Skrulls will very soon be spoken about by everyone from your kid sister to your grandma. That’s thanks to Captain Marvel introducing the green alien scum into the Marvel movie universe. So why not brush up on the alien shapeshifting race with one of their most epic appearances in the newly released Kree/Skrull War trade paperback? Here are three takeaways.
What is in this collection?
This collection houses Avengers #89 through #97 which weaves in Skrull, Kree, and even Inhuman story threads.
What do I need to know?
In 1971 comics were written differently than today. Characters articulate what they are thinking and doing quite often and there’s a healthy dose of recap throughout. That makes this relatively easy to dive into blind even with so much backstory between Mar-Vell and Rick Jones, or Skrull cows being a major element of the story.
Ronan the Accuser and The Sentinel are a big deal
I was never a big Ronan enthusiast — when he appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy I found him fun, but uninteresting. I should have read this story! Ronan pops up in the early stages, potentially changing all life on Earth back to single cell organisms, then later playing a part in getting Rick Jones in the right place to end the war. The character is delectably evil and over the top in the best of ways. His scenes alone make this worth a look.
Then you have The Sentinel, who is an emotionless super powerful machine (and has been confirmed to show up in Captain Marvel). After a few different battles it’s made clear it is one of the most formidable forces in the Marvel universe. Even Vision is taken out by the character. That said, it’s clear The Sentinel can take on a handful of Avengers, but never goes toe to toe with the big dogs like Captain America and Iron Man. Now that’d be a sight to see. Be that as it may, this is an impressive character in this story and it’ll be fascinating to see how it’s used in future Marvel movies.
The Skrulls go full McCarthyism on the heroes
Early on US politicians catch wind that aliens live among us. A character named H. Warren Craddock says he knows 153 “model citizens” are actually alien spies. This character goes on a witch hunt and effectively breaks up the Avengers, weakening the team. Later, it’s revealed that Craddock is none other than a Skrull himself, the fourth of three Skrull’s the Fantastic Four turned into cows after they were framed (pretty malicious I know). As revenge, the Skrull attempts to trick humans, but alas he gets a major reckoning in the end as he is beaten by a mob.
Humans are very special and they come between Skrulls and Kree
So why are Kree and Skrull characters looping Earth into all of this? In an almost dizzying plot structure, it’s not made clear until the very end. Roy Thomas does a fantastic job weaving in seemingly unrelated plot threads (like Craddock or Ronan’s Arctic citadel device) that come together in a final reveal that actually makes sense. It seems Earth is situated perfectly between the Kree and Skrull home worlds, making us prime real estate during war.
That’s not so special; simply a coincidence, or maybe not. On top of all that Supreme Intelligence reveals to Rick Jones the Kree and Skrull races may be far older and more technologically advanced than humans, but inside each human lies far more potential.
How does it hold up?
This is a classic story that’s very loud, epic, and always dramatic. Not even bringing up Ronan’s absurdly loud and boisterous demeanor, you have Vision throwing tantrums and Quicksilver being the overprotective brother of Scarlet Witch. Hell, there’s even some rather borderline chauvinism thrown in too, like Hank Pym backhanding his girl Wasp and some minor moments where male heroes talk down to the female heroes. I can’t imagine this story being translated word for word for the big screen in 2019. That is going to make or break this story for many people. Going in with the understanding that these are comics from a different era, though, it can be quite fun to get into the overly dramatic writing style.
Jesus Hank just backslaps Wasp to avoid her getting hurt. The hell?! pic.twitter.com/QK0fJHLGxU
— David Brooke (@Nosocialize) December 30, 2018
It’s also fascinating to read this and see how stuffed each issue was. In one chapter, for instance, there’s an Inhuman subplot lumped in with the Kree/Skrull War. Surely this is some marketing to get folks amped for a future tale, but it’s a lot layered on top of the character drama and immediate threats too. This story arc is layered in the best of ways with good twists that pay off readers who paid attention in the early pages of the book.
This is a fascinating read that has real influence on the cinematic Marvel cosmic universe. The Kree and Skrull hate one another and this volume makes it clear why Earth is at the center of their battle. This book also champions the lesser known Avengers like Quicksilver and Goliath, showcasing how this super team has a deep bench.