SPOILER WARNING: THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS FOR "SECRET INVASION" #8
It's time to embrace change because "Secret Invasion" #8, the final issue of Marvel Comics' hit event storyline, is in stores now, which means it's also time for the final installment of SPOILERS OF WAR, our in-depth analysis of each issue with series writer Brian Michael Bendis. This feature may be coming to an end, but there's no reason to miss out on the fun; our links to parts one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven of our feature will get you caught right up.
In "Secret Invasion" #8, Bendis and his collaborator artist Lenil Yu brought the war between Earth and the Skrulls to an end, and the outcome completely changes the dynamic of the Marvel Universe. What does Bendis have to say about this most hotly anticipated issue?
CBR: Here, the Skrulls' doomsday weapon from last issue is diffused -- but not before it claims the life of Janet Van Dyne a.ka. The Wasp, one of the founding members of the Avengers.
Brian Michael Bendis: There are some people online who think that I hate the Avengers; that I'm ruining the old Avengers to make room for my much slicker and cooler Avengers, and that's absolutely not the case. I can tell you that the Wasp's death is not for nothing. Her death means a lot to the stories that are coming up. It's a very poignant moment, particularly for Hank Pym, Tony Stark and Thor. This is not a valueless death. The immediate ramifications of her death will be felt in "Mighty Avengers" #20. That's the funeral issue, and certain things are laid down there that are pretty dramatic. It's my final issue of "Mighty Avengers."
In this double-page spread, a crashed Skrull spaceship opens its doors to reveal the people the Skrulls replaced in order to carry out their Secret Invasion.
This was the big question. Are they alive or are they dead? They're all alive, but they're all returning to a world they're not going to understand.
Front in center in the group of returnees is Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman, who was replaced by the Skrulls' leader, Queen Veranke.
And she's the beautiful face of all that's wrought. Now she gets to star in her own book and she has no idea why everyone's mad at her. She had no idea that by impersonating her, Queen Veranke made her the face of the Skrull invasion. Even people who know it's her; they can't help it. Janet is gone and she's the face. So it's difficult to wrap your feelings around. Even though you know it's not Veranke, it still certainly does look like her.
Jessica Jones discovered the person she left her baby with was not the Avengers' butler, Jarvis, but rather a Skrull agent impersonating Jarvis. Here, Jessica and her husband Luke Cage make the painful discovery that the Skrull has indeed taken off with their child.
Not every story wraps up happy for everybody. This is a story that started in "New Avengers" and people reading it will hopefully be going back to "New Avengers." So I'd hate for the next issue of "New Avengers" to be like, "Phew! That happened." And the baby was a big part of the issues just before the invasion. So that's something to hook you back into "New Avengers," if you like. If not, then as far as you know they never got the baby back. You can read it and just go, "Oh that poor baby-- the end." [laughs].
Dum Dum Dugan and Contessa Valentina Allegra de Fontaine are hoping for a reunion with their friend Nick Fury, but unfortunately for them, the former S.H.I.E.L.D. Director seems to have other plans.
To me, Nick is a different person. He still doesn't know who to trust. Just because it's over doesn't mean "who can you trust?" is not a tagline that still haunts some people. And here's Nick not trusting his friends. Just because they walked off a spaceship doesn't mean he likes them. So he takes his kids and goes. It's kind of sad. He can't go back to that life.
I think Nick has been psychologically damaged by his time on the run, and you'll see that right away in "Secret Warriors" #1. Writer Jonathan Hickman did an amazing job with the issue. I think it's going to be one of those instances where it's guaranteed that you'll add the book to your pull list if you read the first issue.
Not all of the post-Invasion reunions are bittersweet. Ronin believed his wife Mockingbird had been dead for many years. Here he learns that he was wrong.
Now here we have an interesting couple. Both have been resurrected. They've both been apart and we kind of see that they're the "Mr. and Mrs. Smith" of the Marvel Universe. It's like, now they have to find out if they like each other and if there's a marriage to be had. You'll be seeing that both in "New Avengers" and "New Avengers: The Reunion," which is coming out very soon and will be written by Jim McCann. It will have some good old school style Ronin and Mockingbird adventures.
Here, readers are given hints of what the future holds for the Young Avengers as Hulkling and his teammates chat with a captured Skrull soldier.
They were a big part of the fight and there's a lot of cool Young Avengers stuff coming up that I'm aware of and others aren't. So I was able to see a little bit for what I believe is coming next summer. The Young Avengers are just a tremendous franchise and we're all waiting for Allan Heinberg to come back where he belongs. He's got the high-paying "Grey's Anatomy" gig when he should be making comics. I think when you guys hear about the projects involved with these characters you'll all be very happy.
Tony Stark doesn't look well, but it's not because he's fallen off the wagon, is it?
Tony is not drinking but he's not well. The hint here is that something is wrong with Tony. His brain isn't functioning exactly right. Now remember, Tony took a big biological hit. For most of this event, he was the victim of a Skrull bio hit and they hit him pretty hard. This is the story that will be told in Matt Fraction's amazing "Invincible Iron Man" series.
Tony won't have to suffer through things alone, though, because as this scene shows, former S.H.I.E.L.D. Commander Maria Hill will be right by his side.
That is Maria with Tony. She'll also be part of Matt Fraction's story.
Here we see that Norman Osborn, the new landlord of Avengers Tower, has decided to invite some guests over for a housewarming party: The Hood, Namor, Emma Frost, Dr. Doom and Loki.
This is the money shot! This is the Dark Reign. This is the evil Illuminati or the Illumi-naughty, as Matt Fraction calls them. Each person is there for a specific reason and you'll find out what those are in "Secret Invasion: Dark Reign."
BENDIS'S FINAL THOUGHTS ON SECRET INVASION
Thanks to everybody. It's not written in stone that these things will do well. Plenty of things are marketed that don't make it. So I'm relieved that even in this economy, this thing was of such interest to people. So I thank everyone who bought it, who recommended it, and the great many people who really had fun with this online with guessing games and threads upon threads of who's a Skrull and who's not a Skrull. That was the point of it; to give you as much entertainment value for your dollar as you could possibly get. I'm so happy that you guys had so much fun with it.
I'm also just so proud of Lenil Yu. He really should be applauded. He did so much more than his job. He got things done and gave everything that you can give. Now that you've bought the books go back and look at the fight scenes. These are not commercial choices for storytelling and panel designs. And there's no cheating whatsoever; no big clouds of dust or silhouettes instead of figures. It's all there. I'm already missing him.
And there are so many other people involved with the making of this comic as well. I hate to sound like I'm winning an award here, but go back and look again at the credits of these comics and see who did what because everybody decided, "this is going to be the book of my life and I'm going to make it so." So I want to give them a shout-out.
Then there are other people who worked really hard whose names aren't in the credits. They added bits and pieces here and there, pushed me to work harder than I might have, or just made me think things through better than I would have. Joe Quesada, Dan Buckley, and Tom Brevoort are obviously among these people. But there are also people who surprise you like Frank Cho, who got crazy excited about the idea of the Super Skrulls and was throwing ideas at me left and right, a couple of which I took. I can't remember which ones at this point but I remember going, "Wow. That was really generous." Also Jeph Loeb, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Brian Reed, Dan Slott, and Axel Alonso all participated and added to this just to be a pal. Some of them made me look a lot smarter than I might be so I just wanted to thank them publicly.
BENDIS LOOKS AHEAD TO SECRET INVASION: DARK REIGN
It ain't over yet baby! This is the house that Stan Lee built! Stan always had a next issue. So this is "Secret Invasion: Dark Reign." The best way to describe it is, right before "Civil War" we had this Illuminati special which kind of set up not only "Civil War" but also "World War Hulk." This is kind of a sister book to that, which is why I was so happy that Alex Maleev agreed to draw it because it makes it a nice companion piece to the other book.
This is a different kind of group and a different kind of meeting. "Secret Invasion: Dark Reign" sees their first meeting and it's literally the next panel after "Secret Invasion" #8. You get to see how Norman got this group together, why he got this group together, and what they will be doing. It sets up a lot of ideas that will be happening in a lot of different books not just mine.
CBR wishes to extend a special thanks to Brian Bendis for donating his time to make this feature possible.
"Secret Invasion" #8 on sale now from Marvel Comics.