Posted by: Abhay Khosla on June 5, 2008
So: where were we…?
Secret Invasion #3— the penultimate issue to the halfway point. How exciting!
To date, there has been absolutely no explanation to the question that keeps nagging at me: why would anyone go to a restaurant called Hell’s Kitchen and then complain that their food’s taking too long? Didn’t you watch the previous seasons of the show? But week after week, that restaurant fills up wtih people shocked– SHOCKED!— that the food isn’t very good. It’s in its, like, third or fourth season. What are those whiny people complaining about? Scream at them, Gordon Ramsey. Scream at them…
I wouldn’t say I’m losing interest in Secret Invasion, but…
So far in this series, about twenty minutes have gone by. It’s been an eventful twenty minutes– but if the superheros ever break for lunch, their lunch break could very well take 8 issues. 12, if they eat at the California Pizza Kitchen. 6 issues of Wolverine going into a Berzerker Rage saying “How long does it take these people to make a Caesar Salad? If it takes them this long to make a Caesar Salad– are the people who order pizza waiting all day? How long do these other assholes wait? I wonder if anyone has ever died waiting for a Chicken Fajita Pizza. What a horrible sounding pizza. How is that progress? That’s not progress. I bet if you showed a Chicken Fajita pizza to one of my ancestors, they’d cry. This entire food experience is disappointing my ancestors.” Berzerker Rage!
I once wrote to the California Pizza Kitchen, accusing their Fettucini Alfredo of causing me feelings of depression and sadness. You know: I was bored. Anyways: they never wrote back to address the depression or sadness I’d accused the Garlic Cream Sauce of having caused– instead, they just sent me coupons for more food. I really think there’s a metaphor there for, like, our entire way of life, man. But I guess that doesn’t really have anything to do with Secret Invasion.
As I was saying, Hell’s Kitchen is a reality television show in which a pudgy, sassy child-molesty-looking guy and a pudgy, sassy, yelling/crying lady compete to be the best chef, and the best part is the end of the episode when show host Gordon Ramsey kicks someone out of the kitchen and their photograph bursts into flame. It’s what I’m waiting for the entire episode– I know it’s going to happen, and when it finally does happen, that’s the moment of satisfaction that keeps me coming back, I think.
Or there’s a show called House about a sassy doctor – the tension builds the entire episode until the sassy doctor figures out how to cure the sicko-of-the week. That’s the moment of satisfaction for House. Or if you enjoy politics– we’re all waiting for Hillary Clinton to show up at the Democratic Convention with dynamite strapped to her pantsuit, demanding that we name her Emperor of Pretty. We all see it coming– it’s the only way it can end– it’s the way we all want it to end. Sass-ily!
So: What are we waiting to see happen for Secret Invasion?
With the DC crossovers– Final Crisis and Infinite Crisis both had the same thing going on: buy this crossover so you can find out what this crossover is about. At the beginning of both of those, it’s entirely inscrutable what the hell the story was / is going to be about. DC fans pay for the privilege of finding out what they’re paying for– the moment of ultimate satisfaction, the happy ending , is when they tell you what the point of what they sold you is.
But Secret Invasion… The comic is titled “Secret Invasion“– are fans waiting to see how the invasion gets repelled? That doesn’t sound like much. If you look at 9/11, people sure seemed to want revenge after that day, no matter how ill-advised– just surviving an incident usually isn’t enough for the narrative people want to tell themselves. So: will people want to see the Marvel Superheros get revenge for the invasion? Do they want to see the Marvel Superheros invade a completely unrelated alien race that wasn’t really involved in the invasion? Or do fans want to see the invasion succeed and Skrulls taking over the Earth? There’s no particular bad guy that the fans are being asked to hate. The Skrulls so far are literally faceless.
But maybe that changes here so– time to read the issue:
AFTER READING THE FIRST PAGE OF THE THIRD ISSUE:
The first page is a Dramatis Personae page, identifying the name and appearance of a number of characters.
And wow: I don’t recognize half of these characters. There’s a character called Stature? … She get really tall, I presume? There’s a character called Wiccan, but it’s a guy and not a pudgy lesbian. Annex? His power is to be slightly nicer and newer than the rest of the superheros…? Melee, Sunstreak, Gorilla Girl…? Red Nine, Proton, Batwing, Prodigy, Geiger… Geiger?! Gauntlet? Is he unnaturally good at the video-game Gauntlet? Does he team up with Rampage or Paperboy? That’d be a helpful power, if you were short on quarters.
It’s like they gave names to those little tiny characters you see floating around in the background of some DC crossover, after George Perez had too many cups of coffee, and let them into the Marvel Universe. Let DC have the coffee people!
AFTER READING THE ENTIRE ISSUE:
What just happened to this comic?
In this issue: all of the Marvel superheros you know and like go away for 22 pages, and, like, these other characters I’ve never heard of come along instead. The big, hyped-up summer crossover series just put an issue-long spotlight on Geiger and Friends…!
And then Nick Fury shows up at the end, but with these other D-List characters I’ve never seen before, who…
I think this comic just turned into the Skrulls versus a mid-1990’s Image comic! Nick Fury has a gun so plainly about compensating for a small penis– that gun would make Codename Strykeforce blush. And there’s a minority lady, a lady with a robot hand, a guy with his shirt off, Dave Navarro holding a chain, a little kid– the Marvel universe just got invaded by the 5000th WildC.A.Ts revamp.
Chap Yaep’s going to sue somebody.
Seriously though: who are any of the characters in this comic book? … Maybe this isn’t a valid thing to say, but: What happened to Spiderman or the Wolverine? Didn’t Marvel used to publish comics with Spiderman or the Wolverine in them? (Though god, speaking of which– I’ve been following Spiderman for a couple issues just because I like Marcos Martin’s art. The writing though… Jesus Christ! Is that, like– why is Marvel… Did someone lose a bet?)
I suppose Marvel wants fan reaction to focus on the Iron Man scene, in which it is teased that Iron Man might be a little green man. But… come on: they’re not revealing that Iron Man’s a little green man a month after his movie comes out. It’s just not plausible. What’s more interesting is that Iron Man brings the number of characters with a moustache in this comic book to a total of five. Five men with moustaches. One girl who looks like she waxes it… I went to a party once where there was a girl with a moustache. She didn’t wax it, and it’d actually grown into, like… like, a full-blown moustache. Regular girl, a little thick, and a moustache. Never occurred to her to wax it. It really blew my mind. Anyways, five moustaches in a single, non-period-piece comic book? That’s something, at least. Maybe that’s where Secret Invasion is headed– towards an invasion of guys offering moustache rides? I for one welcome the Mighty Marvel Moustache Rides!
My favorite character I’ve never heard of before and don’t care anything about is definitely Annex. FYI. I hope Hulkamaniac survives though. Or that other character… with the hair…? Who … seems like he likes good more than he likes evil. I hope he wins in the end. I’m rooting for that guy. Granted, Final Crisis revolves around Terrible Turpin, but… I prefer a DC comic about obscure minor DC characters . Personally, I like the Marvel A-list and the DC D-List, and I don’t like the Marvel D-List or the DC A-List. Maybe I’m weird that way, though…
Yeah, nothing really happens in this one. Here’s the plot summary for this issue: “Nick Fury shows up.” That’s about all that happens. I understand why it’s plotted this way– they wanted the issue to be yet another “shit hits the fan” issue, showing how overwhelmingly the Skrulls are winning up until the Nick Fury arrival which they end on. They want to show how the Skrulls really had this invasion planned out, and how it would have worked but for ______. But 9 pages of Skrulls beating up D-listers…? I suspect they’ve overestimated their audience’s patience on this one. Given how little “happened” last issue, and again this issue… I would be surprised if most fans are okay with the pacing… I would guess that’ll be the focus of fan reaction far moreso than reacting to that lame Iron Man scene.
I like how a Marvel comic has an advertisement for Batman in it. There are two ads of the Incredible Hulk encouraging an aging douchebag to do his laundry or something. I don’t really understand those. For example, why is the aging douchebag wearing that awful belt? Am I right? He’s wearing a gray shirt and gray pants, with a gray belt and a gray jacket… Did someone boring die? How about that men’s fashion, huh?
Oh, and speaking of douchebags: there’s a giant closeup photo of Will Smith smirking on the back of the comic. It’s advertising a movie or something, but really, it’s only a matter of years before photographs of Will Smith smirking are placed strategically throughout this country just to numb and placate the public. They’ll drop photos of Will Smith smirking down onto our food riots to calm us all down. I’m expecting the food riots in November incidentally– high price of heating during the winter, $80 a gallon gas by then, truckers striking, banking crises, mothers abandoning their babies, nature reclaiming the cities, a madman rising in the East. Basically: photo of Will Smith on the back cover of Secret Invasion #3 reminds me of a rapidly impending apocalypse. But photos of Will Smith have been doing that for me since the music video for Miami… humanity muddles through, I guess.
Also: the Vision gets his head blown off, which would be moving if I knew he was alive before this comic. Didn’t he get killed already? I thought that character was dead…
So: that wraps the issue. The plot has advanced another 10 minutes, which– if the life expectancy of the average American is 77.8 years, assuming this pacing holds, according to my rough calculations, one human lifetime is the equivalent of 408,968 issues of Secret Invasion. A comic telling the story of a single human life at this rate would thus take 34,080 years to be published. Not including annuals.
I hope next issue has the for-real Marvel superheros in it, though. I prefer them.