Not a well-kept secret, I know...
I am honestly, no-joke, no-irony, without hesitation, over-the-top excited to read SECRET INVASION #1, the kick-off of the big summer mega-uber-crossover from Marvel Comics which is sitting on the couch next to me.
This whole megacrossover mania is bad. They're typically unfriendly to new readers, wear down the existing audience, hurt smaller books, tend to be shallow short-term cynical cash-grabs, etc. Awful, horrendous things that no one should look forward to. But I've been looking forward to this one, anyway. Looking forward to it!
I really wanted to run into the comic shop and throw confetti from a bucket, like Rip Taylor. Run around with sparklers, barbecue hot dogs, have a sing-a-long of America the Beautiful. Only not in a sad way like that time when Congress sang it after 9/11, but like in a happy Ray Charles way. But not like in a "oh, wow, he's happy even though he's blind, what am I so fucking neurotic about" way... goddamn, America the Beautiful's kind of a downer any which way you cut that son bitch.
I think a lot of people have rejected the premise on a one-word basis: "Skrulls? NO! YOU SUCK."
But this one-- look, if they're going to make crossovers, if they're going to have Creator Summits where they put all their brainpower behind one series, and spend some budget putting together this "event"-- if this is the game now, then I want to read the biggest, dumbest, loudest, stupidest, crassest, fan-angering, everybody punch everybody, punch-a-bunch crossover there ever was. If I'm a Roman, I want to live in Rome.
Skrulls? It's got a shot at the belt.
I've liked the last two Marvel crossovers because they've had a simple, great formula: inappropriate politics plus insane dumbness = Boner-town, population: me. This one? It's this incredibly loud noisy event where characters are going to die and cry and shmy, all built on the following: trust, identity and religion issues (POST-9/11!) plus little green men invading from outer space (DUMB!).
It's the dumbest they've ever DUMB!-ed and the most POST-9/11 they've ever POST-9/11'd, and if the title with the word "Invasion" doesn't promise some punching, then I don't know what does. Shot at the fucking belt, dude.
Having the bad guys be Skrulls means the focus is squarely on characters the audience cares about already, and asking questions about why those characters work for the audience. That feature is what made Civil War so much fun for me. That's why World War Hulk worked for me, too. That's why most crossovers don't-- because they focus on a bunch of "who cares" and "who gives a shits". Secret Wars 2 was about a white guy with a jeri-curl. DC hinged a massive crossover involving dozens of comics series around Maxwell Lord (!) and an ornery alternate universe version of Superboy... who the hell cares about Superboy and where do I buy them a comically large lollipop?
Or- or-- here's the nice thing I'll say about crossovers: if part of the entertainment of comics for you is watching crazy crazy c-c-c-crazy fans react to them, then what a delight this will be. Put on your crazy pants and let's dance, Mongo. Make me feel better about my Asperger's with how severe yours is, Mongo! The time is now; the sweatiness is yours!
So: I'm going to put on that one Neutral Milk Hotel album, kick back, relax, and pull the trigger on this thing. I'll check back when I'm done with #1.
*** SPOILERS AFTER THE JUMP
And we're back...
I liked it! It's the Marvel Universe versus Islam. What's not to like about that? And the Marvel Universe doesn't have to go to heaven to know where to find 72 virgins! This is one crossover I'm not going to say "I divorce you" to three times! (I know, I know: it's more complicated than that...).
So, this issue is all about the New Avengers squaring off with the Badly Written Avengers, when WHAM, the little green not-reflective-of-true-Islam boo-boo-makers, or whatever the politically acceptable term is these days-- they do their whole 9/11 thing. That one scene, of everything all ape-shit? Let's just do that for the next, like, 5 or 6 years.
"What are the Cylons blowing up this week in the Marvel Universe?"
"That character Solo. Remember him? He's blowing up real pretty. He's got a pretty mouth on him. Solo gonna do some prayin' for me, boy. And he better pray real good."
It's a nice cliffhanger, though: this is how Keith Giffen was going to end his v4 Legion run originally, right? DC fired him when he tried to pull this off; it's funny what time does. More importantly, I like how they're calling Marvel Boy the "Current Master of the Cube" now. That's what I call it when a guy puts his fist into my ass, and I manage to "solve" Rubik's... well, the rest is pretty personal.
That's the best part of the premise is every time a squirrel or chipmunk or kitchen blender is on panel, you get to sit there and go "Watch out, it's a Skrull, girl! Get out of the house, girl! Oh, you're dead, girl." I wish I could read this comic at the stereotypical movie theater from a bad Def Comedy Jam routine, basically. Because I'm a bigot. Who enjoys getting fisted, apparently...? This review is going well.
Anyways, the issue ends with a Stan Lee interview which... is sort of like when you see that show of Hefner and the three desperate blondes. Hefner doesn't still want to be with these sad women-- he wants to be curled up with a cup of hot milk and a rerun of Becker, like a proper old man.
But still: does this issue mean Newsarama people are going to start debating Radical Islamic Fundamentalism now? Oh mama! Bendis just bought you a pink cadillac, Mongo!!!