By Marc Strom
Brian Reed knows his Skrulls.
It feels like most everything the writer does these days comes back to Secret Invasion eventually. He laid part of the foundation with NEW AVENGERS: ILLUMINATI, co-written with the event's mastermind Brian Michael Bendis, and the title heroes of both his MS. MARVEL ongoing series and CAPTAIN MARVEL limited series have experienced a few Skrully encounters of late.
And as if his world didn't already have enough green tinting the view, beginning in July Reed will pen the five-part SECRET INVASION: FRONT LINE limited series, taking a street-level look at the Skrull infiltration.
Just last week, MS. MARVEL #25 ended on quite the cliffhanger, with our heroine finding her on-again-off-again love interest William Wagner dead in his bedroom and herself surrounded by her own Lightning Storm team who accused her of being both the killer and a Skrull!
While Reed remains tight-lipped on whether or not William truly did
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perish at the hands of Ms. Marvel's doppelganger, he would say that readers haven't heard the last of the mysterious beau's long-running secrets.
"Not by a mile," the writer emphasizes. "Who and what William is/was is going to be a part of [Ms. Marvel's] story moving through the next year."
With their latest attack on Ms. Marvel, however, the Skrulls have become increasingly flagrant with their impersonations, posing as the title character's alter ego Carol Danvers without even taking the real deal off the board.
Reed ascribes this audacity to the fact that, for the Skrulls, "The chess pieces are all in place. Nothing is going to stop their invasion, so why not sow a little extra fear and distrust?" In so doing, however, the Skrulls have unwittingly given Ms. Marvel a purpose and determination which will only come back to haunt them.
"Carol has a moment come issue #28 where she says, 'This is what I've always needed, and I never even realized it,'" reveals Reed. "And what she needed was a war. What does a warrior do when one war is finished? They go and find another war."
While the scribe promises that "[MS. MARVEL] #25—30 are all Secret Invasion all the time," Carol Danvers will have more than Skrulls to worry about in the near future. For
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the past two years Ms. Marvel has worked hard to create a positive public image for herself. Soon, though, she will see all her efforts crumble, as Reed doesn't plan on letting her out of the wringer any time soon.
"The next year of the book, from issue #31 on, is all about what happens when that image is destroyed," the author warns.
While Reed explores the Skrulls' invasion from the point of view of some of Marvel's leading super heroes in his other titles, he will also get the chance to explore the earth-shaking events through the eyes of common citizens in SECRET INVASION: FRONT LINE. Much like the previous FRONT LINE incarnations tied to Civil War and World War Hulk, the story will focus on reporter Ben Urich, but Reed will also add several new perspectives to the mix:
"Aside from Ben, we've got a beat cop, the owner of a design firm and his teenage daughter, an emergency room doctor and her staff, and a cab driver who was already having the worst day of his life before the Skrulls showed up."
When putting his cast together, Reed notes he "really wanted to get a group of people who could be a little bit of everywhere in [New York City], and dealing with the invasion from different perspectives. For example, the cop is trying to get people to safety and the ER is dealing with an onslaught of casualties."
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The character of Ben Urich, though, allows Reed to examine the invasion from the eyes of an everyman reporter who also happens to have had more than a few run-ins with the tights-wearing crowd.
"Ben is the one guy in the story that has been toe to toe with the super heroes before," Reed notes of the character. "So he's our tie to that world, and the other characters see him as someone special because of it."
The characters in FRONT LINE respond to the Skrulls' attack in much the same way the average reader would, according to Reed:
"The Skrulls are far too tough for any 'normal' human to stand up against, leaving them with only one option: Run and do your best to stay alive."
While the denizens of Manhattan have seen their share of devastation in recent memory, Secret Invasion will test them in ways the previous stories didn't.
"This is the entire Skrull military landing on Earth and declaring it belongs to them," Reed elaborates. "This has street-to-street combat in every corner of Harlem. The characters in FRONT LINE are going to have to learn how to be resilient, rather than already having that trait when I start with them."
And what about the CAPTAIN MARVEL limited series wrapping up on April 16? Recently, Mar-Vell tried to bring peace to the Middle East, an effort which made more than a few
individuals—among them Tony Stark, the director of S.H.I.E.L.D. himself—wary of the Captain's power.
"I don't think anyone really appreciated what Mar-Vell did very much," Reed reflects, "We see what the effect of Mar-Vell's actions were in issue #5."
So then what will it take for Mar-Vell to finally secure his legacy as one of the greatest heroes in the Marvel Universe? Reed only offers one final hint:
"Maybe if he saved the world from a Skrull invasion? Hrmmm...."
Who do you trust? Learn more about Secret Invasion now at Marvel.com/SecretInvasion! Also, read the SECRET INVASION PROLOGUE in Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited and watch the Secret Invasion animated short!