MEET THE SKRULLS
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Niko Henrichon
Colorist: Laura Grossat
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover Art: Marcos Martin
Rating: 8/10 Butterflies
All right I’m just going to get this out of the way right now. I love Skrulls. I love their cool alien designs and snazzy purple and black outfits that went well with their green skin. The fact that that they shapeshift! Then there was the Super Skrull. My little child brain was blown away seeing a villain have all the powers of the Fantastic Four at his command. So cool, that it honestly made a bigger impression than Doctor Doom did at the time. Years later, when I finally started exploring comics through the use of the internet, I was reintroduced to the Skrulls through the events of Secret Invasion and Infinity. Flash forward to 2019 and we have the Marvel Cinematic Universe subverting expectations by having the Skrulls as not the villains and are trying to find a home. Even the recent War of the Realms event showed some Skrulls leftover from Secret Invasion just trying to live a peaceful life. Villains or refugees, it was a pretty safe bet that I was going to be picking up Meet the Skrulls to see what my favorite alien shapeshifters have been up to. Spoilers ahead!
Family Mission Report
The story follows the Warners, a typical family at surface level that are secretly Skrulls. Carl, the father. Gloria, the mother. And Madison and Alice, with Alice being the younger of the two. We get to meet the full family at dinner time as they update each other on how their missions are going. Each person has a specific task that they need to complete in the jobs or schools they have infiltrated. All of this is for the Skrull empire and the eventual take over of Earth. The Warners’ current interest is a project that could reveal the location of all Skrulls on Earth and kill them. Shutting that down is their biggest priority. Unfortunately, it’s not going so well for every Skrull in the household as we get to spend some brief time with each member exploring loss, and a sense of identity as individuals.
Most family activities you would think include playing board games or something but not for these Skrulls as they set out to their various destinations to bring them one step closer to getting into the project they are looking for. Plans become hastened as humans that are hunting the family begin to close in on them, pushing them to make the raid immediately on the project sight and shut it down. To everyone but Carl’s surprise, the project they came to destroy is not a what, but a who, and that who, is family.
With a book about such an interesting family with a lot to tell, it could only be met by a family of creators to pull it off. Robbie Thompson does an amazing job of balancing the Warner family throughout these five issues and giving them some really solid depth to their character. Among the Warner family, my two favorites had to be Madison and Carl. Madison’s introduction and dialogue portray her as the confident and perfect Skrull sister to the objective. As the story progresses though we see through Niko Henrichon’s art, Madison’s guard starts to come down when she begins to make friends with others.
If Thompson and Henrichon don’t have a #1 DAD mug on their desk, they deserve one with how incredible Carl’s character was. The combination of backstory through writing and the expressions Henrichon gave to the dad of the house, displayed so much grief, loss, and duty. It was a character with a solid history and state of mind that was enjoyable and seemed all there until they left me stunned with the twist surprise and Carl’s last words of the story.
Miniseries can be tough. They have a tendency of being really good. This happened to be one of those series for me with it’s Cold War-style espionage, family dynamics, personal identity, and just plain Skrullness. It’s a quick read that manages to simultaneously pack lots of backstory and character focus all in one. My hope is that whatever Skrull related event pops up in the future that this family will be waiting in the wings somewhere.