What If... Secret Invasion (Story 1)

Background

Many years ago the alien race known as the Skrulls planned a secret invasion of Earth. Over the years, they replaced many members of the super-hero community. Eventually their deception was discovered and eventually repelled by Earth's heroes and villains in an unprecedented effort.

However in this reality, the Skrulls were victorious over Earth's defenders and remained on the planet.

Story 'What If... The Skrulls Won?'

  What If... Secret Invasion (Story 1)
Summary: Skrulls take over Earth; Spider-Man appears
Writer: Karl Bollers, Kevin Grevioux
Pencils: Pow Rodrix
Cover Art: Leinil Francis Yu
Cover Paints: Gabriele Dell'Otto
Painter: Frank Martin

Earth celebrates their first Skrull holiday “Vaxa Ha-Kax” (Enlightenment Day) to mark the one-year anniversary of the Skrull victory over Earth's forces. The cohabitation has been successful and a large crowd of both species appear to participate in the festivities.

Skrull reporter Syjorgun comments on the general mood of the crowd as they watch May Parker undergo a "conversion". This ceremony is religious in nature and performed as a full-body baptism. This immersion infuses Skrull DNA into human DNA granting them shape-shifting powers. May emerges from the liquid looking to be in her mid-twenties, claiming she feels better than she has in years.

Syjorgun and her human co-host Richar Jennings contrasts the happiness they're witnessing with a recent terrorist attack on a conversion temple in Geneva. Marvel Boy set himself up as a suicide bomber and destroyed the template. He was reported to scream “For Wakanda” as he completed his mission. Current speculation is that he is part of the Avengers Alliance For Freedom based in Wakanda. They remind their audience that Wakanda is the only nation to refuse inter-species cohabitation.

At this point their broadcast is interrupted by a pirate signal from Captain America (Bucky Barnes). He states clearly and emphatically that Marvel Boy acted on his own; they would never condone such actions. He once again reminds the audience that they are being invaded, despite all evidence to the contrary.

Queen Veranke watches this broadcast with slight irritation. Her consort assures her that the broadcast is coming from Wakanda as only the Black Panther has the technology to execute this. Veranke questions why there are those that doubt her intentions. They have eliminated poverty, war, famine, crime, and yet groups like the Avengers do not trust them. Her consort Norman Osborn - who has himself undergone a conversion– reminds her that throughout human history, all alleged utopias come with a price. For this reason alone, there will always be some resistance. Osborn then suggests that they use this unprovoked attack for political capital and bring this to the United Nations to convince them to attack Wakanda, ending the resistance movement.

Half a world away, Wolverine arrives in Wakanda. He delivers Beast's modified Legacy Virus laced with Skrull DNA to the resistance movement. Beast created this as part of the X-Men's successful campaign to repel Skrulls from San Francisco. It became obsolete when the second wave of Skrull/Sentinel hybrids arrived and killed all the X-Men. It took Wolverine months to heal from his wounds. Captain America turns it over to their science team: Spider-Man, Night Thrasher, Blue Marvel, and a noticeably drunken Iron Man. His orders are to convert this from a virus to a non-lethal vaccine.

Days later Veranke addresses the U.N. General Assembly. As Osborn predicted, they win support for invading Wakanda if Storm and Black Panther do not step down and their forces surrender. During her address, he receives a phone call from an unidentified person. Osborn quickly agrees to assist his mystery caller. He will arrive in three hours.

In Wakanda, Black Panther hears the news and gives the science team 48 hours to complete their task. If that can't be achieved, they will release the virus as-is to stop the Skrull army once and for all.

40 hours later, Stark has managed to create the vaccine. This was due in part to wearing his armor again as a confidence-builder. Before they can use this, they find that they are under attack by many of the heroes and villains who are now Skrull loyalists who inform them that their time is up.

The battle goes to the resistance movement, but with two major casualities. The first is the Sentry, whose neck was broken by Thor. The second was the Legacy Propellant Cannon, the method to disperse the cure. Iron Man asks Thor to create a worldwide hurricane to spread the vaccine across the globe. Thor succeeds in this task but soon finds that the "vaccine" kills everyone with Skrull DNA. The heroes are shocked at this development. They are even more shocked when Iron Man reveals himself to be Norman Osborn.

He then admits that he was responsible for Marvel Boy's suicide attack. His intention was to provide the proof of hostile intent needed to invade Wakanda. However this changed when he received a call from an "old friend". Osborn arrived at their headquarters and overpowered Stark. He then placed him in a room on Sublevel D with an ample supply of booze and beer nuts.

He then created the vaccine and injected himself with it as a precaution. Osborn soon realized that the Skrulls were in fact attempting to mentally enslave them through the conversion process. He then put on the Iron Man armor to continue his deception when he lost the ability to shapeshift. He intentionally released the virus instead of the vaccine to end the Skrull invasion. He then explains that he bypassed their security with a little help from … Spider-Man.

Spider-Man confesses that he thought Stark would be a liability on this project and couldn't be trusted to finish in time. Osborn is the best microbiologist and only by allying with his worst enemy could he save Aunt May. She was terminally ill and the conversion actually saved her life. He didn't want to unleash the virus, but by giving Osborn access to their headquarters he's done just that.

While Osborn is gloating how he single-handedly stopped the Skrull invasion, Cap sees red and decapitates him with his shield. He then throws down the shield and orders his team to surrender to the U.N. Soliders waiting outside.

General Comments

In this reality, Osborn would sacrifice billions of people at once in order to win the Skrull War. Not because it was necessary, but out of petty vengeance for attempted mental enslavement. And this is the guy they put in charge of a world-wide peace-keeping organization? Yowza. Granted this is a separate reality, but let's face it: an Osborn in any other reality is still an Osborn.

I do not understand why they would have Aunt May turn to a Skrull conversion ceremony for her medical problems. If her disease was that severe, perhaps a scene leading up to the conversion should have been shown. This comes across as very desperate and out of character for someone like May. However since we needed a valid reason for Peter to betray his allies, this sadly fits the bill.

Overall Rating

3.5 webs. This was an enjoyable story. Osborn's ruthlessness exceeded my expectations and made for an above-average resolution. There were a few items that didn't work as well as I thought they should, but nothing too troubling.

Art-wise, Rodrix & Martin did a great job rendering the heroes, villains, and Skrulls. At times the Black Panther was a bit too dark and blended into the shadows. I'm not sure if this was intentional, but it is noticeable.