Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Secret Invasion and Tie-Ins

In the past I haven’t been a big fan of the big company event books. It’s not that I’m one of those people who automatically hates them, I’ve just wary of having to buy a bunch of titles I wouldn’t normally buy just to get the complete story. If I don’t like the character, the writing or the artwork, I’m not going to buy the title, and slapping an event logo on it isn’t going to change that. That being said, I’m glad Marvel’s done little minis for the events. I first noticed it with House of M, there was the minis for Spiderman, Avengers, X-Men and a couple of others. I really liked being able to jump on board with any of them and not have to wade through a ton on continuity to try to figure out what was going on. I think this change is good and I’m sure it’s a boost to trade sales, because instead of just putting out one trade, there’s one for each of the tie-ins.

Another thing I haven’t liked about the events is tardiness. If you want to put out something, make sure it’s on time for fuck’s sake. The longer I have to wait to get the next part of a story the less I’m going to remember and the less interested I’m going to be in it. Sure I can dig out the old issues and get caught up, but then it loses the tension and anticipation of what comes next. And in an industry that built on the ideal of “until next time dear reader,” it’s irritating. I think Civil War really suffered because of tardiness, and that’s a shame since I really liked that series. Luckily, Secret War didn’t have as much of a tardiness problem, thought there was a little bit.

Over all, Secret Invasion was pretty damn good. With the things that went down in Civil War, there was bound to be a shit storm to deal with. I figured it would be more heroes versus heroes, but when I was reading buildup stories in New Avengers and Mighty Avengers, there was definitely the hint that there was something going on in the background. I liked seeing the heroes get their asses beat for a while and you didn’t know if they would be able to pull off a victory. They had been so beaten down by each other and to have people show up that you thought were dead had to be not only a physical blow to many, but had to fuck some people up mentally pretty bad.

There were a lot of times when I had no idea who was a Skrull and who wasn’t and that was really refreshing. I especially like how some of the Skrulls completely take on the characteristics of the heroes they were made to replace and side with humanity. Bendis seemed to pull from his past crime/suspense experience which fit perfectly here.

I’m not completely in love with the series though. As much I like Bendis’s writing, it does seem a little shitty to basically tell past writers that hey, you know those characters you were writing about, yeah that was a Skrull. I’m not sure if it’s a conscience thing or just a means to get to what he wants to write, but it irritates me a bit. I still have a hard time getting use to Yu’s art. There’s way to much excess outlining of the characters causing it to look too busy and making fighting scenes distracting as fuck.

As far as the tie-in series, I’ve only been reading Frontline, Thor and X-Men. Of those, I have to say I love Frontline. It’s great to get to see how things affect normal people in the Marvel U. Brian Reed has come a long way from his start at co-writing the Ultimate Spiderman video game. He handles Ben Urich well and seems like a natural fit. Ben is a great character and having him as the voice of something like this is logical. At the end of the mini, we see him take Osborn to task when it was obvious no one else was going to. I’m betting we’ll see more of Ben in Dark Reign. The art by Marco Castello really made the series. The gritty, non-polished, simple lines looked great for the normal people and made it easier to empathize with them. And unlike with Yu, simple lines for fight scenes are essential.

The X-Men tie-in is defiantly going to have ramifications for the X-Universe. Since the events of House of M and recently Divided We Stand, we’ve seen more of a hard-line response to threats to mutants. For the longest time, I’ve wanted to see something like this. I knew that with Professor X in the picture, this wasn’t going to happen, but when you’re hated for being different and the government has even thought about passing legislation about you, stop standing there and taking shit. As soon as there was talk of the Skrulls having constantly changing genetics, I figured there was the possibility of the Legacy Virus coming into play. We’ll see how mutants and non-mutants will react to the use of this biological weapon.

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