An Abridged Retelling of Marvel’s Secret Invasion Crossover

Marvel Studios Secret Invasion
Source-Marvel Studios, Marvel

I knew that this was eventually going to happen in the MCU. From the moment they added the Skrulls, I knew that the Secret Invasion was only a matter of time. This summer, the MCU sees the return of Nick Fury to prominence in the upcoming mini-series “Secret Invasion.” Like everything in the MCU, this upcoming series is inspired by events and stories from the comics. However, those who haven’t read the comics might not realize just how big this crossover event was. Running from June 2008 to January 2009, the Secret Invasion saw Earth’s heroes and villains almost pushed to the breaking point. By the time the dust settled, there were long-lasting consequences that few could’ve expected. 

I’m R.J. Writing Ink, and today, we’re going to cover the events of the Secret Invasion, the Skrulls greatest attempt to seize control of Earth, and one of my favorite stories from Marvel. This is tale of friends being turned on each other, people second-guessing their own identities, and the last person I thought being the hero who saved Earth.

Infiltration Begins

Marvel Comics-Veranke the Queen of the Skrulls in Disguise
Source-Marvel Comics, Nerdist

One of the earliest and biggest threats to modern Earth, the Skrulls are a race of alien shape-shifters that rule over a massive, interstellar Empire. Unfortunately, Earth also sits at vital trade junctions, making it prime real estate for galactic civilizations. Time and again, the Skrulls sought to conquer Earth, even using their technology to give one of their own the powers of the Fantastic Four. Thankfully, Earth’s heroes always ensured these plans of conquest never succeeded. 

Things finally came to a head after the end to the war between the Kree and the Skrulls. Fed up with their repeated interference, a group of heroes consisting of Iron Man, Mr. Fanatastic, Namor, Black Bolt, Professor X, and Dr. Strange journeyed to the Skrulls homeworld and told them to stay away from Earth. However, they found themselves briefly captured and experimented on, something with disastrous consequences.

Veranke, a Skrull Princess and devout believer of old Skrull prophecies saw this attack as proof of their accuracy. In response, the Skrull Emperor exiled her as a fanatic. Years later, two more prophecies would come to pass, with the Skrull homeworld being devoured by Galactus. In addition, the events known as the “Annihilation Wave” led to most of their Empire being reduced to ruin. As a result, surviving Skrulls found Veranke and made her their new Queen. With this, Veranke declared they would fulfill the final prophecy, one that claimed that a “world of blue” would become the Skrulls’ new home. In other words, Earth. 

Thus, the Secret Invasion began.

First Warning Signs

Marvel Comics-The Secret Invasion of Earth is Exposed
Source-Marvel Comics, Nerdist

The Skrulls moved swiftly and silently, more than they ever had in the past. They began to abduct various heroes, villains, and influential figures across Earth and replaced them with Skrull sleeper agents. However, while in the past, people with enhanced senses could detect them, this was different. The Skrulls’ had found a way to make it so even someone like Spider-Man couldn’t sense the difference between a Skrull and a human. They went so far as to implant false memories in their sleeper agents to help them blend in, only to reactivate them with the trigger phase “He loves you.” In addition, those experiments on the heroes years ago had led the Skrulls to develop technology that could bestow superpowers on their agents. 

In other words, it was nearly impossible to know who was a Skrull and who wasn’t without killing them. It wasn’t until one of their agents impersonating the hero Elektra was killed, outing herself as a Skrull and raising the alarm among the heroes. 

By that point, though, it was almost too late.

The Invasion Begins

Marvel Comics-The Secret Invasion of Earth's Final Battle in Central Park

Knowing that the heroes were onto them, Veranke, who had personally infiltrated the New Avengers as Spider-Woman, chose to accelerate her plans. Her agents had already embedded themselves in S.H.I.E.L.D., Stark Industries, and almost every superhero team in operation. Even the villains had spies in their groups. Now, they had no idea who to trust, not even sure if they could trust themselves. Veranke wrapped them around her fingers, and used that paranoia to divide and separate them even further. Then, she struck.

All over Earth, the Skrulls struck from their hiding points. They crippled S.H.I.E.L.D., used all the data Stark had gathered on Earth’s heroes against them, and unleashed utter chaos. And during the whole time, no one knew who to trust. However, two key things happened to managed to turn the tide back in Earth’s favor. Firstly, Reed Richards invented a device that could identify the Skrulls, helping the heroes and villains discern friend from foe.

Secondly, one of the Skrulls primary targets, the team of reformed villains called the Thunderbolts, withstood the assault. It helped that instead of using Stark’s tech, which got crippled, they used technology made by their leader, Norman Osborn. With Osborn leading them, the Thunderbolts launched a counter-offensive that saved Washington.

Final Battle and Consequences

With their agents now outed, the Skrulls resorted to taking Earth by force. All across the globe, battle erupted, with the largest taking place in Central Park. There, Veranke led her people in a final battle against the combined heroes and villains. Through great sacrifice, Earth emerged victorious, with Veranke dying at Norman Osborn’s hands.

No, you didn’t read that wrong. I’m being serious. Norman “the Green Goblin,” Osborn, the guy who’s spent years making Spider-Man’s life hell, ended up getting the kill shot. Since the final battle was broadcasted globally, everyone saw what happened!

The battle for Earth was won, but it wasn’t until the dust settled that the full extent of the damage became apparent. Iron Man liberated a Skrull ship containing people that the Skrulls had replaced, some of whom had been thought dead for years. The Wasp, one of the founding members of the Avengers in the comics, apparently died at Thor’s hands when the Skrulls turned her into a living bomb (she came back.) Worst of all, though, the entire experience left the public’s trust in heroes shaken, especially S.H.I.E.L.D. and Tony Stark. Not long after, the President of the United States ordered S.H.I.E.L.D. shut down, while most of Stark’s assets were seized and he became a fugitive. 

The biggest impact, though, was who took Stark’s place. Because he was seen as the hero who saved Washington and killed Veranke, Norman Osborn was put in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D.’s replacement, H.A.M.M.E.R., and all the power that came with it. Thankfully, this didn’t stick, but that’s a story for another day.

Now You’re All Caught Up for ‘Secret Invasion’

So, there you have it; the whole event that Secret Invasion will base its premise on. Like a lot of stories from the comics, though, the MCU won’t be adapting it to the letter. It also doesn’t help that the MCU doesn’t have a Norman Osborn, so we won’t be seeing the Goblin taking down the Skrull Queen in live action. 

Now, this wasn’t the biggest story in Marvel Comics’ history by far. However, I started collecting comics around the time the characters were dealing with the aftermath of this event, so it does hold value to me. It’s also an interesting and terrifying premise to see in a work of fiction. Imagine finding out the people you know, possibly for years, turn out to be imposters. You wouldn’t be able to trust anyone around you, not even yourself. That’s how thorough the Skrulls were trying to conquer Earth! Now imagine that with the added drama of a world still reeling from what Thanos did. It’s a recipe for disaster. Nick Fury and his allies will have their hands full with this one.