For the past four weeks, CBR News and Marvel Comics editor Tom Brevoort have taken a closer a look at some of the heroes –and even a villain– that the shape shifting Skrulls consider threats to their rapidly approaching “Secret Invasion” of Earth. We’ve revealed the Aces, Kings, Queens, Jacks, and Tens. Today’s installment of EARTH’S MOST WANTED is sharply dressed, as Brevoort helps us unveil the Nines in the Skrulls’ “Secret Invasion” poker deck.
NINE OF SPADES – CAPTAIN MARVEL
The most stressful thing about planning an invasion of Marvel Earth has got to be all the heroes that just won’t stay dead! Thor has returned from the dead, there’s a new Captain America running around, and perhaps the most vexing return for the Skrulls is that of Mar-Vell AKA Captain Marvel, who could prove very, very dangerous to their plans. “Mar-Vell and his people, the Kree, are the Skrulls’ most persistent enemies,” Tom Brevoort told CBR News. “And Mar-Vell is their greatest warrior.”
Mar-Vell’s status among the Skrulls and the circumstances behind his return makes dealing with the Kree superhero very complicated. “He’s like public enemy #1 to the Skrulls,” Brevoort said. “By that same token, though, if it’s necessary to the space-time continuum for Mar-Vell to eventually return to the past in order to live out his destiny, then the Skrulls need to be careful in how they deal with him as well, since killing him in the present could have catastrophic effects on the timeline.”
Killing Captain Marvel may not be a viable option for the Skrulls, but replacing their hated foe with a Skrull doppelganger would be an effective strategy. As the former warden of the Negative Zone prison, Mar-Vell would have access to a powerful and easily exploitable resource, imprisoned supervillains.
If replacing Mar-Vell proves too difficult or costly, the Skrulls can always neutralize him in other ways. “Mar-Vell’s been off the grid for a long time, and the world has changed,” Brevoort explained. “So he’s not necessarily up to speed on all the players, and where the world is,” Brevoort remarked. “And his relationships are all years old, so he’s still a bit out of touch.”
NINE OF HEARTS – SUPER SKRULL
If history has proven anything, it’s that regardless of culture, there’s nothing more dangerous to the power of a ruling elite than a beloved folk hero beyond control. The Skrull conspirators are aware of this, and it’s one of the reasons why they see Kl’rt, the Super-Skrull, as a threat. “Kl’rt is seen as something of a relic by the current Skrull government, a hold-over of a bygone day, a warrior who’s past his prime,” Brevoort said. “So, as we’ve seen in the various ‘Annihilation’ titles, they’d be perfectly happy if he just faded away.”
Suspicious readers might think the Skrull conspirators somehow had a hand in the events of the current “Annihilation: Conquest” miniseries, as the villainous Phalanx could possibly wipe out both the Super-Skrull and the Kree Empire. “That’s a total coincidence,” Brevoort confirmed. “The Skrulls aren’t involved in what the Phalanx are doing in ‘Conquest.'”
“Annihilation: Conquest” comes to an end in April, right around the same time the Skrulls’ “Secret Invasion” enters its final phase. Should Kl’rt survive “Conquest,” the Skrull conspirators won’t be looking to replace him with an impostor. “There’s nobody on whom such an impersonation could be used,” Brevoort explained. “It’s more likely that, now that they’ve perfected the technology to create additional Super-Skrulls, they might look to eliminate Kl’rt as a failed prototype.”
Unfortunately for the Skrulls, Kl’rt’s powers and skills as a warrior make him a difficult foe to eliminate. If killing the original Super-Skrull proves too hazardous, the Skrull conspirators could try to take advantage of one of his personality traits, a quality that’s both a strength and weakness. “He’s loyal to the Skrull race as a whole,” said Brevoort, “so he could potentially be brought onboard with what the current regime plans to do.”
NINE OF DIAMONDS – YELLOWJACKET
The Skrulls are certainly aware of Henry Pym’s cunning and bravery, but it’s Yellowjacket’s scientific acumen that most disturbs the aliens. “While this new breed of Skrull has so far proven elusive against even Professor X’s telepathy, Wolverine’s enhanced senses and Doctor Strange’s sorcery, they still have to concern themselves with discovery,” Brevoort explained. “So Hank, like any of the real uber-brains of the Marvel U, poses a threat in that he might be able to work out a way to detect the Skrulls among us, thus eliminating their greatest advantage.”
Yellowjacket’s high ranking in the U.S. Military’s superhuman army, The Initiative, makes him a desirable target for Skrull replacement. “Being highly-placed in the Initiative moves him more to the center of the board in terms of his overall influence over superhuman matters,” Brevoort said. “If the Skrulls replace Yellowjacket, they gain access to the structure of the Fifty State Initiative at its highest level, as well as eliminating a player who might be able to unravel their schemes.”
Replacement isn’t the only strategy to neutralize or control Henry Pym. The Skrulls can also employ any number of psychological warfare tactics. “He’s possibly a bit more vulnerable than the norm, given his long history of mental problems,” Brevoort remarked.
NINE OF CLUBS – WOLVERINE
An enemy with an unbreakable skeleton and a healing factor like Wolverine is quite daunting to any opponent, but what the Skrulls find more dangerous is Wolverine’s skill set. The mutant’s covert operative training and almost century’s worth of experience employing those skills as a soldier, spy and killer make him one of the most dangerous men on the planet.
Wolverine’s connections to both the X-Men and the New Avengers are also sources of worry to the Skrulls. “Now that Wolverine is a member of the New Avengers, this ups his profile as a target, as he’s in close with two diverse sets of superhumans who will likely be an obstacle to the Skrulls’ plans,” Brevoort said.
Wolverine’s skills, connections, and healing factor make him an enemy that simply must be removed from the board. For the Skrulls, the most likely strategy would be to replace Wolverine with an impostor. “They’ve done it before, successfully [during the 2000 X-Men storyline ‘The Twelve’], so they’ve got some experience in doing so,” Brevoort stated. “And with the fact that Logan is so mysterious in his comings and goings, and so gruff, it’s probably an easy impersonation to pull off.”
Wolverine is certainly one of the busiest heroes in the Marvel Universe, appearing in “New Avengers,” “Wolverine,” “Wolverine: Origins,” and now “X-Force,” which is something the Skrulls might take advantage of. “He must be awfully tired from appearing in so many books,” Brevoort joked.
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EARTH’S MOST WANTED
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