans or trying to figure out how to make your own comic, you should really examine what they've done here because they've done something special. The craft level is gigantic. That's really all I've been thinking about since we put the book to bed, just how grateful and immensely impressed I am. I told Mark, “You're a homerun guy. Anytime, anywhere.” I love working with an art team whose sole concern is just making the project as great as possible.
BENDIS LOOKS AHEAD TO “SECRET INVASION” #8
It's a whopper. We don't want to ship before some tie-ins but I do believe we're good for being on time, which I'm really, really happy about. That would make us the first event from either company that shipped on time. So that's great.
We've got big reveals and a shocking last page. The last page is what sets up this “Dark Reign” thing that people are hearing so much about. This invasion will have winners and losers and you'll find them out very clearly. And you'll get answers about what happened to the people who were replaced by Skrulls. All will be revealed.
After “Secret Invasion” #8, the next thing will be the “Secret Invasion: Dark Reign Special.” The day after “Secret Invasion” #8 ships, Marvel is going to put out online and in stores a mini “Previews” catalog with all the solicitation copy that's been censored until now. This will include the solicitation copy for the “Dark Reign Special,” “Dark Avengers,” “New Avengers,” and Dan Slott's “Mighty Avengers.” There is going to be a lot of information flooding in and once you see those last few pages of “Secret Invasion” #8 you'll see why we couldn't solicit those books until that issue shipped.”