Editor's Note: Secret Invasion: X-Men #2 arrives in stores tomorrow, September 10.
In the first issue of this mini-series connecting Marvel's summer event Secret Invasion with the events in the current X-Men books, the writers established that the Skrulls did not have complete information regarding the Earth hero situation. I actually really like the presentation of the Skrulls being fallible, yet adaptable, because it makes it more likely that I will believe the outcome of the eventual defeat of the Skrulls in the Marvel Universe.
I also like the fact that once again the X-Men are depicted as being seasoned veterans ready to defend their home, with Scott Summers standing up as the general of his mutant troops. Mike Carey even addresses, even it is only in one panel, that not all mutants feel as if they want to be soldiers in this, or any other, wartime operations. It is an interesting topic that I hope someone (maybe Brubaker or Carey) will pick up and explore.
Unfortunately, while these are all interesting, there are serious problems with the book that rob it of what could be a very simple, enjoyable read.
First, we have Nightcrawler talking to some mystical orb. While the orb establishes itself as a vessel of spiritual knowledge for the Skrulls, a bible if you will, the point of the orb seems a little bit lost on me. There is a "parable" which goes nowhere, and even Nightcrawler observes it is not in fact a parable. There is a subtlety to this point that is lost on me as a reader, even after multiple readings. The parable itself also does not seem to illuminate things in any meaningful way. If this story was intended to impart knowledge about the Skrull religion, this is being done in a much more concrete and pertinent way in The Incredible Hercules.
In the first issue Carey did a very good job of keeping the reader in the loop regarding who the players were in the story without burdening them with every event occurring in the X-universe. Carey used enough known names and enough new faces to keep the reader engaged while still comfortable in the universe. In this issue he is not as careful, with an appearance by X-Force and their "new guy" Archangel. I actually do not know why there is an Archangel, especially when Angel appears (purposely, I would imagine) in another panel, but given that he does not do anything in the story this confusing plot point could have been left off. Similarly, there are several in-jokes, off-hand references, and subtleties such as Emma's interactions with the Cuckoos that seem to have roots deep in their history. While I appreciate the effort to use this historical material, for a series like this, where new readers may just be dipping in for a link into the invasion storyline, the subtleties could well lost to them, as they were on me, a seasoned X-Men fan who has been out of the loop for the last few years.
All of these issues are further complicated by art that ranges from very good to very poor. There are excellent close-ups of faces and bodies that demonstrate that there is a great deal of talent in the pencils. However, background scenes are muddled, with faces being underdeveloped, expressions being empty and blank on the faces of intense characters, and some heads appearing to have never evolved beyond the construction line circles they should be originating from.
I very much want to recommend this book because I think there are interesting things being done in it. However, all of these matters detract from the experience. The book--both story and art--feel rushed out to print, without appropriate editorial reigns being taken to clean up some of the above points.
What did you think of this book?
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