|Publication date||June 2008 – Jan. 2009|
|Main character(s)||The New Avengers|
The Mighty Avengers
Skrull Kill Krew
Hood's Crime Syndicate
Marvel Boy (Noh Varr)
|Writer(s)||Brian Michael Bendis|
|Penciller(s)||Leinil Francis Yu|
|The Infiltration||ISBN 0-7851-3231-7|
|Secret Invasion||ISBN 0-7851-3297-X|
|Captain Marvel||ISBN 0-7851-3303-8|
|Incredible Hercules||ISBN 0-7851-3333-X|
"Secret Invasion" is a comic book crossover storyline written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Leinil Francis Yu, that ran through a self-titled eight-issue limited series and several tie-in books published by Marvel Comics from April through December 2008. The story involves a subversive, long-term invasion of Earth by the Skrulls, a group of alien shapeshifters who have secretly replaced many superheroes in the Marvel Universe with impostors over a period of years, prior to the overt invasion. Marvel's promotional tagline for the event was "Who do you trust?".
Production and marketing
Writer Brian Michael Bendis stated in interviews that the motivation for the invasion is the destruction of the Skrull Empire in the 2007 "Annihilation" storyline. Bendis said the Skrulls believe Earth "is religiously and rightfully theirs," and that there are hints as to the plot placed in the limited series Secret War and the title New Avengers from the first issue. The limited series concluded the plot and was, according to Bendis, "a hell of an end."
In November 2007, several ongoing titles and mini-series were branded as tie-ins to the main Secret Invasion storyline, with the tagline: Secret Invasion: The Infiltration. In addition to the core story, the Avengers titles provided additional plot material and acted as a link between titles. Other Marvel titles also featured variant covers with the characters depicted as Skrulls. Bendis stated that the series would not deal with the origins of the invasion, but is conceived from the following perspective: "If there's a character on the team who's a Skrull, we will rewind from when they got on that team, or from before they got on that team, so when they are infiltrated, how they became who they became and the effects of their actions from their 'point of view' is shown."
The Marvel website featured two online-exclusive e-comics for the event, titled Secret Invasion Prologue (a seven-page comic that reveals the replacement of a previously unknown Skrull agent) and Secret Invasion: Home Invasion (a MySpace video blog featuring a young teenager named Kinsey Walden and her fears regarding her brother's strange behavior), supported by comic pages by writer Ivan Brandon and artist Nick Postic.
After the Kree–Skrull War the Earth superheroes Iron Man, Mister Fantastic, Namor, Black Bolt, Professor Charles Xavier and Doctor Strange join as a group called the Illuminati to secretly confront the Skrulls. They attack the Skrull Empire, and warn that any future invasion attempts of Earth would mean further reprisals; however, they are all captured and intensely studied before escaping.
An eventual successor to the Skrull throne, Princess Veranke, claims that a prophecy foretold the annihilation of the Skrull homeworld. The current Emperor, Dorrek, exiles her to a prison world for inciting religious extremism. After the destruction of the Skrull Throneworld by the cosmic entity Galactus, Veranke becomes Empress by lineage, and guides an invasion of Earth, armed with the knowledge of superhumans gained from having studied the Illuminati. The Skrulls capture several superhumans and infiltrate Earth's defenses, with Veranke herself posing as heroine Spider-Woman. Veranke is inconvenienced when there is a breakout of supervillains at the Raft prison, which forces her to join the New Avengers team.
After the Civil War, Elektra, the leader of the ninja group the Hand, is revealed to be a Skrull named Pagon after dying in battle with the New Avengers. Veranke takes the corpse to Tony Stark (who, at the time, led the pro-registration Mighty Avengers) to sow distrust among the superhero community. She joins the Mighty Avengers, claiming it will throw the Skrulls off balance. Posing as agents of spy organization S.H.I.E.L.D., the Skrulls attempt to mine the metal vibranium in the Savage Land and battle the New Avengers before being killed. The Illuminati battle an impostor posing as Black Bolt and two new Super-Skrulls, possessing all-new powers.
The Skrull invasion destabilizes the superhuman community as:
- Simultaneous strikes disable the S.H.I.E.L.D. Helicarrier and orbiting base The Peak.
- A breakout is instigated at the supervillain holding facility the Raft.
- The Baxter Building (headquarters of the Fantastic Four) is transported to the Negative Zone.
- Thunderbolt Mountain (headquarters of the Thunderbolts) is attacked.
Additionally, the Avengers are attacked by Skrulls posing as heroes in the Savage Land, and Reed Richards is wounded by the Skrull Criti Noll (who was posing as Henry Pym) seconds after determining a way to identify the shape shifters.
After several battles between Earth's heroes and the Skrulls in Manhattan and the Savage Land, Mr. Fantastic manages to develop a device that can detect the aliens. Criminal kingpin the Hood aids the heroes, deciding "no more Earth is bad for business." Veranke regroups with her forces in New York City in a final battle against the combined Avengers, now aided by Nick Fury and his new Commandos, Thor, Daredevil, Ka-Zar, and super teams such as the Young Avengers and the Thunderbolts.
Veranke is wounded by the Avenger Hawkeye. Criti Noll activates a booby trap placed on the heroine Wasp, although the blast is contained by Thor at the cost of her life. Veranke is then shot and killed by Norman Osborn (using a weapon he created with intelligence stolen from Deadpool). The last remnants of the Skrull armada are destroyed, with Iron Man locating the missing heroes. S.H.I.E.L.D. is dissolved by executive order of the President of the United States while a last Skrull (posing as the Avengers' butler Edwin Jarvis) flees with the child of hero Jessica Jones and Luke Cage. This Skrull is killed by Bullseye shortly after returning the child. Norman Osborn is placed in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D's replacement, H.A.M.M.E.R., and forms a secret group consisting of himself, Emma Frost, Namor, Doctor Doom, The Hood and Loki which commences the "Dark Reign" storyline.
- Norman Osborn
- Swordsman (Andreas von Strucker)
- Moonstone (Karla Sofen)
- Venom (Mac Gargan)
- Robbie Baldwin (as Penance)
- Diamondback (Rachel Leighton)
- Gauntlet (Joseph Green)
- Prodigy (David Alleyne)
- Crusader (Z'Reg)
- Gorilla Girl
- Red 9
- Nick Fury
- Quake (Daisy Johnson)
- Hellfire (J.T. Slade)
- Druid (Sebastian Druid)
The Hood's Criminal Syndicate
- John King
- Wrecking Crew (Marvel Comics)
- Madame Masque
- Blood Brother
- Blackout (Marcus Daniels)
- Answer (Aaron Nicholson)
- Brothers Grimm
- Masked Marauder
Sabra (Ruth Bat-Seraph)
According to Comic Book Roundup, the core series has an average score of 6.9 out of 10, based on 79 critic reviews.
Issue #1 was not very well received despite critics noting its "strong introduction to the story, good pacing, and "slick" art style", although some concerns were raised over Bendis' dialogue. Sales estimates suggested that around 250,200 copies were sold, more than twice as much as the second highest seller. The Secret Invasion: The Infiltration collected volume also topped the trade paperback chart, with an estimated 7,247 sales. The second issue kept the top slot, with estimated sales dropping to 200,344.
Secret Invasion: The Infiltration
The following issues were released with The Infiltration banner prior to the launch of the Secret Invasion series:
- Avengers: The Initiative Annual #1
- Captain Marvel vol. 6, #4-5
- The Mighty Avengers #7
- Ms. Marvel vol. 2, #25-27
- The New Avengers #38-39
- The New Avengers: Illuminati #5
- Franklin Richards Not-So-Secret Invasion
- Marvel Spotlight Secret Invasion
- Secret Invasion Saga
- Secret Invasion Home Invasion
The following issues tie-in to the Secret Invasion mini-series:
The stories are collected in volumes:
|Secret Invasion: The Infiltration||Fantastic Four #2, New Avengers: Illuminati #1 and 5, New Avengers #31-32 and 38-39, Mighty Avengers #7, Avengers: The Initiative Annual #1||0-7851-3231-7|
|Secret Invasion||Secret Invasion #1-8||0-7851-3297-X|
|Secret Invasion: Home Invasion||Secret Invasion: Home Invasion #1-8||978-0-7851-3557-9|
|Secret Invasion: Front Line||Secret Invasion: Front Line #1-5||0-7851-3377-1|
|Secret Invasion: Who Do You Trust?||Secret Invasion: Who Do You Trust?, Secret Invasion Saga, Skrulls!, Marvel Spotlight: Secret Invasion||0-7851-3409-3|
|Secret Invasion: Amazing Spider-Man||Secret Invasion: The Amazing Spider-Man 1-3, Amazing Spider-Man Annual 2008||0-7851-3270-8|
|Avengers: The Initiative Volume 3: Secret Invasion||Avengers: The Initiative #14-19||0-7851-3150-7|
|Black Panther: Secret Invasion||Black Panther #39-41||0-7851-3397-6|
|Captain Britain and MI13 Volume 1: Secret Invasion||Captain Britain and MI13 #1-4||0-7851-3344-5|
|Captain Marvel: Secret Invasion||Captain Marvel #1-5, Civil War: The Return||0-7851-3303-8|
|Deadpool Volume 1: Secret Invasion||Deadpool #1-5||0-7851-3273-2|
|Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four||Secret Invasion: Fantastic Four #1-3, Fantastic Four #300 and 357||0-7851-3247-3|
|Incredible Hercules: Secret Invasion||Incredible Hercules #116-120||0-7851-3333-X|
|Secret Invasion: Inhumans||Secret Invasion: Inhumans #1-4||0-7851-3248-1|
|Mighty Avengers Volume 3: Secret Invasion, Book 1||Mighty Avengers #12-15||0-7851-3009-8|
|Mighty Avengers Volume 4: Secret Invasion, Book 2||Mighty Avengers #16-20||0-7851-3649-5|
|Ms Marvel Volume 5: Secret Invasion||Ms Marvel #25-30||0-7851-3019-5|
|New Avengers Volume 8: Secret Invasion, Book 1||New Avengers #38-42||0-7851-2946-4|
|New Avengers Volume 9: Secret Invasion, Book 2||New Avengers #43-47||0-7851-2948-0|
|Secret Invasion: New Warriors||New Warriors #14-20||978-0-7851-3176-2|
|Nova Volume 3: Secret Invasion||Nova #13-18||0-7851-2662-7|
|Punisher War Journal Volume 5: Secret Invasion||Punisher War Journal #24-26 and Annual #1||0-7851-3148-5|
|Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers||Secret Invasion: Runaways/Young Avengers #1-3||0-7851-3266-X|
|Secret Invasion: Thor||Secret Invasion: Thor #1-3, Thor #142||0-7851-3426-3|
|She Hulk Volume 8: Secret Invasion||She-Hulk #31-33, X-Factor #34-35||0-7851-3180-9|
|Thunderbolts Volume 3: Secret Invasion||Thunderbolts #122-125, Breaking Point, International Incident, Reason in Madness||0-7851-2394-6|
|Secret Invasion: War Machine||Iron Man: Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. #33-35, Iron Man #144||0-7851-3455-7|
|X-Factor Volume 6: Secret Invasion||X-Factor #33-38, She-Hulk #31||0-7851-2865-4|
|Secret Invasion: X-Men||Secret Invasion: X-Men #1-4||0-7851-3343-7|
From November 2022 forward, Marvel released a new Secret Invasion title composed of five issue miniseries that serves as a spiritual sequel to the original event and sees new hints from the Skrulls to invade again Earth that will force Maria Hill to put out an alert in the intelligence community to prove that they are ready for another Skrull invasion. After dealing with the various Nick Fury imposters, she alerts the Avengers and assures them that it is unlikely that they have been infiltrated, unfortunately she is wrong. While the world's most clandestine forces move in silence to quell the situation before it gets out of hand, Earth's Mightiest Heroes have been left wondering who among them might be an alien infiltrator. Thankfully, Maria Hill is quick to move on to the ranks of Earth's Mightiest Heroes for immediate blood testing. Though her methods are certainly intrusive, to say the least, the Avengers all acquiesce to her demands for a blood sample. This leads to Black Widow being uncovered as a Skrull, which when coupled with the lack of any other failed tests, is enough to calm the rest of the heroes' nerves for the time being. And, in the case of Tony Stark, it is enough to assure him that his fellow Skrulls' plans are going exactly as intended. Upon returning to his lab, Stark is met by another version of himself while revealing the blood bag taped to his arm which he used to pass Hill's test. This is more than enough to make it perfectly clear that Stark has been replaced without anyone else realizing it. It also sets the stage for the latest Skrull invasion to do untold amounts of damage before anyone can stop him, assuming no one figures out the truth anytime soon.
In this reality, Earth surrendered to the Skrulls.
An issue of What If revolves around the Secret Invasion with two stories. The first story asks what would happen if the Skrulls won the Secret Invasion and solved mankind's challenges such as freedom. Here, the Skrulls are celebrating their anniversary of taking over Earth. Some humans have been converted into Skrulls. The Avengers Alliance of Freedom (led by Captain America II and consisting of Black Panther, Blue Marvel, Human Torch, a heavily alcoholic Iron Man, Khn'nr, Ms. Marvel, Night Thrasher II, Spider-Man, Spider-Woman II, Storm, Thing, Thor, and Wolverine) are considered terrorists to the rest of the world. The Skrull's broadcast is interrupted by a pirate footage of Captain America stating that Earth is really under occupation. Queen Veranke's consort Norman Osborn tells her that it would be best to crush the Avengers Alliance of Freedom in Wakanda where they are currently hiding. Wolverine has brought one last remaining sample of the modified Legacy Virus to use against the Skrulls. Veranke appears before the United Nations and gets approval to invade Wakanda and take down the Avengers Alliance of Freedom. As soon as the virus is ready, the Skrull forces attack Wakanda. The Avengers leap into action to repel them. When the cannon meant to release the vaccine is destroyed, Thor uses his powers to spread it across the globe. But instead of doing what was expected, every Skrull and converted humans perishes. The culprit is in fact Norman Osborn. He explains that this was all an elaborate ruse to get what he wants. Due to Iron Man's alcoholism, Spider-Man helped him infiltrate Wakanda to help them but he did not expect that Norman Osborn would cross the line. Osborn admits that he did create a cure for the virus, so that he could survive and get back at the Skrulls for using him. Enraged, Captain America beheads Osborn with his shield. The Avengers surrender to the UN forces sent to arrest them. Meanwhile, far up on the Moon, Uatu the Watcher can only lament how this alternate Earth turned out.
The second story asks what would happen if the Secret Invasion remained secret. Norman Osborn is shown wondering what would happen if he was in charge of national security. Already on this Earth, Captain America has been pardoned for his role in the Civil War and is seen shaking hands with the Red Skull. Hours later, Norman Osborn and the Thunderbolts are dispatched to investigate a situation in the Savage Land. They infiltrate a mysterious structure full of duplicates of superhumans. The Thunderbolts attempt to fight through, only for them all to be massacred and Osborn captured. He is brought before Veranke/Spider-Woman. She tells him a little story about how a priest stood up to her and told her that she would die by the hands of Norman Osborn himself. Therefore, the Skrulls had to integrate themselves into human society and eventually fade away. She claims that the prophet became Osborn himself. Though Norman Osborn tries to deny it, Veranke insists that he is and asks that he kiss her true face. Instead, Norman Osborn commits suicide, and reverts him to his Skrull form.
In other media
- The plot of the Secret Invasion storyline was adapted in the animated series The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes. A newspaper seen at the beginning of the episode "Masters of Evil" includes a headline for a Baxter Building tenant's recollections of becoming replaced by an alien. Also, in the episode "The Kang Dynasty", Kang the Conqueror references both Civil War and Secret Invasion by saying: "Captain America's betrayal is just the beginning... The worst is yet to come." Later, towards the end of episode "Widow's Sting", the captured Madame Hydra is revealed to be a Skrull in disguise. At the end of the episode "A Day Unlike Any Other", after the Avengers return from their battle with Loki, Captain America is attacked and replaced by a Skrull who goes on to say "The infiltration has begun" as the Skrull takes Captain America's place. In the season two premiere episode, "The Private War of Doctor Doom", Invisible Woman of the Fantastic Four was also revealed to be a Skrull. However, as of "Welcome to the Kree Empire", only Doctor Doom and Nick Fury seem aware of the infiltration. In "Who Do You Trust?", it is shown that Veranke is posing as Mockingbird (mirroring Veranke impersonating Spider-Woman in the original comic). In the episode "Infiltration", the Skrull Invasion begins and Ms. Marvel is tricked by Skrull Avengers to help attack Wakanda and the Black Panther but the Skrull Avengers are later defeated when Hawkeye and the Wasp show up. Veranke also installs a virus in Iron Man's armor. In the episode "Secret Invasion", Nick Fury and Maria Hill save Iron Man, Captain America returns to Earth (along with the real heroes and villains who had been revealed to be replaced before), and the Avengers defeat the Super-Skrulls and Thor destroys their backup plan to wipe out humanity. The invasion is thwarted and the Skrulls are put in S.H.I.E.L.D. custody.
- In December 2020, a Disney+ Secret Invasion television show based on the limited comic series was announced as part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). It stars Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Ben Mendelsohn as Talos, both reprising their roles from the MCU films. Also starring are Kingsley Ben-Adir as rebel Skrull leader Gravik, Emilia Clarke as Talos' daughter G'iah, Olivia Colman as MI6 agent Sonya Falsworth, Killian Scott as Pagon, and Carmen Ejogo in undisclosed roles. The series premiered on June 21, 2023.
- Secret Invasion was originally intended to inspire The Avengers.
- Ubisoft and Marvel Entertainment stated Marvel Avengers: Battle for Earth was influenced by Secret Invasion.
- Secret Invasion is used as the basis for Chapter 10 in the plot of Marvel Heroes.
- Marvel HeroClix released a "Secret Invasion"-themed set based on the storyline. The set included Captain Marvel, Dum-Dum Dugan, Criti Noll (as Yellowjacket), Pagon (as Elektra), Ms. Marvel, Edwin Jarvis, and many more. Veranke (as Spider-Woman) and Lyja (as Invisible Woman) were released as chase figures in their Skrull-only personality.
- Annihilation #1 - 6 (Oct. 2006 - Mar. 2007). Marvel Comics.
- Richards, Dave (June 14, 2007). ""New Avengers #31: Bendis Talks About the Big Twist"". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on July 26, 2018. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- Secret War #1 - 5 (Apr. 2004 - Dec. 2005). Marvel Comics.
- New Avengers #1 (Jan. 2005). Marvel Comics.
- ""Baltimore '07: Brian Bendis Talks Secret Invasion"". Newsarama. September 10, 2007. Archived from the original on May 16, 2008. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- Johnston, Rich (April 7, 2008). "Lying In The Gutters". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on June 2, 2019. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- Hundson, Laura (July 4, 2008). "Marvel's Viral Marketing Invasion". Archived from the original on May 12, 2008. Retrieved June 2, 2019.
- Avengers #88–97 (June 1971 – Mar. 1972)
- Shown in flashback in New Avengers: Illuminati #1 (Dec. 2006). Marvel Comics.
- Fantastic Four #257 (Aug. 1983)
- New Avengers #40 (Apr. 2008)
- New Avengers #31 (June 2007). Marvel Comics.
- New Avengers #41–43 (May–July 2008). Marvel Comics.
- New Avengers: Illuminati #5 (Nov. 2007). Marvel Comics.
- Deadpool vol. 4 #3. Marvel Comics.
- Secret Invasion #8. Marvel Comics.
- Dark Reign: Dark Avengers #1 (Mar. 2009). Marvel Comics.
- ""Secret Invasion Comic Series Reviews"". Comic Book Roundup. Retrieved August 8, 2022.
- Review of Secret Invasion #1 Archived December 1, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, Comics Bulletin
- Review of Secret Invasion #1, Comic Book Resources
- Sales Estimates for April, 2008 Books, Comic Book Resources, May 20, 2008
- Sales Estimates for May, 2008, Comic Book Resources, June 17, 2008
- Secret Invasion (Vol. 2) #1
- Secret Invasion (Vol. 2) #2
- Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #3
- What If?: Secret Invasion
- Gelman, Vlada (December 10, 2020). "Secret Invasion, Marvel Series Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Coming to Disney+". TVLine. Archived from the original on December 11, 2020. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
- Brezican, Anthony (March 31, 2023). "Secret Invasion Revealed: Inside Samuel L. Jackson's Eye-Opening New Marvel Series". Vanity Fair. Archived from the original on March 31, 2023. Retrieved March 31, 2023.
- Miller, Leon (September 13, 2022). "Marvel Confirms Secret Invasion Link to Captain America's Howling Commandos". Comic Book Resources. Archived from the original on September 13, 2022. Retrieved September 13, 2022.
- Andreeva, Nellie (May 26, 2021). "'Secret Invasion': Christopher McDonald Joins Marvel Series For Disney+". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on May 26, 2021. Retrieved May 26, 2021.
- D'Alessandro, Anthony (November 12, 2021). "'Secret Invasion': First Looks Unveiled For Nick Fury & Talos Team-Up Marvel Series – Disney+ Day". Deadline Hollywood. Archived from the original on November 13, 2021. Retrieved November 13, 2021.
- Lovett, Jamie (April 2, 2023). "Secret Invasion Poster Released By Marvel Ahead of Trailer Debut". ComicBook.com. Archived from the original on April 2, 2023. Retrieved April 2, 2023.
- Dornbush, Jonathan (November 30, 2015). "See the history of the canceled Avengers video game". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on April 6, 2016. Retrieved July 6, 2019.
- Marvel.com - Secret Invasion: Skrull Revelations
- Secret Invasion at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)
- Secret Invasion: The Infiltration at the Comic Book DB (archived from the original)
- Secret Invasion: First Strike[permanent dead link], Newsarama
- WizardUniverse.com - Secret Invasion #1 Director’s Commentary
- GammaPoweredRadio.com - The entire Marvel: Secret Invasion Panel from the NYC Comic-Con 2008