A Brief Comic Book History Of The Skrulls

We all saw the Captain Marvel trailer that premiered a few months back, and we all found ourselves asking the same question: "Why did Captain Marvel punch that old lady on the train?" Well have no fear, Carol Danvers is not an old lady punching machine – she is actually actively fighting a type of "Secret Invasion" (that will make sense in a bit). The old lady in the trailer was most likely a Skrull, and if that means nothing to you, that's why I'm here. Here's the the nitty gritty of this hostile alien race. Buckle up for a short history of the Skrulls.

Who Are the Skrulls?

The Skrulls as we know them now are a race of extraterrestrial shapeshifters. With green skin, red eyes, pointy elfin ears, and a jawline similar to that of Thanos, these aliens are a warrior race. However, they were not always that way.

At the beginning of their civilization, millions of years before life on Earth, on their home planet of Skrullos, the primitive Skrulls were paid a visit by the Celestials, the oldest entities in the Marvel Comics universe. They came to Skrullos to experiment on its inhabitants, creating three different races of the Skrull people: the Prime, who were a race of Skrulls that were very similar to the human race in look and lack of power; the Deviants, known for their shapeshifting abilities and green skin; and the Eternals, who had powers and lived long lives.

Over time, the Prime race was the one that held power on Skrullos, but then a war started between the three factions. In the end, the Deviant branch was triumphant because of their ability to shapeshift and infiltrate the enemy ranks.

First Appearance and Super Skrull

The Skrull's first appearance was in January of 1962 in Fantastic Four #2. They were created by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee and were introduced as foes of Marvel's first family.

In their first story, the Skrulls come to earth in order to conquer the planet, taking the form of the Fantastic Four. Eventually, they were foiled and, remarkably, it only took a conversation with Reed Richards to convince the Skrulls that invading earth was not in their best interest, because of the danger it posed to them.

So the Skrulls left, but Mr. Fantastic convinced those remaining on Earth that their best chance of survival would be turning into cows...because comics.

Because of the events of Fantastic Four #2 (with their countrymen being turned into bovines and all), the Skrulls decided to engineer a Skrull that could take down the Fantastic Four and avenge the cow Skrulls. They called him Super Skrull, he not only had the shapeshifting ability, but also all the powers of the Fantastic Four.

Super Skrull was often a villain of the Fantastic Four and has popped up here and there in comics over the years, even once teaming up with Thanos to help him get his hands on the cosmic cube.

The Kree-Skrull War

After the battles and wars on their planet, the Skrulls eventually developed intergalactic travel. Led by then Emperor Dorrek, the Skrulls visited many different civilizations, but none stood in comparison to the Skrulls.

The Skrulls reached planet Hala, home to the barbaric race of the Kree (Who have appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Guardians of the Galaxy – Ronan the Destroyer is Kree), and the more peaceful Cotati. The Skrulls devised a contest between the two races to see which would represent the planet of Hala.

A group from each race was given a year of supplies and taken to two separate planetoids. The group at the end of the year that had developed a better society would then be deemed most worthy to represent Hala in the Skrulls' list of favorite civilizations.

The Kree had been stationed on Earth's moon and built a city. Meanwhile, the Cotati had created a beautiful park. Realizing that they were not going to win, the Kree killed all the Cotati, effectively becoming the race that would represent Hala. The Skrulls were disgusted by this development and decreed that Hala would forever be banned from their circle of ideal worlds. Displeased with that decision, the Kree murdered the Skrulls, took their ship, and developed their technology.

Decades passed before the tragedy that befell the Skrulls on Hala reached the Skrull homeworld. The Kree were now technologically advanced and attacked the Skrulls in their home galaxy. The Kree's impressive aggression and warlike mentality melded the Skrull society from benevolent space farers into the warriors we see today.

Secret Invasion

Secret Invasion is the comic storyline that many fans believe the Marvel Cinematic Universe is setting up in the new Captain Marvel film.

Brian Michael Bendis wrote Secret Invasion with art by Leinil Yu. In the comic arc, the new Queen of the Skrulls, Vernake, infiltrates Earth with the intention of conquering the planet. She plans to kidnap Earth's heroes and replace them with Skrulls. These Skrulls became an updated version of Super Skrull, with each obtaining different powers to infiltrate the hero ranks better.

Secret Invasion ran from June 2008 to January 2009. This storyline caused chaos within the Marvel Comics Universe, with heroes realizing they could not trust anyone, not even their families. The Skrulls' plan to destabilize the Superhero community had four steps:

  1. Simultaneous strikes that disable the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and orbiting base The Peak.
  2. A breakout is instigated at the supervillain holding facility the Raft. (In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, this is where the defecting heroes in Captain America: Civil War are imprisoned)
  3. The Baxter Building (headquarters of the Fantastic Four) is transported to the Negative Zone, taking that super team out of the equation.
  4. Thunderbolt Mountain (headquarters of the Thunderbolts) is attacked.
  5. After many battles, the Skrulls' old foe Mr. Fantastic creates a device that can detect the Skrulls even in their shapeshifted forms. Queen Vernake gathers her army and has a final showdown with the Avengers and Nick Fury and his new Commandos. Norman Osborn kills Vernake, the Skrull armada is destroyed, and Iron Man locates and rescues the kidnapped heroes.

    What This All Means For Captain Marvel

    The Skrulls being introduced into the Marvel Cinematic Universe has significant implications for the Avengers 4 and future of the MCU. Captain Marvel takes place in the '90s, long before any of the events in Avengers; Infinity War and the rest of the MCU films. With the Skrulls already invading Earth, there is a chance that some of the heroes we have grown to love are imposters.

    Not only will the surviving heroes of Infinity War have to deal with the aftermath of Thanos' snap, but they may have to contend with the very possible idea that not everyone is who they appear to be...and that could lead to a phase of films where the heroes deal with their own secret invasion.