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Secret Invasion: One of the Avengers has been replaced by a Skrull – but which one?

The Skrull invasion has begun, and an Avenger has already been replaced.

Secret Invasion (2022) #1 cover (art by Matteo Lolli and Federico Blee)
Image credit: Marvel Comics

The shapeshifting Skrulls have begun their next secret invasion, and they’ve already infiltrated the Avengers. This week, Marvel published Secret Invasion #1 (written by Ryan North and penciled by Francesco Mobili), which is serving as a spiritual sequel to the 2008 crossover event with the same name. Like its predecessor, this storyline involves a covert Skrull invasion. This is coming at an opportune time since the Marvel Studios version of Secret Invasion will be dropping on Disney+ sometime next year. Let’s break down the biggest developments from the first issue.

Warning: Spoilers ahead for Secret Invasion (2022) #1

Avengers infiltrated

Maria Hill unmasks a Skrull (penciled by Francesco Mobili)
Image credit: Marvel Comics

Most of Secret Invasion #1 focuses on a meeting between secret agents Maria Hill and Nick Fury. At least that’s what we’re initially led to believe. After failing to pick up on a secret call-and-response phrase, Hill realizes that ‘Fury’ is actually a Skrull. Hill reminds the Skrull that Earth has learned its lesson from the first Skrull invasion, and they’re more on guard now. The Skrull teases Hill that their invasion has already begun.

Hill dismisses the threat, since she knows paranoia is one of the Skrull’s favorite weapons. She then calls the Avengers to give them a heads up about the Skrulls. Black Panther initially wonders if the Skrulls have already infiltrated their ranks, but Hill dismisses the possibility as unlikely. After the call ends, the perspective switches to the POV of one of the Avengers. We can’t see which Avenger it is, but they head to a unisex bathroom. As they look in the mirror, we learn that they are a Skrull, and they aren’t thrilled with Hill’s call.

Which Avenger is secretly a Skrull?

A Skrull has infiltrated the Avengers (art by Francesco Mobili)
Image credit: Marvel Comics

The Avengers shown on the page are Captain America, Iron Man, Black Panther, Black Widow, Phoenix (Maya Lopez), and Captain Marvel. This gives us six members to work with. Because they used a unisex bathroom, we can’t narrow the candidates down by their gender.

We can probably eliminate Iron Man, Captain America, Captain Marvel, and Black Panther, since all four of those characters are currently starring in their own series. However, that doesn’t completely disqualify them either. For example, this story could take place before or after John Ridley’s current Black Panther story, giving time for T’Challa to be replaced without disrupting the events of his series. If this replacement is a long-term sleeper agent, then Black Widow and Phoenix are the more likely suspects. As a general rule, Skrulls can only replicate a person’s appearance, but not their powers. Some Skrulls have been genetically altered, giving them superpowers so they could blend in with the heroes of Earth undetected, but they’re the exceptions to the rule.

It would be hard for a Skrull to mimic the powers of the Phoenix Force, so Maya Lopez is probably clear. This leaves Black Widow as the most likely suspect, but when Skrulls are involved you should always expect a twist or two. Perhaps the Skrull we saw in the bathroom isn’t alone. Could there be multiple Skrulls on the Avengers?

Notable Skrull replacements

Alicia Masters is revealed to be the Skrull Lyja (art by Paul Ryan)
Image credit: Marvel Comics

In the past, when Skrulls have replaced Marvel characters, some of them have been able to maintain their disguises for years. In Fantastic Four #357 (1991) it was revealed that a Skrull named Lyja had been impersonating Alicia Masters since Fantastic Four #265 (1984). Lyja had lived under the same roof as the Fantastic Four for years, and had even married Johnny Storm.

New Avengers #40 (2008) revealed that Spider-Woman (Jessica Drew) had been a Skrull ever since New Avengers #1 (2004). This revelation was a part of the 2008 Secret Invasion event, which revealed that the Skrulls had stepped up their game. In addition to being able to replicate powers, their shapeshifting abilities were now strong enough to withstand Wolverine’s strong scent and Charles Xavier’s mental scans.

Secret Invasion also revealed that other characters like Mar-Vell, Jarvis, Henry Pym, and Elektra had been replaced by Skrull sleeper agents some time ago. Because the Skrull infiltration had gone back years, it was eventually revealed that the Mockingbird who had died back in West Coast Avengers #100 (1993) had been a Skrull. This caused some emotional turmoil for her husband Hawkeye, who realized he had been grieving an imposter for all those years. It also meant he had to come to terms with the return of the real Mockingbird, who no longer wanted to be married to him.

The last Secret Invasion raised the stakes and kept fans guessing. Now the Skrulls are at it again, and there’s no telling how deep their current conspiracy goes. How do you fight an enemy who is hiding among you? It’s time to question everything that we’re seeing, because as readers we’re in the dark as much as the Marvel heroes are. Keep your eyes peeled, because the story continues in Secret Invasion #2 (2022), on sale December 2nd.

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About the Author
Joshua Lapin-Bertone avatar

Joshua Lapin-Bertone

Contributing writer

Joshua is a pop culture writer specializing in comic book media. His work has appeared on the official DC Comics website, the DC Universe subscription service, HBO Max promotional videos, the Batman Universe fansite, and more. In between traveling around the country to cover various comic conventions, Joshua resides in Florida where he binges superhero television and reads obscure comics from yesteryear.