April 3, 2008

Matters of Trust

Secret Invasion # 1 Cover
Originally uploaded by Gordon D
To be honest, I am so tempted to take a page from the Gene Siskel playbook.

When Friday the 13th was released, Siskel decided - in his review - to spoil the movie by revealing the ending. He stated that by doing so, he could discourage people from seeing what he felt was a bad movie. Accordingly, he received a lot of criticism for doing so, but he stood by his decision.

And now, I am tempted to spoil the plot of Marvel's Secret Invasion # 1, which I found a great premise...spoiled by slightly inept plotting, trite dialogue, and a twist that....well, I won't spoil it, but needless to say, it makes me wonder aloud about the quality control at Marvel.

(And, ironically, makes Frank Miller's work on All Star Batman & Robin look professional, polished, and a model of clarity)

Simply put, a recap of the past years' events is put forth: Elektra, killed in action in Japan, is discovered to be a Skrull. Worse, her alien nature was undetectable. In this comic, big events happen. People, for no reason, chant "He Loves You." Things explode. A ship crash lands. Heroes fight in one of those "misunderstandings" that only happen in the Marvel Universe. And...well, it's a mess, really. An incoherent mess that, with a twist that may or may not refer back to this event....well, the best way to describe it is this:

This book, in my opinion, actually makes One More Day look cautious and well planned.

Ironically, I was actually looking forward to this series - a Marvel Universe take on classic who-goes-there stories (like the original basis of John Carpenter's The Thing, or Invasion of the Body Snatchers. Unfortunately, Bendis takes an extremely heavy-handed, almost Michael Bay-esque approach, sacrificing many attempts to weave a coherent story in service of meeting a set of pre-established plot points. Although the art is serviceable, the story doesn't engage - just infuriate.

There is nothing wrong with reviving continuity, or casting new light on old stories; however, there is everything wrong when you do so while insulting a reader's intelligence. I don't mind big event comics, but given both Marvel's (and, to be fair, DC's) tendency towards one-big-event-after-another-with-little-breathing-room publishing...it's getting a little stifling.

I'm going to take the high road and not directly spoil the book - I think I've written enough for people to "read between the lines", and quite frankly, doing so would mean that I respect the book enough to warrant aggressively dissuading people that this book is bad.

And it's not. I will ask that, rather than purchase Secret Invasion # 1, use the money to buy an indie/small print comic. You will thank me for it later. Honest.

Not recommended


Rich said...

Oh Gordon, I don't often disagree with you...but I do on this. I liked this a lot.

Stephen said...

i think it's wrong to judge the entire story on the first issue. i have my trepidations about the story now seeing it executed, but i'll need at least 3 issues before i call it a complete piece of crap.

Gordon D said...

Rich & Stephen - fair enough.

I will give Secret Invasion another chance - after all, it just might be a case of needing to bring readers up to speed before going full-tilt.

(Speaking of which, I'll have to find some other instances where I need to reevaluate my opinion and where I've promised to give some comic/movie another chance. At the very least, it will make a good blog post)

Ian said...

Are there still indie comics coming out in pamphlet form that are on the racks next to Secret Invasion? I see Fantagraphics, D&Q, Top Shelf and most others all moving to graphic novels exclusively. I sympathize with your argument but I don't think this world of sci-fi event series and small press books are really competitors anymore.