By Eric Drumm
The House of Ideas is brimming with big events lately. At the recent Diamond Retailer Summit in Baltimore, Marvel gave both a name and a face to the next big Marvel super-happening: SECRET INVASION! While many details are still shrouded in mystery, writer Brian Michael Bendis (NEW AVENGERS, MIGHTY AVENGERS) gives up some early details on the Skrully new series.
It all started with a dead Skrull in NEW AVENGERS #31. After being shishkabobbed by Echo, the assassin Elektra reverted back to her true form of a Skrull, a member of the shape-shifting alien race that has been a thorn in the Marvel Universe's side for years. Going undetected by Wolverine's keen senses and Doctor Strange's magical sensors, it's apparent that the Skrulls have infiltrated the hero community with no way to determine who's who. Trust is hard to come by these days after the devastation of CIVIL WAR, and now with a Skrull infestation, a bloody witch hunt is on the horizon.
Marvel has always had universe-rocking events such as INFINITY GAUNTLET and SECRET WARS, and Brian Michael Bendis boasts that his masterpiece—SECRET INVASION—will continue that legacy.
"This will be the biggest, greatest most amazing super colossal event in the history of fiction!!!!!" boasts Bendis. "CIVIL WAR?? Ha!! This makes CIVIL WAR look like a Tim Allen movie!! I sincerely believe that this may be a bigger cultural event than Harry Potter!! Oh wait, I've been told I'm deluded. CIVIL WAR was lightening in a bottle and amazing to be a part of. This is something completely different. It will be on the level of CIVIL WAR in the scope and shape of it. The stakes are as high. The amount of characters—both new and classic—are the same, but this is completely its own thing. Honestly. The most important thing here is to tell a real story. To take these amazing characters and tell a story with them that delights and amazes. That's the goal. I love that these big stories we tell all have their own identity. I love that no one even thought to do CIVIL WAR 2. I will say that if CIVIL WAR divided the Marvel Universe this certainly could be the thing that unites it. Or *ahem* assembles it for the first time in years."
NEW AVENGERS #31
While SECRET INVASION will be a seven-issue series, the shockwaves will be felt throughout the entire Marvel line. Currently, the Skrull business takes place exclusively in the pages of NEW AVENGERS. However, Bendis promises that those little green buggers will wreck some havoc beyond the Avengers line and invade other books as well.
"It bleeds out exponentially as the conspiracy unveils itself," Bendis explains. "The New Avengers found out there's something going on first, then it bled to MIGHTY [AVENGERS], then to [AVENGERS:] THE INITIATIVE, then to the solo books...and before you know, it the entire Marvel Universe. This thing gets so big that there are some books Marvel doesn't even publish that are effected by this. I'm pretty sure Madman and Grendel are Skrulls as well."
"We've crafted a story here we think is hugely rewarding for both those who have followed along or are just hopping on now. I know I'm being goofy with some of these answers, but this part I take very seriously."
NEW AVENGERS #31
Skrulls showing up in books that Marvel doesn't even publish? Gee whiz, that is
a full scale invasion!
If SECRET INVASION truly envelops the entire Marvel Universe, then it's possible that it may have a cast of thousands. Thus far, the New Avengers have been dealing with the problem head on, with team leader and Bendis man-crush Luke Cage spearheading the hunt. As more and more imposters are exposed, it's possible that some unlikely alliances and battle lines may be drawn in the process. Bendis guarantees that everyone will be coming out of the woodwork for this one, and certain characters may see a defining moment or two.
"It really is the largest scale production and drama I have ever crafted. It stars all the Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the Thunderbolts, the Initiative, the X-Men, the Young Avengers return here. And this isn't just a hero story, the bad guys have their moment too. The Hood and his gang, Doctor Doom, Magneto, Norman [Osborn]. There's a lot of players. But there are certain characters like Tony Stark, Luke Cage, Spider-Woman, the FF, that really get effected by this story long-term...oh and the big big, big return of NICK FURY!!"
To capture the fracas on the page, one would need a superstar talent to pick up the penciling duties. Luckily for us, we got one! For such a daunting task, Bendis's NEW AVENGERS partner in crime will be the just the artist to bring this thriller to life.
by Leinil Yu
"[The SECRET INVASION artist] is Leinil Yu. [He's] leaving NEW AVENGERS after this arc to dig right into it. I know he believes, and rightly so, that this is the book he'll be remembered for and is treating it so.
"My collaboration with him is amazing. He gets the scripts on every level. His dark, yet bombastic artwork is the perfect choice for this story. And I mean no diss to any of my artist pals out there, but this project has to ship on time because of the nature of the story, and this will ship on time because Yu gets the pages in!!"
Bendis and Yu are poised to bring us the next mega-event, but the real question is how much of the Skrull mystery will be unraveled in SECRET INVASION? So far, the only character who we know for sure is a Skrull is Elektra, and everyone else—and we do mean everyone
—is still a possibility. This leaves us with a number of questions. Who is a Skrull? How long have they been planning this? Have our heroes already lost and they just don't know it? Bendis says that we can trust that all the answers will be laid out in the pages of SECRET INVASION.
"We will reveal EVERYTHING in this story. This is the pay off of a storyline that has been simmering for years. This story has a beginning middle and end. And it's a hell of an ending. That is a promise. No 'X-Files' BS here. This is the entire thing. And while this story is told in the main series, in both Avengers titles we will have an all star line-up of artists helping to show you what has really gone on in the Marvel Universe the entire time—who exactly the Skrulls were and what they did to set the stage for this monumental invasion."
NEW AVENGERS #31
With the Marvel Universe in such disarray, can things ever be the same?
"Absolutely not!!" shouts Bendis. "In the beginning of the story, not everyone is who they say they are and once that is revealed you'll see how nothing could possibly go back to the way they were because the way things were was an illusion."
The Skrulls have embedded themselves into the Marvel Universe right under our noses. How long they've been pulling the strings and tightening the noose has yet to be revealed. Who is who they say they are and who is out to get us? We won't know until SECRET INVASION hits shelves, so in the meantime, we have nothing but questions. During CIVIL WAR we were asking ourselves "Whose side we were on?" and with SECRET INVASION we're asking ourselves "Who do we trust?"
Once SECRET INVASION comes to a close, Bendis says that we will have an all new tagline: "'WHO CAN I HUG?' Or... 'WHEN CAN I NAP?'
Rest up and trust no one. SECRET INVASION hits in 2008.