What Is Marvel's Secret Invasion: 5 Things To Know From The Comics

Secret Invasion's Ben Mendehlson as Talos in Captain Marvel

Fans of Samuel L. Jackson, particularly his performance as Nick Fury in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the past several years, must be really excited to see him lead his own TV show in the form of Marvel’s Secret Invasion on Disney+. On the other hand, comic book readers must be especially excited to see the popular Marvel Comics storyline of the same name be adapted for screen.

If you have never heard of the 2008 crossover event written by Brian Michael Bendis, it is a real doozy - not only for dizzying connections to several other Marvel Comics storylines, but also by its relentlessly suspenseful nature wrapped in grim themes of distrust. I would say that, to prepare for the Secret Invasion TV show, you might be better off just finding a copy and reading it yourself, but even then you might find yourself a bit lost. Hopefully, we can smooth things out for you by then with the following five essential things to know about the Earth shattering story, starting with just what it is all about.

Skrulls posing as Marvel superheroes in Secret Invasion

Secret Invasion Reveals Skrulls Have Replaced Several Marvel Heroes

Fans of the MCU will recognize the Skrulls from when they were first introduced to the Marvel movies (as far as we know, at least) in Captain Marvel in 2019. While the alien race co-created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby has been around since 1961, when they debuted as enemies of the Fantastic Four, their most famous story in Marvel Comics is Secret Invasion, in which they use their shapeshifting abilities for a sinister purpose that comes to light through a shocking revelation.

After a mission to infiltrate assassin syndicate The Hand results in the death of its leader, Daredevil’s on-and-off lover Elektra Natchios, the Avengers are stunned to learn that she was actually a Skull in disguise. Tony Stark speaks to Doctor Strange and the Fantastic Four’s Reed Richards about the matter, determining they must assume that she was not the only shapeshifter among them. After all, this was not even their first encounter with Skrulls.

Members of the Marvel Comics' Illuminati

The Illuminati Previously Warned Skrulls About Invading Earth

Years before the Secret Invasion, a war between the Skrulls and the Kree grew so potentially dangerous for Earth, it inspired Tony Stark to form a secret group nicknamed the Illuminati, which initially included Black Bolt, Charles Xavier, Mr. Fantastic, Namor, and Doctor Strange. The Illuminati threatened the Skrulls with obliteration if they ever came near Earth. They immediately retaliated this by kidnapping and conducting experiments on the heroes, but without letting them have any memory of it.

Flash forward to when the events of Marvel’s House of M storyline is taking place and Galactus has just destroyed the Skrull Empire, proving a prophecy warned by Princess Veranke true. In need of a new home planet, the survivors, using their experimental findings, hatched a plan to take over the Earth by assume the identities and abilities of many Marvel heroes - such as Veranke becoming Jessica Drew (Spider-Woman) - and turning them against each other. As it turns out, they would prove very successful with that particular step.

Secret Avengers and Mighty Avengers meet during the Secret Invasion

Marvel Heroes Already Distrusted Each Other Before The Skrulls’ Presence Was Revealed

The motivation for Secret Invasion was to resolve the divisive effects of the Civil War story by ingeniously using Skrulls to explain why some heroes had seemed out of character. The alien race were also portrayed as more powerful than ever with the Avengers split into separate groups: those who refused the Superhero Registration Act and formed the Secret Avengers (led by Luke Cage and also including Spider-Man, Wolverine and Clint Barton as Ronin) and Mighty Avengers (essentially Team Iron Man) led by Carol Danvers as Ms. Marvel.

These former allies endure a bitter reunion after a mysterious device lands in the Savage Land, which turns out to be a vessel carrying duplicates of nearly everyone there (and more), With an ever greater reason for these heroes not to trust each other, priority Number One becomes figuring who is or is not a Skrull and figuring out how detecting the imposters might be possible. Fortunately, this would become an easy fix soon enough.

Skrulls are revealed in Secret Invasion

Mr. Fantastic Develops A Skrull-Revealing Technology

There is also some distrust among the Thunderbolts - a team of reformed supervillains then led by Norman Osborn (more on him soon) - and within S.W.O.R.D. - an organization monitoring activity in space, which had become compromised by Skrull Dum Dum Dugan. Luckily, S.W.O.R.D.’s leader Abigail Brand survived the “explosive” betrayal and manages to infiltrate the Skrull’s ship, where an incapacitated Reed Richards is being held and experimented on. Their team-up becomes key to finally ending the Secret Invasion.

The flexible and brilliant Fantastic Four leader had been close to discovering how to tell Skrulls apart from superheroes before his capture and, upon returning to Earth, he is able to develop a weapon that can reveal an imposter in their true form. Mr. Fantastic fires it at a group of heroes during a conflict at the Savage Lands, revealing the true identities of several Skrulls - including Clint Barton’s lover, Barbara Morse (a.k.a. Mockingbird). This lights a fire in him to kill every last Skrull, which would now be a breeze.

Norman Osborn kills the Skrull Queen in Secret Invasion

Norman Osborn Ends Up Killing The Skrull Queen

Equipped with their Skrull-unveiling tech, all remaining heroes finally come together to defeat the secret invaders once and for all at a brutal final battle in New York City which results in the death of current Wasp Janet Van Dyne and mortally wounding of Veranke by Clint Barton’s arrow. Presuming his leader to be dead, Skrull Hank Pym activates a giant, cataclysmic energy bomb hidden within Janet’s corpse, which Thor thankfully deflects with Mjolnir. In the end, Thunderbolts’ leader Norman Osborn - otherwise known as Spider-Man villain Green Goblin - ultimately ends the conflict by shooting and killing Veranke. - With the Secret Invasion over, Tony Stark, whose own tech was ruled as key to the Skrull’s success, has been fired from leading S.H.I.E.L.D. Replacing him as the lead of the organization’s successor, H.A.M.M.E.R., is none other then Norman Osborn, seen as the true hero.

I should mention that Nick Fury (well, more accurately, a life model decoy of him following the Original Sin storyline) is also a major player in the Secret Invasion event, naturally being the first person, chronologically speaking, to figure out what was really going on while hiding out underground. That is just what Samuel L. Jackson’s Fury is seen doing in Spider-Man: Far From Home’s post-credits scene, but instead of underground, he is in space and, instead of fighting the Skrulls, he is working with them. It seems like Secret Invasion, just one of many highly anticipated upcoming Marvel TV shows, is fixing to show us a who new kind of invasion with its fair share of secrets nonetheless.

Jason Wiese
Content Writer

Jason has been writing since he was able to pick up a washable marker, with which he wrote his debut illustrated children's story, later transitioning to a short-lived comic book series and (very) amateur filmmaking before finally settling on pursuing a career in writing about movies in lieu of making them. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.