We’ve done seven of these, and we’re not to issue #4 yet? That’s absolutely crazy. Let’s get right into it.
Mighty Avengers #15 features a Skrulltastic Hank Pym in his Yellowjacket gear on the cover. Astute readers may infer the contents of the issue; that’s right, this is where we find out how and when Hank was replaced by a Skrull! If you guessed right, you get a cookie*. The story begins by showing Hank and Janet’s latest separation, this time while Hank’s on a research/lecture trip in Europe. After a juxtaposed scene with Janet on a drunken bender and Hank being the sober one, she leaves him alone in a foreign land. Hank is quick to find a replacement to warm his bed, in the form of a young blond co-ed whom had attended his lecture. She proceeds to get close to him and gathers every bit of information from him that she can; his powers, the Avengers, Ultron, his personal life, his past experiences with the Skrulls- nothing is off limits. After some time, she reveals herself as a Skrull, gravely injuring him. A ceremony is shown, where this Skrull, surrounded by her peers, is draped in some sort of bloody cloth. Through a series of chants, she becomes Henry Pym. The procedure apparently forces two sets of thoughts into the Skrull. Skrull Pym insinuates itself into S.H.I.E.L.D. in the Ultron incident readers saw a few months ago. Through this, it learns that Tony Stark is now linked directly into his armor and his tech biologically, setting up for the complete disarmament of Starktech and Iron Man himself at the beginning of Secret Invasion. He mentions “M-Day has come and gone” in a meeting with fellow replaced Skrulls, and informs the Skrull Queen (in Jessica Drew form) that they’re ready for full scale invasion. At the end of the issue, “Henry” gives Janet a new version of Pym Particles to inject in herself, ostensibly to have better control of her abilities. The real reason is sure to be much more sinister. [Quick note: Elements of this issue’s timeline don’t quite jibe with elements of other timelines in other issues. Is it a continuity error, or more Skrull sneakiness? Damn you, Bendis!]
In New Avengers #42, we are treated to a similar story, this time about the aforementioned Skrull Queen becoming Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman. When Jessica went to “Hydra” to get her powers back, it was completely infiltrated by Skrulls. They extract whatever it is they have to extract, and proceed with the aforementioned ceremony, draping the queen in some bloody cloth. This time, they show her bombarded by the memories of Jessica Drew, and it is expressly stated that it is blood she is being bathed in. There are three targets, “the vibranium mines, the mutant population growth problem, and super-powered community.” The infiltration of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Hydra is shown, along with a plan to get humans and mutants fighting each other again. “Jessica” got herself stationed at The Raft, and next a familiar scene from the opening arc of New Avengers is shown. She was surprised to be asked into the Avengers. She joins, and shortly asks about one of the top threats to the Skrull force, Wanda Maximoff; now that uncomfortable situation takes on a different meaning with the revealed background. She’s pulled into the team that goes to confront Wanda in Genosha, and everything whites out (as the House of M universe begins)…
We’ve also seen more Skrullcentric Avengers action in Avengers: The Initiative. Issue #14 clues us in not only on how Skrullowjacket survived the explosion early in the series, but also reveals that the Fake Hank is extremely grouchy. All kidding aside, the Pym-Skrull is extraordinarily dangerous, as he managed to secure himself the position of being the guy that selects Initiative agents for each team. Whoops. That essentially guarantees a Skrull impersonating a super on each squad in addition to the infiltrations made on the big teams. (New York, you’ve got the most hero teams; you’re f@#&ed). Another point of interest is that Earth-sympathetic hidden Skrull Crusader suspects Pym because he eats strawberries and pickles (which apparently equate to the taste of a Skrull dish).
Also, 3-D Man (the artist formerly known as Triathalon) discovers that his rockin’ specs can see Skrulls. After outing and eliminating the Hawaiian agent, 3-D heads back to Camp Hammond where, unfortunately, Crusader’s attempt to save his own green ass has 3-D believing that everyone there is a Skrull. Again, whoops. But back on to Pym for a second . . . it’s been intimated that Pym and Tigra had been seeing each other in a physically active capacity. Let’s hope that it never went that far, because the people who were angry about her treatment by The Hood would be really, really angry if she’d been duped into having sex with a Skrull agent for months. Of course, the irony is that this would be the same Skrull that duped the real Hank Pym into having sex with it for months. Are all Skrulls equal-opportunity sex offenders, or does their capital city’s name translate into English as “Swingtown”?
The Young Avengers and the Runaways jumped into the Secret Invasion in the aptly titled Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers. Number 1 begins to answer the questions every fan of the two premier young Marvel teams has been asking: What about Xavin? What about Teddy? After all, that’s a Super Skrull and a Half-Skrull Prince, right there, fully installed upon two teams in the Marvel Universe! A flashback scene insinuates a close connection, as the two of them are each referenced within one conversation. The Runaways are in NYC, having recently arrived back from the past (at the end of the Whedon/Ryan arc of their ongoing book), when suddenly it begins, as Molly says, “raining Xavins!” Xavin herself turns on the runners, and knocks them all out with a fierce invisible blast. Whether this was to save them from further attack or because of a momentary lapse in loyalty is somewhat unclear at this point. We see the Young Avengers enter the battle, and the Skrulls see Teddy, knowing immediately who he is. Xavin tells Nico and Victor that these religious extremist Skrulls will kill any superhuman, as they are atrocities to them. She begs them to take the other kids and, well, run away. Meanwhile, four Skrulls attack Teddy aka Dorrek VIII, but only their commander knows who he is. He worries, in fact, that if others knew of the Prince’s presence it might confuse or demoralize them. Xavin sees the Skrull Commander, who may be her trainer, and recognizes Teddy as Dorrek. She saves him from the initial attack, bringing him into the sewers. 3 Super-Skrulls find them, looking rather powerful and unhappy, and that’s where we’re left.
You may recall that in Captain Britain and MI-13 #1, we saw the Skrulls attack Great Britain, and destroy the Siege Perilous, apparently killing Captain Britain in the process. The British mourn the Captain in #2 as the Skrulls fully invade Avalon. Faiza discovers her super-powers, and Wisdom is still hearing voices. After making a deal with “Tink” the fairy, Wisdom, John the Skrull, and Spitfire are transported to Avalon, where the magical creatures are being destroyed by the Skrull Invaders. Several variations of Super Skrulls are seen here, similar to the previous issue, this time showing several technological mimics, such as Deathlok and Iron Man. As Faiza and Black Knight fight Skrulls “outside,” Peter’s team head to a cave housing none other than Excalibur. As it had been alluded to up to this point, Pete Wisdom steps up, grabs hold of the hilt, pulls it, and… nothing happens. He realizes that only one man could take the sword, but is dead. The Skrulls proceed to kill several prominent magical beings, stealing their magical artifacts in the process. They put them in a big mystical space-blender (hey, I couldn’t make that up), and out comes a Dr. Strange Demon Fairy Ghost Rider creature, ready to take possession of all magic.
Ms. Marvel #28, an official tie-in at last, starts off with the obligatory spot-the-powers-on-the-group-of-Super-Skrulls shot, and we do indeed see a wide variety of the multi-powered aliens. Ms. Marvel, having been the only Avenger to listen to orders, flew back to NYC just in time to see the huge invading force. She holds her own against several of them, before taking one into space and watching him die (admittedly enjoying it). She re-enters the fight, apparently killing a few Skrulls. They realize she’s trying to protect the innocents, and all change their forms to look like average New Yorkers. She manages to figure out which are which (with a low powered general blast that knocks the regular humans “on their asses”), kills a bunch more, then is attacked by an absolutely gigantic Skrull, and there we are to be continued.
An anthology SI one-shot, Secret Invasion: Who Do You Trust came and went without really giving readers a ton of new information. There were no big reveals here, not really even any hints about new Skrulls. Captain Skrull-Vell apparently infiltrates the invading army and is working as a double agent on behalf of Earth. A look into SWORD shows how Agent Brand rose to the top, and reveals the agency’s purpose as a United Nations of sorts, but across many galaxies and races. She seems to figure something out about their plan, and we’re promised to see her story continue in #4 of the main series. Wonder Man and the 70s style Beast that came off the Skrull ship in the initial attack have a bit of a buddy adventure. While there’s some back and forth there, Beast says something very telling: “you could be a Skrull and not know it.” It seems like some, or all, of the “70s heroes” may fall into this category. Marvel Boy took over the super-human prison known as The Cube. The Skrulls took out his mind control device. Now he’s pissed. Next story! The Agents of Atlas kick ass and take names against Skrull invaders, but do recognize one important aspect of the would-be conquerors. The Skrulls truly believe they’ll make a better world, galaxy, empire if they take everything over. That’s about all the relevant information out of those 5 entire stories.
Over in Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #2, we gain a little bit more info as the Baxter Building bounces around the Negative Zone. Mainly, however, we get ultimate confirmation that Johnny Storm, the Human Torch, is, above all things, a horndog. Seriously. He pauses mid-fight to make out with his Skrull ex-wife. The rest of the issue is devoted to Franklin, Val, and Ben getting out of their various scrapes. Lyja, post-make-out, gets injured by a giant Negative Zone jellyfish, and the rest of the family decides to break into Reed’s prison to find any villains that can help them get home. Chances that plan will backfire? Show of hands?
Another tie-in without a lot of tie-in is Incredible Hercules #118. Granted, the God Squad is trying to find their way, and they tussle rather grandly with the machinations of Nightmare. The big moment actually arrives as Hercules and Snowbird have a seemingly private moment. Little do they know that they are being watched by Kerebos, Amadeus Cho’s coyote pup. And he has glowing green eyes! So, is our pup a Skrull, or did Cho use Gamma-based techniques on him while he was trying to save his life? For now, the easy tag to hang on this puppy is Skrull, but we’ll reserve complete judgment for now.
Lastly, I feel I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention She-Hulk #30. No, it’s not an official tie-in, but it does have some relevance. Like Young Avengers and Runaways, this book has had a Skrull involved for quite some time. Jen’s partner is Jazinda, the daughter of the O.G. Super Skrull, Kl’rt. At the very end of this issue, Jazinda falls to the ground and notes, “The Talisman is here. I just sensed Him, less than two hundred miles away…” While that’s all she says, it’s a safe bet the “him” she sensed is dear old dad, who will be showing up in the upcoming cross-over. The foreshadowing is not an essential tie-in by any means (it’s literally on the last page) but it does make the upcoming tie-in issues a bit more organic.
Questions to Ponder:
How much blood is needed for one of those Hero-Replacing Blood Bowls?
If Black Bolt was a Skrull, where’s the Space Gem right now? If you recall, the members of the Illuminati split up the Infinity Gems, with Black Bolt taking Space. Did the Skrull Black Bolt at least know about the gem, and what has he done with it?
Say you had the job of selecting every member of the Initiative teams. Would it be funnier to put Ant-Man or Stature in Rhode Island? Do earthquake powers immediately DQ you from California? Decisions, decisions . . .
*There will be no cookie. What do you think I am, some kind of cookie machine?