Secret Invasion asked just who the Marvel heroes could really trust, but the event also ended up hurting the trust of fans in the process.
Marvel’s Secret Invasion storyline asked: who among the Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was a shapeshifting Skrull? The comic saw heroes across the Marvel Universe fighting an unexpected threat from within. While the storyline was an enjoyably paranoid alien invasion romp, it had one major drawback. One of its biggest reveals actually backfired, inadvertently undoing fans’ enjoyment of one of the New Avengers’ most likable members—Spider-Woman.
Secret Invasion ran from June 2008 to January 2009. The storyline came right on the heels of Civil War, which concluded in 2007. As a result, the superheroes were incredibly fractured and tensions remained high. During one mission, several Avengers discover Elektra, then-leader of the Hand, is a the Skrull imposter. However, due to the polarized nature of the superhero teams, no one can prevent the massive invasion, which cripples both S.H.I.E.L.D. and the superhero community at large.
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One of the biggest revelations of the event is that Spider-Woman, one of the fan-favorite additions to the New Avengers, is actually Queen Veranke, the Skrull leader spear-heading the invasion. Worse, she has been posing as Jessica Drew since the team first assembled to combat the mass breakout at the supervillain prison the Raft. Ultimately, both the divided heroes as well as some villains are able to put aside their differences to work together towards defeating their common foe. Veranke herself is eventually killed by Norman Osborn, who was leading the Thunderbolts at the time.
Prior to Civil War and Secret Invasion, the New Avengers comic, written by Secret Invasion architect Brian Michael Bendis, gave fans a powerful new Avengers line-up that included both traditional mainstays like Captain America and Iron Man along with popular members like Wolverine, Spider-Man and Luke Cage. However, by far one of the most popular additions was Jessica Drew aka Spider-Woman. The heroine, who first appeared in Marvel Spotlight #32 in 1972, had her own short-lived animated series back in 1979, but had since fallen into obscurity. The New Avengers seemed to bring Spider-Woman back into the spotlight, where she was embraced by a new generation of fans—until she was revealed to be a Skrull imposter the entire time.
Fortunately, Secret Invasion appears to be only a footnote in Spider-Woman’s overall story. The real Jessica Drew starred in subsequent issues of New Avengers, with Secret Invasion doing little to stunt the character’s skyrocketing popularity. Still, Secret Invasion inevitably backfired as it revealed many of Spider-Woman’s best moments over four years were actually the manipulative Queen Veranke in disguise. While Secret Invasion has plenty of great moments, the revelation of Spider-Woman‘s true identity shows how the alien imposter trope can seriously backfire, erasing years of goodwill from fans in the process.
Next: Secret Invasion Changed Marvel’s Universe More Than Another Other Event
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