It was a big week for Marvel’s Secret Invasion crossover, with the story bleeding into five different comics in significant ways. Here’s a rundown of what happened to whom, where, and how. After the jump, expect spoilers and analysis of Avengers Initiative #14, Mighty Avengers #15, Ms. Marvel #28, New Avengers #42, and Secret Invasion: Runaways / Young Avengers #1.
Jessica Drew / Spider-Woman
In New Avengers #42, we are shown a flashback revealing how and when the Skrulls replaced Jessica Drew with an infiltrator. After meeting with Nick Fury, who convinces her to become a triple agent spying on the Avengers, SHIELD, and HYDRA, the real Jessica agrees to undergo a medical procedure from HYDRA that will restore her superpowers. Once she’s unconscious, we see that the HYDRA agents are in fact Skrulls. They use Jessica’s DNA to replicate her into Queen Veranke. We do not see what fate befalls the real Jessica Drew.
The Skrull Plot
Once she has been inserted, Skrull-Jessica meets with her fellow infiltrators on Earth and lays out the plans for the invasion. The first main target of the first wave is the vibranium in Wakanda and the Savage Land. Vibranium is the only Earthly material that could produce weapons capable of fighting the Skrull Empire, so the Skrulls seek to capture and destroy the supplies. The Skrulls have enough replacements within SHIELD to be able to sow a conspiracy, allowing them to take and destroy the vibranium while making Maria Hill take the fall.
The Skrulls’ other targets are the mutant and super human populations. This is prior to M Day, when the mutant population is still on the rise. The Skrulls consider replacing the Scarlet Witch, but she loses it before they can reach her and destroys the Avengers without Skrull interference. Killing Reed and Sue Richards is discussed, but Veranke insists that they must be captured, tried, and killed on a Skrull world.
Way back at the beginning of New Avengers, Electro engineered a massive suprvillain breakout at The Raft, SHIELD’s maximum security facility at Ryker’s Island. At the time, Electro was shown reporting to an unseen employer, but we never knew the employer’s identity until now. Queen Veranke confirms that the Skrulls were behind the breakout, intending to cause panic and confusion in the superhuman world by unleashing villains en masse into the populace.
The New Avengers
After the Raft breakout, the superheroes on hand join together to form the New Avengers, led by Captain America and Iron Man. While discussing the invasion with the Skrull posing as Henry Pym, Veranke mentions that the Skrulls accidentally reformed the Avengers, and she mentions that the arrival of the Sentry has been an unforeseen problem.
Mighty Avengers #15 takes us back to see how and when Henry Pym was replaced by the Skrulls. We see him “several months ago” engaged in an affair with a female student from a lecture he gave in London while separated from the Wasp. He falls for this girl quickly and is very eager to trust her. During a superspeed courtship, Hank divulges all his secrets, from details about Ultron to his shrinking powers to the Kree-Skrull War. Once she has all his secrets, the girl shapeshifts and overpowers Hank, very possibly killing him. She undergoes the replacement procedure to “become” Henry Pym, and we never see what actually becomes of the real one. At the end of Mighty Avengers #15, we see the fake Pym present Wasp with the gift of a new growth formula that will allow her to grow, in addition to shrinking.
After Magneto takes the Scarlet Witch away with him, the Avengers and X-Men prepare to leave to decide her fate. Skrull-Pym contacts Queen Veranke (who is posing as Jessica Drew) to report on the situation. She orders him to kill the Scarlet Witch when they arrive. We do not see the result of the mission, but we know that at Quicksilver’s prompting, the Scarlet Witch decimated the mutant population with her utterance of, “No more mutants.”
Later, in a position of power after the Marvel Civil War ends, Henry Pym is charged with organizing the new Initiative program, placing government-run hero teams in each of the fifty U.S. states. Coordinating with Skrull command, the fake Pym ensures that Skrull agents are seeded into the teams for full national coverage.
Iron Man / Tony Stark
The Skrull-Henry Pym is in a position to learn all sorts of secrets, and when the new Ultron attacks, he sees all the data from its melding with Iron Man’s armor and realizes that Tony Stark has gone organic with his technology. This gives the Skrulls a weakness to exploit and allows them to hack the Iron Man suit when Tony comes to the Savage Land in Secret Invasion #1.
Carol Danvers / Ms. Marvel
The first Avenger to make it back to New York from the Savage Land is Carol Danvers. She encounters a city filled with Super-Skrull invaders, ransacking and murdering at will. Ms. Marvel summons up her soldier instincts and lays an apocalyptic whuppin on the Skrulls. Seeing that they’re being beaten, the Skrulls quickly meld with the frightened populace of New York and make themselves look like helpless bystanders. Ms. Marvel sees through the charade and selectively destroys all the Skrulls while protecting the humans. Ms. Marvel #28 ends with the battle about to begin anew as a Giant Man-powered Skrull arrives to attack.
Xavin and Hulkling
Xavin, the young Skrull member of the Runaways is caught by surprise when the team returns to the present from their recent time traveling adventure and finds New York under Skrull siege. Xavin renders his teammates unconscious in order to save them from the other Skrulls and then explains to them that the invaders are part of a extremist religious sect of the Skrulls. After sending the rest of the Runaways to safety, he stays behind to help Hulkling of the Young Avengers, who has become a target of the Skrulls-specifically of the Queen Veranke-for being an abomination-a half Kree, half Skrull.
Delroy Garrett / 3-D Man
Formerly Triathlon, Delroy Garrett is the new 3-D Man and is put in charge of the Hawaii Initiative team. Upon his promotion, the original 3-D Man presents him with his old uniform as a congratulatory gift. To show respect, Garrett incorporates the old 3-D Man goggles into his own uniform. As it turns out, the goggles are able to reveal the true nature of Skrulls, putting Garrett in a very unique situation in the midst of the Secret Invasion. 3-D Man is able to “out” one of his new team members, Magnitude, before another Skrull warps his perceptions, causing him to see everyone as a Skrull.
Strawberries and Pickles
Skrulls think they’re yummy together.
Was Electro aware that he was working for the Skrulls?
How much of HYDRA has been taken over by Skrulls?
What was the significance of the growth formula Skrull-Pym gave Wasp?
It’s common for continuity errors to pop up with huge crossover events, but it’s strange to have two comics written by the same person (Brian Michael Bendis) release the same week and contradict each other. In New Avengers #42, we see Veranke talking to the already-replaced Skrull-Pym in his lab and telling him about the forming of the New Avengers, which has just happened. In Mighty Avengers #15, however, Hank has not yet been replaced when the New Avengers form, and he learns about the new team from his Skrull-infiltrator girlfriend. Presumably there aren’t two Hanks walking around at the same time, so this presents a pretty sizeable blooper in the Secret Invasion timeline.
The Secret Invasion continues this week with Secret Invasion: Front Line #1.