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Review of New Avengers 45 (3 stars) September 30, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
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Overall rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Well, even if this issue didn’t turn out to be all that important, at least it was pretty entertaining. The story was hyped to seem as though there would be some big reveal involving House of M and the Skrull invasion. While the Skrulls were trying to get things back to normal just as much as “we” were, this finally gave us the perspective of seeing Skrulls at their weakest. Even the mighty Empress Veranke had a breakdown as she woke up to find an already alien world transformed around her. Of course, this scene also showed beyond a shadow of a doubt that Veranke truly did take the place of Spider-Woman. In the back of my head, I suspected that perhaps Jessica Drew was somehow able to stop the switch and act as a “double agent” only pretending to be Veranke. (C’mon, we all know Jessica would be the only person able to pull this off.)

Really the only thing I was left wondering was how the Skrulls were able to sense the change, and didn’t believe everything was continuing as normal. Perhaps their altered “Super-Skrull” DNA somehow protected them? I don’t know.

Aside from seeing Skrulls at their weakest, the best part of this issue was definitely Jim Cheung’s art (well, most of it). His scenery, facial expression, and action were all brilliant. His only real flaw is the actual faces. He can convey emotion rather well, but many characters had similar looking faces, even amongst men and women.

As reality returns to normal, the Skrulls on Earth finally learn of the Annihilation wave, and the destruction it has caused. Having only read parts of Annihilation myself, I don’t know how much of it may have directly affected the invasion, but I do know that countless worlds were destroyed, many of which were controlled by the Skrulls. If anything, I’d like to see Bendis give us an issue showing more of the ramifications of the Wave on the Invasion. Until then, we have next issue to look forward to, which presumably will show how the Hood uses his distinct methods to fight the Invasion.



Review of New Avengers 42 (3.5 stars) June 25, 2008

Posted by lotrking in Comic Book Reviews.
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Overall rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

This issue, while extremely vital to the Secret Invasion storyline, and very informative, could have been better. I can’t really think how though, it just feels as if something was missing. Perhaps it was the lack of any major reveals. Sure, we learned exactly when Jessica Drew was replaced (during her “operation” to regain her powers, which was a Skrull ruse all along) which is something that I’ve been wondering for quite some time. This is followed by some very cool art as Veranke “becomes” Spider-Woman for the first time. We also learn that the Skrulls staged the Raft breakout, in order to ensure the escape of Sauron and the Silver Samurai, though this latter detail could have been very easily guessed once we learned that Secret Invasion tied in with the first New Avengers arc. Indeed, once I learned of the tie-in, I assumed it was a given that the Skrulls hired Electro, and I was right (big surprise).

The unintentional part, of course, was the formation of the New Avengers, which the Skrull’s hadn’t planned on. Still, this seems to help their cause more than hinder it, as it allows the Empress of the Skrull Empire to not only spy on, but be a part of, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. (I’m also assuming that Jarvis was replaced either during or shortly after Civil War so the Avengers Tower could still have a spy. This also accounts for Jarvis and Aunt May developing romantic feelings for each other, though with the OMD/BND retcon, this may no longer have happened.)

The most interesting aspect comes toward the end, as we see the one thing the Skrulls could have never planned for: House of M. The issue ends with the “big white flash” that started it all focused on Veranke/Jessica. I’m intrigued to see how they handle this next issue. After all, in Wanda’s Mutant Utopia, how does a Skrull Invasion fit in? And, if my memory serves me correctly, which it likely may not, wasn’t “Jessica” the one who was skeptical about changing the world back because this might be “how mutants become the dominant species.” (Or was she the one who made the analogy and said “we shouldn’t try to stop the bomb after it has gone off”?) Either way, assuming that Jessica was also a Skrull, why would she want the House of M to stay intact? Surely, Earth would be much harder to conquer if it was full of mutants? Didn’t she say earlier in this issue that the current number of mutants was threatening enough?

While this may not have been the most entertaining Secret Invasion tie-in, the story was still essential, and the storytelling was fairly well done, after all, it was written by Bendis. Besides, next issue looks to be much better, so you have two factors making this a must read. One small complaint on the art: while montage at the beginning looked really cool, did anyone else notice that everyone had the same face? Heck, Jessica and Madame Hydra standing side by side looked like twins. Likewise, Tony Stark and Wolverine looked exactly the same except for their facial hair. Mehh, at least Jim Cheung’s New Avengers art is more pleasing to look at than Leinil Yu’s was.