Funnybook Babylon

May 15, 2008

What’s So Funny About Peace, Love and Infiltration?

Filed under: Articles — Tags: , , — Funnybook Babylon @ 8:00 am

Hey all. Most of you will not know who I am, and shame on you. I’ve made a brief appearance during the NYCC podcasts, but the Secret Invasion has inspired me to actually write an article to help you all figure out whom to trust. So I took a break from drinking (ok, that’s a lie, there’s a scotch by my side), and would like to share some observations. I’ve been re-reading nearly all of Brian Michael Bendis’s Marvel comics from the past few years. While some series have been mostly dead ends (Alias, I’m looking at you, though it was nice to re-read it, just because it’s a good series), New Avengers and Mighty Avengers are, as expected, chock full of clues.

Veranke plans to replace Jessica Drew in NA #40

At first, some people seem to think that the ending of New Avengers #40 is misdirection. In a flashback, it shows Skrull Princess Veranke planning to infiltrate Earth disguised as Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman. But since it’s not explicitly shown that she does replace Drew, it does not necessarily indicate that Spider-Woman is a Skrull. It could simply be misdirection. I hate to be the bearer of bad news (ok, that’s another lie), but it’s not misdirection. “Spider-Woman” is a Skrull. I would like to point first at New Avengers #30. Most of the team is suspicious of Clint Barton, (who was thought to have died in “Disassembled”, and was apparently resurrected in House of M, as shown in New Avengers#26), and Dr. Strange casts a spell to prove that Barton is indeed who he says it is.

I guess a human would be having a massive seizure.  A Skrull?  Hairball, I guess?

The spell is intended to determine if anyone in the room has impure intentions. As Strange explains it, “it will clearly show anyone who is living with deception towards us.” The following people are in the room at the time of the spell: Clint Barton, Dr. Strange, Spider-Woman, Spider-Man, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, Jessica Jones, Danielle Cage, Wolverine, and Wong. It is explained that anyone that fails the test would suffer ill-effects.

And right after the spell, Spider-Woman grabs onto a column for support and clutches her throat in successive panels. People thought this scene addressed her triple-agent status (she was spying on SHIELD for Hydra, and spying on Hydra and SHIELD for Nick Fury, and possibly spying on Hydra for SHIELD), since this issue was released before we even knew there was a Secret Invasion. But nearly a year later, it seems equally likely that her “deception” is that she is a Skrull. Her sudden power upgrade in Mighty Avengers #11 should help cast aside all doubt.

17 months?The mysterious reappearance of her powers are another major clue that something just ain’t right with Spider-Woman. In New Avengers #14, she claimed that she was approached by a Hydra agent named Connelly and was offered her powers back. In exchange, she would rejoin SHIELD and feed HYDRA information as a double agent. This was retold in Giant Size Spider-Woman (GSSW) #1. But there’s a small problem with the time frame of these events. In Alias, Drew teamed up with Jessica Jones to help find Mattie Franklin, a teenager who also called herself Spider-Woman. Drew’s powers were on the fritz in that arc, and they were on the fritz in the Spider Woman special too. In New Avengers #14, she claimed that the procedure that gave her powers back took seventeen months. But in the Alias arc, right at the time that Jessica Jones had just gotten pregnant, she had yet to regain her full powers. In Giant Sized Spider Woman, it’s suggested that HYDRA approached her right after “Disassembled”, placing the offerIn under six months? no more than six months before she is shown in New Avengers #1, fully powered and working for SHIELD. Now, these are the sort of timing problems that sometimes come from communication breakdown between different writers in a shared universe, but Brian Michael Bendis wrote every single comic I have mentioned. There is something about these inconsistencies that is just not right. It seems highly likely that, since it has been heavily implied that HYDRA has been infiltrated by the Skrulls, Jessica Drew was simply replaced when she supposedly got her powers back. Oh, THAT Peter Parker!

While I’m mentioning Alias, now would be a good time to look at Jessica Jones. There have been some inconsistencies with her as well. In Alias, it was revealed that prior to her accident that gave her super powers, she was a high school classmate of Peter Parker. And she had a huge crush on him. She was planning to ask him out shortly before he was bitten by the radioactive spider that turned him into Spider-Man.

Whoops!In New Avengers #34, Dr. Strange casts another spell. This one is meant to show the innermost desire of everyone in the room, what they wish they could be. Spider-Man’s wish is that he could be a fifteen year old Peter Parker once again, before he was bitten by the spider that gave him powers. Someone in the room asks, “who is that supposed to be?” when the image of young Parker appears. This is a perfectly logical question for most of the team to ask, since the older, muscular, married Peter Parker bears little resemblance to the nerdy fifteen year old in front of them. But the person who asks the question is Jessica Jones: Jessica Jones, who was his classmate, and who had a crush on him.

In the same scene, Jessica Jones’s inner self is shown as Jewel, her superhero identity. Yet in Alias, it’s repeatedly shown that after her ordeal with the Purple Man, Jessica has absolutely no desire to ever again be a superhero. During Civil War, Jones fled to Canada with baby Danielle because she felt it was not safe for her and her child to live in the United States, where the Superhero Registration Act might force her to become a superhero again. Yet she quickly returns after “Civil War” finishes, and reunites with the New Avengers. Or perhaps she did not.

Going back to NA 30, recall that Spider-Woman didn’t react so well to Dr. Strange’s spell. But no one seemed to notice her because everyone was focusing on the other person who reacted, Danielle Cage. She laughed. Jessica Jones madePrivate eyes .... a point to say that she had never laughed before. Everyone was willing to accept Dr. Strange’s claim that this was natural, as there is nothing more pure than a baby. Maybe so, but maybe Danielle isn’t a baby at all, but a Skrull. Dr. Strange, like everyone else, wasn’t thinking about Skrulls, and may not have been testing for Skrulls with that spell; perhaps any human that would fail the test would have a seizure. Spider-Woman failed the test, and maybe, Danielle Cage did too. After all, in the all important New Avengers #31, the issue ended with a close up on Danielle, with her eyes turning green. That HAS to mean something. Everything I have mentioned is directly in the comic, no inferences, no theories, It’s right there. Things just don’t line up, and keep in mind that Bendis, who wrote everyone one of these stories, has said that he’s been planning Secret Invasion for years. These could be careless mistakes, or they could be little clues left here and there, to bring up during Secret Invasion. Speaking of little clues, those caterpillar files from Mighty Avengers #13? The ones that Nick Fury used to form his new Howling Commandos? Well, this isn’t the first time that they’ve been mentioned. Once again, I direct your attention to New Avengers #14. Connelly, Spider-Woman’s contact with HYDRA, asks “what are in these caterpillar files?” This is during a sequence dealing with the stuff Nick Fury wants Spider-Woman to tell her HYDRA contact. Many questions are now raised: what does Spider-Woman actually tell Connelly about the files? What did Nick actually tell Spider-Woman? Does HYDRA (and possibly by extension, the Skrulls) now know about these files, or was this part of Fury’s disinformation plan (I’m assuming the latter)? Either way, I’m sure this will come up again big time soon.

Hmm

I figure I’ll end this with a little theory of mine. In New Avengers #39, the Skrulls attempted to replace Echo. After finishing the book, I thought to myself “Why?” I should clarify. Not, “why Echo?”, but rather, “why now?” This issue came out right at the start of the Secret Invasion. It seems kind of late for a replacement, especially since the issue happened “in the now” so to speak. Sure, Dum Dum Dugan was shown being replaced in a teaser that came out right before Secret Invasion #1, but it was set months in the past. New Avengers #39 wasn’t. That means something must have happened to the New Avengers that necessitated a late, rather rushed infiltration attempt. What happened? Well, Spider-Woman left the team and joined up with the Mighty Avengers. But that was eight issues earlier. Couldn’t be just that. But Jessica Jones had just left, with Danielle in tow. Since at least two out of these three are Skrulls, it’s possible that their departures left the New Avengers Skrull-less, or at least, with only one Skrull left. And keep in mind, this is only two issues into the series; I would be very much surprised if these are the only revelations to be found in the series. No, my friends, we are at the tip of the iceberg.

13 Comments »

  1. Very cool, I only wish it didn’t require reading so many comics to pick up on all of this stuff.

    Good job piecing it together though!

    Comment by Andy — May 15, 2008 @ 11:17 am

  2. When it comes to the superhero stuff, as much as I enjoy Bendis, I usually read the comic, put it down, and forget about it. This article was *incredibly* cool to me! I actually want to go back and read all my Avengers comics again! Good job!!!!

    Comment by Kenny — May 15, 2008 @ 2:11 pm

  3. Wow. I would have never gotten any of that except the green-eyed baby.Spider-woman puts me to sleep, so that would also be a factor.

    Comment by Wagner — May 15, 2008 @ 2:23 pm

  4. Congratulations. You have discovered that Bendis is a sloppy writer who will now use IT WAS SKRULLS to cover up the huge pile of mistakes he’s made over the years.

    Comment by Spib — May 15, 2008 @ 2:54 pm

  5. Sqib, the next time you post please don’t use a fake email address. It gets caught in the filter.

    Are you saying that Bendis realized he was sloppy and came up with this huge event to cover up his big pile of mistakes? Cause that’s kind of awesome.

    Comment by Pedro Tejeda — May 15, 2008 @ 3:05 pm

  6. Was Spiderwoman really a prostitute for a while?

    Comment by Strider — May 15, 2008 @ 4:36 pm

  7. Yeah, I’m not sure how carefully going back through your superhero work, carefully cataloging the mistakes you’ve made, and then systematically explaining them all via a single storyline qualifies as sloppy. Congratulations?

    Comment by moses — May 15, 2008 @ 4:38 pm

  8. I actually made a post over at The Savage Critic(s) a few weeks ago, wondering if the “Skrulls trying to replace Echo” thing in New Avengers #39 was an act for Wolverine’s benefit, to make him less suspicious of her–because she’d actually been replaced long _before_ that (hence her ability to hear people she’s distinctly not looking at in earlier issues of New Avengers).

    Comment by Douglas — May 15, 2008 @ 5:55 pm

  9. I was actually logging on right now just to repeat your theory on Echo being a Skrull. (I could have gone for a cheesey play on the word “echo” there and I didn’t. I deserve a cookie.)

    So, yeah, I think Echo, as well as Spiderwoman and Jessica Jones, is a Skrull. It would definitely explain why she can hear people she’s not looking at.

    Bendis may be many things, but he is *not* a sloppy writer. If you ever get a chance to talk with him, he exudes enthusiasm for comics as a medium, superheroes, and the skills of being a writer.

    Strider, Spiderwoman was never a prostitute. I think the confusion is in the page that’s replicated above, she was going undercover in her crappy private eye job as a prostitute. (I hope that’s not worded harsh!)

    Comment by Kenny — May 15, 2008 @ 8:11 pm

  10. Very impressive. I’m getting the same sort of vibe I got back when Dave figured out everything DC planned to do for the next 2 years.

    Comment by Ryan — May 16, 2008 @ 12:51 am

  11. Damn, that’s some good work Jeff. I remember thinking it was strange that Jessica Jones’ image during the spell was that of Jewel.

    To all the trolls, yes Bendis is an awfully sloppy writer. It’s not like we’ve known he’s been planning something since at least the first arc of New Avengers.

    Comment by John McAree — May 16, 2008 @ 5:04 am

  12. Ah, thanks Kenny!

    Comment by Strider — May 16, 2008 @ 2:44 pm

  13. Pretty sure Echo isn’t a Skrull. If anything it probably is Wolverine who was the Skrull. He just happened to be following her around when it attacked.

    In Mighty Avengers #14 it shows a pregnant woman in a gang of Skrull impostors that Veranke is currently leading. Veranke was directly referred to as “Empress” by the Jarvis Skrull but she had purple colored hair. Either this was a coloring mistake or Veranke is really impersonating Jessica Jones and not Drew as many people have been originally lead to believe.

    Comment by Mike Portnoy — May 22, 2008 @ 6:38 pm

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