Usually, I’m a very lenient and positive reviewer of comic books, partially because I love the medium itself (a comic is a comic), but also because comics take so little time to read, even if one isn’t that great I can’t exactly say I wasted a lot of time reading it. Movies are different; spending two hours watching a bad movie is two hours you can’t regain. What’s worse are bad novels. Those take hours and hours. Comics only take about ten minutes an issue. To put it in perspective, whenever you watch a half-hour TV show on basic cable, you’re getting about 8 minutes of commercials. Ten minutes reading a mediocre comic is still much better than 8 minutes of mind-numbing commercials.
The graphic novel Spiderman: Secret Invasion though will be one that I’ll have to give a bad review to. Commercials have more content than this graphic novel had.
First off, the title’s misleading. In the first three issues, taking place during the big event Secret Invasion, Spiderman only makes a few brief cameos, like someone who makes an appearance at a party then leaves. The comic instead follows a superhero named Jackpot, aka Alana Jobson, who looks like Mary Jane in spandex but with Wynnona Judd’s hair. You’d think three issues devoted to Jackpot would give readers a chance to get to know her character better, but the three issues end up just being a long, repetitive fight with a super-skrull. When the story ended, I knew about as much about Jackpot as I did going in: nothing.
I’m guessing Marvel wanted this character to take off in popularity, maybe start up her own franchise, but it didn’t happen. Instead we have a character who was introduced, briefly described, and (SPOILER ALERT) killed off a short time later. Her death occurs in the last issue of the graphic novel, which takes place after Secret Invasion has ended. This issue was actually decent. It was written by Marc Guggenheim, who recently co-wrote the Green Lantern film. Marc Guggenheim manages to make Alana Jobson resemble a real character, not just a curvaceous model who can throw a punch. The sad part is, right when we get to know Alana, she’s killed off, and her costume goes back to the Jackpot before her, Sara Ehret. By dying, Spiderman (and the reader) learns the dangers of drug-use (although Spidey fans would have already learned that in the death of Harry Osborn years ago before the reboot).
Gail Simone has written a lot about the mistreatment of female superheroes, and I think this would be a good example of how not to write their characters.
Anyways, the only reason I would possibly recommend this graphic novel is if you’re someone who has to know everything about the Spiderman canon or know every inch of the Marvel Universe. I could have easily lived without Spiderman: Secret Invasion. There’s better superhero books out there, and better female characters.
Read other graphic novel reviews.