Monday, July 16, 2007

Skrullduggery Week Continues: What if they gave an invasion and no one came? Well, almost no one.

And we're back to Skrullduggery Week, possibly from now until I go on vacation, if I keep finding Skrullish appearances.

Books like Skrull Kill Krew have taken the approach that Marvel seems headed for again: that the Skrull invasion is ongoing and insidious, and involves a helluva a lot of Skrulls. Disguised as important or influential figures, or as harmless and innocuous bystanders, they are working their way into human society and turning mankind's defenses back on themselves.

That's the theory, anyway. In that case, what's the point of replacing Elektra? Ooh, now we control the ninjas! That's way better than superheroes or presidents! What's Elektra done lately? Piss off Frank Miller and get cancelled a couple of times. Maybe sleep with Frank Castle. Kind of a short list there, eh?

I don't know that the Skrulls would take the tack of flooding earth with hidden invaders. The more guys you sent to infiltrate, the more likely it is someone's going to get wise. And finding one Skrull is going to put you on the lookout for more, so committing more than one to the same group or location might not be productive.

Predating it's use in terrorism, I think the Skrulls have been operating in cells for years, probably since their first appearance. Most are probably at most three or four members, and have no contact with the other groups. That way, no defeated group can rat out another, but the cells also aren't in each other's crossfire either.
Sensational Hydra knows what the people want:  Batroc.
Case in point: one of the more successful Skrull invasions was in, of all books, Captain America. After Cap's return from the (presumed) dead (in Heroes Reborn/Return/Retread), the Star-Spangled Avenger is more popular than ever worldwide. After beating down Batroc in a public showdown at Rockefeller Center, Cap becomes an unwilling sensation, but is worried over the hero-worship, especially since Batroc had said he was paid to lose.

The new leader of a faction of Hydra, the so-called Sensational Hydra, a smirking blond hipster psychopath; keeps building up Cap in the media, even as Cap and the Avengers take out Hydra bases worldwide. (By the way, using Thor on Hydra seems like overkill. I'm not saying stop, though.) At one base, a Hydra soldier claims the Sensational is a rouge, then as he is taken into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D., is murdered by the Sensational Hydra, who had been disguised as a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent.
Why?  Snitches get stitches, that's why.
The Sensational Hydra then takes hostages on the observation deck of the Empire State Building, daring Captain America into a final showdown. Followed by a chatty reporter, Cap doesn't have a lot of trouble with the Hydra rank-and-file, and quickly makes his way to the observation deck. There, the reporter reveals himself as the Sensational, then as a Skrull. As were the 'hostages,' who immediately gun down the human Hydra agents, then capture Cap with 'Skrull handcuffs,' a smart-goo substance that changes shape as needed to prevent escape.

The Sensational Skrull (he never called himself that, but he should have) then takes Cap's place, and stops a staged assassination attempt on the president. Using the 'Capmania' media frenzy he helped create, he makes an ominous annoucement on national television:
'One in twenty' is probably a good number to cause paranoia and distrust; I would've pressed my luck and said every third person.
Confused, the Sensational's Skrull henchmen reveal themselves, and are promptly beaten and gunned down before they can mention being sold out. With the 'proof' in front of them, the American people, somewhat understandably, lose their collective heads. God, I hate Fox News.

It's a really, really good plan. The only fault is that Sensational presses too far. As the nation riots, Cap goes into Steve Rogers, helping out where he can, mobilizing Tony Stark and Reed Richards on a plan. Sensational can't figure out why Cap won't show his face, since he really wants to rub his face in it.

As the Avengers start to wonder why Cap isn't in costume or trying to calm the nation, Sensational appears again as Cap, proclaiming the President and key members of Congress have been replaced by Skrulls as well. But, Sensational has overplayed his hand, and Cap hits him with a ray (from Reed and Tony) that reverts him back to his chinny self. Comeuppance ensues, including a snarky Reed telling the press there's no Skrulls out there.
Why am I curious what that ray does to people?  Bowel disruptor maybe?
Cap ends the issue with a speech about the American people and his role to them, but I'm kind of wondering what they did with/to Sensational Skrull. Deportation? Hypnotized and turned into a cow? (Say what you will, that's less dumb than hypnotising the White Martians and putting them back into society, as in JLA a few years back.) Guantanamo Bay? What?
Lab coats=science!
Oh, and yeah, a ray that makes Skrulls turn back to their original shapes. Built by Reed Richards and friggin' Tony Stark, who should've had that installed in his armor. Look, if you want to have this kind of thing, but still want the Skrulls to be viable bad guys in the future, I must reiterate: the writers have to leave a a valid reason why this won't work again:

REED: I must say, Tony, I'm almost nervous. This is the single most complicated, expensive piece of machinery I've ever attempted to build.

TONY: I know. I'm just glad the government's footing the bill for this one! My armor didn't cost this much.

REED: The Negative Zone Portal didn't cost this much.

TONY: And this thing uses more energy than South America. And for one-shot!

REED: Yes, if only this were a permanent solution to the Skrull threat.

TONY: Yes, if only. Speaking of permanent solutions, Reed, I was thinking we need to do something about Bruce...

REED: That is funny. Stephen and I were talking about that very thing just the other day...


Panels from Captain America #4-7, written by Mark Waid, art by Ron Garney, Dale Eaglesham, Andy Kubert, Bob Wiacek, John Beatty, Scott Koblish, and Jesse Delperdang.


SallyP said...

Goodness...getting rid of Skrulls is like trying to get rid of cockroaches.

Frankly I'm getting just a wee bit tired of Skrulls all the time. They really aren't that effective, and they always end up getting beaten, then all the heroes forget about them until the NEXT time they show up. I guess Tony and Reed really aren't that efficient either.

Anonymous said...

Maybe it kills any humans affected, so they can only use it if they're sure the guy's a skrull.

googum said...

That's Skrull talk, Anonymous! You're one of them!

Anonymous said...