The New Avengers: Illuminati #5



The Good:

The Secret Invasion continues with the next issue in the suggested reading order. Think of this issue as the exposition issue because most of it is simply talking about what brought them all to the point they were at and what steps they needed to take to prepare for the future.

At this point in the story everyone involved is still reeling from two events. The superhero Civil War and the battle against The Hulk which was detailed in the World War Hulk story. The level of distrust the characters had at this point was pretty significant which, with the revelation that a Skrull was in their midst, caused Tony Stark to contemplate everything that was going on. Were they being played? If so, they’d intentionally been made to be pitted against each other. Divide and conquer. I loved how Brian Bendis was able to get the groups together in such away after so much conflict without it appearing forced. They still don’t trust each other but are beginning to realize that Tony may be right. If that is the case, they need each other now more than ever.

The artwork was pretty solid. The action scenes were drawn and great detail and had a feeling of scope which I like to see in comics.

The Bad:

While this issue did pretty good in terms of getting the different groups together, based on the suggested reading order that Marvel themselves put out for this particular story line, you don’t get some of the back story as to how and why the Skrull’s would go to the methods they have taken to blend into human society. In earlier issues of this particular comic you find that this team in question was involved in an attack on the Skrull home world. If we as readers are supposed to know the motivation for the actions of the bad guys this is information that should have been included in the suggested reading list. Granted, a comic story line is not a traditional story in terms of there not being a typical beginning, middle, and end but if this is the next stage in the story that Marvel suggests we read I would think that the motivation for the people we are supposed to root against would kind of be important to know.

The revelation that Black Bolt was a Skrull was horribly done. Just B-movie bad. You read his lines as if he were in a soap opera revealing to the audience for the first time that his diabolical scheme is going as planned. Maybe in previous issues of this particular comic (which were NOT included in the suggested reading order that Marvel says you should read the story in.) there was some foreshadowing to the fact that Black Bolt wasn’t who he said he was. But there wasn’t that here. It was just “Hey, I’m a bad guy!” leaving me as the reader a little confused as to what was going on. I get where Bendis was going with this. The intention was showing the rest of the group that Tony’s concerns about a hidden Skrull invasion army on Earth is in fact true. But man, it just came across horribly bad. Again, maybe previous issues in this particular comic had more foreshadowing. If that is the case I would strongly suggest someone at Marvel would add this issues into the suggested reading order in order to make this reveal make sense.

The only real issue I had with the artwork this issue was close ups of the characters. Everyone looked like an action figure, plastic as all hell and quite unrealistic looking. It’s little things like this that can take you out of the realm of disbelief you go into when you read a comic and just make you shake your head. The work done on exterior shots was well done probably because the attention to detail is not needed as much as it is with close ups. The close ups just felt like drawings you’d expect someone to draw at a county fair. Not bad by any means. The guy can certainly draw better than me. The characters just looked plastic and ugly.

Bottom Line:

The main focus of this issue was getting the two separate teams together which I think Brian Bendis did a good job on. But the flaws of the story, the unrealistic reveal of one of their own actually being a Skrull, just really threw me off and took what little enjoyment I had and tossed it out a window where a bird promptly took a big dump on it. It may not be the fault of this particular issue which I fully accept. This is issue five for this particular comic series. But being as my goal is to read the suggested reading order of the Secret Invasion story line that Marvel themselves laid out on their wonderful Marvel Unlimited app, the holes in logic in this story are too glaring to give it a good review. I have to give it a 4.

The artwork wasn’t awful. Yeah I was pretty critical of what I didn’t like but what this artist did well he did really well. Too often in the comics I’ve read the scope of the story just seems like the action is taking place on a Hollywood set. The exterior shots in this story really felt like it was taking place in a big place which I liked. Yeah the close up of the characters was goat shit but when all is said and done the good outweighs the bad. I give the artwork a 6.

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