By Marc Strom
One way or another, the invasion will end.
The heroes' war with the Skrulls has raged on for months now, but soon the epic Secret Invasion will reach its furious conclusion. Leading from the main SECRET INVASION series' conclusion on December 3, SECRET INVASION: X-MEN #4 and SECRET INVASION: FRONT LINE #5 bring their respective stories to a close on November 26 and December 3.
Writer Mike Carey, who has shepherded the X-Men through the current crisis, has placed a rather dangerous weapon in Cyclops' hands that could potentially wipe out the entire Skrull race: the Legacy Virus.
"I guess this is a situation that will allow us to measure the full extent of the change in Cyclops: both in his worldview and in how he approaches the role of X-Men leader and Commander in Chief," Carey remarks. "There's a lot at stake, both in the short term and overall. A whole lot of people will die if he can't pull an effective counter-attack out of the bag at the last minute, and he's only got the one shot. And then along comes the Beast with the ammo for that shot..."
While Carey has played with the parallels between the mutants and Skrulls throughout the limited series, he says that the similarities really only exist on a superficial level.
"The parallel is just morphological, and even then it's only on a cellular level," Carey remarks. "Hank says that effectively every Skrull gene functions as an X-gene, coding for changes in the organism as a whole. They're in constant mutation, with constant interplay between genes and body matrix. But to suggest-as the Skrull AI crystal suggests-that therefore mutants should defect to the Skrulls' side is pretty crazy logic. It only works from the POV of a religious fanatic whose entire cosmology is predicated on an 'us and them' basis."
Leading up to the series' conclusion, Carey explains that the stakes have become rather high for Cyclops and his team.
"The X-Men have to deal with the problem that's in front of them: stopping San Francisco from being used as a beach-head, and saving the civilian population from a Skrull massacre," the writer summarizes. "It's one battle in a sudden, desperate, dirty war."
But the Skrulls shouldn't be the only ones fans have their eyes on in the final issue of SECRET INVASION: X-MEN.
"Watch the Beast/Cyclops dynamic particularly," Carey teases. "There's some interesting stuff developing there."
Moving from San Francisco to New York, SECRET INVASION: FRONT LINE #5 brings reporter Ben Urich to Central Park, the site of the climactic battle between Earth's heroes and the Skrulls-but how will the all-too-human Urich respond to the battle of the super powers in front of him?
"Not well at all," according to series writer Brian Reed.
The fourth issue ended with Urich walking through the ruins of Manhattan, recording everything he saw into a Dictaphone. Reed attributes this to Urich's shock at everything he's been through.
FRONT LINE #5
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"Ben's seen so much insanity that he's reverted to his instincts," the writer reasons. "He knows if he just keeps reporting, he can keep some level of sanity, and things have gone far enough off the rails that he's now willing to settle for just keeping his sanity."
Whether or not Ben will bounce back from the events of Secret Invasion, though, remains an unanswered question for the moment.
"That is a whole lot of what the fifth issue is all about," Reed hints. "Ben, like everyone on Earth, has been through a lot during the invasion, but we've also seen hits of lots of other things going on in his life. So for Ben everything has come together into this perfect storm of awful, and he's going to have to find something to pull him out of that. I'm willing to bet he finds that 'something' by the end of issue #5."
Reed says fans can expect the conclusion of SECRET INVASION: FRONT LINE to mirror the events of the main series, only from a much different perspective.
FRONT LINE #5
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"It's lock step with the final issue of SECRET INVASION," the writer promises. "The big reveal in SECRET INVASION #8 is also in FRONT LINE, but seen once again from that angle of Ben Urich."
Finally, Reed left one last warning for readers of his tie-in series:
"Even the people who survive the invasion don't necessarily come out of it in one piece."
For all the latest new, visit Marvel.com's Secret Invasion hub.
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