By Marc Strom
Welcome to another installment of Secret Invasion Illumination, True Believer, your inside source to the various key players from the mega event spinning through the SECRET INVASION limited series itself as well as MIGHTY AVENGERS, NEW AVENGERS and many more of Marvel's top titles!
Since the Avengers first learned the Skrulls had replaced Elektra, fans have wondered just how the shape-shifting aliens managed to take out one of the Marvel U's deadliest women without anyone noticing. And on July 16, those answers finally begin to appear in the pages of MIGHTY AVENGERS #16, courtesy of writer Brian Michael Bendis and artist Khoi Pham.
Before that, though, we've got a primer on everything you ever wanted to know about Elektra but never dared to ask for fear she'd stab your heart with a sai, plus some hints from Executive Editor Tom Brevoort on just what the future holds for everyone's favorite sexy assassin.
Star Crossed Lovers
While studying at Columbia University, the young Elektra Natchios first met the future Daredevil, Matt Murdock, and the two fell in love. A year later, however, tragedy struck when Elektra's father died before her very eyes, gunned down when police mistook the elder Natchios for one of the men holding him hostage.
After studying martial arts with the Hand, a group of ninjas with a mystical bent, Elektra returned to the states finding employ with Wilson Fisk, the criminal Kingpin of New York, frequently forcing her to go sai-to-billy club with her former lover.
Her employment didn't last long, however, and ended in a duel to the death with rival killer for hire Bullseye. Later resurrected through mystical means, Elektra rejoined the Hand, quickly rising up its ranks to take control of the mysterious organization.
But with the revelation of Elektra's rather Skrugly secret, questions swirl as to just how long the real deal has been out of commission—if indeed she ever returned from the dead—and what exactly the Skrull-Elektra got up to in the interim…
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The ninja moves, the twirling sais, the wicked good looks…and on top of it all, a killer back story.
Since Frank Miller first introduced Elektra in 1981's DAREDEVIL v1 #168, the lady killer has gained a reputation as one of the meanest, sleekest living weapons on the Marvel block.
And her status as Daredevil's ex-girlfriend only added a sense of inevitable tragedy to the character, fully realized when Matt Murdock cradled her dying body in his arms in a story that no fan could ever forget.
For Brevoort, Elektra's appeal stems right from her beginnings.
"It's really all the Frank Miller stuff, that whole cycle of stories from [DAREDEVIL v1] #168-181 that make up her first storyline," Brevoort recalls. "More or less everything that's come since then has paled in comparison."
Elektra's a what now?
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One year ago this month, the Avengers discovered Elektra had a secret—and then their world went topsy-turvy like never before.
And next month, in the pages of MIGHTY AVENGERS #16, fans will finally learn the full story of how the Skrulls managed to replace one of the most resourceful women on the planet.
"The discovery of Elektra as a Skrull was the kickoff to this whole storyline," explains Brevoort, "So I think it's a nagging question on the part of the readership that we have to answer. When was Elektra replaced, and what were the circumstances of that replacement?"
Readers can also expect to learn a bit more from the invaders' perspective of things, as well. "The story will also cast more illumination on the Skrulls' methodology and the thinking behind this switch," promises Brevoort.
According to the Secret Invasion editor supreme, Elektra had more than a few qualities which made her ideal as the first major Skrull reveal.
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"She was the right sort of character in terms of significance to the universe and profile," Brevoort reasons. "[She] was suddenly in a new role that gave her much greater authority than she'd had before, and potentially a much bigger and more important role in world events. So she tied in rather well."
And while Brevoort promises "nothing but" oodles of Elektra ninja action, he remained considerably more tight-lipped on whether or not fans would learn anything about the current whereabouts of the real Elektra, simply offering up a tantalizing "maybe."
The truth will be out there on July 16 when MIGHTY AVENGERS #16 hits stands. To read up on Elektra, head over to Marvel Digital Comics Unlimited.