Aaah, lazy Saturday, reading my Secret Invasion… Before Having Read the Comic:
I really enjoyed reactions to issue #1 around the internet. My favorite criticism is from a Mr. Stahl at Newsarama which pointed out that Skrulls revert back into Skrulls when they die: “Detecting impersonators is trivial: Take a live tissue sample from a suspect, and see if it reverts, immediately upon being removed from the body or after the cells in the sample die. There’s no plausible way for a Skrull to retain control over the sample, especially after cell death.” I’m not being mean—I think that’s a great reaction. It’s a completely valid, logical solution to the logistical problems that extraterrestrial Skrulls would face in mounting an invasion of the planet Earth from their outer space hives.
My only way of arguing it is a cop-out: I don’t care about logic—I just want to see 2008 Luke Cage fight 1978 Luke Cage, and logic be damned. Logic be damned! Which… that’s how we ended up in the Iraq War, if you think about it. Which I haven’t.
I really enjoyed the reactions, but... I think a lot of times people complain about big crossovers—and with good reason. Very good reason. But I think what gets lost in all of that is… you know, a lot of people like these things. They’re not all bad people. So: what are they getting out of them?
I’m reading my first China Mieville book right now, Perdido Street Station. Mieville is an avowed Marxist and international law specialist who writes these very odd novels about monsters. I guess he's the cutting-edge guy in fantasy right now-- I don't usually read those kinds of novels anymore so I wouldn't know. I saw a quote of his from an interview the other day:
Well I think part of the problem with the modern 'liberal' novel is that it often tends not to conceive of the totality of social life: instead it abstracts one element (stereotypically the middle-class family), and universalises it. By contrast, fantastic fiction that 'world-creates' creates a world - a totality. So whether or not it explicitly spells it out, there's a sense that an economic problem conceived of as background and the romantic plot foregrounded are part of the _same universe_. Maybe there’s an analogy we can draw to the big crossover. A specific series can only cover so much geography—an issue of The Fantastic Four can talk about family, an issue of Captain America can talk about patriotism. But the daily lives of readers are rarely just one thing—life can often be a series of collisions between disparate elements, between balancing family and work, social responsibility and private needs, etc. People eat dinner with their families, then turn on TV and hear about crazy shit happening on the other side of the world. Everything collides together. Everything’s colliding faster and faster—try and follow the news anymore. One day, the Bush Administration’s corrupt, the next day they’re incompetent, the day after that, they’re back to corrupt—who can keep up? The same machine you’re reading this on, brings you pornography and music, you know? The pornography is sometimes about innocent schoolgirls who get caught cheating on their college geography exams, and have to pleasure their way out of trouble. Sometimes there are moustaches involved; sometimes there aren’t. Sometimes the performances stops in the middle for the two lovers to kick open a piñata, and inside of the piñata are sex toys, and then the porn stars resume their lovemaking on top of the lust-piñata. Sometimes a young pistelero arrives upon the scenes and says “Madre de Dios! You have destroyed my lust-piñata with your naughtiness. I shall teach you both a lesson.” And then he does, sexually, and it’s horrible, and you want to look away, and you want someday to forget what you see, forget what happens next. But it’s border justice, and you learn to live with that.
Usually there are tattoos.
I think a big crossover can speak to that sense that beyond our own limited human stories or what have you, we’re part of a larger social organism, in a way that I don’t know of or can think of any other mainstream comic that can. So: maybe that’s something…? After Having Read Issue #2:
Not much "happens" this issue, so I don’t have much to say about any of it. This issue’s mostly just follow-through on the events of the first issue-- fight scene, cliffhanger, and done. I thought it was nicely balanced between the big fight scenes, and bringing key events down to a level of how specific characters react to the situation. I've read a number of crossovers which have failed dramatically at the latter.
Mostly, I suppose I liked this issue because there were three double-page splash pages of things going nuts. The hero of the issue to me is inker Mark Morales: having seen Leinil Yu without him, I have to say I’m happy he’s around. I liked each of the double-page splashes so I liked the issue. People who don't enjoy that sort of thing probably enjoyed the issue less, I'd guess.
Unfortunately, the issue hints that maybe the Sentry will figure prominently in this series. I don't think that's a very interesting character, so I'd rather he didn't.
The only part that jumps out at me as being especially interesting is the “cliffhanger” involving Captain America. Basically, a new Captain America pops out and the issue suggests New Cap is real and Old Cap was a Skrull for the last ___ years. I think that's something, but not because anyone is going to believe the cliffhanger for a second and believe that Old Cap could have been a Skrull. Readers have seen his dead body, seen his funeral, etc. Having him be a Skrull would be a horrible take-away on readers, and would badly derail the work done on the regular series. I think it'd very obviously be a huge, huge mistake.
But I still think it’s an interesting cliffhanger because it poses the question that… the Old Cap managed to rally half the characters behind him in Marvel’s Civil War; what kind of damage is the fake New Cap capable of? I think that’s a fun, solid question to end an issue on.