iFanboy Video Podcast

iFanboy #104 – Secret Invasion

Show Notes

Love it or hate it, but if you are a comic book reader 2008 was all about Marvel Comics’ Secret Invasion.

This week, iFanboy takes a look back at the event that has (supposedly) reshaped the Marvel Universe (again). Did they like it? Did any opinions change upon rereading? What worked? What didn’t? Just how many comic books did you have to buy to follow this story? How many rhetorical questions in a row are too many? (Seven).


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  1. Cool show guys!  I have to go back and re-read the series in one sitting.  Overall I might end up with a far more favorable opinion on the series I think.  Still pissed about the final issue and its structure, I think everyone is, but I’ll eventually get over it.

  2. You guys can say it was ‘disappointing’, but I can say that it was bad.

    You hit the nail on the head on why overall this event didn’t work. The pacing. The pacing was just terrible. You cant just have five issue of them stuck in the Savage Land and then suddenly have them show up in NYC for a 3 issue fight scene. As a matter of fact, this was nothing but fighting then actual storytelling.

    Final Crisis is the better example for how to do an event. I’m sorry, I don’t want to turn this into a ‘Marvel vs. DC rant’, but look at FC! Better pacing, stakes being raised, character that matter actually dying, showing us the villains are actually winning, and having an event that takes place in a matter of weeks and/or months. Not just a single day or a couple of hours.

    The tie-ins for SI, for the most part, had better/interesting storylines then the actual event. Incredible Herc, Nova, Black Panther, Captain Britain, even Deadpool had more interesting ideas for this then Bendis. Bendis kept telling us leading to the event that ‘he planned this out for years, it was something he wanted to do since he joined Marvel’. Well then explain this to me on why you executed such a shotty attempt at your ‘master plan’? Why did you decide to let almost 2/3rd’s of your story take place in the Savage Land? Why did your event only take place in a couple of hours? Why were their no big reveals when you said there would be? Was killing Wasp really one of the huge plotlines you had in mind for SI? Why did we have to read Thunderbolts just so we get an idea why Norman Osborn was considered the head of HAMMMER?

    None of these questions are going to be answered. Cause if any criticisms is made of his work Bendis will just say ‘oh it’s just fans being fans.’ Well no Brian Michael Bendis, it’s not just fans being fans. It’s fans reading a much better event for another company wondering why a man of your caliber couldn’t set the stakes or storylines just as high as Final Crisis. It’s fans wondering why a writer we have always loved writing in a way that makes him look like a newbie? It’s just constructive criticism and we would love to know why all of these flaws made it in your final draft of the script. That’s why we’re pissed off….or maybe just why I am pissed off at this event.

  3. m a little confused. At one point in the show you guys say that the story was stalling and later on you all agree that it was rushed.

    Didn’t read it. Just wondering…

  4. Also, are the shows a little shorter now?

  5. While those senitments seem at odds, they’re not.  The story felt very slow for the first 4-5 parts, and then the last issue went by very fast.

    And the target for most of these shows is 20 minutes.  This one was over 26, so if anything they’re getting longer.

  6. Ok thanks!

  7. My god wears an iFanboy intern t-shirt

  8. I was hoping during the opening when Josh said "He loves you," Ron would yell, "Nooooooo!!!" and run away. 

    I read it all together recently and I still say it’s not good.  It’s not terrible, but it’s not good.  There are some good moments in the Savage Land like Hawkeye picking off Skrulls, but there’s some really bad moments in the Savage Land, too.  Cage stupidly sparking off that trap/fight in the first place is one that specifically comes to mind. The Sentry was another.  There was also a lot of stuff that was meant to keep you guessing that you could see coming a mile away.

    I will say this though, Pym was a good reveal.  For one, you have the effective head of the Initiative, a really powerful position.  He’s also a founding Avenger and a very regular one, too.  Spider-Woman was also a pretty good one, too, I think.  And Dugan’s deputy director so functionally he works very well as well.  Also, King of the Inhumans is a good place, too, though they really never did anything with it.

    And I do remember Wizard asked Marvel in the summer or spring or something who would be on the last page of the last issue.  He said "Namor" so I’m sure he planned Dark Reign to appear at that last issue for a long while. 

  9. after issue 5 bendis was replaced by a skrull?…think about it     but really i was hoping that secret invasion would reveal spidey as a skrull and undo one more day …SIGH

  10. @Tork: But if you dont read the initative or your new to comics; the reveal of Pym doesnt work.

    Seriously, I dont think there were any big reveals here at all. Even the Skrull Queen posing as Spider-Woman was a let down. Why couldnt it have been Luke Cage, or Ms. Marvel, or be bold and make it Tony Stark or a major villain like Doom?




    Lets put this in another way: Grant Morrison just killed Batman in Final Crisis….what big death happen in SI?……The Wasp…….Ooooooo!!! (sarcasm)

  11. What about all of the new readers the series brought in? Secret Invasion got me, a 20 year old who was never really into comics for a consistent period of time, to start visiting my LCS on a weekly basis and to check out other stuff.  Surely I wasn’t the only one. Although, iFanboy is probably the reason I’m still reading comics.

  12. Cman12: You say that this event helped you get into comics more. Now that is wonderful, I will not judge you on getting into comics because of this event. I believe conor said it that ‘every issue is someone’s first’. I’m sure you and a lot of other people were hooked on this and comics in general from issue one. The first issue wasn’t that bad, it was pretty good; it just got worse from each new issue.

    But let’s look at the other perspective, cause there always is another. What of all the new readers who read this as their first comic; and absolutely hated it? DoctorColossus (if you don’t mind me using you as an example) reviewed the overall series (in the trade release) and disliked it cause it confused him. Now that I think about it; events in general aren’t a great start for a newbie. This goes for Final Crisis as well (probably 100x more so with FC) cause there are a ton of plotlines weaving into this event from previous years. Plus there’s so many characters and their motivations are from previous issues as well; so it can be confusing for a noob or casual reader to get into this. If anything, even though I dislike this new landscape, Dark Reign is the perfect spot for new readers. Cause they can get into the Marvel U almost with a fresh start and get right into the new plotlines for the characters.

    So while I totally think new readers could get into this event…..It could certainly their experience in the process if they don’t know what the hell is going on.

  13. You hear that, cman12? Champ will not judge you. Count your blessings.

    The rest of us are screwed.

  14. …..Cant I make one serious criticism or comment without one snippy comment?

    Answer: No.

  15. Dude, just a joke.

    Peace 🙂

  16. Conor is a skrull… he’s too dressed-up trying to blend in

  17. Umm, did anyone notice that the secret invasion trade is $30?  Wow…

  18. @TNC I’ve had that same question lots of times too.

  19. @TNC: Dude, you attract it. Don’t play the victim.

  20. (has holes in shirt and pants; is shown punching himself to get bruises)

    You said something JJ?

  21. Great show, guys. I’ll have to re-read the series, but also throw in the Punisher War Journal, DeadPool, and Iron Man/War Machine tie-ins. I think those helped me enjoy the event by providing a sense that there were a few different ways to perceive its effects. Like most people, I look forward to Dark Reign more than anything else, as it is nearly all the characters I follow in a very interesting place. Iron Man, War Machine, Punisher, and Mighty Avengers (to name a few) are all set for very compelling stories that can either stand alone, or be seen as one large tapestry. Surely this is what Marvel comics are all about, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    Oh, and the new Spider-Woman series has a great potential as well.

  22. @TheNextChampion –  You wouldn’t have that problem if you wouldn’t take yourself so damn seriously and provide us all with book-length complaints in such a manner as to imply that you think what you’re doing is important. Just saying.

  23. *gets knife ready for his kneecap*

    J4K3: I see……Ah it hurts!

  24. What are you even talking about? "knife kneecaps"?

  25. I was pretending to be the victim…..

    Only my jokes work for me.

  26. *looks at the doomsday clock*

    *to himself* just five more minutes…. 

  27. @TNC Yeah I can see it from that perspective. In fact, overall I was disappointed with Secret Invasion. What got me into the shop was all the excitement and hype that everybody was feeling and spreading before issue #1 even came out. When I realized SI wasn’t quite doing it for me I had already been hooked on comics thanks to all the great titles I found after I started going to the shop every week.

    Still, even with it’s dissappointments, Secret Invasion will always hold a special place in my heart because it was my first Mega-Blockbuster Crossover Event.  Could be worse. Sometime years ago somebody’s first event had to be Secret Wars 2.

  28. It needs to be bad because if it is great and you pick up another title it won’t go downhill from there. Also if it was great but the character titles (captain america, ironman etc) after it would have been rubbish you would have dropped them. A bad event is a good business decision.

  29. Not to knock on SI getting you into comics, but I am a firm believer that your first comic always holds a special place in your heart, even if the general opinion is that it sucks.  I got back into comics because of Civil War.  I totally loved the whole thing.  Then I re-read it several times, spread out throught the last year or so, and thats when I was able to point out quite a bit more flaws.  Still, I’ll always remember it and love it in my own special way.  You never forget your first.

    P.S. Just learn to ignore his remarks.

  30. I think, if this were a 10 to 12 issue maxi series, with the flashbacks handled as reveals in the main title, the Avengers books focusing in on specific team members and their reactions to the Invasion (much like the Civil War tie ins), and the tie ins showing the actual invasion start but not end until the Avengers left the Savage Land and brought all the heroes together in a unified front to turn the tide (I know this is what happened, but it was implied, not shown and that’s what made it feel rushed to me) it would have flowed better as a story.

    I agree that it flowed well until they left the SL, and there was a major tempo change for the last 3 issues. It just seamed Bendis had too many balls in the air and had to wrap it up. Perhaps this could have been handled with 1 or 2 fewer splash pages, but I’m not sure it still wouldn’t have felt rushed given BMB’s decompressed style. 

    @ Ron: I agree the Watcher "felt" out of place in the book, but he did have a reason to be there. Uato has always watched humanity and has said that their existence has a huge impact on the rest of the universe. If they lost the battle, the Skrulls would have won and greatly diminished the human’s relevance in the cosmos. Problem was, we never got a sense of that from the way the book was written.

  31. Really good show guys. I agree with Conor, i don’t think it was a bad story just a disappointing one.

  32. Ninja High School #1 was my first comic book. Not that that proves drake’s point. Just saying.

    I do want to read the issues back-toback now just for the comments you guys were making in the vidcast. Though that doesn’t really excuse it from being a disappointing monthly. And I did get enjoyment out of the event as a whole from reading more of the tie-ins. I’ll echo Black Panther, And Capt. Britain, as well as Deadpool. I loved his Skrull recruitment!

    I also thought that the X-Men crossover had a good idea in dealing with the religious overtones of the Skrull Invasion and using Nightcrawler as the bridge to tell that story was dead-on. I just don’t think it worked in its execution. And Cary Nord’s art in that looked really rushed.

    Overall, nice show. I was waiting for the next vidcast and this did not disappoint.

  33. @TNC: "Lets put this in another way: Grant Morrison just killed Batman in Final Crisis….what big death happen in SI?……The Wasp…….Ooooooo!!! (sarcasm)"

    The "problem" is that lots of people complain that Batman’s death was the worst thing to ever happen in the DCU or in any other universe. But if Batman didn’t die then I can imagine some of the same people would complain that "nothing" happened in FC. I think in general the creators behind big projects influence people’s opinions of the storylines more than they think, and if readers don’t like the way a story’s being told, then they’ll react against the storyline no matter what happens in it.

    The aspect that I don’t see people talking about enough in relation to crossovers is how related they are to readers’ willingness/obsession with following a fictional universe. Crossovers are like a referendum on how committed each of us are to the company as a brand we want to tie ourselves to. For example, I read a few Marvel books, but I have no interest in following the Marvel Universe. For people who do consider themselves followers of the universe, though, the company crossover means a lot more to them. Because they feel like they "need" to read it they’re inclined to almost take it personally. I don’t feel any of that. I don’t care to follow the DCU as a whole, either, but I am reading Final Crisis because I like Grant Morrison. And because of that I don’t care what Morrison does to the characters: he can use them or hurt them anyway he wants, and that’s fine with me; whatever makes the best story is fine. And because I always only care about the STORY I’m currently reading, I don’t have any worry about "oh no, how will this affect all the other dozens of comics I’ve already committed myself to buy on a monthly basis for the next year?!?!"

    I don’t care about following a universe. I just read books I like. I’m not saying this is the best way to approach comics, but it sure hedges your bets against getting disappointed or feeling like you spent a lot of money on books you don’t like. (And for that reason, I’d be perfectly fine with even a $4.99 price point–because I ONLY buy a few comics that I pretty much KNOW I’ll really like–bit that’s another issue.)

    Last example: I don’t like what Bendis does now, so I knew beforehand not to buy SI. But I follow Dardevil. How would I feel if SI revealed that Daredevil had been a Skrull? I wouldn’t care TOO much as long as Brubaker was still on Daredevil and could still tell a good story. And if the title had to address the events of SI, so be it. I won’t complain; I’d just figure out what had happened in SI. But even that wouldn’t make me actually read SI in retrospect–because I know I wouldn’t like those issues because they’re by Bendis. I like to read stories from creators whose work I know I generally enjoy. I don’t want to get involved in fictional universes like a housewife would with soap operas (not that there’s anything wrong with that).

  34. Haven’t listened to this podcast yet. Hopefullly get to it tonight.

    As for Secret Invasion, I was not impressed by the main story.

    The backup stories in the first volume of New Avengers were great and showed that Bendis can write good stories (book 2 arrives this week for me). Mighty Avengers Secret Invasion Book 1 wasn’t as good, but if these stories were woven in with the main Secret Invasion stories, it might be a better read/story. I’m sure Secret Invasion Chronicles will do this.

    From a sales point of view, Secret Invasion was hugely successful and justifies the Marvel/Bendis vision.

    People should not reward bad storytelling by buying the comics. Otherwise you will continue to get things you don’t want. If these status quo changing events didn’t sell so well, they wouldn’t do them anymore.

    I like the premise behind these events: Civil War (didn’t read it), World War Hulk, The Initiative, Secret Invasion, Dark Reign. I just think the execution has been sub par.

    They are big blockbuster style comics and I’m really critical of blockbuster movies.

    They are big, dumb stories with lots of action and lots of spectacle.

    However, I take solace in the fact that you can’t finance a small country on a blockbuster style comic as you can on Jurassic Park 5.


  35. Well we can complain all we want if we didnt like or thought Secret Invasion was disappointing.

    All eight issues were in the top ten and other horrible comics like Hulk gets the top prize every month….So what do we know? 🙂

  36. I don’t think you understood what I wrote, NextChampion.

    I agree with what flapjaxx is writing as well, except I don’t get the use of the phrase fictional universe.

    All comics exist in a fictional universes, even the indie comics.

    And drama (conflict) is what drives stories.

    You just choose to limit the scope of the fictional universe you delve into.

  37. "People should not reward bad storytelling by buying the comics. Otherwise you will continue to get things you don’t want."


  38. If I want to read crappy comics I’ll read crappy comics, thank you very much!

  39. @ron,conor,josh: After Final Crisis ends are you guys going to do a show similar to this one?

  40. We did a Civil War show, a 52 show, and a Secret Invasion show.  So you can put your money down on if we’ll do a Final Crisis show or not.

  41. I’m a horrible gambler. 🙂

  42. I think maybe I would have liked Secret Invasion if Bendis didn’t make so many promises at the beginning. Dissapointing is the right word for the whole thing just because we were all expecting so much. All of the hype, and the posters showing us that the Skrulls were going to take over, eventually just made me react to the ending with "oh… you teased me with a much better ending than this".

    Plus I am extremely tired of events meaning "some story and then in the last issue no tangible storyline but instead you’ll see some familiar characters punch each other for one panel. Then another character will be punching someone in another panel". That way even the fight gets boring because there’s nothing to follow, its just unrelated images.

      I don’t want to rant, it’s a shame because I really wanted to like this…

    Also, did it ever get tied up why Reed was able to determine who was and who wasn’t a skrull with that device of his. Bendis promised it would be revealed in a later issue. This did not happen.

  43. secret invasion. too slow. buying those tie-in books are a chore, those books jumps around too. i never hear you guys (ifanboy) ever talk about the initiative tie-in. it was pretty funny or you guys dont like initiative at all?

  44. @josh i liek your metaphor of the roadtrip to secret invasion. love your metaphors.

  45. I think we read a little of the Initiative in the beginning, but for my part, I lost interest pretty soon, so I only read 5-6 issues at the most.

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