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Reviews and commentary by Tony Isabella
"America's Most Beloved Comic-Book Writer & Columnist"

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for Thursday, May 7, 2009

New Avengers Vol 8

I've been following Marvel's Secret Invasion event strictly through trade paperback collections and enjoying the experience. I began with the book that reprinted the main series and have been reading the others as I receive them. While I already know the main details of the story from that first book, it's been fun seeing the war from different perspectives.

New Avengers is the title that features the heroes who opposed Tony Stark's Superhuman Registration Act. New Avengers Vol. 8: Secret Invasion Book 1 [4.99] collects issues #38-42 of the title, some of the key issues of the overall event. The first of these is the heartbreaking issue in which Jessica Jones splits from Luke Cage, taking their baby with her. Other issues feature Echo's confrontation with a Skrull trying to take her place on the team, flashbacks showing the origin and development of the Skrull Queen's plans to conquer Earth, and a Savage Land adventure that features 1970s style Skrull duplicates of Earth's super-heroes. All of these are written by Brian Michael Bendis with art by Michael Gaydos, Jim Cheung, David Mack, and Billy Tan. It's as solid a batch of super-hero comics as you'll find in the current event-crazed marketplace and it earns four out of five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony Tony

Secret Invasion: Front Line

Secret Invasion: Front Line [$14.99] reprints the five-issue series by Brian Reed with art by CG Studios. The focus is on reporter Ben Urich and other non-powered folks as they attempt to survive the Skrull attack on New York. While this Front Line series isn't as good as the ones written by Paul Jenkins for Civil War and World War Hulk, it has a spiffy "B" movie vibe going for it and an even nicer life-or-death intensity. The best moment for me comes at the end of the book and seems to indicate Urich is taking a stand against the darkening nature of the USA in the Marvel Universe. As someone who thinks dark super-hero comics may not be what we need or want when the real world is so gloomy, I'd applaud Urich helping to lead the MU heroes back into the light. This trade paperback collection earns a respectable three out of five Tonys.

Tony Tony Tony

Secret Invasion: Thunderbolts

Secret Invasion: Thunderbolts [$19.99] reprints issues #122-125 of the ongoing series plus a trio of one-shots. I've been avoiding the series because I didn't think I'd like the shift from a comic about villains seeking redemption to villains manipulating the government to gain power. That said, writer Cristos N. Gage delivered stories that were interesting in their character play and intriguing as to their future impact on the Marvel Universe. Unfortunately, the book needed to include one more issue - or at least an excerpt from one more issue - because it cuts off just before a pivotal moment in the life and ambitions of Norman Osborn, the current leader of the Thunderbolts. Even so, this collection still earns three Tonys, not a bad score for a book whose present premise I loathe.

Tony Tony Tony

Watch for more Secret Invasion reviews soon.

Thanks for spending a part of your day with me. I'll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

Tony Isabella

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Zero Tonys
ZERO: Burn your money before buying any comic receiving this rating. It doesn't *necessarily* mean there's absolutely nothing of value here - though it *could* - but whatever value it might possess shrinks into insignificance before its overall awfulness.

ONE: Buy something else. Maybe I found something which wasn't completely dreadful in the item, but not enough for me to recommend it when there are better comics available. I only want what's best for you, my children.

TWO: Basic judgment call. I found some value, but not enough to recommend it. My review should give you enough info to decide if you want to take a chance on it. Are you feeling lucky today, punk? Well, are you?

THREE: This denotes something I find perfectly respectable. There are better books out there, but I wouldn't regret buying this item. Based on my review, you should be able to determine if it's of interest to you. Let the Force guide you.

FOUR: I recommend anything earning this rating. Unless you don't like the genre, subject matter, or past work of the creators, I believe you'll enjoy this item. Isn't it uncanny how I can look right into your soul that way?

FIVE: Anything getting this rating is among the best comicdom has to offer. You should buy/read this, even if the genre/subject matter doesn't appeal to you. It's for your own good. Me, I live for comics and books this good...but not in a pathetic "Comic-Book Guy" sort of way.

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