They Walk Among Us
Super-Skrull: [after defeating The Hulk] “If you are the strongest Humanity has to offer, then Earth will soon fall to the Skrull Empire!” – Marvel vs. Capcom 3
An unassuming man enters a warehouse. He sees an eclectic mix of people milling around. Vagrants and thugs can be seen talking with celebrities and politicians. The crowd quiets as a little girl approaches a podium.
The girl’s flesh seems to melt as she grows to adult size. She now has green reptilian skin and a ridged face. The crowd also shifts to their true forms and listens to their Empress detail the invasion plan.
The Skrulls are one of Marvel’s oldest races. Originally a stereotypical race of alien invaders, the Skrulls have become one of the universe’s most dangerous species. So who are they? Why do they invade worlds? What is their connection to the Kree? Let’s find out, puny Earthlings.
The Kree-Skrull War: The Skrull’s Backstory
Nick Fury: [talking to Captain Marvel] “So Skrulls are the bad guys… and you’re a Kree?” – Captain Marvel (2019)
The Skrulls debuted in Fantastic Four #2 in 1962. They were portrayed as generic alien invaders, but became popular enough to become recurring foes.
The Skrulls were originally a peaceful merchant race who traded goods with species they considered worthy. They also possessed shapeshifting ability and took the form of whoever they were doing business with to smooth things over. The Skrull empire grew to encompass almost 1,000 worlds.
The Skrulls eventually encountered a warrior race called the Kree. The Skrulls planned to include the Kree in their empire, but were horrified to learn the Kree had slaughtered a neighboring species called the Cotati. The Kree then killed the Skrull’s diplomatic party, sparking a millennia-long war.
The Skrulls shifted from peaceful merchants to ruthless warriors. They quickly realized how dangerous shapeshifting made them, either turning into monsters for open warfare or disguising themselves for espionage. The Skrulls eventually discovered a world filled with resources that would give them an edge against the Kree.
The inhabitants called it Earth…
Secret Invasion: The Skrull’s History
Skrull Queen: “In spite of all that you’ve done to our empire, He loves you.”
Spider-Man: “Uh… he who?”
Skrull Queen: God.
Nick Fury: “Yeah? [points to Thor] Well, my god has a hammer!” – Secret Invasion
A quartet of Skrulls were dispatched to defeat Earth’s (then) greatest heroes, The Fantastic Four. They framed the Four for various crimes, but were eventually defeated. Mr. Fantastic then boarded the mothership pretending to be his Skrull doppelganger.
He showed the invasion’s leader clippings from various Marvel comics, claiming the monsters and weapons were real. The leader not only believed Mr. Fantastic, but awarded him a medal for bravery when he volunteered to stay behind and erase all evidence of the Skrulls. What a dummy.
The Skrulls were not fooled for long. They returned to Earth several times, fighting The Fantastic Four, The Avengers, and a Kree hero called Captain Mar-Vell. Tragedy struck the Skrull Empire when their home planet was destroyed by Galactus, Devourer of Worlds.
A Skrull named Vernake convinced her desperate people that their gods wanted them to conquer Earth and make it a new home world. The Skrulls elevated Vernake to the position of Queen and began infiltrating Earth.
Despite years of preparation and an army of superpowered Skrulls, the invasion failed. The Skrulls were left in disarray, but have regrouped under the leadership of the original Super-Skrull.
The Empire’s Finest: Notable Skrulls
Super-Skrull: “I have been training for months, studying the four of you. I have fought this fight a thousand times in simulations.”
Mr. Fantastic: “Then why haven’t you beaten me yet?”
Super-Skrull: [trouncing Mr. Fantastic] “Because I want to savor the experience.” – Fantastic Four: World’s Greatest Heroes, “Revenge of the Skrulls” (Season 1, Episode 14)
The most notable Skrull is Kl’rt, the Super-Skrull. Kl’rt is a particularly loyal Skrull who volunteered for an experimental treatment that gave him enhanced versions of the Fantastic Four’s powers.
Super Skrull is stronger than The Thing, burns hotter than the Human Torch, has stronger force fields than the Invisible Woman, and is more malleable than Mr. Fantastic. He also has hypnotic powers.
Queen Veranke is the prophet of the gods Kly’bn and Sl’gur’t. She convinced the Skrulls to invade Earth and underwent a variant of the Super-Skrull procedure. Vernake came out of that disguised as Spider-Woman, with all of that heroine’s powers including bio-electric blasts, flight, super strength, and pheromones.
Other notable Skrulls include the Kree/Skrull hybrid Hulkling, Superman pastiche Virtue, and John the Skrull. That last one was part of a quartet sent to conquer Earth in the 60’s who disguised themselves as The Beatles. So alien superhero John Lennon. Groovy.
Didya get all that?
A conspiracy theorist’s wet dream.
Jared Bounacos has written for Movie Rewind since 2017.