Secret Invasion: New Avengers #42 Review

For the most part, Bendis has rocked the Secret Invasion tie-in issues. New Avengers #42 goes all the way back to New Avengers #1 and shows the reader how the Skrulls have influenced Bendis’ Avengers over the past several years. I am confident that this should be a rather gripping read. Let’s go ahead and hit this review for New Avengers #42.

Creative Team
Writer: Brain Michael Bendis
Pencils: Jim Cheung
Inks: John Dell

Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10

Synopsis: We begin with that same tired scene that we have seen over and over again that occurred months ago when Nick Fury tells Spider-Girl to join Hydra and get her powers back and then she can work for Nick and let him know what Hydra is up to.

We shift to a Hydra base where the Hydra doctors are putting Jessica under so they can perform the surgery to giver her the Spider-Woman powers once again. After Jessica is put under, we see the Hydra doctors morph into Skrulls. The Skrull Queen enters the surgery room and stares at Jessica.

We cut to the Skrull Queen going through the ceremony to completely become Spider-Woman.

We shift forward in time to a few weeks later with the Skrull spies meeting. They decide to orchestrate their plans for taking over Earth. The three targets include the vibranium mines, which can give the humans weapons to defeat the Skrulls, the mutant population, which is simply to large for the Skrulls to battle, and the super-powered community.

The Skrulls decides to create what will appear to be a corrupt faction of SHIELD that will destroy the vibranium mines. This will get Maria Hill in trouble and she will take the fall for whatever the Skrulls are about to do.

The mutant population will be dealt with by the Skrulls finding a way to heat up the hatred that humans have for mutants so that they start fighting each other and killing each other off.

The Skrulls decide this is the same path they need to take with the super-powered human population. That they have to take out the bigger guns one at a time and get the rest of the super humans to fight each other.

The Skrulls decide that they must take out the big guns like Doctor Strange, Doctor Doom, Namor, the Scarlet Witch, Hercules, Reed Richards and Tony Stark. The Skrull Queen says that Tony and Reed are not to be killed. That they are to answer for their crimes on a Skrull world. That is after they watch their planet fall. Then they are punished and then they are killed in the throne city of Galax.

The Skrulls then decide to get Jessica Drew stationed at Ryker’s Island where she can unleash the most madness with the least amount of suspicion. We then cut to the events from the story arc involving the Ryker’s Island jail break. Jessica reports to the Skrulls that the jailbreak was a success in implicating SHIELD as responsible for it and letting loose fifty plus criminals. But, the down side is that the Skrulls just accidentally put the Avengers back together.

We shift to Jessica meeting with Skrully Hank Pym at Hank’s lab. Jessica says that they have another big gun that they need to eliminate: The Sentry. Jessica then tells Hank that the Avengers asked her to join them. Hank is pissed that the New Avengers did not call him to join. Hank shouts that he was a founding member and that they always treated him like crap.

Skrully Hank then tells Jessica that she has to join the Avengers. That Jessica will be living in Tony Stark’s house and this might let them crack Tony’s tech. We shift to Jessica meeting with Madame Hydra. Jessica states that she will spy on the Avengers for Hydra but that Madame Hydra will have to pay her for her services.

We cut to Spider-Woman in her costume officially joining the new Avengers. The Avengers are telling old stories about Scarlet Witch. Spider-Woman asks where Scarlet Witch currently is located. Tony answers that Scarlet Witch had a nervous breakdown and that she is now with her family.

We slide to the SHIELD Helicarrier with Spider-Woman meeting with Maria Hill. Maria Hill lets it known that she does not trust Spider-Woman because she used to be a member of Hydra. Spider-Woman then tells Maria Hill that everyone hates Maria and that no one trusts Maria.

We shift to Spider-Woman on the deck of the Helicarrier. Skrully Yellowjacket radios Spider-Woman and tells her that they are all at Avengers Tower and that the X-Men are here and they are going to Genosha to confront the Scarlet Witch. Skrully Yellowjacket says that Scarlet Witch is out of control again.

Spider-Woman tells Yellowjacket to kill Scarlet Witch. Spider-Woman says that Scarlet Witch has killed Pym’s friends and that he can fake snapping and he can kill Scarlet Witch. After Yellowjacket kills Scarlet Witch then the Skrulls will switch him out.

We shift to hours later in Genosha with Spider-Woman standing there as everything turns white and the events of House of M begin. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: New Avengers #42 was a solid read. Bendis delivers up another pleasant Secret Invasion tie-in issue. I am really enjoying seeing what the Skrulls have been up to during all the events since the Avengers Disassembled story arc. Bendis cranks out a slower paced issue. But, that was fine with me since I wanted a good sense of what Skrully Spider-Woman has been up to over the past several years.

New Avengers #42 was nicely plotted. It is quite enjoyable to see how Bendis seamlessly integrates the Skrulls’ infiltration of the New Avengers into the past story arcs on this title. Bendis continues to impress me with his logical and focused approach of revealing how the Skrulls have been positioning themselves for the past several years in order to launch the Secret Invasion.

What was particularly well done was that Bendis managed to make New Avengers #42 as new reader friendly as possible. Bendis does a nice job of integrating enough back-story into this issue so that even readers who have not been reading New Avengers since the Avengers Disassembled story arc will understand what is going on in this issue.

Bendis serves up some serviceable dialogue. It was not anything special, but it got the job done. There was not much character work in this issue. Still, Bendis did a good job showing how once the Skrulls assume a human form that they end up truly indentifying themselves with the human they are impersonating.

This was nicely shown when Skrully Hank Pym is noticeably irritated that he was not invited to join the New Avengers while Spider-Woman does. Seeing Skrully Hank Pym spit that Hank never got any respect considering that he was an original Avengers shows that these Skrulls truly become the humans that they impersonate.

I dig how Jessica was switched out with the Skrull Queen. Bendis did it in a seamless fashion that made sense. Having Jessica swapped out during her surgery by Hydra allows this Skrull swap to fit perfectly into the back-story on this title.

I like how Bendis revealed the Skrull’s three prong attack once they started infiltrating Earth. It was a logical and well calculated attack. First, they have to eliminate the vibranium mines so that the humans cannot make weapons from vibranium that the Skrulls cannot counter. Second, the Skrulls must reduce the mutant population. Third, the Skrulls must get the human super-heroes to fight each other in order to reduce the numbers.

Bendis unveils a logical and well-calculated three prong attack by the Skrulls that meshes perfectly with the past events on New Avengers. I like how Bendis shows that the Skrulls have been manipulating events to further their own agenda. I dig that the Skrulls do not actively cause everything bad to happen, but they certainly take advantage of various events in order to massage them in the direction that they want them to go.

My favorite scene in this issue was when Spider-Woman reports back about how the jailbreak that she caused at Ryker’s Island was a success in that fifty plus villains are now on the loose. But, and there always is a “but”, Jessica then sheepishly states that she thinks that they just accidentally caused the Avengers to get back together. That was a pretty funny scene. Plus, since the Skrulls for the most part were so incredibly successful with all of their plans leading up to Secret Invasion, it was realistic that at least one of their plans would backfire on them.

I have to say that it appears that the Skrulls hate and despise Tony Stark more than any other human. I love that every time Tony’s name is mentioned that there are multiple curse words preceding Tony’s name. I also love that the two humans that the Skrulls consider to be the most dangerous are Tony Stark and Reed Richards. Tony has no metahuman powers and Reed has metahuman powers that most people would consider more of a joke than a threat. This is a cool way to show that overt power does not necessarily make a person the most dangerous threat.

The Bad: New Avengers #42 suffers from the usual defects that most Bendis titles possess. And that is that the story has a bit of fluff designed to stretch this story over the entire issue. New Avengers #42 had a couple of scenes that I found to be nothing more than time wasters. I could have done without the scene involving Jessica and Madame Hydra and the scene with Jessica and Maria Hill. I also do not think that we needed four pages for Skrull Queen to transform into Jessica.

I have to say that I am totally over the Skrull covers. I am beginning to hate them more than the played out and completely tired zombie covers.

Overall: New Avengers #42 was another good Secret Invasion tie-in issues. Bendis continues to do an impressive job seamlessly meshing the Secret Invasion back-story into the Marvel universe history. I still find the Secret Invasion tie-in issues to be more enjoyable that Secret Invasion itself.

If you are enjoying the Secret Invasion event then I would strongly recommend that you pick up New Avengers #42. You will get treated to plenty of interesting back-story that helps to flesh out the Secret Invasion event.

7 Comments

  1. I’m starting to get a bit interested in SI just from the bits and pieces I’ve seen of the Skrull Queen…it’s been quite a while since Marvel had a supervillain that was this intriguing!

    …other than Tony Stark. Skrulls aren’t the only ones that preceed naming that guy with invectives. ^_^

  2. The reveal that Spider-Woman has been a fake the whole time is eased by making the replacement a major character in her own right; Veranke is shaping up to be a pretty decent villain.

    These flashback stories are generally pretty interesting, although these two Skrull segments often have a sort of disjointed feel; ie, here’s a scene that happened ____, then one that happened ____, where the link is basically just showing the progress of the invasion plans, rather than a more compelling narrative thread.

    I’m always game for some Jim Cheung art; one of my top five artists. He’s back for one more (the third part of this Skrull Queen story) in September, detailing what she and the other Skrulls did in “House of M”.

  3. You’re not dealing with problems with the basic premise(s) of the storyline.

    NA #40 concerned itself largely with establishing why the Skrulls were supposedly undetectable, and although Bendis’s dialogue dealing with DNA and biochemistry was full of gobbledygook and incoherent, he did have the Skrulls say that the impersonations had to be maintained in their entirety, that the agents had to be humans mentally and physically, or they would risk being discovered. That issue might be applied to the Skrull versions of Black Bolt and Mar-Vell, but otherwise, the Skrull agents, as written by Bendis, have been making no efforts to avoid discovery at all. They “think” as Skrulls most or all of the time; in NA #42, they changed back to Skrull form–they might as well have been shouting “Come and get us!” The notion that they’re “undetectable” by any means is sheer nonsense; in spite of the frequency with which Marvel writers and reviewers have repeated the canard. Hell, eavesdroppers could identify them.

    Then there’s Bendis’s revisionism. From a conceptual standpoint, it makes little difference whether Bendis was having corporate interests and politicians corrupt S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA, or Skrulls disguised as corporate officers and politicians; the results would be the same: manipulating events for their benefit via the two organizations. However, having the Skrulls impersonate HYDRA and S.H.I.E.L.D. agents, as described in NA #42, makes no sense. They didn’t really hamper how S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA functioned; the two organizations wouldn’t have effectively opposed the invasion force; in the long run, the Raft breakout turned out to be meaningless as far as threats to the public were concerned (note that Bendis dropped the early idea that the prisoners were being stockpiled for future use). Bendis seems unaware that vibranium is available off Earth, and although he had Wakanda mentioned in NA #42, he still had the agents in NA #6 and #41 mining vibranium in the wrong region.

    Generally, it appears that Bendis thought he could just change some people into Skrulls and change how previous issues read, but he can’t. The “corruption of S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA” material, Spider-Woman’s angst over being a triple agent, etc., that ran thru NA #23 is just failed, disorganized conspiracy/corruption material that nothing, no quantity of Skrulls, can save.

    As for the Skrulls’ lack of concern about being detected: a writer could have done the storyline straightforwardly, with the Skrull impersonators being actual sleepers that were awakened just in time to help the invasion force, and readers being concerned with the fates of the missing heroes. Such an approach, though, would have eliminated the tie-in issues–the storyline could have been done entirely within the two AVENGERS titles–so Bendis, Brevoort, et al. seem to have opted for sales over story logic. That’s hardly a surprise.

    SRS

  4. The Skrully goods were in the Initiative this week.

  5. The dialogue concerning taking and destroying vibranium, and creating what “appears to be a corrupt faction of S.H.I.E.L.D.” makes absolutely no sense, within the context of the invasion. The virus disarmed S.H.I.E.L.D., making the presence of traitors irrelevant; any Skrull agents present during “Civil War” acted as humans would have.

    The dialogue reads as if Bendis was struggling to find a reason to make the Skrulls relevant to the NA #1 through #6 material, but couldn’t. NA #42 is apparently the best he could come up with, whereas illegally mining vibranium (the wrong type aside) for use in domestic weapons makes some sense. Note the paucity of references to the Hand or Yelena Belova. Those were items Bendis couldn’t convincingly retcon.

    Liking Spider-Woman is fine, but the reader has to deal with the fact that Bendis is one of the most disorganized writers in Marvel’s history. Structurally, “Secret Invasion” is already a disaster, and NA #42 is one of the reasons why.

    SRS

  6. “I have to say that I am totally over the Skrull covers. I am beginning to hate them more than the played out and completely tired zombie covers.”

    Then get ready for all the Marvel monkeys you can handle!!!!!!!
    http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20208522,00.html

  7. capita_senyera July 1, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    Bendis shows again he doesn’t know anything about Hank Pym. “You snap and kill the Witch”. Pleaase. It was 25 years ago when Yellowjacket had his last crisis (no matter what Millar says). At the House of M moment he and Jan were in a good moment, and he didn’t get mad in that bus crash that was Avengers disassembled. Wanda was a good friend of him, also.

    The most horrible thing about Disassembled was seeing the Avengers leting Magneto get Wanda. The SW said about a dozen times (last during Busiek’s run) that he HATES Mags, and that he is only his biological father. She consideres him a terrorist and a monster. So no way they are “family”.

    No

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