Secret Invasion: “The Marvel Universe will not be the same.”

Entertainment Weekly has “an exclusive early peek” at Secret Invasion #1, the first issue in a summer mini-series from Marvel Comics. The series, which will run for eight issues, three of which might actually come out on time, is set to depict the payoff to a storyline that writer Brian Michael Bendis has been spinning for years. The Skrulls, a race of extraterrestrial shape-shifting bad-asses who have been kicking around the Marvel Universe since 1962’s Fantastic Four #2, have apparently infiltrated every corner of the Earth’s infrastructure and, now that they’ve been found out by the super-team the Avengers, they’re ready to announce their intentions to the world.

In an interview with EW‘s Nisha Gopalan, Bendis promises that, when Secret Invasion ends, “[t]he Marvel Universe will not be the same.” Gopalan counters, “That’s what everyone says about an event comic!” To which Bendis replies:

Well, we’ve proven over time that House of M, Civil War, Secret War — none of these did leave the universe the way it was. The criticism going into Civil War is that it’s going to be a draw: Captain America’s dead and Tony Stark is running the world. That wasn’t the way it was when we started. These are big things for the characters. So on that note, we can only stand by our track record.

And y’know what? Their track record lately has been good, despite what the peanut gallery over on the Newsarama forums would have you believe. In the past few years, when Marvel has promised big change, they have delivered (for better or worse). Cap is dead, Iron Man is ruling the world, the mutant population is down to a little bit less than 200 worldwide, and Spider-Man isn’t married anymore (but he isn’t divorced, and he isn’t a widower; his marriage just never happened, thanks to Mephisto).

This is one comic that I won’t be missing, because I can’t wait to see if Marvel has the balls to keep shaking things up. And you, even if you’re a casual comics fan, should not miss it either. Marvel makes nearly every mini-series it puts out a self-contained affair (they’re always looking to pull in new readers, of course, plus they’re trying to think ahead to the eventual trade paperback release), so you should be able to jump on board even if you haven’t read anything in a while.