Second Coming

Marvel is bringing back Secret Invasion – but who can you trust?


AHEAD OF NEXT year’s TV show, the Marvel Universe is enduring a second Secret Invasion this month at the hands of writer Ryan North and artist Francesco Mobili – although the shapechang­ing Skrulls’ latest incursion takes a very different form to their first subversive infiltrati­on.

“I thought there was a lot of potential to take the baseline idea of ‘What if there was an alien invasion, but invisible, and right under our noses’ in a fun new twisty direction,” North tells Red Alert. “And I loved the idea of exploring the space of what a ‘secret invasion’ could be.”

With 2008’s original series still fresh in the memory, main protagonis­ts Nick Fury and Maria Hill have learnt lessons from their previous experience­s. “They know how poorly it went last time and have taken all the time since then to prepare,” he says. “Maria Hill is competency personifie­d, and she’s had a lot of time to get ready.”

The initial Secret Invasion pivoted on characters like Elektra being sensationa­lly exposed as having long been Skrulls, but don’t expect any such shocking developmen­ts in this new five-parter. “We haven’t put too much weight on the ‘character X was a Skrull all along!’ twist again, because people would see it coming,” explains North. “It was great, but we’ve done that already! Unless me saying right now that we couldn’t do it again is itself a misdirect, and secretly setting us up for doing it again? You’ll have to read the book to find out, but seriously, while there may be some reveals of that nature, I can promise they’re not what you’re expecting, as this is a very twisty story!”

While the 2008 Secret Invasion’s tagline was “Who can you trust?”, the Brian Michael Bendis-scripted crossover was essentiall­y about paranoia. This time around, North was more interested in the former than the latter. “For 2022, I wanted to tell a story that was less about paranoia and more about trust, which in some ways are two sides of the same coin, but still very different things and not quite the opposites

The tipping point for the original Secret Invasion was 2007’s New Avengers 32, which ended with Elektra being exposed as a Skrull.

of each other,” he reasons. “Distrust can slide into paranoia easily, but it’s only paranoia if you’re wrong about them, and otherwise it’s just good planning. So we’re meeting a Nick Fury and a Maria Hill who have been betrayed before, who have had to go through that and come out the other side, and now have to figure out not just who they trust, but why as well.”

While Fury and Hill are the central protagonis­ts, plenty of other heroes will also show up. “It starts with them investigat­ing Skrull activity in Iowa that might be nothing but could be something very serious,” says North. “I can say that over the course of our five issues, things get very big very fast, and we’ll definitely see some familiar faces, including some personal favourites of mine, as you can’t tell a Secret Invasion story without the Avengers!”

North is also taking over scripting Marvel’s First Family in November, but don’t expect any crossovers, as he completed Secret Invasion long before landing his new assignment. “That means that while Secret Invasion won’t be referencin­g Fantastic Four, it does open the door to Fantastic Four picking up some of the threads that began there,” he says. “When this miniseries concludes, you might just be seeing a little bit of Maria Hill and Nick Fury in Fantastic Four…” SJ

Secret Invasion issue one is out on 3 November.

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