Itâs getting hard not to sound like a broken record when appraising recent Avengers issues, whether talking about âNewâ or âMighty.â Once again, we only get cursory appearances by the âAvengersâ cast, and once again itâs an âUntold Tales of Secret Invasionâ flashback designed to answer continuity questions. In the past, this approach has left the series delivering the kind of revelations that should be included somewhere in the crossoverâs focal miniseries, but this time it feels a little more like an attempt to plug continuity leaks and explain exactly how the infiltrating Skrulls couldâve made it through âHouse of Mâ unrevealed.
Itâs not a particularly satisfying explanation, and for all the hints at some deeper Skrull involvement in the events of House of M, it turns out they were largely as surprised as everyone else by what went on. It seems that it was all a happy coincidence that M-Day occurred just at the point where the Skrulls were looking to wipe out mutants in preparation for the big invasion push.
Whatâs worse is that the material âSpider-Womanâ had in the original âHouse of Mâ mini doesnât remotely support the suggestion that she was the Skrull Queen back then. While some of Bendisâ âThey were a Skrull all along!â claims make sense, this one feels like itâs been really been hammered to fit into continuity, and no attempt is made to address incongruous scenes from the event as it was written -- instead, theyâre glossed over entirely.
Now, since itâs Bendis, itâs not a complete train wreck, and he does squeeze some decent character moments out of the situation. Seeing Veranke blind-sided by events and briefly reverting to her Skrull form (in private) is a rare moment of vulnerability for a previously unflinching character, as is her emotional reaction to discovering the events of the Annihilation crossover.
The issueâs real savior, though, is Jimmy Cheung, who canât seem to put a foot wrong. His widescreen style and ability to pack in characters makes him a perfect fit for a universe-spanning book like âNew Avengersâ. The only shame is that he canât draw more issues, because under his artistic direction, even a weakly-plotted issue like this seems perfectly executed. Even so, of all the various âSecret Invasionâ tie-ins that have turned up in âNewâ and âMighty Avengers,â this does appear to be the least essential of the bunch.