The Secret Invasion continues. This issue is concerned with the group dynamic of the renegade Avengers that we met when they faced off against The Hand. Trust is nowhere to be found what with the possibility one of them could be a Skrull infiltrator. I really dug how Bendis went about sowing the mistrust among the team while still keeping them clinging to the hope that the people they’d treated like family were just that, family.
The best part of this issue was Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. It reminded me of my wife and I when she blurts out something that I may be thinking but am not talking openly about. Luke Cage suspects his wife and daughter are Skrulls. He has nothing to base this on but pure paranoia. She calls him out on his shit in front of everyone and with the assistance of Doctor Strange, proves that she and their daughter are who they say they are.
Bendis did a wonderful job with the ending, kind of tying it up with the previous issue in the Secret Invasion that I reviewed where Tony Stark’s version of The Avengers went off to fight a city full of Venom clones. In what could be the unifying factor of the two teams since the superhero Civil War, they both arrive to begin battle. Just as they arrive, a cliff hanger occurs when Echo is attacked with some of the Venom formula.
The art was reminiscent at least to me of Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns. On face value it appears to be hastily put together but in doing so at times it brings out characterization that may not have happened with a more cleaner approach.
I also liked that there felt like there was more scope to the drawing in this issue. Things felt bigger even when we were in an interior location. My previous complaints of scope we more than resolved in this issue.
The opening scenes did not make much sense in regards to the story line at hand. Yes, if I had looked back an issue I could have found out what The Hood was doing fighting Wolverine but being that this particular issue was third in line in the suggested reading order for the Secret Invasion story line, I expected a little more follow up but that particular part of the story was not followed up on. Maybe it’s because I am coming to this with a more traditional sense of story in terms of stories having a definitive beginning, middle, and end. Comics are traditionally more snapshots into the life of particular characters and like life, you don’t always have the definitive starting point to follow. Being that this is the suggested reading order however, I do wish more consideration was taken into account for readers like myself who don’t subscribe to every single issue of every comic they put out. If you are going to have a story that is told over multiple issues and multiple titles of comics, it has to be a little more cohesive than this story is. And we’re only on issue three.
While the art was good in a lot of respects, it was a little too sloppy for my tastes. This is just personal preference here but the art was a bit of an annoyance more than it helped the story. As I stated, I liked that it added more scope as well as adding more to certain moments when it came to characterization but I found myself more than anything just wanting to get through the issue. It just looked ugly.
As an individual issue, this really didn’t do much for me. It had some really good moments no doubt, especially between Luke Cage and Jessica Jones but that was the wheat among a LOT of chaff. In a long form story, not every chapter will be a winner. You can’t have moments that contain tons of action of tons of reveals, just meat to the story that people crave. Sometimes you need exposition to set you up for greater things down the road. I do believe this issue did that in terms of hinting at a possible reconciliation among the two Avengers teams but as a stand alone work, I have to give this a 4.
The art I’m conflicted on. What was done well was done really well. But the overall darkness and sloppiness is just something that I couldn’t overcome the further I got into the story. I’m not saying that Leinil Yu is a bad artist. I just didn’t care for the material as presented in this work. It felt like an amateur trying their best to copy Frank Miller. There can only be one Frank Miller and it’s not this person. I give the art a 5.