The shapeshifting alien Skrulls have been around the Marvel Comics universe since the very early days. In both the comic book series Secret Invasion and its MCU namesake, the Skrulls have replaced key people associated with the Fantastic Four, the Avengers, and the X-Men. And that leads many to wonder, just who has been a Skrull in Marvel’s world? Well, it turns out, quite a few characters. Here are some of the most important Marvel characters who Skrull agents replaced over the years, some almost two decades before the Secret Invasion comics.
Alicia Masters Was a Skrull
One of the first major Marvel Comics characters a Skrull replaced was Alicia Masters. Marvel introduced the blind sculptor as Ben Grimm’s, a.k.a. the Thing, girlfriend in Fantastic Four. Alicia was his main squeeze for decades, until Thing decided to live on another planet after the first Secret Wars. With the Thing gone, and likely never to return, Alicia fell in love with his Fantastic Four teammate Johnny Storm and married him. When Ben Grimm returned, let’s just say he was not happy. Fans didn’t love it either.
But years later, Marvel revealed that the Alicia Masters who met and fell in love with Johnny was actually a Skrull agent in disguise, meant to infiltrate the Fantastic Four and destroy them from within. Meanwhile, the Skrull Empire kept the real Alicia Masters in captivity. The Skrull imposter’s true name was Llya, and although a Skrull agent, she really did fall in love with the Human Torch. Eventually, Llya was exposed as an alien Skrull, and an enraged Johnny left her. Marvel Comics returned the real Alicia to Earth. Years later, she eventually married the Thing, Benjamin J. Grimm.
Captain America’s Time as a Skrull in Marvel Comics
Years before the Secret Invasion comics mini-series, Marvel replaced Steve Rogers with a Skrull. In a 1998 storyline in Captain America from writer Mark Waid and penciler Dale Eaglesham, the Skrulls captured Captain America and impersonated him with one of their own. Their plan was to have Skrull Captain America expose two of his companions as Skrulls live on TV, hoping it would send the human population of Earth into prolonged paranoia, turning neighbor against neighbor. The plan very nearly worked, as Steve Rogers was perhaps Earth’s most trusted hero. But with the help of the Avengers, the real Captain America returned and exposed the Skrull plot.
Wolverine Became a Skrull in the ’90s
Another late ‘90s Skrull infiltration plot occurred when they revealed the X-Men’s Wolverine as a Skrull. In a twist, the Skrulls were actually working for the X-Men’s longtime enemy, Apocalypse. He needed a new Hoseman of Death, especially as his previous Death, better known as Archangel, had reverted to being a good guy. So Apocalypse chose the character of Logan and replaced Wolverine with a Skrull imposter in the world of Marvel. His fellow X-Men went unsuspecting for months, even the psychics like Professor X. This fake Wolverine had implanted memories and didn’t even know he wasn’t the real Marvel Comics’ Logan but a Skrull version. He heroically died in battle with Death, who was eventually freed from Apocalypse’s thrall and became good ol’ Logan again. The Skrull Wolverine actually made his debut in a Punisher/Wolverine crossover.
Elektra’s Skrull Reveal Began Marvel Comics’ Secret Invasion Series
The truth of the Skrull threat to Marvel’s heroes began in earnest when the ninja assassin Elektra was the first of several heroes exposed as a Skrull. This reveal happened in 2007’s New Avengers #31, by writer Brian Michael Bendis and penciler Leinil Francis Yu. Echo killed Elektra in battle, and upon death, Elektra was revealed to be a Skrull, shocking everyone. Marvel Comics then revealed that Skrulls replaced the true Elektra several months prior, and that the Skrull who impersonated her was meant to die. Marvel designed the Skrull infiltration to be revealed to the Avengers as a way of creating suspicion among the heroic community. The real Elektra would return, of course, but the death of the Skrull impersonator would kick off the Secret Invasion event series.
Skrull Black Bolt Attacked Marvel’s Illuminati
With the Skrull Elektra exposed, Iron Man brought her corpse to the rest of his compatriots in the Illuminati. He hoped this would spur his fellow Marvel Universe power players to treat the Skrull threat seriously. It was then that Tony Stark learned his fellow Illuminati member Black Bolt, King of the Inhumans, had been a Skrull for months, replacing the real Black Bolt at a time when his brother Maximus assumed the throne of Attilan. Skrull Black Bolt attacked Marvel Comics’ Illuminati, but the Illuminati defeated him with a bit of help. His wife, Queen Medusa, eventually rescued the real Black Bolt.
Skrull Spider-Woman Betrayed the Avengers
Spider-Woman was a prominent Marvel hero in the ‘70s and ‘80s, only to all but vanish for decades, while other heroes took her name and carried on. But the original Spider-Woman, Jessica Drew, returned in 2005 as a member of the New Avengers. But just a few years later, Marvel Comics revealed this Spider-Woman was never the real Jessica Drew at all, she was the Skrull Queen, Veranke. And she was about to commence the Skrull invasion of Earth, fulfilling a prophecy she believed was about Earth becoming a new Skrull Throneworld. Luckily, the real Spider-Woman appeared not long after, and joined the Avengers, but the other members had to work to trust her. After all, the last version of Spider-Woman in their ranks was working against them from the start.
Dr. Hank Pym Was a Skrull for Years in Marvel’s Comics
A Skrull agent replaced founding Avenger Hank Pym as well. But during Marvel Comics’ Secret Invasion, Pym revealed that the Skrull had replaced the true Hank after the events of 2004’s Avengers Disassembled. So Skrull Hank was on the team for roughly four years. His purpose was to give his ex-wife Janet Van Dyne, the Wasp, a special growth formula—one that was actually a deadly weapon to be used against the Avengers.
Captain Marvel Returned to Life Only As a Marvel Comics Skrull
The original Captain Marvel, the Kree warrior Mar-Vell, was one of the rare comics heroes to die and stay dead. Marvel chronicled his demise from cancer in the 1982 story The Death of Captain Marvel. Others succeeded him, most recently Carol Danvers, but Mar-Vell stayed dead until 2007’s epic The Return of Captain Marvel, which shocked Marvel Comics fans. Many longtime fans met this grand return of a Silver Age hero with skepticism. Eventually, during Secret Invasion, Marvel revealed this Mar-Vell as a Skrull sleeper agent, and he attacked Marvel’s heroes. Much like Lyja beforehand, he ultimately sacrificed himself as one of the good guys after switching sides. And so, the real Mar-Vell remains dead, 40 years and counting. In comics, that’s got to be a record.
Skrull Mockingbird Caused Some Drama
Heroine Bobbi Morse and her ex-husband Hawkeye were a tumultuous couple. Both heroes, both stubborn—their relationship ultimately ended in divorce. Mockingbird herself died in Avengers West Coast #100. But surprise, that Mockingbird was a Skrull agent. The shape changers held the real Bobbi in captivity, and she finally returned to Earth during the Secret Invasion. Mockingbird was entirely unaware of her “death” and that she and Clint Barton were no longer an item. One big Marvel Comics continuity error with this Skrull takeover was that when Skrull Bobbi died in the ’90s, the character did not revert to Skrull form.
Skrulls Used Doctor Voodoo
Jericho Drumm, the sorcerer originally called Brother Voodoo (now Doctor Voodoo) eventually became the Sorcerer Supreme. But for a time, he was an advisor to Black Panther in Wakanda. But this version of the good doctor was actually a Skrull agent, meant to infiltrate the ranks of Wakanda’s royal court as a weapon from within. The hope was that incapacitating the most powerful nation on Earth via this character would make the Skrull invasion that much easier in the Marvel universe. This version of Jericho Drumm died once he was revealed, and the real Doctor Voodoo returned.
The Disney+ series Secret Invasion has everyone asking “Is Nick Fury a Skrull?” We don’t know for sure if the Nick Fury we see in the show is or isn’t a Skrull… Although we know Fury became a Skrull in the MCU’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, so we can’t rule it out. Regardless, it does beg the question, was S.H.I.E.L.D director Nicholas J. Fury ever impersonated by a Skrull in Marvel Comics? And the answer is yes, here’s when it happened.
In the comics, in one issue of 2010’s Hawkeye & Mockingbird series, Nick Fury was a Skrull. But only ever so briefly. This Skrull Fury imposter was sent to the Savage Land, where he was tasked with gathering the dead bodies of other Skrulls. Mockingbird and bounty hunter Dominic Fortune went to look into a beacon in an old S.H.I.E.L.D. base. But Mockingbird realized this Nick Fury was nothing more than a Skrull imposter and ended him pretty quickly. We’ll have to see if Secret Invasion brings any new entries to the Fury Skrull ledger.
Originally published on June 28, 2023.