Secret Invasion Saga #1: Review

Mar 2008
John Rhett Thomas, ?

Story Name:

(no title given)

Review & Comments

3.5 stars

Secret Invasion Saga #1 Review by (May 24, 2016)
During Secret Invasion, Mighty Avengers and New Avengers were mostly given over to flashbacks showing how the Skrull infiltration built up. These comments contain a timeline of the build-up to SI including those fbs and the origins of some relevant characters.

Fantastic Four #2 Skrulls imitate FF and get turned into cows.
FF#18 Emperor Dorrek sends Super-Skrull against FF.
Kree/Skrull War Av#89-97 Earth gets dragged into the conflict. In a small sidebar Captain Marvel meets nice Skrull Princess Anelle.
Young Av #9-12 fbs reveal that Kree Mar-Vell and Anelle conceived a child who will be hidden on Earth for his safety. He will grow up to be Hulkling.
NAv:Illuminati 1-shot (p1-8) Black Bolt, Dr Strange, Iron Man, Mr Fantastic, Prof X and Sub-Mariner form the secret group to deal with such major problems. Black Panther declines to join.
NAv:Illuminati #1 Their 1st action is to go to the Skrull throneworld to warn the Skrulls not to attack Earth again. But they get captured, and their bodies and tech are studied before they manage to escape.
NAv#40fb(p1-7) The Skrulls have taken samples from the captive Illuminati. Their scientists hope to use this to create super Skrulls (unlike the technologically-powered Super-Skrull). Princess Veranke accosts Emperor Dorrek about ancient prophecies of a devourer of worlds (Galactus), a wave of destruction (Annihilation Wave) and a world of blue (Earth). She is exiled to a barren world.
NAv#40fb(p8-10) Skrulls clone Mr Fantastic but Dorrek kills him in anger.
NAv#44fb(p1-15) Skrulls create clones of the Illuminati, who believe that is who they are, except Prof X who is an ordinary shapeshifting Skrull. PX tries to trick Mr Fantastic into working out how to make undetectable Skrull imposters, but the 'Illuminati' see through it. Scientist Dro'ge thinks he can get the information out of MrF. Dorrek promotes him to head scientist.

FF#209 Dorrek is deposed by his wife R'klll.
NAv#44fb(p16-23) Dro'ge tries various ways, and eventually gets the technique out of MrF.
MAv#14fb(p1-7) Sentry saves the FF from some Skrulls. (The real) MrF tells him about them.
Uncanny X-Men #370/X-Men #90 The team travel back in time and see Skrull super-imitations training, just before ...
NAv#40fb(p11-12) ~ FF#257 ... Galactus destroys the Skrull throneworld killing Empress R'klll and Princess Anelle.
The Skrull Empire fragments under rival emperors. 1 such is Empress S'byll in the Silver Surfer series.
FF#265 Skrull Lyja replaces Thing's girlfriend Alicia Masters.
Av Annual #14/FF Annual #19 Both teams meet in Skrull space. It is this time on which a set of duplicates is based to sow confusion during SI.
FF#357-358 Lyja is exposed as a Skrull but helps the FF get the real Alicia back, and seems to die.
But she's not dead and soon the Skrulls will send her against the FF again as super-powered Lazerfist. She'll rebel again, and hang around the FF as an ally until they disappear into Heroes Reborn.
Av West Coast #91 Mockingbird is abducted and replaced by a Skrull copy. She was chosen as the 1st total replacement because she had no superpowers to duplicate.
NAv#40fb(p13-14) ~ SI#1fb(p1-2) Her followers bring back the vindicated prophetess Veranke. She takes control of some Skrulls (possibly S'byll's group).
Incredible Hercules #119fb(p1) Veranke tells of a prophecy of war between Skrull and Earth gods plus Hercules.
Skrull Kill Krew #1-5 Humans infected by Skrull DNA from meat from (the descendants of?) the Skrull cows in FF#2 hunt down normal Skrull imposters.

(Heroes Reborn)
UXM#371 The X-Men return from the past where Galactus destroyed the Skrull throneworld. Apocalypse replaces Wolverine with an undetectable enhanced Skrull duplicate. Not even Prof X can tell the difference and the imposter remains in place until XM#95 (including Wo#140-144).
MAv#16fb(p3-16) Elektra is replaced by Skrull Siri between Wo(2003)#28 and #29-31.
NAv#40fb(p15-21) Siri has proved Dro'ge's process can make undetectable duplicates with any superpowers. Veranke authorises more replacements. But *she* will go to Earth as well, and chooses to replace Spider-Woman.
SI:Runaways/YA#1fb(p1-2) Veranke tells Commander Chrell to train her army, and when the day comes to kill Hulkling the Kree/Skrull son of Captain Marvel and Anelle.
Av:Initiative #15fb(p12.1-12.2) ~ Marvel Team-Up (2004) #23/2fb(p??) Skrull Z'reg is sent to Earth to spy on the Avengers.
(Avengers Disassembled)
Av:Initiative #15fb(p12.3-13) ~ Marvel Team-Up (2004) #23/2fb(p??) With no Avengers to spy on Z'reg learns to like living on Earth and falls in love with an Earth girl.
NAv#14fb(p8&9.4-9.7) ~ Giant Size SpW Hydra Agent Connely offers Jessica Drew her full Spider-Woman powers back if she'll (re)join Hydra and also (re)join SHIELD to be a mole for them. She calls Nick Fury supposedly to get a SHIELD job.
NAv#14fb(p10-11) ~ NAv#42fb(p1) JD tells NF about Hydra's offer. He tells her to take it and he'll get her in SHIELD. But she'll be a mole in Hydra for *him*. He'll feed her innocuous SHIELD info to keep Hydra happy.
NAv#14fb(p12&13.1-13.2&13.4&13.6) ~ NAv#42fb(p2-3) The Hydra surgeons restore SpW's power, but they are Skrulls.
NAv#42fb(p4-7) Veranke becomes the Skrull SpW. (Presumably they needed SpW repowered so that V could take on her abilities. The process appears to need the original to copy from.)

NAv#43fb(p9-19) V as JD thanks Pitt'o Nili for volunteering to become permanently Captain America. The transformation is similar to V's but different. He'll *believe* he's Cap. Along with others he'll be saved for the mission in SI#1-4 to sow doubt amongst the real heroes. But they don't have the originals to copy personality and memories from, so they use Skrull mentalists to implant something. 'Cap' is given memories that diverge from the real guy during Av Annual #14 while the Av and FF had invaded Skrull territory. His memories say that they were captured by Skrulls instead of escaping, and have been tortured prisoners since then. He will believe that the heroes who returned to Earth then were really Skrulls.
NAv#14fb(p14) V/SpW exults in her flying power.
NAv#14fb(p15.2-15.5) V as SW acts as double-agent between Nick Fury and Hydra.
MAv#16fb(17-18) V meets Pagon who has for some reason repolaced Siri as Elektra and sends her on the mission which they know will end in her death (as is foretold).
YA#1 Hulkling shows up as part of the Young Avengers recruited by Iron Lad to fill the void left by Avengers Disassembled (and help him avoid becoming Kang the Conqueror).

This timeline will be continued in comments on SI: Who Do You Trust, SI Prologue and NAv: Illuminati #5.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Secret Invasion Saga #1 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
Tony Stark, Director of SHIELD, has got his Deputy Maria Hill to get loads of SHIELD techs to search out information for him and then pass it to a special AI to summarise it and encrypt it so Hill can send it to him without knowing what it is. (This doesn't make sense. The data-miners would have to know what they were looking for, and I'm sure she could make them tell her.) Anyway Tony is now reviewing the data while flying around as Iron Man.

The info is a history of human interaction with the Skrulls. He needs it because he's been alerted to the fact that the aliens are here again. Spider-Woman brought him (Mighty Avengers #6-7) a corpse of a Skrull who had been disguised as Elektra. The New Avengers had fought her as leader of the Hand in Japan (NAv#27-31) and had been surprised when she turned Skrull when she was killed. In NAv#32 the team were worried that no tech, magic or hypersenses had been able to tell she was a fake. So anyone could be a Skrull, even 1 of themselves. The outlawed NAv now suspected Stark of being a Skrull because of his enmity in Civil War. However Spider-Woman had defected with the body because she thought Stark and SHIELD were the best chance of uncovering an invasion.

This also spread the paranoia as Tony began to wonder if there was a Skrull in his Mighty Avengers (MAv#7-8). So lately he reconvened the Illuminati in NAv:Ill#5 to consider the problem, even though they had broken up over exiling Hulk to space (leading to Planet Hulk and World War Hulk) and the Civil War. But then 1 of their number Black Bolt, king of the Inhumans, turned out to be a Skrull too. Despite the fact that the team included Dr Strange and the telepathic Prof X, and none of their deliberate probes or Iron Man's tech had detected an alien in their midst. Black Bolt was killed, as well as 2 other super-powered Skrulls who came to his aid. But the remaining team broke up, unable to trust even each other.

(When the Saga was published only the issues mentioned above were out (and not even MAv#8). The Official Index places NAv:Ill#5 and this issue just before the Secret Invasion series starts, a long time after the NAv and MAv issues (for instance World War Hulk has happened in between). According to the OI Stark should also mention that Skrull imposters have turned up in Captain Marvel (2008) #1-5 and Ms Marvel (2006) #25-27, which weren't published until later.)

Now for the history of the Skrulls:-

They hail from the Andromeda galaxy, the nearest galaxy that isn't a satellite of our own, where they have established an empire. They are a race of shapeshifters, but they normally are only able to imitate forms not take on their target's abilities. (Previously they have used technological means to create super-powered Skrulls.) And they certainly couldn't fool hypersenses and mind-probes.

Their early history was laid out in Avengers #133 where we learned that initially the Skrulls created an empire by trade rather then by conquest. In particular they offered their advanced tech to backward races in return for becoming their overlords. When in the time of Emperor Dorrek I they came to the planet Hala in the Large Magellanic Cloud (a small satellite galaxy of the Milky Way) they found the barbarian Kree and the plant-like Cotati. They only wanted to deal with 1 species, and so brought representatives of each to separate moons to take part in a challenge. The Kree were put down on Earth's Moon where the Skrulls created the Blue Area to support them. The Skrulls then deemed the Cotati more worthy, but the Kree bunch took over the Skrulls' spaceship. Learning from Skrull tech the Kree race quickly became a warlike interstellar empire. They attacked the Skrull worlds, and the Skrulls were forced to become militaristic too. Thus began the eons-long Kree/Skrull War.

The earliest Skrull appearance on Earth itself in Iron Man's data was in the Old West in Wilcox, Oklahoma where Kid Colt and Arizona Girl discovered the whole town was Skrulls (the recent Marvel Westerns: KC & AG #1). That invasion was easily foiled.

A Skrull slave ship from the planet Kral IV abducted some humans in the Prohibition era, among them gangster Machine Gun Martin. (Later in Fantastic Four #90-93 Thing will also be abducted to Kral.)

Next on the list is a Cold War episode in Marvel Premiere #35-37 where the 3-D Man was accidentally empowered by some Skrulls and then stopped their attempts to escalate tensions.

Finally we get to the 1st published app of the Skrulls in FF#2. 4 Skrulls were sent from an orbiting warship to imitate the FF using tech to mimic their powers. This was to discredit Earth's only superteam before an invasion. But the FF exposed them. Reed Richards then went to the warship and fooled the Skrull commander that Earth was defended by giant monsters, using pages from (Marvel) monster mags. The invaders ran away and Reed forced 3 of the Skrulls on Earth to change into cows, after which he hypnotised them into forgetting that they weren't. (This will have repercussions later.)

Realising they'd been duped Emperor Dorrek VII ordered the creation of a Super-Skrull who could simulate the powers of all 4 of the FF plus hypnosis (maybe Dorrek had heard about the cows). But when he attacked (FF#18) Reed figured out that Kl'rt's abilities were powered by a beam from space (all the way from the throneworld Tarnax IV in Andromeda!). Defeat again.

The Super-Skrull returned in FF#32 where he forced Franklin Storm, father of Sue and Johnny of the FF, to be a suicide bomber. Kl'rt no longer needed the support of a power beam when he fought Thor (Th#142) and Kree Captain Marvel (CM#2-4).

Meanwhile in FF#90-93 Thing got abducted to Kral IV where the Skrulls had remodelled their society around prohibition and gangsters, with added arena combat. (The Kral Skrulls will feature in Avengers Annual #14 later in this history, and the replacement FF with Black Panther and Storm will visit Kral in BP(2005)#32-34.)

The Kree/Skrull War came to Earth in Av#89-97. Supposedly Earth is of strategic value because it is midway between the Skrull's Andomeda galaxy and the Kree's Large Magellanic Cloud (which of course is untrue). The 3 cows returned to Skrulls, and the 4th Skrull from FF#2 (who didn't get turned into a cow) fomented public distrust of the Avengers as H Warren Craddock of the Alien Activities Commission, while Super-Skrull kidnapped Captain Marvel and the Kree took Rick Jones. In the midst of a battle between the Avengers and 2 armadas the Kree ex-ruler the Supreme Intelligence played his trump card and triggered Rick's latent power which froze both alien armies, stopping the war and restoring himself to power. (Meanwhile on the Skrull throneworld Captain Marvel met Skrull Princess Anelle with results we'll discover later.)

In the aftermath Iron Man created the Illumati (with Black Bolt, Dr Strange, Mr Fantastic, Prof X and Sub-Mariner) to prepare for and deal with such major threats to Earth (in the New Avengers: Illuminati 1-shot). Then in the 1st issue of their mini-series they went to Tarnax IV to warn the Skrulls not to attack Earth again. But they got captured, and their bodies and tech were studied before they managed to escape. Tony Stark is sure that what the Skrulls learned then helped them create the undetectable Skrulls he faces now. He also wonders (incorrectly) if Black Bolt was replaced then.

During a different war between Skrulls and Xandarians with their Nova Corps (FF#204-209 and Nova#25) Empress R'klll deposed her husband Dorrek.

The Skrulls and Kree each sent an observer to monitor the trial of Phoenix in Uncanny X-Men #137 on the Blue Area of the Moon. These observers started to fight each other, and in FF Annual #18 we learned that Empress and Kree Intelligence decided to let that fight decide the final outcome of their interrupted war. After months it was declared a draw.

But then in FF#256-257 Galactus ate the Skrull throneworld Tarnax IV along with Empress R'klll. And the empire fragmented into civil wars between warlords.

(Tony's info is missing a relevant episode. In X-Men (1991) #89/Uncanny XM #370/XM#90 the team accidentally went back in time to a moon of Tarnax IV just before Galactus arrived. They found Skrulls who had been permanently transformed to mimic Earth super-beings and their powers, using the moon as a training base. The moon was destroyed by Galactus along with its planet. But the science involved survived on Tarnax X as seen in NAv#40.)

At the time of the 1st Secret Wars (FF#265) Thing's girlfriend Alicia Masters was abducted and replaced by a Skrull named Lyja. This didn't require duplicating any superpowers, but whatever imitation method was used it went undetected until FF#357.

In Av#259-260 the Avengers allied with 1 Skrull faction led by General Zedrao against the space-pirate Nebula, who claimed to be the granddaughter of the deceased Thanos and was using his spaceship base Sanctuary II to conquer Skrull planets. Afterwards in Av Annual #14 and FF Annual #19 they tried unsuccessfully to to prevent Skrull Zabyk from detonating the Hyperwave Bomb which froze all Skrulls in the universe in the shapes they were in.

Skrull S'byll became Empress of a major faction, making her homeworld Satriani the throneworld, and led them into another war with the Kree in the 1987 Silver Surfer series. By #31 she had found a way to restore the Skrulls' shapeshifting, and also ended the war again.

Lyja was exposed as a Skrull in FF#357. But she had fallen in love with and married Human Torch, so she helped the FF get Alicia Masters back. She was sent against the FF again as Lyja the Lazerfist, but again she sided with them and stayed as an ally.

Then came Operation: Galactic Storm as the Earth got caught up in a war between the Kree and the Shi'ar. But Araki, counsel to Shi'ar Empress Lilandra, was secretly a Skrull. And he arranged for the Shi'ar to detonate a Nega-Bomb in the Kree galaxy, which led to the Shi'ar ruling the Skrulls' ancient enemy.

(Stark can't know this at this time but soon after Galactic Storm (in Avengers West Coast #91) Mockingbird was the 1st Earthling hero(ine) to be abducted and replaced by 1 of Veranke's new type of undetectable Skrull imposter. She was chosen because she had no superpowers to duplicate. She was so good a duplicate that she didn't revert to a Skrull when she died, unlike the later Elektra. And she even continued to be Mockingbird later in Hell and Heaven!)

(The last known app of S'byll was Silver Surfer (1987) #105. Veranke possibly took over her empire after this.)

Then Earth was infiltrated by many Skrulls from indeterminate factions of the still scattered empire. The 1995 Skrull Kill Krew mini-series told of a group infected by Skrull DNA from eating meat from cow-Skrulls. (Supposedly these were the Skrulls turned into cows in FF#2. But they had recovered by the time of the Kree/Skrull War in Avengers. So maybe the meat was from the descendants of those 'cows') They could detect (normal) Skrulls, and hunted them down with the powers their infection gave them.

After the Onslaught/Heroes Reborn interlude a lone Skrull posed as the Sensational Hydra to lead a Hydra group against Captain America (CA(1998)#3-7). His plan was to take Cap's place and destabilise the US by claiming that there were loads of Skrulls hiding amongst them. (Maybe he was right and didn't know it.)

(Stark's database doesn't say that Wolverine #145 revealed that when the X-Men returned in UXM#371 from their time-trip to the destruction of Tarnax IV by Galactus some Skrulls allied with Apocalypse replaced Logan with 1 of their own who'd undergone the same permanent transformation as the inhabitants of Tarnax' moon had. He too went undetected for a long while, even by telepaths like Prof X.)

Stark's data also contains some friendly Skrulls on Earth. John the Skrull (who may have been John Lennon) works with Pete Wisdom and the British MI-13. Super-Skrull's daughter Jazinda is a companion of She-Hulk. (He doesn't know that Crusader, 1 of the Initiative trainees, is a friendly Skrull. Nor yet that the 'returned' original Captain Marvel is actually a Skrull who has been been fashioned to imitate CM rather more accurately than the Skrulls expected.) Then there's the case of Hulkling of the Young Avengers.

It turned out that he was the son of the original Kree Captain Marvel and the Skrull Princess Anelle. Remember they met briefly during the Kree/Skrull War. He'd been smuggled to Earth by the woman (Skrull) he thought was his mother to save him from his grandfather Dorrek, before Anelle and his grandmother R'klll were killed by Galactus. In YA#9-12 Skrulls (led by Super-Skrull) and Kree fought over him because both sides believe Teddy Altman is their predestined saviour. But Super-Skrull (who has gradually become a good guy) swapped places with Hulkling and agreed to spend alternating times with both sides.

Recently Super-Skrull has again stood with the goodies against the Annihilation Wave in the Annihilation event. He destroyed the Harvester of Sorrows with which Annihilus was ravaging the Andromeda galaxy. And then he helped the Kree Ronan the Accuser retake the Kree homeworld Hala from the Wave.

Which brings us to the present day.

Leinil Francis Yu (Cover Penciler)
Leinil Francis Yu (Cover Inker)
Laura Martin (Cover Colorist)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

3-D Man
3-D Man

(Chuck Chandler / Hal Chandler)
Black Panther
Black Panther

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Doctor Strange
Doctor Strange

(Stephen Strange)

(Bruce Banner)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)

(Jennifer Walters)

(Ororo Munroe)

(Ben Grimm)


(James Howlett)

Plus: Alicia Masters, Super-Skrull.

> Secret Invasion Saga: Book info and issue index

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