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Welcome to the second edition of SPOILERS OF WAR, our in-depth look into the events of Marvel Comics’ hit “Secret Invasion” miniseries by Brian Michael Bendis and Yeinil Francis Yu. If you’re just joining us, be sure to check out the commentary for issue #1.
In this week’s “Secret Invasion” #2, the Savage Land is the scene of Marvel’s own rumble in the jungle as the combined forces of two teams of Avengers go toe-to-toe with what may or may not be an all-star line-up of Marvel’s most classic heroes. Are they Skrulls? If they’re not, then who is? What’s going on? In an effort to help stay on top of all this issue’s twists and turns, CBR News enlisted “Secret Invasion” writer Brian Michael Bendis to walks us through issue #2, page by page.
The issue picks up seconds after “Secret Invasion” #1. Here we have the shocked Avengers teams facing down the occupants of the crashed spaceship who claim they are the genuine Marvel heroes they appear to be.
I actually think a lot about the promise of the cliffhanger [in issue #1]. So I thought, since this was the cliffhanger that everybody was talking about, it was important to get right to it. I didn’t want to fart around or get clever.
I’m not bashing “Battlestar Galactica” but I just caught up on it and I was shocked that they’re completely cheating on their cliffhanger from last season. Starbuck shows up and says, “We found Earth.” Then you have to wait a year and the show comes back and it’s “I kind of know where Earth is.” Aw, come on! I’m not saying the episodes aren’t well written, they’re very well written, or that they’re not going to find Earth but you said, “I found Earth.” You promised and you’ve got to deliver on your promise. So I think about that. There are other examples too but “Galactica” is the freshest in my mind.
Here the Avengers and the ship occupants try to come to terms with what they’re facing.
Every line of dialogue in this scene and the entire issue is very specific. There’s no wasted dialogue. Who’s saying what, the voices of the characters, everything was belabored.
While the Avengers and the ship occupants clash Ms. Marvel flies away and takes Iron Man with her.
She’s the only one who listens to Ares. She gets out of there. I think it’s because of her military experience and the fact that she’s a very accomplished Avenger. So she rises to the occasion. Plus she’s an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is down. She’s got to do something
The Sentry’s confrontation with the Vision is a scene that can be interpreted in a variety of ways.
You can interpret it as actual, and the Sentry is behind this because he’s CRAZY! Or you can view this as the Vision is a Skrull and his job was to make sure the Sentry leaves the fight because the Sentry will win the fight. Or the whole thing is in the Sentry’s head and none of this is happening. He could actually be at the table eating breakfast. Or it’s like “Horton Hears a Who” and we’re all just specks on a dandelion being carried by an elephant -- in Paul Jenkins’s mind.
In this double page spread, the arrival of a Tyrannosaurus Rex disrupts the battle and causes even more chaos.
I know there will be some that argue whether or not the T-Rex is a deus ex machina, but it’s not. That dinosaur was in the last issue. That dinosaur is by every definition of storytelling, part of the story and the scenery. The characters are not at home. They’re in this guy’s home. He affected the storytelling of the first issue and here he is again. And people love dinosaurs! This scatters the characters and creates a different dynamic.
Here we see Tony Stark trying to carry on even though he’s being ravaged by the virus the Skrulls infected him with last issue.
Tony’s very bad off. He’s cut off from Extremis. Physically and mentally the Skrulls have got him. Since Extremis, bio-technology has been this huge plus for the character. But the technology leaves you open to biological warfare. They can infect you with a virus. He put a big target on himself and they got him. They had to take him out.
I do have him say, “I built my first armor from less than this.” And I thought that was a perfect way to harken back to who Tony Stark is. You can take him down but if you’re not going to kill him he’s going to think his way out of this. He’s going to build his way out of this. He’s going to make a new armor.
In this scene, Wolverine confronts Mockingbird -- who he believes is a Skrull because she supposedly died years ago.
This section here is my favorite scene of the book. It’s genuinely interesting and something you don’t see every day. Normally just a coming back from the dead scene would be enough but it’s a coming back from the dead scene in the middle of a complete alien freak out. That’s a lot of fun to write and I think [series artist] Lenil [Yu] handled it amazingly. I’ve been very excited because online people are asking questions like “Who’s Mockingbird?” and “Didn’t we see her dead and in hell?”
I was a fan of the character and a big fan of the relationship between her and Hawkeye. I really liked their energy but [Marvel marketing guru] Jim McCann voiced more clearly what’s cool about Hawkeye and Mockingbird. He said they we’re the “Mr. and Mrs. Smith” of the Marvel Universe. And I was like, “Yeah! That’s exactly it.”
Like many scenes in this issue, this tearful reunion could actually be more than it appears. Ronin claims there’s no way anyone would know about October 12, but a tech savy people like the Skrulls could have used a device to rip that date from the real Mockingbird’s mind and given the information to one of their agents.
That’s very possible. Or October 12 could have been a code phrase given to her to say in front of them. This whole scene between her and Ronin could have been pre-rehearsed. But we will find out what’s going on -- just not today.
The Super Skrulls have arrived and the Invasion begins!
The ground assault has begun. The invasion isn’t so secret anymore. There’s a definite thing going on here. These are genetic Super Skrulls of every shape, size, and power set. The first one we saw was in “New Avengers: Illuminati.” We’ll learn in this series and the ancillary “New Avengers” issues how they came to be and who thought of them. This is a level of warrior that the Skrulls have never had before. It’s the next step from Super Skrull. We all love Super Skrull and this something else but in the same vein. And there are a lot of them.
I gave Lenil just a smattering of direction for him to interpret in this scene and he interpreted it gorgeously. After everything is over I’ll publish the script for this issue because there’s information in there that will give a lot of stuff away. When you see the list of characters I gave him for this scene you’ll laugh. There’s some esoteric shit on there.
I was blown away by the positive response to the first issue. It really was more than I could have hoped for. So thank you. Anyone reading this, thanks so much that was amazing. And as you can see we ain’t done yet. We’ve got a lot of cool stuff coming.
Things are going to open up. Even though we’re in the Savage Land for most of issue #2 we’ve dealt with like twenty different characters. Everyone got a moment and every page unveiled new questions or answers. So even though the setting didn’t change a lot things happened that needed to happen to further the story out. The Savage Land aspects of the story will wrap up and the story and the story grows and grows.
We still have to deal with what’s happening on Thunderbolts Mountain and the Baxter Building. And everyone knows Nick Fury is coming. A lot of stuff is going to unveil itself very quickly. And what happens in issue #3 when the Young Avengers and the Initiative meet the Skrull ground assault ain’t pretty. It was hard to write. The first casualties are coming and they are come pretty fast.
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