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The Original Secret Invasion Got One Important Thing Right


The Secret Invasion comic book series is often dismissed by Marvel fans, but in key ways its story has aged really well!

Secret Invasion Comic
Photo: Marvel

“They already didn’t know who to trust.”

That’s what a shapeshifting alien member of the Skrull Empire, posing as Spider-Woman, tells a distraught Iron Man after he learns the Skrulls have taken over Earth after posing as humans – and Avengers – for an unknown amount of time. Their conversation touches on the Skrulls’ centuries-long observation of the human race, a species that brutally make themselves at home and subjugates the indigenous populace for its own comforts. As the Skrull Spider-Woman says, “We know they’d have done the same. They have done the same.”

In 2023, Marvel’s Secret Invasion by writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Lenil Francis Yu can be a chilling read. Published 15 years ago as the publisher’s big crossover event of 2008, the eight-issue series entertains as a rousing epic with a novel premise. Shapeshifting aliens known as Skrulls hide throughout Earth, ready to carry out plans to take over the planet when we’re at our most defenseless. 

What gives Secret Invasion real power, though, is its abstract reinterpretation of late-aughts anxieties – and 15 years later, how prescient it was about imminent political division and paranoia. Amidst the financial crisis, the War on Terror, and an election cycle that started a long serpentine path to today’s neo-conservatism, Secret Invasion had passing resemblances of brilliance tucked away in the safety of a nonsensical Marvel superhero event. But now in 2023, long into an era when Trump-ism remains an inescapable hostile force, the whiz-bang splash pages that bombard Secret Invasion obscures its most provocative ideas: That monsters aren’t just embedded in our lives, but they have been here longer than we realize.

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