I have been highly critical of Marvel with Secret Invasion as it is the biggest cross-over that I have seen in a long time. I do not have historical records, but almost 100 other comics are tied-into this cluster thing. All this does is force retailers to spend their budget on more and more Marvel books and dilutes the chance for other books to even be ordered by the retailers. This is one of the biggest flaws in the direct market that instead of now saving the industry is making it harder for the industry to really grow.
The actual mini-series itself has also been much like Civil War so far, with a few bold strokes occurring within the mini-series itself, but leaving much of the story to be told in cross-over books or spin-off mini-series. I almost wish I knew someone just reading the mini-series to see how it holds up as a story on its own. Still I have thought that it is okay so far, but have enjoyed the New and Mighty Avengers series quite a bit as they have been filling in the back story of what has been going on unbeknownst to us. All of which leads me to the point of this post and that is why Secret Invasion could have been one of the best ideas ever in comics if they had done it right.
Bendis concept is a brilliant one that takes the concept of the Skrulls and uses it to maximum advantage. The major change I would have made to the story was to have let us be in on it since they first came up with the idea.
In my opinion if the readers had been let in on what was going on since day one we would have been in the background rooting for our heroes to figure out what was wrong all along. From a reader perspective how much more fun would have been to know that Hank Pym had been replaced a year ago in continuity. Every time you saw him you would wonder what he was up to and would he slip up and be caught.
The tension and build up would have been unbelievable. When a character acted out a little oddly, we would know why and the other heroes would be left to wonder. We would have seen the Skrull plans laid out for us. This could have been such a dramatic tension builder for the reader as we can see what is coming, but our heroes can’t see it. It would be like the classic horror film shot where you see the slasher silently walking up behind the oblivious co-ed.
Instead of the entire back story being revealed in the New and Might Avengers we could have seen the threads of this spread throughout all of the Avenger related titles and made the Marvel Universe have a little more cohesion. The Secret Invasion could have never been a mini-series just an underlying thread interwoven in all of the Marvel books. It would not matter that the readers know what was going on; we would know the heroes don’t know.
When the New Avengers try to find out if any of them is a skrull we would have already known and wonder if they will of will not find out. That would not preclude an unrevealed agent not being told to the readers, but would have allowed us to be invested in the story and been in on it like the writers.
In my view this would have made it feel “right” as opposed to my wandering now if some of this is just retro-conning the facts to fit what they want the story to be. Then when the full impact comes to play the mini-series could have been could the Invasion of Earth or the Skrull Take-Over or some other such thing, because let’s face it this is not a “secret” invasion by any means at this point.
I guess that it would be nice if a writer had enough confidence in his story to let us as readers see what the plans are and just keep the hero in the dark. That way the ending can seem more logical as opposed to pulling the proverbial rabbit out of a hat.