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5 Marvel comics to read before you watch Secret Invasion

Marvel Studios is set to reshape its cinematic universe with its upcoming Disney+ series, Secret Invasion. This streaming event will show the legendary Nick Fury returning to Earth to stop a sect of shape-shifting Skrulls from taking over world governments from the inside.

This sci-fi spy thriller is sure to be a darker and more unpredictable new chapter for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it’s anyone’s guess what could happen. To prepare for what’s to come, fans should take a look at these five comics depicting the Skrulls and their impact on the world of Marvel.

Secret Invasion (2008-2009)

A group of Skrulls impersonating the Avengers on the cover of "Secret Invasion" #1.
Marvel Comics

As the title implies, this comic book storyline serves as the inspiration for the Disney+ show of the same name. Following the Kree-Skrull War, the Skrull Empress Veranke leads an invasion of Earth in which she and her fellow Skrulls assume the identities of multiple superheroes, including Spider-Woman, Elektra, Black Bolt, Hank Pym, Mockingbird, and the first Captain Marvel.

The MCU adaptation may not reach the ambitious scope of the source material, as it features many superhero teams like Avengers taking part in the fight. Nevertheless, this story captures what makes the Skrulls such terrifying villains, as the way they impersonate some of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes can really make you question who you can trust.

Kree-Skrull War

The Kree-Skrull War from "Blockbusters of the Marvel Universe" #1.
Marvel Comics / Marvel Comics

This classic storyline shows the Avengers getting caught up in the titular conflict between the Kree and the Skrulls when Captain Marvel arrives on Earth, similar to how the Pacific Islands were caught up in World War II. Elements of this story were used in the film Captain Marvel, which set the stage for the Skrulls’ desperate search for a new home on Earth in the MCU.

But in the comics, such a conflict showed the Avengers facing political backlash, the team disbanding, and Vision and the Scarlet Witch starting their iconic romance that would be further explored in the excellent WandaVision series. Fans of the MCU should really read this comic to understand how the source material made the franchise what it is today.

Fantastic Four No. 2

The cover of "Fantastic Four" #2 (1961).
Marvel Comics

What better way to learn about the Skrulls than reading their debut comic? The Skrulls introduced themselves to the Marvel Universe when a team of them impersonated the Fantastic Four and committed multiple crimes around the globe. These acts are all done to try and destroy the heroes’ reputations and prevent them from interfering in the Skrulls’ invasion of Earth.

It’s unknown if the Skrulls will be enemies of the Fantastic Four in the MCU, but given their history with them in the comics, Secret Invasion could set up Marvel’s First Family coming to blows with the Skrulls in the near future.

Fantastic Four No. 18

The cover of "Fantastic Four" (1961) #18.
Marvel Comics

Following the Skrulls’ first failed attempt at conquering Earth, this issue shows them sending a new “Super-Skrull” to finish the job. This special Skrull is first shown wielding the combined powers of the Fantastic Four, including enhanced strength, the ability to stretch limbs, invisibility, force field generation, and control over fire.

While it hasn’t been confirmed that the Super Skrull will appear in Secret Invasion, it has been hinted that Kingsley Ben-Adir’s villain, Gravik, may be based on him. Both characters display the ability to stretch their arms like Mister Fantastic, but the MCU may have taken some liberties with Gravik’s powers and backstory. Nevertheless, this classic comic should give audiences a clearer idea of the kind of threat a powered-up Skrull can pose to the people of Earth.

Dark Reign

Loki, Emma Frost, Norman Osborn, and Namor on the cover of "Dark Reign: The Cabal."
Marvel Comics

Dark Reign takes place after Secret Invasion and follows Norman Osborn as he uses his victory over the Skrulls to take control of the compromised S.H.I.E.L.D. and reorganize it under the new name, “H.A.M.M.E.R.” He then forges a sinister alliance known as “The Cabal” with Namor, Doctor Doom, Emma Frost, Loki, and The Hood. He also creates a new lineup for the Thunderbolts and places some of its former members in his new team of “Dark Avengers.”

This comic should give audiences an idea of what they can expect to see in the MCU after Secret Invasion, specifically in Captain America: Brave New World and Thunderbolts. The MCU likely won’t follow the story exactly, but it could feature the premise of supervillains taking over the U.S. government after the Skrulls break people’s trust in it, with the villains using their new political power for their own personal gain.

Secret Invasion will begin streaming on June 21 on Disney+.

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Anthony Orlando
Anthony Orlando is a writer/director from Oradell, NJ. He spent four years at Lafayette College, graduating CUM LAUDE with a…
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