Against my better judgment, I went out and grabbed this one today. Whether any of us like it or not, this will likely shake up the Marvel status quo...again, so it'll probably be required reading.
It's not as bad as I thought, but that ain't saying much.
A Skrull ship is landing in the Savage Land. It's spotted by Agent Brand and S.W.O.R.D. (of Astonishing X-Men fame) and S.H.I.E.L.D.'s Dum Dum Dugan. They, of course, alert Tony Stark, who's looking over the dead Skrull Elektra with Reed Richards and Hank Pym. When he tells Spider-Woman, she calls Luke Cage, because she doesn't trust Stark. Of course, if she doesn't trust Stark, she shouldn't have gone to him in the first place, but that's a whole other kettle of fish. Cage and the New Avengers hijack the Mighty Avengers' Quinjet and beat them to the Savage Land.
The Mighty Avengers and New Avengers eventually meet face-to-face in the Savage Land, but Stark's armor starts to malfunction, as a result of a kill-switch triggered by Jarvis back home, since Jarvis is really a Skrull. At the same time, Dum Dum Dugan reveals he's also a Skrull and blows up the S.W.O.R.D. space station. Meanwhile, everything and anything, including various Stark Enterprises military facilities and The Raft prison have come under attack by an alien virus. The Raft situation in particular gets hairy when another breakout is facilitated and Noh-Varr (Marvel Boy) decides to wander out. Thunderbolts Mountain comes under attack by Captain Marvel, who's apparently also a Skrull. Over at the Baxter Building, a tourist shapeshifts into Sue Richards and sends a chunk of the Baxter Building into the Negative Zone.
Back at the Savage Land, the Skrull Ship opens up to reveal many 70's era Marvel heroes, all claiming to be the genuine article. Up in space, Agent Brand survives the space station explosion, but sees an incoming Skrull armada heading towards Earth. And at Stark Laboratory, Reed Richards figures out how the Skrulls are able to hide themselves, but before he can say anything, he gets discombobulated (quite literally) by Hank Pym, who reveals himself as a Skrull. End issue.
My head hurts. This isn't quite Clone Saga bad, but it's meeting most of my bad expectations. Lenil Yu's art is great, but the story concept just reeks and my suspicion of Marvel using it as a mass Deus Ex Machina isn't being eased any, especially with Mar-Vell's cameo. That's without even mentioning that the Hank Pym turn was a twist you could see coming a mile away. This is gonna be a long six months.
I do not read the Avengers books, and usually only care for Bendis' crime books, but I kinda dug this. There was a Holy Shit moment on every page, but it didn't seem like he was writing anyone out of character, a la Civil War (which also started out promising with an interesting premise and strong 1st issue). I don't think they are going to use this as as a complete reset of the Marvel U, just to maybe tweak some of the more boneheaded things they have done over the last few years, again, I am looking at you Civil War. The best advice I can give those who thought this was SO painful to read? Don't read the rest of the series.
"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ."
I'd like to believe that they learned their lesson in the Clone Saga. You can't say that a character people have been reading about for decades is really a big fake withought seriously pissing people off. Yet that spaceship opened up and a bunch of characters straight out of the 70's are here to tell us they're the real deal. (By the way, what the hell is Marvel's fascination with their output from the 70's? Comics have been written since that time.) So no, I'm not buying that any of the spaceship characters are for real. Also, just going by the art cues, I'm guessing that Spider-man is a Skrull. Every time you see him, his face is in at least two-thirds shadow.
I heard that Loeb planned to reveal the Red Hulk's identity early in the run, but once the book sold like hotcakes, they pushed it back. Hell, this book sells so well, they are now going with 2 Hulk titles. I am a huge Hulk fan, but that never works.