Damn Dirty Skrulls: What We Know Now, 10

Best Shots Extra: Secret Invasion #5

The Concept: The Skrulls have invaded! We recap! Let’s go!

Secret Invasion #5 : As you may recall, Crisis on Infinite Earths gave us the over-used catch-phrase “red sky crossover”. That’s because as the Crisis began in earnest, the skies went red. Occasionally, tie-in books had no other tie-in apart from a “red Crisis sky”. I bring this up because this issue gives us a new phrase that shall now rival “red sky crossover” in subsequent use. We’ll get there in a minute.

Things start off with Skrull-Vell (who’s on our side! Whoo-hoo! Captain Mar-Vell’s an American! I mean human! I mean Kree! I mean Skrull who wants to be Kree! Damn it.) and Norman Osborn still.talking. Finally, their heart to heart ends and Marv splits. Norman goes all Alpha Male to assemble his troops, just as The Hood did last issue. While it’s true that those two scenes are similar, it won’t matter; The Hood won’t show up at all this issue, and that’s the last we see of blonde-loving Norman.

Elsewhere . . . (seriously, it says, “Elsewhere . . .”) Stature wakes up to find that Vision’s got his head together (ha!) and that she and the Young Avengers are hanging out in Nick Fury and the New Howling Commandos’ base. They watch as the Skrulls, impersonating everybody from Osama to Obama, from Oprah to the Pope-ah,.promise the world that their problems are over . . . if they submit to the Damn Dirty Skrulls.

Meanwhile, in Low Earth Orbit, Agent Brand reveals that she a) speaks Skrull and b) knows how to shoot a blaster. Skrull blasters, incidentally, go “Psham”. Twenty-two “Pshams” later, and Brand has saved Reed Richards. Like Black Widow before her, Agent Brand is f*@$ing scary. Reed starts out looking a bit like the Yankee Stadium infield tarp, but Brand helps him get it together. Reed snaps out of it, and before you can say “Deus Ex Machina!”, has a patented Reed Richards IdentoSkrull Lamp slapped together.

Over in the Bermuda Triangle, Maria Hill smarts off one too many times to Skrull Jarvis. The Skrulls light her up, but wait! It’s a LMD (a callback to one of the Avengers tie-in issues, wherein Nick Fury advised Hill to have the LMDs on deck)! The real Maria gets in some sniper action, some self-destruct sequence, and some jet-pack action before flying away as the Helicarrier goes WHROOOOOOOOOOM!

Speaking of explosive sound effects, Reed and Brand are under fire in the Skrull ship when Captain Marvel arrives! We know that Captain Marvel arrives because when he arrives, Reed yells, “It’s Captain Marvel!” complete with his logo. Apparently, it’s a hidden power of Reed’s. The same thing happens when he orders a Coke; the word appears in the air with a swirl under it.

On Earth, in the Savage Land, suspicions run rampant. Just when the various factions are about to come to blows, Reed arrives with the Light of Truth. In seconds, EVERY SINGLE SURVIVOR FROM THE SAVAGE LAND SHIP IS REVEALED TO BE A SKRULL. Earth’s heroes are naturally saddened by this. So saddened that they kill the hell out of them. Black Widow rains the Buddas. Luke Cage punches the closest woman. Ares utters a nonsensically censored curse (Caleb pointed this out, but he’s right, what the f*@$ is a “@#$ing hole”? Four swear signs would make sense; it could even stand for “Shut your fishing hole!”, which I understand is a curse in Greece). Even Zabu gets in on the action, fulfilling my awesome scene quotient for the issue by eating Skrull Jewel (the Skrull version of Jessica Jones in her super-identity, not the Skrull version of the pseudo-folkie/country singer, though I think that we can all agree that Zabu eating pseudo-folkie/country singer Jewel would likewise be awesome).

Things wind down as our heroes examine the emotional wreckage of the scene. Notes are compared. Ka-Zar wants to go the New York and kill more Skrulls. Spider-Man nearly swears when he finds out Spider-Woman was a Skrull. And as for Clint, well . . . Clint’s upset that he had to smoke Skrullingbird. In fact, he advocates genocide, albeit with the proper number of symbols in his swears.

As for my earlier promise regarding “red sky crossover”, the new phrase is “Savage Land Skrull Ship”. We can now safely employ that phrase for an event storytelling element that initially seems important, but upon reflection turns out to be a red herring or completely irrelevant. Think about it: the Savage Land Skrull Ship contained not one actual hero. Why was it there other than a plot device to get the main heroes out of New York? Here’s an example, “Remember that part in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull when Indy lectures Mutt on the importance of scorpion size relative to venom, but they never visit that point again, making you wonder why they spent time on it? Total Savage Land Skrull Ship, man.”

Secret Invasion: X-Men #1 : The Skrulls attack San Francisco, but they didn’t count on the X-Men! Uh, that’s pretty much it. When the Skrulls realize that they’re fighting the X-Men, they actually show fear. That’s because the X-Men a) handed their green rumps back to them during the Warskrull story circa 1990/91 and b) previously foiled their earlier “use Skrull versions of ‘70s heroes” plot in the late ‘90s.

Aside from Skrulls being beaten by X-Men in fog, another thread comes from Nightcrawler’s temptation by a Skrull Palantir, er, holy object. Nightcrawler overcomes this because he’s a man of God. Actually, if you remember the Chuck Austen run, he’s a creature of Satan or something. I’d go back and re-read that story to be sure, but it nearly burned my eyes out the first time, and I enjoy seeing my wife and kids.

Secret Invasion: Thor #1 : The main Skrull point of contention is this swell issue has to do with Beta Ray Bill. BRB lands, defeated, in Asgard, and bearing news of the conflict. Naturally, he arouses suspicion (due in part to s#!+-stirring Loki), but has his identity confirmed by a clever Thor. Only problem is that BRB is zipping around with Mjolnir when the Skrulls actually show up to attack Asgard (which, if you recall, is parked over the plains).

Secret Invasion: Inhumans #1: One thing is certain: The Inhumans have crappy security. First off, their king gets replaced and they don’t know it. After a heated confrontation with Iron Man, Medusa brings the truth back to her people. Of course, it’s not long before the Skrulls show up in force, both from within (drinking with Gorgon, hiding in the Terrigen Waters, skulking about in Medusa’s room) and without (biiiiig ship descending). The issue ends with one big confirmation: Black Bolt is still alive in the hands of the Skrulls.

Actually, this revelation raises some ramification questions. If Black Bolt is alive, are all of the other replaced characters alive? Is so, will they all be rescued? If they’re all rescued, has the Skrull scheme failed? Y’think? Sure, they can still conquer Earth, but that’s a lot of effort wasted.

But wait, there’s more!

Oooohhhhh one, two princes kneel before you, that’s what I said now… That's right, we see Prince Xavin and Prince Dorrek, both having been promised as saviors and peace-bringers of the Skrulls team up in SI: Runaways/Young Avengers #2. We get a little more of the background behind both of these royals-in-training, re-iterating that Xavin was taught that Dorrek (aka Teddy Altman, Hulkling) is the savior of the Skrulls. Xavin and the wonder twins, Billy and Tommy, take down three Super Skrulls, with Xavin once again showing that he can now masterfully use two Fantastic Four powers simultaneously (in this case, in the form of scientifically baffling stretchy rock). Meanwhile, the Runaways get their asses handed to them until Old Lace (who joins Zabu in the animals-that-eat-Skrulls club. I think it’s high time we see an Old Lace/Zabu Eat the Marvel Universe special; make it happen, Marvel!), Chase, and Molly throw down on some Super Skrulls, while Molly spouts the best line in comic book history (you go, Princess Powerful). A Jedi-hooded Skrullektra (presumably a new one, though Elektras HAVE been known to come back from the dead) is sent by Xavin’s old trainer to take down Dorrek and friends, gets held off, but finds out that Xavin’s there. Finally, General Muckety-Muck shows up with five variety-pack Super Skrulls, telling the Runaways that he’s going to use them to kill the two princes, princes who adore you. Hopefully, they won’t go ahead now.

Oh, oh, oh, it’s magic! Over in Captain Britain and MI13 #4 the only magic that hasn’t been stolen by the Skrulls, that of Excalibur (the sword, not the old British Mutant Team. Though, either of the Magiks would have come in handy, as they tap into non-Avalon connected power…hmmm) is wielded by the freshly dead-and-reborn Captain Britain. He thoroughly kicks the tar out of Super Magic Skrull, cutting his magical chains (and him) in half. As the magic returns to the beings from which it was stolen, the evil magic beings Wisdom freed (they were part of a package deal) take down the Skrulls in Avalon, but not before John the Skrull (one of those good-guy Skrulls) is shot in the face and killed. As part of the deal, Sattanish the scary bad magic guy grants Pete Wisdom one wish, which can affect only Britain. Wisdom does his best Scarlet Witch impression, saying three little words, “No More Skrulls;” instantly, every Skrull in Great Britain is vaporized, and any that try to cross over wind up the same way. This also indicates they are in fact massively vulnerable against magic, perhaps foreshadowing a greater solution to the Skrull problem in the rest of the Marvel Universe.

I have nothing funny to say about Secret Invasion: Fantastic Snore #3. Lyja and Johnny talked. A lot. FOR THE THIRD ISSUE IN A ROW. The Tinkerer, who was arrested because Tony Stark and Reed Richards are dicks, fixes the teleporter. He, along with Johnny, Ben, Franklin, and Valeria, zap back into Manhattan, while Lyja stays behind in the Negative Zone to “find herself.” They arrive to find a Manhattan in ruins, with several buildings burning, which is bizarre for a race that wants to “save” Earthlings, not annihilate them. As far as importance goes, you needed to read approximately .2 pages of this three-issue mini. That would be the very last panel, where an unhappy ending to this crossover is alluded to, as Franklin thinks, “Nothing was gonna be okay ever again.”

Ms. Marvel #29 actually addresses the fact that our heroes are fighting shapeshifters, and should thus be having a harder time killing them than they seem to be (explaining why she keeps doing full blast headshots, which take a lot out of her). She creatively blows a hole in a Giant Skrull, then hooks back up with Agent Sum (though not “hooks up” in the way she’s recently hooked up with a Kree, whom she seems to have forgotten about, and Wonder Man). They kill some Skrulls, he goes Skrull bowling in a bus, and Ms. Marvel takes out an entire battalion by beating the crap out of a Nitro-Skrull, forcing him to recreate the Stamford Incident, but with a lot less kids and a lot more super-powered alien shapeshifting religious zealot invaders hell bent on taking over Earth and using it as the homeworld for their reborn empire. She then takes a bus full of people to The Raft, thinking the prison would be a relatively safe, defensible position. Unfortunately, a Skrull that “other Skrulls were scared of” has ritualistically murdered every S.H.I.E.L.D. agent stationed at the island jail. “THEY WERE SCARED OF IT!”

The Skrulls are trying to get Vibranium from Wakanda over in Black Panther #39 . They show up expecting to be able to run right over the African nation, thanks to Skrull agents placed amongst the secluded super-power. Most of (but not all, we find out at the end) these agents were found out earlier, and killed, then posted Lord of the Flies style as a greeting for the invading party. After a game of “my weapons disabling ability is stronger than yours,” ending with both forces having no advanced weaponry or power. As the Skrull General does his best Braveheart, the Wakandans do their best Spartacus (“I’m Black Panther!”) and the two armies clash medieval style. T’Challa is keeping Storm’s powers at bay as an ace-in-the-hole, but Commander K’Vvvr has a Skrull agent who is yet-to-be-revealed as his own secret weapon. The battle of apostrophized leaders is clearly just beginning.

Finally, Secret Invasion: Front Line #2 sees a decent amount happen, just not a lot that affects the greater crossover. Apparently the Nitro-Skrull gets around, or is a popular upgrade, as one blows up a hospital, killing Urich’s lady doctor friend. Outside of Stark Tower, a Nova-Skrull burns an Officer Bill’s leg, and we know he gets out of the situation alive, as he’s narrating the story to Mr. Urich. Meanwhile, some employees in said Tower del Stark are being led down the stairs and out of the building by a man and his hoochie-dressed daughter using cellphones as flashlights. They frantically try to sneak past a room where a Skrull has been playing hungry hungry hippos, except in place of a plastic hippo, it’s the Skrull, and in place of small plastic balls, it’s human heads. Yum. Readers shouldn’t get too attached to any of these characters, due to a recent twitter by writer Brian Reed: “The "everybody dies" issues are always sort of cathartic. These bastards have made life difficult for 5 months and now you can kill them. 02:47 PM August 06, 2008.” That may or may not be referencing this book, but the timing is about right.

Related:

Damn Dirty Skrulls: What We Know Now, 9

Damn Dirty Skrulls: What We Know Now, 8

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