Queen Veranke of the Skrull.
|First appearance||New Avengers #1 (January 2005) (as Spider-Woman)|
New Avengers #40 (June 2008) (as Veranke)
|Created by||Brian Michael Bendis (writer)|
Jim Cheung (artist)
|Team affiliations||Skrull Empire|
|Notable aliases||Skrull Queen, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew), Sybil Dvorak|
Veranke is a fictional supervillainess created by Marvel Comics who serves as the queen of the Skrull empire in the Marvel Universe. She is the main antagonist of Secret Invasion, in which she leads her empire to invade and conquer Earth.
Veranke's first appearance is a cameo appearance as a cloaked figure at the beginning of Secret Invasion #1. Her character is named and fleshed out in New Avengers #40 as she is seen rising to the Skrull throne.
Although the "Spider-Woman" appearing in New Avengers #1 is actually Veranke in disguise, this is not revealed until some time later.
Fictional character biography
After the group of Earth superheroes known as the Illuminati escape from the Skrull palace, Emperor Dorrek VII is scolded by Veranke, a princess from the Tyeranx 7 province, for not heeding the words of the Skrull prophecies, which state the attack upon the palace, then the destruction of the Skrull homeworld, the coming of a "wave of devastation" through Skrull space, and the need to take "a world of blue" as their new home. As Dorrek ignores her warnings, Veranke declares if he is unable to heed the writings of the Skrull's scriptures and the will of the Skrull people, he should be removed from the throne. For her defiance, Dorrek banishes Veranke to a prison planet, brushing her off as an insane fanatic and a traitor while acknowledging executing her would only turn her into a martyr for her cause.
Planning the Secret Invasion
Years later, the Skrull throneworld is destroyed by Galactus. The next prophecy fulfilled, the Skrulls elevate Veranke, still on the prison world, to the throne of the Skrull Empire. As Queen, Veranke declares that the scriptures foretell Earth as the new Skrull homeland. As such, the Skrulls undergo a major operation to take over Earth through infiltrating the facets of Earth, thereby weakening them enough to employ a military invasion to conquer the planet. In addition, Veranke decides to be one of the agents, deciding to play a direct part in the infiltration of Earth. When she asks who among the candidates for replacement is most capable of inflicting damage, Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) is recommended as the prime choice.
When the real Spider-Woman went undercover into HYDRA to regain her lost powers, she was placed under sedation by Skrulls posing as HYDRA agents, and replaced by Veranke taking Spider-Woman's place as a double agent of Nick Fury, director of S.H.I.E.L.D..
As "Spider-Woman", she was appointed to working at the Raft, and was at the Raft when Electro unleashed a mass break-out attempt of the prisoners inside. This event unintentionally led to the reforming of the New Avengers, which she later joins after Captain America (Steve Rogers) offers membership to "Spider-Woman". Fury instructs her to continue as his personal agent, now within the New Avengers, S.H.I.E.L.D., and HYDRA simultaneously; she eventually confesses this triple agent arrangement to the Avengers.
During an adventure with the New Avengers, Veranke learns of the greatest threat to her rule, Dorrek VIII, also known as Hulkling of the Young Avengers, who is the son of the Kree hero Captain Marvel and the Skrull princess Anelle, and a likely heir to the throne. During the invasion, she orders him to be executed, keeping his identity a secret.
House of M
During the House of M, it was revealed that she, along with all the other undercover Skrulls, knew that the world had been altered. She tries to assassinate the Scarlet Witch, but is unsuccessful and deconstructed in a way similar to Hawkeye (Clint Barton); both come back afterward. In the aftermath, news reaches her that the Empire itself has almost entirely been destroyed by the Annihilation Wave, killing billions of Skrulls, further fulfilling their prophecies. Distressed, Veranke and her agents become more determined to continue their takeover of Earth.
Soon after Spider-Man (Peter Parker) reveals his identity to the world during the Civil War storyline, Iron Man (Tony Stark) discloses her triple agent status to acting S.H.I.E.L.D. director Maria Hill. Troubled by Spider-Woman's potentially treasonous allegiance to Nick Fury, Hill orders her apprehended. Hiding under the name Sybil Dvorak, she is captured and taken aboard a S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier. Deploying an electro-magnetic pulse device, a HYDRA commando team disables the helicarrier and rescues her. She makes her way to the hidden base of Captain America's Secret Avengers and tearfully pleads to join the resistance, having lost her connection to S.H.I.E.L.D. and Fury.
After the Civil War, Veranke travels alongside the New Avengers to Tokyo, where the team fights Elektra - also a Skrull impostor - and the Hand, and is unable to prevent Echo from killing Elektra, revealing the Skrull infiltration. As the team ponders its next move, Veranke attacks Wolverine and takes the Skrull corpse. She delivers the corpse to Stark in a move designed to sow distrust amongst the superhero community, which at this point is not difficult as there is already a great deal of distrust on all sides of the superhero community due to the "Civil War" and its aftermath, leaving bad feelings on many fronts. Afterwards, she also joins the government sanctioned the Mighty Avengers, under the guise of throwing the Skrulls off balance.
During the Secret Invasion storyline, Tony Stark informs "Jessica Drew" of the crash-landing of a Skrull transport ship in the Savage Land. Unbeknownst to Tony, she in turn tips off Luke Cage about this information, telling him that she trusts him over Stark. A meeting among the Skrull agents on Earth is held where Jessica is apparently in attendance, referred to as "Empress" by the Skrull posing as Edwin Jarvis.
After the first wave of the Skrull invasion of Earth begins, Veranke is seen in the Savage Land, where she confronts and attacks Echo, repeatedly blasting her with venom blasts and then slamming her into a nearby tree trunk. She then finds Stark and insinuates that he is a Skrull sleeper agent, which he denies. She kisses him, informing him that he has "earned the queen's love". Black Widow plans to attack while Veranke talks to Iron Man, but is distracted by Skrulls posing as Beast and Jean Grey, and Veranke disappears and escapes while Black Widow kills the Skrulls.
Queen Veranke arrives at Camp Hammond and the Shadow Initiative attempt to assassinate her. Thor makes his presence known and she assembles her troops for the final battle. The New Avengers, Mighty Avengers, Nick Fury & his commandos, the Young Avengers, the Initiative, the Hood's crew, Thor, the new Captain America (Bucky Barnes), and the Thunderbolts all assemble. Queen Veranke later reveals that "He", a figure mentioned repeatedly by Skrulls throughout the storyline in the phrase 'he loves you' is a reference to "God" as she leads an army of Super-Skrulls against the superhumans of Earth. During the fight, Wolverine confronts Veranke and a fight begins. Wolverine quickly gains the upper hand and impales Veranke through the shoulder with his claws. Moments later, Young Avenger Hawkeye (Kate Bishop) is injured, prompting Ronin (Clint Barton) to pick up her bow. Ronin then kills four Skrulls before seemingly killing Veranke with a shot to the head. This leads to the Skrull posing as Hank Pym to activate the device inside Wasp's body, which he says will end it all. Wasp starts growing to enormous size, but Thor transports her to another dimension so she can die. Veranke, however, is revealed to be still alive. Just as many of the heroes go to attack, Norman Osborn shoots Veranke in the head, killing the Queen of the Skrulls.
During the Dark Reign storyline, Veranke is seen in Erebus when Hercules travels to the Underworld. She is later seen in Pluto's jury (alongside Abomination, Armless Tiger Man, Artume, Baron Heinrich Zemo, Commander Kraken, Iron Monger, Jack O'Lantern, Kyknos, Nessus, Orka and Scourge of the Underworld) at Zeus' trial.
Powers and abilities
Like all Skrulls of Deviant heritage, Veranke is capable of shape-shifting her form into whatever she chooses, be it humanoid, non-humanoid, or even inorganic. Recent unspecified developments in genetic engineering within the Skrull race has allowed the Skrulls, including Veranke to go undetected in human form from Iron Man's technological scans, Charles Xavier's mental scans, Spider-Man's Spider-Sense, Wolverine's animal senses, or any other conceivable forms of detection. So subtle and powerful is this form of concealment neither Doctor Strange at his Sanctum Sanctorum could detect her with the Spell of Tartashi (though it apparently inflicted some degree of physical pain), nor could the Elder God-powered Scarlet Witch using Xavier's psychic powers delve into Veranke's true mind, as shown when Veranke was granted Jessica Drew's desires, not her own. Veranke's shape-shifting abilities also allow her to form weapons such as blades on her body. Veranke also has a great deal of knowledge concerning Skrull prophecies.
While posing as Jessica Drew, she displayed Spider-Woman's powers which include:
- Superhuman strength, endurance, reflexes, and speed.
- Bioelectric Energy Blasts "venom blasts"
- Immunity to all poisons and drugs, and is totally immune to radiation.
- Pheromones generation to attract human males while repulsing females, though she uses a chemical "perfume" that can nullify this effect. Recently emerged with her powers restored greater than ever.
As Jessica Drew, she initially had only limited gliding ability, enhanced by the small wings that are part of her costume. After losing her powers, HYDRA further tampered with her metabolism, providing her with self-powered flight. The range of her flying capabilities is still undetermined. She displayed powers that helped her and the other Avengers escape from Doctor Doom's technological device by creating a Venom blast explosion — this use of Spider-Woman's powers was noted as inconsistent with her S.H.I.E.L.D. files.
During the Secret Wars storyline, the Battleworld domain of the Warzone (which is based on a reality in which the Superhuman Civil War never ended), Queen Veranke is the cause of every single failed attempt at reaching peace in a part of a plan to benefit from the never-ending war. This was revealed to President Stark when he was captured by Queen Veranke's men posing as Black Panther's soldiers. President Stark used weapons not in his armor to free himself and She-Hulk from Queen Veranke's clutches.
In other media
Veranke appears in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, voiced by Elizabeth Daily. This version poses as Mockingbird while she orchestrates a Skrull invasion of Earth during season two's first half.
- New Avengers vol. 1 #23
- New Avengers #40
- New Avengers #3
- New Avengers #23
- Mighty Avengers #6 (2007)
- Mighty Avengers #7 (2007)
- Secret Invasion #1
- Mighty Avengers #14
- "wizard universe". Archived from the original on 2008-07-01. Retrieved 2008-06-28.
- Secret Invasion #3
- Secret Invasion #4
- Secret Invasion #6
- Secret Invasion #8
- Incredible Hercules #129
- New Avengers #14
- Mighty Avengers #11
- Civil War Vol. 2 #4