Marvel’s Secret Invasion is dropping on Disney+ on June 21. What we know right now is mostly from the 2019 Captain Marvel movie and the early trailers for the next big show that’s about to expand the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Skrulls are a race of aliens who can shapeshift to look like anyone.
Captain Marvel gave us a switcheroo: instead of the Skrulls being conquest-seeking baddies they are in the comics, they were portrayed as refugees on the run from the Kree. That movie ended with Nick Fury aboard a space station while Talos was on Earth, standing in for the grizzled former Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.
The trailers for the series have been fairly vague. Nick Fury has returned (from space? from somewhere else?), and things have “gotten worse.” It appears that Talos and Fury are still aligned, but another Skrull (Gravik, played by Kingsley Ben-Adir) is opposing them. There’s really not much else to go on. The trailers are surprisingly cagey for the MCU, which is refreshing. I don’t feel like anything has been spoiled.
In the original comics, the Secret Invasion storyline involved Skrull sleeper agents replacing key heroes all over Earth, and then launching a full-scale invasion. Suspicion ran high. It was a brilliant story that harvested seeds planted years before. But the MCU Skrulls are not like the Marvel Skrulls, so what will this new series be like?
Maybe some essential reading will shed some light. Here are eight great comics to read before Secret Invasion.
Empyre by Al Ewing, Dan Slott, Valerio Schiti
The Kree and Skrull have been at odds with each other more often than not, but this 2020 event saw a united Kree-Skrull alliance armada invading Earth. The heroes of the Marvel Universe unite against this tremendous force in a great story.
Fantastic Four: Reckoning War by Dan Slott, Rachel Stott, Carlos Pacheco, Javier Rodriguez
Grounded in the Fantastic Four books, this event saw a Marvel’s First Family confronting the Reckoning, a mysterious new alien race. Kree, Skrulls, and everyone else in the universe wind up pulled into this galactic battle. Oh, and Nick Fury plays a big part.
Fury by Garth Ennis, Darick Robertson
Speaking of Nick Fury, there are just so many stories to choose from. The original character has been around since 1963. The Ultimate version, styled after Samuel Jackson, first appeared in 2001. If I had to pick one story, though, this MAX miniseries would be it. How does Nick Fury survive in a post-Cold War world?
The Last Annihilation: Wiccan & Hulkling by Josh Trujillo, Jodi Nishijima
Probably the second-most famous Skrull in the comics is Hulkling. He’s actually the son of a Skrull princess and Kree warrior, making him wildly powerful and controversial. He’s a favorite of mine and a fan-favorite character all around, so fans would be over the moon if he appeared in the Secret Invasion series. This miniseries starred Hulkling and his husband, Wiccan, adventuring together.
Ms. Marvel Annual (2019) by Magdelene Visaggio, Jon Lam
I include this book because Super Skrull probably the most famous Skrull in the comics, and one that would be really cool to see. He’s engineered to fight the Fantastic Four, including mimicking all four of their powers. There are a lot of great Super Skrull stories, but this little standalone against Kamala Khan is a great intro to the character.
Ms. Marvel Vol. 5 by Brian Reed, Adriana Melo
The entire Secret Invasion storyline thematically centers around trust. Is anyone who you think they are? Can you trust them? The story hit every corner of the Marvel Universe, and I think Carol’s part captured that mistrust better than anyone’s. And even if Carol doesn’t appear in the Disney+ series, all of this started in her movie.
Secret Invasion (2008) by Brian Michael Bendis, Leinil Francis Yu
Here it is, the big event years in the making. Skrull sleeper agents are waking up. They haven’t replaced regular people, no. They’ve replaced our heroes. Replicated their powers. They’ve been pulling strings this whole time, and now their plan is moving into its final phase. They’re going to take over Earth unless the other heroes can stop them.
Secret Invasion (2022) by Ryan North, Francesco Mobili
This series only recently wrapped up, a five-issue spiritual successor to the 2008 story. It’s not as expansive as the original, but the intimacy of the story sets it apart, while still heavily involving Nick Fury and Maria Hill, two of the main characters of the upcoming Secret Invasion series.
Are you excited for Secret Invasion? Do you think any of our beloved heroes have actually been Skrull in disguise all this time? Will we see Hulkling or Super Skrull?