After a few decades, you can actually "see" the cycle. You can see people repeat what has been done before. Sometimes they will repeat something that they loved. Or sometimes they will have no clue that what they are doing has been done before and before and before.
Wayyyyy too many times do I have to explain to someone that what seems "new and original" to them, has been done thousands of times before.
I would say that it is worse to repeat the past out of ignorance then when you are trying to recapture the feeling of a time long since past. But maybe that is just me.
But sometimes, it is difficult to tell if something is repeated as an homage to what has come before. or just out of ignorance of what came before.
How can we tell the difference, I have to admit that other then to ask the person "you know this has been done before?", I am not sure how you can tell the difference for certain.
Let us look at an example.
Secret Invasion (Although with the last page of the second issue, I fail to see how "secret" this invasion is).
To many, this storyline might seem "fresh and original". But to an old warhorse, it is difficult not to feel like we already have seen this before...
... and before...
... and before...
... and before...
... and before, and countless other times that I fail to mention.
Although this time Secret Invasion (heck and Civil War) seems to be repeating/reusing the plot of the "Confession" story from Astro City. Although in a verrrrrryyyyy decompressed way. I guess that is part of the problem to me.
Not only are they reusing a story that has been done countless times before, they are reusing a plot that was brilliantly executed in 6 issues, and they are stetching it over 2 years in countless of comics.
When I saw the Elektra reveal, it reminded me of two things.
... and this.
The one by Byrne was not that big a reveal. It was planted in the issue before that Skrulls were pursued by Gladiator. So it was... not obvious... but likely that some Skrulls would be revealed in this story.
For the Astro City one, once again all the clues were planted in the preceding issues, but in a subtle enough way that it made this a powerfull reveal at the time. Althought the clues were there early on, it was subtle enough that the reader did not realise that this actually was an invasion story untill the end of issue 8 (possibly issue 7).
And once you get the reveal that it is actually an invasion story. Pretty much all the pieces fall into place and you can go back and read the previous issues with a new perspective in mind. Now THAT was a "secret invasion".
But the Elektra reveal seemed to come out of nowhere. And even then when word came out of a big reveal in the pages of New Avengers....... wayyyyyyy too many people saw that reveal come a mile away. And I was one of those scratching their heads wondering..... "This is the big reveal?? Why?? What makes this so special compared to the thousand times the Skrulls tried to invade Earth??"
Some would say that it is because it follows Civil War. But if it turns out that the Skrulls were actually behind Civil War as once again wayyyyyyy too many people suggested at the time (although most would say that sarcastically), imagine if they turn out to be right after all.
Apparently all the clues have been laid out for this "Secret Invasion". Not having read that many Secret Invasion related titles, I might have missed at least some of those clues if not most of those clues.. So that might actually be my own fault for not reading enough comics. ;)
Although I did see a clue (although one that I am sure Bendis never intended to be one since he seems to ignore pretty much everything that he did not write himself) in an "old" FF comic.I found this gem while re-reading some awesome FF comics by Marv Wolfman, John Byrne and Joe Sinnott.
I would like to think that this was the seed that gave birth to "Secret Invasion". But I would be surprised if there was any reference to this scene in Secret Invasion. Chances are that Bendis does not even know this scene exists. Will the lack of reference be caused by ignorance?? or just simply because Bendis has decided to simply ignore it??
Only one way to know for sure...
... maybe we should ask him. ;)