Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Pencils: Lenil Francis Yu
Inks: Mark Morales
Colors: Laura Martin
From: Marvel Comics
Reviewed by: Richard Renteria
As tensions continue to increase between the heroes of the Marvel Universe Brian Bendis resumes telling his story of the Skrull’s invasion of Earth. Not beating around the bush Bendis utilizes a straightforward, to the point manner by picking up immediately from the events of issue three and moving quickly through a very finite moment in the Marvel Universe. Meanwhile, Yu’s art continues to improve issue to issue.
Bendis’ writing skills really shine in the first half of the story as he utilizes Princess Veranke’s verbal attempt to convince Tony that he is in fact a Skrull stuck in human form as a framing device to juxtapose the human resistance to the Skrull invasion with the inevitability of the invasion already over and just the clean-up taking place as heroes are basically captured or killed. Throughout the first half of the book, Bendis checks in on some of our key players, yet never really moves the story forward in any significant amount of time which adds to the overall atmosphere of mistrust that permeates the series as no one has time to catch their breath, let alone discern friend from foe. This lack of trust is perfectly captured by Bendis as a hero makes a hard decision that affects the life of a key player in the Secret Invasion storyline.
By placing the ongoing public invasion in such a small time frame, Bendis is able to pace action sequences between scenes of utter chaos as the populace continues to react to the mass invasion while the heroes around them try to coordinate an effective counter assault. As a matter of fact, as far as I can determine the first four issues of Secret Invasion seem to take place over a span of mere hours which leads me to wonder about the future of the Marvel Universe, specifically, with only four issues remaining how do you effectively repel an invasion; especially one that has already happened? The story that Bendis is telling has the potential for huge ramifications and really manages to engross the reader page by page.
Lest we forget that this is a visual medium, Lenil Francis Yu’s pencils continue to improve with every issue as his storytelling skills make some improvements with this issue. There are still some awkward panel layouts to be found, most notably in crowd or group scenes, but the overall work if effective and compelling. Yu’s art is able to expertly capture a wide rage of emotions, especially notable being a sequence with a fallen hero and the horror that he is able to capture in the eyes of said hero, as they come to a grim realization.
Assisting on inks is the talented Mark Morales who continues to maintain a consistent feel to Yu’s energetic lines without allowing the art to overwhelm the page. On colors Laura Martin continues to bring a natural feel to the series by employing a neutral color scheme which nicely maintains a superhero feel while emphasizing shades of primary colors as opposed to an all out four-color visual assault.
It is nice to see a major event taking place in the Marvel Universe where the A-list heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe are not the main focus of the story while also letting a lot of lesser known characters shine. It’s especially nice to see Agent Brand of SWORD utilized by Bendis, as she is a character with a lot of potential and I for one am looking forward to seeing her story play out. Overall another solid effort from Bendis, Yu, Morales and Martin as Secret Invasion reaches its halfway point by increasing the tension and giving a glimpse of hope.