The Newspaper That Broke the Story of Secret Invasion Before Anyone

This is Past Was Close Behind, a feature that spotlights moments, exchanges, etc. from older comics that take on a brand new light when read in concert with later comic books or events. Basically, stuff that looks hilarious in hindsight. Today, we look at how an Iron Man comic retroactively predicted the Secret Invasion over a decade before it happened!

In Secret Invasion #1 by Brian Michael Bendis, Leinil Francis Yu and Mark Morales, one of the keys to the Skrull invasion was the way that they were able to hack into Iron Man's armor and, through that armor access, were able to hack into SHIELD period, as Tony Stark had recently been named the head of SHIELD following the events of Marvel's Civil War crossover.

Even after the superheroes defeated the Skrull invasion, Tony's failure to protect himself better from the Skrulls turned out to make him a scapegoat for the invasion (and honestly, that wasn't exactly an unfair conclusion. The guy DID fall down on the job of protecting the planet). The bigger issue is that Norman Osborn, who had been working along with SHIELD as the head of the Thunderbolts program (where the United States government was turning supervillains into assets to help track down violators of the Superhuman Registration Act), was able to take control of the situation and make a big public showing during the battle against the Skrulls and actually kill the Skrull Queen himself, thus making him a national hero and allowing him to take control of SHIELD and turn it terribly corrupt (even renaming it HAMMER).

Anyhow, at the same time that Iron Man's systems were being shut down (amidst other characters turning out to have been replaced by Skrulls at one point or another, including Yellowjacket, Invisible Woman, Elektra and Edwin Jarvis), the collected Avengers teams (Iron Man's government-approved Mighty Avengers and Luek Cage's rogue New Avengers) were shocked to meet an alien ship containing what appeared to be other versions of the heroes, just from the past!!

These heroes claimed to be the REAL heroes who had been abducted and replaced by Skrulls over the years. One of these heroes was someone claiming to be the real Iron Man. You can see him there on the double-page splash.

As it turned out, however, only one none of the heroes was an actual human who had been replaced by a Skrull (later, Mockingbird turned up alive, having been replaced by a Skrull way back before Avengers West Coast #100 came out, which saw her death occur. However, as a couple of commenters noted, the Mockingbird in this double page splash was an impostor, as well, and the real Mockingbird did not show up until later in the story, for her very sweet reunion with Clint Barton, then calling himself Ronin).

So, long story short, the Iron Man in this issue was a Skrull impostor. That certainly seems like a pretty shocking occurrence, right? Iron Man, replaced by a shapeshifting Skrull? That's not something that anyone could have possibly seen coming, right?

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