Every installment of Abandoned Love we will be examining comic book stories, plots and ideas that were abandoned by a later writer while still acknowledging that the abandoned story DID still happen. Click here for an archive of all the previous editions of Abandoned Love. Feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any suggestions for future editions of this feature.
This time around, based on a suggestion from reader Matthew S., we take a look at how the Skrulls, for a time, could no longer shapeshift…
In the most recent Abandoned an’ Forsaked, we looked at an interesting trend that Marvel Comics had in the decade of roughly 1983-1993, where creators seemed to actively try to “put genies back into the bottle,” as it were. I don’t want you all to try to start listing them in the comments because I’ll likely address other examples of this trend in the future, but today we’re looking at one specific example of this trend – the idea of Roger Stern (who is responsible for another notable event that we’ll certainly see in this column in the future) to take away the Skrulls’ ability to shape shift.
First off, the story hinges on an event that took place in an early issue of Alpha Flight by John Byrne, #10 to be precise, where the Super-Skrull is defeated by Sasquatch by basically intentionally botching a teleportation beam so that the Super-Skrull’s body is more or less disintegrated, only without being put together again on the other end (think about what happened to the original science officer for the Enterprise in Star Trek: The Motion Picture).
So now we move on to the next year and Avengers Annual #14 and Fantastic Four Annual #19, which were an interesting exercise where Stern would tell a story from the perspective of the Avengers and Byrne would tell it from the perspective of the Fantastic Four and both stories would eventually overlap at the end, as both involve a Skrull plot. Byrne did breakdowns for both stories (with Joe Sinnott finishing him on the FF Annual and Kyle Baker finishing him on the Avengers annual. Although Byrne wrote his side of the story, the basic plot behind the overall story was strictly Stern’s.
Essentially, some crazy Skrull decided to use some Hyper-Wave bomb, which he thought would solidify his place at the top of the Skrull food chain. Instead (I’m using the FF pages – they’re basically the same as the Avengers pages, just with an extra page of exposition)…
In Silver Surfer #14 (by Steve Englehart and Joes Staton and Rubinstein), a Skrull agent shoots a ray into space from Earth…
In Silver Surfer Annual #1 (same creative team as #14), we see what that ray did – it freed the Super-Skrull!!
Because the Super-Skrull was not corporeal when the bomb went off, he still retained his shapeshifting abilities when he returned to his corporeal form.
This turned out to be the solution a year later in Silver Surfer #25 (by Englehart, Ron Lim and Tom Christopher), where he is used to return their abilities…
Two issues later, we see the Empress use her new powers to restore the abilities of other Skrulls…
And that is, as they say, that.
Thanks to Matthew for the suggestion!
That’s it for this installment, if you have a suggestion for a future edition of Abandoned Love, drop me a line at email@example.com!
EDITED TO ADD: Some folks wanted to see the Byrne/Baker versions of the above pages, so here ya go!
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