Secret Invasion #1 Review: An Unnecessary Follow-Up with Few New Ideas

Secret Invasion was one of my favorite Marvel crossover events in the 00s. It was a series that kept readers guessing and provoked questions stretching across multiple years of Marvel Comics canon. And while it had its fair share of problems, it's a series that has largely continued to be looked back upon fondly. The proof in the pudding is Marvel's upcoming TV adaptation on Disney+ set to release next year. 

In typical Marvel fashion, though, the comic book brand just can't leave anything from the past alone and is now bringing back Secret Invasion in 2022. This time around the concept is generally the same as it was before: Skrulls have invaded Earth and are posing as various characters that readers are bound to be familiar with. Which heroes are Skrulls? And who can be trusted? Answers to these questions obviously haven't been provided yet, as the opening chapter sets the stage for what's to come. 

Based on what is seen in issue #1, though, Secret Invasion seems like it's going to be much smaller in nature this time around. Unlike Brian Michael Bendis' storyline, writer Ryan North has made the narrative so far feel self-contained. Nick Fury is one of the only major characters who appears in Secret Invasion's first issue, with the Avengers only making a brief appearance in the final pages of the story. It seems Secret Invasion is eventually going to pull in a number of other familiar faces from the pages of Marvel Comics, but that has yet to happen. 

I think the most disappointing part of this new take on Secret Invasion is there's no real idea at the core of issue #1 that differentiates it from the earlier storyline. Maria Hill, one of the key characters in both series, nonchalantly acknowledges that Skrulls have invaded once again like this is a routine thing that may happen once a week. Without a new slant or angle to prevent such a Skrull invasion, it makes me wonder why those at Marvel even felt the need to return to this premise. 

Then again, some of what I explained is what makes this new take on Secret Invasion a bit interesting. Since the Marvel universe is well-equipped to deal with Skrull invasions, many characters now have plans in place to prevent such a takeover. In fact, the most interesting part of Secret Invasion #1 is that Hill is able to sniff out the Skrulls' plan before it (seemingly) becomes widespread. The issue's final panel suggests that this might not be the case after all, but I'm at least looking forward to seeing if the Skrulls have a greater plan in place. 

Art-wise, Secret Invasion has been serviceable, but nothing has been featured so far to make me a big fan. I think my biggest problem with the art has less to do with the drawing, paneling, and character portraits, and more to do with the coloring. Secret Invasion contains a number of muted colors which makes for a more realistic feel. Despite this, it's not a color scheme that I'm necessarily fond of as I've always enjoyed my superhero comics to be more vibrant. Your own mileage could vary in this area, though, as this is my own personal preference. 

Secret Invasion could wind up being fine in the long run, but there's nothing in the inaugural installment that grabs me. The core idea is the exact same as it was before, and while there might still be some interesting things to do within that framework, I have yet to see what they could be. At the moment, Secret Invasion feels like it has only come back as a way of driving more excitement for the MCU's take on the storyline in 2023. Hopefully, it'll prove to be something more than that moving forward. 

Published by Marvel Comics

On November 2, 2022

Written by Ryan North

Art by Francesco Mobili

Colors by Jordie Bellaire

Letters by Joe Caramagna

Cover by Matteo Lolli and Federico Blee