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Comic Book / Secret Invasion

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The shapeshifting, superpowered alien race has been posing as our friends. Uh oh.

"Who Do You Trust?"

In the wake of the Civil War, the New Avengers confront the assassin Elektra. But when Elektra is killed in battle, her body turns green revealing her as a shapeshifting alien Skrull. Turns out the Skrulls had perfected a technique that lets them impersonate anyone, undetectable even to telepathy, super senses, and anything else the superheroes can come up with. The Avengers' (and fans') reaction? Oh, Crap!.

A Marvel Comics Crisis Crossover for the year 2008, about an invasion of the Skrulls on Earth. It's the conclusion of plot elements introduced by Brian Michael Bendis in multiple Avengers titles since the end of the Civil War crossover. It was followed by the Dark Reign and War of Kings events.

The story involves The Skrulls, an alien race of shapeshifters who have (mostly) played a villainous role in the Marvel Universe. After series of disasters, the Skrull Empire is greatly weakened, and a religious figure, Queen Veranke, convinces them that their destiny is to rule the Earth. With help from an extraordinary Skrull scientist, a process is created that allows the Skrulls to fool all known means of detection- only upon their deaths do they revert to their true form. Over a period of several years, they secretly replace several Marvel characters, with Veranke herself taking the place of Spider-Woman. These Sleeper Agents have even been brainwashed into believing themselves to be the replaced person, until a code phrase ("He Loves You" a reference to the Skrulls' god) awakens their true memories. In addition, the Skrulls have figured out how to duplicate the powers of many of Earth's heroes, and even prepared some agents with multiple powers. As the story begins, the awakened Skrull agents begin undermining the hero groups and organizations capable of defeating them, then invade in force...


A live-action Disney+ series based on this storyline was announced for the Marvel Cinematic Universe in December 2020, with Samuel L. Jackson and Ben Mendelsohn set to reprise their roles as Nick Fury and Talos. The series will also have Kingsley Ben-Adir, Olivia Colman, Emilia Clarke, Killian Scott, Christopher McDonald, and Carmen Ejogo in undisclosed roles.

Secret Invasion Provides Examples Of:

  • Actually a Doombot:
    • Played with. When they found out that there were Skrulls around, many superheroes thought that they were the puppet masters of the Civil War: the New Avengers thought that Iron Man was a Skrull, and Iron Man that Captain America was a Skrull. So then it would be just to defeat the self-evident bad guys, free the "real" Iron Man/Captain America, and everything would be right again. No! Neither Captain America, Iron Man nor the New Warriors, Maria Hill or the politicians that wrote and vote the Registration Act were Skrulls. When you saw Captain America and Iron Man fighting to the death for the liberty vs. security dichotomy, or Iron Man creating a Thor clone that killed Goliath, or Captain America leading a guerrilla group, it was exactly what you saw.
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    • Played straight at one point with Maria Hill, who's being held at gunpoint by Skrulls, and starts telling them about the time Nick Fury told her about Life Model Decoys. You can probably see where this is going. The Skrulls don't, and shoot 'Hill'', only to find it's an LMD.
  • A Day in the Limelight: Since Spider-Man is busy with the Avenger, the Amazing Spider-Man tie-in actually features Jackpot (Alana Johnson) saving Spidey's supporting cast from the Skrull invasion and Menace.
  • Alien Invasion: A splinter faction of the Skrull empire infiltrated the superhero community, in order to prepare for the actual invasion to take over the planet.
  • The Alleged Car: Maria Hill's opinion of the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarriers, when they get knocked out of the sky, comparing them to the car she's had since she was nineteen.
    Hill: Never had a problem with it. This thing seems to fall out of the sky every other Thursday.
  • All Your Powers Combined: During the event, the Skrulls made a breakthrough that allows them to mass-produce Super Skrulls with any desired combination of powers they have samples of DNA for. Ironically due to Conservation of Ninjutsu, this made the Super Skrull much less intimidating and easier to beat.
  • Anger Born of Worry: The Runaways got stranded in New York City at the very moment that the Skrulls were gathering for their final push against Earth's superheroes, and Xavin, being an apostate, and thus a very high-value target for the fanatical Skrulls, tried to abandon the team, including their fiancee Karolina, in the hopes that the Skrulls would rather chase after an apostate than waste a bunch of Earthlings. After the team caught up to Xavin, Karolina gave them an earful.
  • Animated Adaptation: The first half of the second season of The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! received inspiration from these comics, with a bit of foreshadowing throughout the latter half of the first season for good measure. Four episodes make up the main plot: "Who Do You Trust?", "Prisoner of War", "Infiltration" and "Secret Invasion".
  • Archnemesis Dad: Jazinda ends up having to face her father, Kl'rt the original Super-Skrull, in the She-Hulk tie-in. Kl'rt ends up defeating Jazinda and Jen but has a rare moment of mercy and decides to spare his daughter.
  • Arc Villain: Several different hero teams and groups end up having to face one or two Skrull officers during their respective stories:
  • Arc Words: "Accept change" and "He loves you".
  • Arranged Marriage: In order to secure the Inhuman and Kree alliance against the Skrulls, Ronan demands Medusa's sister Crystal as his bride. Over Crystal's objections, Medusa agrees. This would become a big plot point in future Inhumans storylines.
  • Assimilation Plot: All Gods worshiped by races conquered by Skrulls become assimilated into their pantheon and turn into mindless slaves of Skrull god Kly'bn. A What If story in which the Skrulls win also reveals this would be the eventual fate of humanity
  • Avengers Assemble: Invoked by Iron Man to start the Final Battle (the "Avengers" in question being his team, plus the New Avengers, the Young Avengers, Nick Fury's Secret Warriors, the Thunderbolts, Hood's gang, Reed Richards, Captain America, and Thor).
  • Back from the Dead: Played straight with the ending, which revealed dozens (and probably more) of characters who'd been kept alive by the Skrulls after being replaced by infiltration agents.
  • Badass in Distress: Many, but especially Black Bolt, who was considered one of the most powerful people in the Marvel Universe, then was easily caught. When he comes back, he instigated the War of Kings in revenge...
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Subverted. The story does end with a bad guy winning, but not any of the Skrulls.
  • Bathtub Scene: The end of the Amazing Spider-Man tie-in features Jackpot taking a bubble bath after her fight with the Skrulls, complete with a gratuitous Bath Kick.
  • Becoming the Mask: Some assumed identities are so strong that the Skrull spy loses themself in them. Captain Marvel and Hank Pym are both persistent examples of this. In the "What if" story where they succeeded Norman Osborn is also just as problematic. Even after the event, this trope has practically been integrated into the Skrulls' species-wide shtick in future stories. If a comic goes into any depth on a Skrull impersonating a human, the odds are better than 50% that the alien will at least consider defecting. Humanity is just that great.
  • Bed Trick: The Skrull imposter ended up replacing a few people that had lovers, who slept with the Skrull imposters without knowing.
    • Due to Black Bolt being replaced by a Skrull since World War Hulk, it's made painfully clear that he has been intimate with Medusa many times, a fact that the Skrulls delight in pointing out to the captured Black Bolt. The jealousy and the idea that she may not even truly love him is what finally breaks him Nerves of Steel.
    • Since Hank Pym had an unstable personality, the Skrulls who replaced didn't last long, which means that Tigra slept with several different Skrulls during her "relationship" with the Hank Pym imposters. She even became pregnant with one of the Skrull imposter's child, thus making her a target of Norman Osborn's in future storylines, since he wanted to obtain her half-Skrull baby.
    • With the Mockingbird that joined the West Coast Avengers in Issue #91 being retroactively made into a Skrull impostor, that would mean that Hawkeye's relationship with her would fall into this during that period. She was also the Mockingbird who was killed, while the real one was under Skrull capitivity.
    • A Downplayed example in regards to Aunt May and Jarvis, who dated for a time, but unbeknown to Aunt May Jarvis was actually a Skrull imposter. But it's unlikely their relation went beyond some innocent dates.
  • BFG: Nick Fury's weapon of choice to fight the Skrulls.
  • Big Bad: Queen Veranke, the Skrull Queen who leads the entire Alien Invasion, having orchestrated the secret infiltration of Earth's governments, militaries, and superhuman communities with the goal of conquering Earth, which she believes is the Skrulls' by divine mandate. This includes having personally taken the place of Spider-Woman so she could personally manipulate Tony Stark and the Avengers.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Quite possibly Veranke. She planned big, manages to capture and impersonate a bunch of powerful heroes... only to have it culminate in an Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion. Then she gets stomped/popped/killed by Norman Osborn, who uses the power he's handed as a result to cause much bigger problems in the next event Dark Reign.
  • Blatant Lies: The Skrulls tell humanity they're there to help them. The heroes rightly call Veranke on this bull.
  • Bluff the Impostor: Tried, with varying levels of success. Not helping is the Skrulls have access to the memories of those they're replacing, so this doesn't actually help.
    • Luke Cage and Wolverine square off in the Savage Land. Luke points out he has unbreakable skin, so Logan can't kill him, and Logan replies he has unbreakable bones, so vice-versa. They agree to not kill one another.
    • Done heartbreakingly with Hawkeye and Mockingbird. He asks her to give a detail only Bobbi Morse could know, and she does - the date she miscarried their baby. Except she's not Bobbi, she's a Skrull, and she doesn't know it.
  • Body Horror:
    • For the sleeper agents who didn't know they were Skrulls, the sudden transformation into their true forms.
    • Wasp being turned into a giant biological bomb against her will. Made all the creepier by her full awareness of the process and who's responsible, and her attempts to flee. It doesn't help (see the Mercy Kill entry below).
    • Reed Richards' utterly horrifying "interrogation" at the Skrulls' hands; it involves his body being stretched grotesquely by various suction devices until he's the size of a soccer pitch.
  • The Bus Came Back: The Fantastic Four tie-in features the return of Lyja, Johnny's ex-wife who just happens to be a Skrull.
  • Busman's Holiday: The Runaways got sucked into the middle of the Secret Invasion while trying to take a day off to let their newest member Klara get acclimated to the 21st century.
  • Butt-Monkey:
    • Hank Pym, even in captivity. Why? Because the Skrull impersonating him complains that he got zero respect for impersonating Pym.
    • At one point, Bendis considered having a Skrull taunt Wonder Man by saying that even though he was powerful, the Skrulls all thought he was kinda pathetic and no one wanted to be him (still, there was a Skrull Wonder Man among the ones who landed in Savage Land).
  • Can't Kill You, Still Need You: Raised as a hypothesis as to why the Skrulls didn't kill the folk they abducted, as a way of maintaining the disguises.
  • The Cassandra: Right at the start, Ares pegs the ship supposedly full of captured heroes as being a great big shiny hero trap, meant to lure them away from the actual fight (being the God of War, he'd know this sort of thing). But no-one listens.
  • Cassandra Truth:
    • Veranke warned the Skrull Emperor that their homeworld would be destroyed by Galactus, and then the wave will come, and was banished for it. The Skrulls were at least smart enough to bring her back to power after the first part of the prophecy happened.
    • The Skrull impersonating Hank Pym gets a little bit of this in one of the Mighty Avengers tie-ins: he meets with the Skrull impersonating Dum Dum Dugan and tells him the invasion won't work because Humans Are Special. For standing out in a crowd, he's reprogrammed and made to fall into line. As it turned out, Skrull Pym was right.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: Nick Fury and his Secret Warriors teleport into the middle of New York to save the Initiative and Young Avengers from being executed (a little too late to save Geldoff of the Initative). Then, once Yo-Yo's grabbed all the kids, Nick shoots Ms. Marvel, figuring she's a Skrull, and leaves her to be mobbed by the Super-Skrulls. Note that thanks to her origin, Carol is part-Kree, the last person anyone'd suspect of being a Skrull. But, that's Nick Fury for you.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The growth serum Hank Pym gave Janet van Dyne back in Mighty Avengers issue #6 comes back in issue #7 of this event. Turns out it's also a last-ditch weapon as well.
  • Clear My Name: A Skrull impersonates Ms. Marvel without actually replacing her, but it causes Tony Stark to send the Avengers to start hunting down the real Ms. Marvel, forcing her to confront her imposter so she can clear her name.
  • Confronting Your Imposter:
    • Ms. Marvel fights a Skrull imposter that was posing as her, but the fight is interrupted by S.H.I.E.L.D. agents who arrest both. Ms. Marvel later manages to convince them she's the real one.
    • When the Mighty and New Avengers arrive in the Savage Lands to investigate the crashed Skrull ship, they end up having to fight Skrulls posing as '90s version of Marvel heroes, which includes a few Mirror Matches, such as Luke Cage, Wolverine and Hawkeye having to fight the old version of themselves.
  • C-List Fodder: Gorilla Girl worriedly lampshades this, worried she might not survive the event due to being an unimportant character. Although ironically this gets subverted as she survives and is noted in the epilogue as having retired from heroing to became a judge on a successful reality show. Geldoff is not so lucky.
    Gorilla Girl: I'm black, I'm female, and nobody's ever heard of me. I might as well have "Cannon Fodder" stamped on my forehead.
  • Clothing Damage:
    • Ms. Marvel gets part of her costume shredded when a Super-Skrull unleashes an energy blast from his eyes and she gets rather annoyed by it.
    • Wolverine, as it's custom, gets his shirt destroyed in a fight and spends most of the event Shirtless. His pants suffer no damage.
  • Cold-Blooded Torture: Medusa puts the Skrull that attempted to kill her through this, not for revenge, but so she can learn what they did to her husband. We don't see it, but the torture is so apparently so harsh, Crytal actually got freaked out by it.
  • Computer Virus: After Ultron's actions give the Skrulls crucial information they need, namely that Iron Man's armor is techno-organic via the Extremis nanite system, they use it to infect every piece of digital hardware Stark's company ever made, effectively shutting down a ton of hero-used computer systems, The Raft, nearly all of S.H.I.E.L.D., and nearly putting Stark himself in a coma.
  • Conflict Ball: Happens, thanks to Skrull shapeshifting and good ol' paranoia from the results.
    • The X-Factor / She-Hulk tie-in, partly because Jen's in a particularly belligerent mood that day. Poor X-Factor, being in the low end of the Mutant power-pool, are outclassed, and Madrox spends much of it just trying to get Jen to stop trying to hit everyone.
    • Nova's tie-in has him get into a fight with Darkhawk, who is understandably twitchy after several attacks from Skrulls already, his own anger-management issues notwithstanding. Nova's brother Robb hangs a lampshade on it, much to the irritation of both heroes.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: The Super-Skrulls downgrade from being a credible threat to a group of heroes on their own, to being killed en masse by a single hero, and they're basically treated as Elite Mooks.
  • Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story: This gets Xavin into trouble, since they are a Skrull and their homeworld was destroyed in a war with Majesdane, the other Runaways can't verify any of their claims about their past or motives, and thus when the Skrulls suddenly invade and swarm on the Runaways' location, Nico and Victor naturally assume that Xavin must have been some sort of deep-cover operative.
  • Cover Innocent Eyes and Ears: Chase hastily covers Molly and Klara's eyes after they stumble across a television display showing footage of the Young Avengers apparently getting slaughtered by the Skrulls.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Skrull tastes, at least by human standards. Crusader actually recognizes that the Hank Pym who's heading up the Initiative is a Skrull based on eating habits.
  • Crisis Crossover: The story is about a huge Skrull Alien Invasion that involves virtually every Marvel character and book at the time.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: Seems kind of a no-brainer- Skrulls are Voluntary Shapeshifters and can turn into male or female independent of their original gender, but the Skrull that posed as Elektra is a notable example since it was his death that kicked off the story.
    • The first Skrull that replaced Hank Pym (they went through a few) first captured him by taking the shape of a female grad student and seducing him after a college lecture. So either a female Skrull was impersonating Hank (and possibly dating Tigra - it's not made clear whether Skrull Hank started sleeping with her before or after the first time they had to replace him), or a male Skrull slept with Hank in female form before impersonating him.
  • Dan Browned:
    • An example that also falls under Ass Pull, Mockingbird's being among the rescued heroes. The writers attempted a rather half-assed excuse for how Bobbi could have been seen in Hell in prior arcs that supposedly happened after she'd already been replaced (if a Skrull dies believing they're a person, they're still that person in the afterlife). Though, Bobbi's body WAS destroyed when she died, so it is, maybe possible, but still reeks of Retcon.
    • While its portrayal over the years has been inconsistent, for the vast majority of its existence, S.H.I.E.L.D. has been a United Nations organization, and yet at the end of the event, the U.S. president just goes "Pfft, whatever" and dissolves it without any apparent international involvement.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Possibly overused (this is a Bendis comic after all), but among a cast full of snark, John the Skrull managed to stand out.
    Attacking Skrulls: He loves you.
    John: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Look at you, the fundamentalists. Who do you lot have the powers of, then? Anyone I could take on? ABBA? Frankie Goes to Hollywood? No? Well, that's what makes me laugh, lads. Everything about us Skrulls says we're meant to fit in.
  • Death Is Cheap: Wasp supposedly dies at the climax. She turned up alive four years later.
  • Death Faked for You: The Skrulls faked the death of Ms. Marvel's Kree boyfriend William Wagner, to manipulate her and later, use the fact he's imprisoned to try to blackmail her.
  • Debate and Switch: Invoked. After the end of the Civil War, Luke Cage thought that they should find the Big Bad behind it and the other recent disasters (Secret War, Avengers Disassembled, House of M), and make things right again. And he was happy to discover the Skrull conspiracy, but the Skrulls aren't behind any of those things. As pointed out by Iron Fist, there was no big bad, things were screwed simply because they were screwed.
  • Decompressed Comic: While the timelines of all the various tie-ins vary, the once-a-month issue release of crossover's central miniseries meant that it took two-thirds of a year to tell what essentially amounted to between a few hours and a couple of days of story. Heavily contributed to reader disappointment. A joke amongst detractors of the book as it was coming out was "Are they still in the Savage Land?" in reference to how the main characters went to the Savage Land at the very beginning of the book and stayed there until the end of issue five. What happened in between? Uh...
  • Defector from Decadence: Hulkling, Crusader, Xavin, John the Skrull, Jaz, Kl'rt the original Super Skrull, or really any Skrull that sides with the Earth heroes. Technically, they didn't defect from decadence, as the Skrull Empire was in shambles and had been taken over by religious fundamentalists, but they still, for assorted reasons, decided they liked Earth enough as it was to not want it assimilated (or in the case of Kl'rt, had other priorities). Of course, Hulkling was raised human and Xavin was never part of this particular faction...
  • Defiant to the End: John the Skrull is executed by his fellow Skrulls as a traitor, but he goes out mocking them. Captain Britain and Pete Wisdom acknowledge this is the only way he could have gone out.
    Captain Britain: Oh, no, John. How?
    Pete Wisdom: Mocking them.
    Captain Britain: Good.
  • Deal with the Devil: Pete Wisdom lets out some very nasty creatures in order to get to Merlin, and in return, they wipe out the Skrulls that had invaded Britain.
  • Don't Create a Martyr: A example that backfired. Way back when, Dorek VII, Emperor of the Skrulls, had a problem with Princess Veranke, a fundamentalist who was an outspoken critic of his who wanted to invade Earth (she felt it was religious prophecy. Dorek thought she was a nutjob.) Since he couldn't kill her because of her popular support, he just had her exiled. Which meant when Galactus ate the Skrull homeworld with Dorek on it, that left Veranke as the only known Skrull royalty left and she became the Skrull Queen.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent: Due to the nature of the story there are a lot of Double Agents and The Moles around, but the biggest by far is Queen Veranke as Spider-Woman. Not only is Veranke a Mole in Charge, but Spider-Woman herself was in a complicated situation as a Double Agent for S.H.I.E.L.D. and HYDRA, and Veranke keeps up the act after replacing Jessica, including the extra complication of joining the New Avengers, and later the Mighty Avengers.
  • Downer Ending: When the only person to get anything good out of a story by the end is Norman Osborn, you know this is the case.
  • Due to the Dead: The Skrull's saying "He loves you" to their victims is a form of this, as it's a reference to their Skrull god.
  • Easily Thwarted Alien Invasion: Played With. Many people see the conclusion (one battle in Central Park and Thor taking down the entire damn fleet by himself) as this. The fact that the Super-Skrulls were so easily killed to a point where every tie-in has a kill count in the hundreds didn't help. One big problem was that one tie-in featured Deadpool discovering the means to kill the Skrull Queen and passing the information on to Norman Osborn (he was supposed to pass that information on to Nick Fury, but Osborn intercepted it). If you read that tie-in, you realized that Osborn had a gun made to those specifications and used it during the final fight to kill the otherwise-invulnerable queen, making himself the hero of the day. If you didn't read the tie-in, it looked like Osborn beat the queen by... shooting her with a gun. And was lauded as the savior of Earth for happening to be the person who fired the lucky shot. It was never even mentioned during the battle that if anyone other than Osborn had shot her, it wouldn't have killed her. But the invasion still caused immense damage on Earth, including eroding the population's trust in S.H.I.E.L.D. and many heroes, which lead to a power vacuum that Norman Osborn was very eager to fill, leading to the event of Dark Reign.
  • Elvis Has Left the Planet: In the final issue, multiple characters who had been replaced by Skrulls were recovered and returned to Earth. And, yes, in a throw-away gag, Elvis was amongst them.
  • Emasculated Cuckold: What finally breaks Black Bolt isn't the Skrulls threatening his son, but when they start bragging about how many times the Skrull imposter has slept with Medusa, all without her even noticing it.
  • Enemy Mine: Oh, boy...
    • The Mighty & New Avengers start off at each other's throats due to the events of Civil War, but after realizing that the Skrulls are invading right now, start working together.
    • The Hood brings his crew of supercriminals to fight alongside the Avengers.
    • Longstanding enemy of the Fantastic Four, The Tinkerer, helps the Human Torch & the Thing escape the Negative Zone.
    • When the Thunderbolts arrive for the final battle, Venom asks Norman Osborn for permission to go after Spider-Man, only to be refused. Twice.
    • Medusa and Ronan the Accuser work together against the Skrull, although at the cost of an Arranged Marriage between Ronan and Crystal, much to Crystal's chagrin.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: Since the Avengers wind up in the Savage Land, yes, there's dinosaurs. A T-Rex interrupts the brawling to scatter everyone, accidentally killing some of the Skrulls in their midst in the process. Good rex.
  • Evil Is Petty:
    • In the end, for all that she talks a good game of helping humanity and uplifting them, part of Veranke's motivation is, as the characters note, basically one giant act of mind-shattering spite. And she's willing to expend a lot of her people for it.
    • In the early stages of the infiltration, when a Skrull clone of Reed Richards was being manipulated into telling the other Skrulls what they wanted to know, Emperor Dorrek walks in and blows his head off, saying "That mud-walker turned a member of my family into a cow."
    • The Inhumans weren't involved with the main event (and given what had just gone down between them and the U.S. government probably wouldn't have bothered getting involved anyway), but the Skrulls still attacked them and kidnapped their prince anyway.
  • Evil Versus Oblivion: The Hood and his group of villains rally against the Skrulls, alongside Norman Osborn who's running a team of psycho Thunderbolts. Even death gods like Atum the Godeater and Amatsu-Mikaboshi team up with The Incredible Hercules and Snowbird to wage battle against the Skrull Alien Invasion.
  • Eye Scream: One of Vision's eyes gets blown out by the Skrulls early on. It's broken for the remainder of the series.
  • Finding Judas: The main interest of the crossover was to guess which one in each team was a Skrull.
  • Flanderization: Under Bendis, the Skrulls go from your typical jerkass aliens to religious fundamentalists constantly muttering "he loves you", something not really in keeping with their prior depictions (wherein Skrulls had at least two gods, rather than the one). Several characters in the side-stories point out how utterly unlike them this is, with even the Super-Skrull telling Nova he finds the modern jihadism (his words) disturbing. It's noted that Veranke's fundamentalist attitude has struck a chord with them after everything that's happened.
  • Flying Brick: Captain Britain, Sentry, Wonder Man, Ms. Marvel, Iron Man, etc...
  • Formula-Breaking Episode: The Guardians of the Galaxy tie-in. Since the team had virtually no activity around Earth, their story focused on panic on Knowhere when a dead Skrull was discovered hiding in the station. It turned out the Skrulls on Knowhere were simply refugees keeping themselves hidden to stay out of the war.
  • Framed for Heroism: Norman Osborn killing the Skrull Queen Veranke at the very end. While the others have been battling for days, doing most of the dirty work, his team of maniacs, criminals, and lunatics comes in and steals the show. What really makes it a Downer Ending is that he kills the Skrull queen seconds before Wolverine was able to. Naturally, he was placed in charge of every registered superhero, the Avengers Initiative was renamed the Thunderbolts Initiative, and S.H.I.E.L.D. was disbanded and replaced with H.A.M.M.E.R., which is also run by Osborn.
  • Freak Out: The Sentry, pretty early on in the fight, when a Skrull uses its powers to pretend to be the Void and claims the whole invasion is him getting back at everyone. It's enough to make Bob catatonic, at which point the actual Void persona takes over.
  • The Fundamentalist: Veranke was one when she was young, which got her exiled by the Skrull Emperor at the time. Seeing Galactus eat the Skrull homeworld, and the Annihilation Wave destroying their empire just gave her position more support.
  • The Future Is Shocking: Klara was brought from 1907 into the present, and had the misfortune of arriving in the middle of a brutal Skrull Alien Invasion. She was still adjusting to the concepts of sleeveless tops and same-sex relationships, so naturally, she didn't react well to seeing an army of aliens nearly kill her friends.
  • Gaslighting: When confronting him, Veranke attempts to convince Tony Stark that he's a Skrull. And as Black Widow pints out, she actually has no reason to do keep him alive other than to make him suffer more.
  • Glamour Failure: Exposing the Skrulls becomes a cat and mouse game, with the Earth characters continually having to come up with new methods as the Skrulls keep working around their old ones. And then Reed figures out a way to reveal the Skrulls anyway.
  • Going to Give It More Energy: In the Thunderbolts storyline, Radioactive Man decides to try this on the Skrull Captain Marvel. Unfortunately, the impostor is an excellent copy of the real Mar-Vell... whose powers were way beyond anything Radioactive Man is capable of. Chen gets fried for his trouble.
  • Great Escape: The alien Computer Virus the Skrulls unleash on the Earth also targets the Raft, causing another super-villain breakout.
  • Grievous Harm with a Body: Canadian goddess Snowbird killed the Skrull god Kly'bn with the spine of the slain Demogorge.
  • Hand Cannon: When Nick Fury makes his return to the mainstream Marvel Universe during the Skrull invasion of New York in the middle of the Alien Invasion, he does so wielding a gun that's about as big as he is.
  • Heel–Face Turn: When we last saw Merlin, he was plain evil, but here he comes back to being a good guy.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Captain Britain, to stop the Skrulls, though he doesn't stay dead terribly long thanks to Pete Wisdom and Merlin.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: Thanks to this event, Iron Man becomes this, as the failure to prevent the invasion is dumped entirely on his shoulders, since he'd been the S.H.I.E.L.D. director at the time. Also, almost everyone still treats Spider-Woman like she's Veranke in disguise, never mind the fact that Norman Osborn putting a round through the Skrull Queen's head on live television is what got him his government position in the first place.
  • High Turnover Rate: The Skrulls apparently go through a lot of infiltrators replacing Hank Pym. All the more impressive given they only replaced him shortly after Avengers: Disassembled, which happened in 2004 our world, and with Comic-Book Time in effect, that might be an even shorter amount of time for them.
  • Hostage Situation: Xavin's former mentor Chrell takes the entire team hostage to get Xavin to hand over Teddy Altman. Unfortunately for Chrell, he makes Klara cry.
  • How Did We Get Back Home?: In the planning stages of the Secret Invasion, the Illuminatinote  are sitting around a table as they discuss the events of their assault on the Skrull homeworld. Dr. Strange tries to cast a spell and they wonder how they got home... Then a War Skrull bursts in and kills them all. It's all right, though, because they're clones.
  • Human Alien Discovery: Played With. Although this is more a Changeling Tale for superheroes and villains having Skrull infiltrators as Manchurian Agents, various of them have suppressed their memories of being Skrulls and, even more, they do believe were Human All Along until the Arc Words are pronounced and they discovered the truth (for their own horror.)
  • Ihave Your Wife: The Skrulls aren't above kidnapping or threatening the hero's loved ones.
    • In Inhumans, the Skrulls capture Black Bolt's son in order to ensure he would cooperate with them in turning him into a Living Weapon.
    • The Jarvis Skrull kidnaps Jessica Jones and Luke Cage's son.
    • Nick Fury theorizes this is why the Skrull kept most of the people they replaced as prisoners, instead of killing them, so they could use them as bargaining ships if needed.
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice:
    • Namor kills the Skrull that was replacing Black Bolt and tries to assassinate the Illuminati by impaling him on a rock.
    • Medusa kills a Skrull holding her son hostage by impaling her In the Back with her Prehensile Hair.
  • Invisible President: During the Final Battle against Chrell, Speed grabs Molly Hayes and Klara Prast and dumps them somewhere far away from the fighting. Klara looks around and suddenly exclaims "Mr. President!" It turns out they've been dropped off in front of Mt. Rushmore.
  • It's Personal:
    • Skrulls have a grudge against the Illuminati for their previous defeats at their hands, especially the destruction of their throne city. And they hate Reed Richards especially for turning a few of them into cows. When they first attack Reed, they say "He even loves you", as opposed to the "He loves you" they give everyone else.
    • And the Skrull Kill Krew hates them for being Skrulls.
    • At the end of this story, Spider-Woman/Jessica Drew comes to really hate Skrulls, as seen in her individual comics which happens after this story.
  • Kick the Dog:
    • A lot of readers, and many of the Initiative students, view 3-D man's shooting of Crusader as this.
    • The first indication that the Skrull's claims of being semi-peaceful are BS is when they start executing the captured Initative members (also known to us humans as a war crime), who for extra dog-kicking are teenagers.
  • Kill and Replace: Subverted. The heroes fear the Skrulls are murdered most of the people they replaced, but it turns out many of the named characters (such as Black Bolt, Dum Dum Dugan and Spider-Woman have actually just been kept imprisoned and end up rescued by the end of the event. They do attempt to do this to Echo, but fail thanks to Wolverine and her managing to beat the Skrull who tried.
  • Kill 'Em All: The World War Hulk What-If version had this. After the destruction of New York wipes out a huge swath of heroes and civilians, except for Hulk, and the Skrull invasion kills scads more, the Bishop's spy (who turns out to be Wasp) slaughters the last ones left, save Hulk, by hitting a very human Pym with the same bio-bomb serum that had been used on Wasp herself in the original storyline, after having gathered them all together in the guise of a resistance group. Then Hulk, having completely lost all hope, catches a passing Silver Surfer and demands that he bring his master down on the Earth and the Skrulls. Hulk again ends up being the only one to survive the resulting cataclysm, and Galactus names him as a herald as a result.
    • In the Guardians of the Galaxy tie-in, this is Drax the Destroyer's method for figuring out who's a Skrull on Knowhere (granted he made sure the mass death was temporary and only long enough to force the Skrulls to revert to their true forms).
  • Leeroy Jenkins:
    • Luke Cage pulls this early on in the story. As the Savage Land copycats come off the ship, Ares notes to fight them is a calculated distraction on the Skrulls' part and that they should retreat back to New York. Cage however punches out Afro!Cage and the heroes bog themselves down in a pretty pointless fight. The battle scatters the heroes and leaves them wandering around for over half the series before Abigail Brand and Reed Richards come to rescue them.
    • The Skrulls themselves suffer from this. Ms. Marvel points out how the super-skrulls were almost eager to die in battle. Their religious devotion made them overconfident in victory and liable to ignore basic military tactics as pointed out by the Skrull commander who invaded Wakanda and Kl'rt, the original Super-Skrull.
  • Legacy Character:
    • 3-D Man, formerly Triathlon.
    • And Noh-Varr, after announcing himself as the new CAPTAIN MARVEL!
    • After decades of other people taking his codenames, Hank Pym himself finally pulls this after the events of Secret Invasion, taking up his dead ex-wife's codename of Wasp.
  • Lens Flare Censor: In the first issue, Reed Richards is performing an autopsy on the Skrull who'd posed as Elektra. An overhead shot gives a full view of her body, with a convenient light-blocking her crotch and Godiva Hair over her breasts.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Hercules and the God Squad takes on the Skrull gods Kly'bn and Sl'gur't. It's not until Herc thinks that Amadeus has been killed that he really cuts loose and lays the smackdown on Kly'bn.
  • Living Weapon: Black Bolt is kept alive by the Skrulls so he could be made into one, creating a ship that could convert his Make Me Wanna Shout powers into planet-sized sonic blasts. He's rescued by Medusa and the Inhumans before this can come to pass.
  • Manchurian Agent: Some of the Skrull agents were actually brainwashed into believing that they were the people they'd replaced.
  • The Magic Versus Technology War: The Skrulls started out using only tech on Britain, then once they'd broken into Avalon and swiped all the artifacts, they were perfectly happy to turn Britain's sources of magic against the country. Too bad for them that Pete Wisdom decided to make a Deal with the Devil.
  • Manipulative Bitch: Queen Veranke has been successfully been manipulating S.H.I.E.L.D., HYDRA and the Avengers against each other for months as Spider-Woman.
  • Mercy Kill: Thor kills Wasp, partially to put her out of her misery, and partially to keep her from going critical and killing nearly everyone in Times Square with her.
  • Modesty Bedsheet:
    • When we see the morning after Wonder Man and Ms. Marvel Sex for Solace, he's naked in bed with a sheet placed on his crotch. When Carol walks, she's already dressed in her uniform, telling him to suit up because they have a mission.
    • When the Skrulls are examining their Captain American infiltrator who's naked on a table, they place a bedsheet on his crotch. This is likely done just for the audience's sake, since the Skrulls have no reason to care about human modesty.
    • Hank Pym and Criti Noll, his Skrull lover disguises as a woman make a lot of use of this in post-sex scenes in the Mighty Avengers flashback tie-in that shows how Criti Noll seduced, captured and replaced Hank.
  • The Mole: Several characters are actually Skrulls.
    • In fact, most of the registered superhero teams have at least one, courtesy of the three biggest Moles, the Skrulls impersonating Hank Pym, Dum Dum Dugan, and Jessica Drew.
    • Out of the aforementioned defectors, Crusader and the Skrull Beatles originally started out as spies.
    • Kl'rt disguises himself as another Skrull when they move in to ambush and kill the Nova Prime. Kl'rt even helps Richard fake his own death before leading the remaining Super Skrulls away from Nova as he recovered.
  • Mole in Charge: Big Bad Queen Veranke is actually one of the infiltrators as Spider-Woman, having been manipulating the New Avengers and the Mighty Avengers during her stay in the respective teams.
  • Monumental Battle: During the Captain Britain and MI13 portion of the event, the Skrull invasion of Britain and the remnants of the human military have their climactic battle on Westminster Bridge. It's invoked to a degree since a good portion of the battle is fought with magic and the location has a great deal of symbolic value for the British people linked to this.
  • Mugged for Disguise:
  • Murder Is the Best Solution: Since the only surefire way to detect Skrulls is that they revert to their true form when killed, Drax the Destroyer's solution to the threat of Skrull infiltrators is to kill every single person in Knowhere. Oh, and then resuscitate them all. And it works.
  • Naked on Arrival: The Skrull Infiltration Ritual, which had the Skrull impostors completely imbued with the powers, memories and appearance of the selected subject, ended with them being "reborn" naked, with the appearance of the person they're meant to impersonate. Tropes like Censor Shadow, Scenery Censor and Shoulders-Up Nudity cover any actual nudity.
  • Naked People Trapped Outside: A humorous version ended up happening to She-Hulk during her tie-in to the event, with Jazinda accidentally having a Teleporter Accident when trying to bring Jen to the ship and ends only teleporting Jen's clothes, thus leaving Jen naked in front of a cheering crowd, much to her distress as she has to resort to Hand-or-Object Underwear until Jazinda figures it out.
  • Newcomer Saves the Day: The standoff between Xavin and their Evil Mentor Chrell is broken by Klara Prast, who's only been a Runaway for less than a day.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands:
    • The way Ms. Marvel single-handedly defeated dozens of Super Skrulls at once. Repeatedly.
    • 3D Man suddenly gaining the power to see through Skrull disguises after his glasses (the original source of his powers) are destroyed.
  • Neutral No Longer: The Inhumans were trying to keep to themselves, when the Skrulls attacked. In the aftermath they decided they had had enough of being everyone else's punching bags, and decided to take over the Kree empire.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The God Squad succeeds in wiping out the Skrull gods... and thus sets up the subsequent Chaos War crossover event, in which one of their numbers attempts to destroy the entire universe.
  • Not-So-Harmless Villain: The Skrulls have been around for so long, they've suffered quite a bit of Villain Decay / Diminishing Villain Threat over the years. This series (And its buildup) changed all that. Not even Reed Richards was prepared for how sophisticated their new infiltration methods were.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: And Offscreen Moment of Nightmare Fuel as well. In Guardians of the Galaxy, after the main event's over, Star-Lord goes rushing off to Hala to see what's happened to the Kree, long-time enemy No. 1 of the Skrulls, while everyone else was busy. Turned out the Kree found out about the Skrulls instantly (a million years of war makes you good at spotting shapeshifters), and killed them all. The result is a literal mountain worth of Skrull corpses.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • Veranke, after her last resort (turning the Wasp into a Bio-Weapon & killing everyone) has failed, and she sees every single superhero, vigilante, and supervillain charging at her. All she can do is repeat "He loves me".
    • Jessica Jones has a moment of this when she sees Jarvis among the rescued people that were replaced by Skrulls, as she realizes she left her baby in the hands of a Skrull.
  • Once More, with Clarity!: Several moments from previous Avengers stories are revisited, this time with the knowledge that one or more characters involved are Skrull impostors, and often from the point of view of said Skrull agents. Of note is New Avengers #43 that has A Day in the Limelight of Queen Veranke as Spider-Woman, with issue revising many of her previous scenes.
  • Paranoia Gambit: Part of the reason for the infiltration. If they get discovered, the Skrulls bank on the heroes becoming too paranoid over who might or might not be a Skrull to stop fighting one another and find a way to stop them.
  • Pedestrian Crushes Car: Averted in the She-Hulk tie-in. When Super-Skrull throws She-Hulk into a plane, she knows she's going to end up crushing it due to her being Nigh-Invulnerability in She-Hulk form, thus killing anyone inside. So she turns off her powers just before hitting the plane, and the impact almost kills her human body.
  • Perpetually Protean: The Skrull goddess of change, Sl'gur't never stays in the same form for more than a few seconds.
  • Post-Final Boss: After Veranke is dead and most Skrulls have surrendered, the Avengers still have to deal with Skrull Jarvis having kidnapped Danielle Cage.
  • Post-Rape Taunt: The Skrull Mad Scientist that is in charge of making Black Bolt into a Living Weapon needs him to break his Nerves of Steel in order to get it to work. And the way he does it, is by cruelly pointing out that Medusa has been sleeping with the Black Bolt imposter all this time, without her ever noticing anything was amiss.
    Skrull Scientist: We thought that when the Hulk came, your replacement's identity would have been revealed. But instead it drove your wife to care for her fallen king. It drove him into her... arms. From then on, the king and queen found their way into bed. Many times.
  • Pragmatic Villainy: Enforced just before the Final Battle. Most certainly Osborn already had Framed for Heroism moment planned in advance:
    Norman Osborn: Skrulls are the target. Anything past that and you won't live till tomorrow.
    Venom (Mac Gargan, a.k.a. the then-former Scorpion): But Osborn, Spider-Man is right—
    Norman Osborn: Skrulls are the target.
    • The Hood gets one as well, when he sees the news reports of the Skrulls attacking everywhere and knows what needs to be done. He wastes no time assembling his forces.
    Hood: Get everybody.
    Wrecker: You sure?
    Hood: A Skrull takeover would bad for business. Get. Everybody.
  • Prayer Is a Last Resort: In the Runaways tie-in, the team is captured by Skrulls led by Xavin's old Evil Mentor, who has most of the team incapacitated, except for Klara, the least combat-experienced member. Unable to fight back against a fully-trained Super-Skrull, god-fearing Klara prays for someone to save her and her friends... at which point a tree bursts out of the ground, creating enough of a distraction for the other Runaways to escape their bonds and fight back.
  • Prohibited Hero Saves the Day: Xavin commands their fellow Runaways to flee New York when the Skrull forces appear, fearing that they'll all be killed. They choose to ignore this and end up saving Xavin from their former Evil Mentor, who's now become one of the Skrull religious fanatics.
  • Psychological Projection: Iron Man came to think that Captain America had been replaced by a Skrull before the events of Civil War because Cap is a reasonable person and would have agreed the Superhero Registration Act was the right thing to do if it were really him... right? Meanwhile, the anti-Superhero Registration Act heroes are trying to get at Tony to prove he was replaced by a Skrull for the opposite reasons. Neither Tony nor Steve was actually replaced by Skrulls, so their actions are their own. For better or worse.
  • Punctuation Shaker: Skrull names tend towards this. Of special note are the Skrull gods Kly'bn and Sl'gur't.
  • Rasputinian Death: Veranke endured several attacks (including a hand-to-hand with Wolverine and an arrow shot to the head) before being ultimately killed by Norman Osborn.
  • Red Herring: During the initial lead-up to the event, an issue of New Avengers ended with a dramatic close-up of Dani Cage, the daughter of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones, whose eyes were shown glowing. This was obviously meant to imply that she (and by extension, one of her parents) might be a Skrull, but was really just an indication that she'd inherited superpowers from her parents.
  • Refuge in Audacity: The first thing Veranke does after The New Avengers discover Elektra is a Skrull? Take the body and show it to Tony Stark as Spider-Woman, so she could earn his trust, making him paranoid that anyone could be a Skrull, except for her, since why would a Skrull warn him in the first place?.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Once everything's over, Iron Man tries to talk to Thor, who quite curtly shoots him down, telling Tony he is not forgiven for all the crap he's pulled since Civil War, and that everything that's taken place that day is a consequence.
  • Red Shirt: Geldoff, of the Initiative. Having never done anything over in Avengers: The Initiative, he's captured and executed by the Skrulls to show that they're being dicks. Bonus points for actually wearing a red shirt. (Behind the scenes, Bendis even asked Dan Slott and Christos Gage if he could kill any of the Initiative kids, and they volunteered Geldoff. Ouch.)
  • Refusal of the Call: Hulkling. He is the Messiah of the Skrulls, a race in its darkest hour and on the verge of extinction, fallen under the command of religious zealots as a last Hope Spot, and they lost. The Skrulls are now pariahs in the universe without a homeworld, their whole race being traced and killed for this failed coup... Xavin practically begs Teddy to take up his birthright to save the Skrulls from extinction and extremism. Teddy chooses to stay on Earth.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: In-Universe, Nova managed to overcome the extreme stigma of being a former New Warrior in the eyes of the general public due to how instrumental the Nova Corps was in aiding Earth with the recovery and peacekeeping efforts in the Invasion's aftermath.
  • Retirony: The Black Panther tie-in opens with the Skrull villain narrating that after completing this mission to conquer Wakanda, he will have enough money to retire. He dies.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: By the Skrulls' measure, the torture they give Hulkling and Xavin. On the same count, their execution of John the Skrull.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge:
    • Clint Barton/Hawkeye/Ronin had an epic exclamation of this after the revelation of Skrull Mockingbird...
    • After being abducted and held captive by the Skrulls for an unknown length of time, the first thing Black Bolt did was kill the Mad Scientist Skrull that was keeping him captive by whispering on his ear, which reduced him to Ludicrous Gibs. Later he would go on to hunt the Skrulls down and try to have them all wiped out.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Queen Veranke took the most dangerous mission, infiltrating the Avengers, instead of staying in the security of the Skrull base.
  • Save the Villain: Human Torch ends up saving Lyja, his old lover, when she's attacked by a monster in the Negative Dimension, despite her being the one who trapped them there in the first place.
  • Scary Dogmatic Aliens: The Skrulls claim that they own Earth because their religious prophecies says they do.
  • Scenery Censor:
    • In the first issue, Reed Richards is performing an autopsy on the Skrull who'd posed as Elektra. An overhead shot gives a full view of her body, with a convenient light-blocking her crotch, Reed's hair covering one breast, and Godiva Hair covering the other. Ironically, one of the following panels also shows the naked Skrull from another angle, but this time with no creative censors, just a Barbie Doll Anatomy.
    • When we see Veranke's backstory on how she took Spider-Woman's identity, we get a full-body shot of a naked Jessica Drew on a surgery table, with medical instruments covering her crotch and breasts. The other breast is covered by a conveniently placed speech balloon.
    • When Jazinda accidentally teleports She-Hulk's clothes out of her body, there's a conveniently placed energy effect from the teleporter covering Jen's naughty bits.
    • The Skrull Infiltration Ritual that we see also made use of this, since the Skrulls were always Naked on Arrival after first taking the appearance of their imposters.
  • See-Thru Specs: 3-D Man's 3-D glasses let him see through the Skrulls' disguises, being one of the very few things that could tell Skrull impostors apart. The explanation is because they're "old school" and somehow immune to the ritual the Skrulls were using that allowed them to evade detection.
  • Sex for Solace:
    • Ms. Marvel, depressed over the loss of many of her men in her first encounter against the Skrull forces, ends up throwing herself at Wonder Man because she "doesn't want to think about anything for a few hours". He tries to be Above the Influence, but ultimately succumbs and the scene ends with a Sexy Discretion Shot. Doubles as a Pre-Climax Climax, since it was the night before the real Skrull invasion started.
    • Snowbird ends up sleeping with Hercules to drown the loneliness she feels even since her Alpha Flight teammates were killed in New Avengers. Also doubles as a Pre-Climax Climax, since it was the night before their fight with the Skrull pantheon.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • Crusader. He finally decides to side with his adopted home, fights with the humans, successfully hands Skrull!Yellowjacket his ass, thereby saving the entire Initiative camp and making the impostor Pym pay for everything he'd done to screw the human side over... Then 3D Man plugs him in the back of the head and dismissively shrugs it off when Crusader's fellow students are pissed. The only redeeming grace is that Crusader uses his Applied Phlebotinum to teleport away from the scene before anyone actually sees him die, so he might have somehow made it.
    • From the Skrull point of view, the whole invasion. They invest years of research, time and effort to try and save their species... only for it to go horribly wrong and get their already badly battered empire reduced to an even lower ebb, with nothing to show for it.
  • Shapeshifter Guilt Trip: Several Skrulls shapeshift into corpses and claim to be victims of the Stamford Incident. Although it works on Penance at first, he remembers the faces of everyone who really perished and attacks.
  • Shapeshifter Mode Lock:
    • The Skrull Khn'nr was mode-locked into the form of Captain Marvel, a long-dead hero, and brainwashed into thinking he was him from the past. When he found out, he rejected his part in the invasion, and actively worked against it.
    • Quite a few Skrulls who took the form of Dr. Hank Pym wound up losing themselves in the role/being overwhelmed by the personality of the original, and had to be put down.
  • Shapeshifting Squick: The Voluntary Shapeshifting Skrulls kidnapped and replaced dozens of denizens of Earth - including several superheroes - in preparation for a full-scale invasion. The Skrulls lived as the people they'd replaced for, in some cases, years, meaning that, among others, Tigra, Hawkeye, and Medusa slept with Skrulls they thought were their respective lovers many times. If you piece together the events of three different books, you realize that (1) Hank Pym was seduced by a college girl who slept with him, revealed herself to be a Skrull, captured him, and took his identity, (2) that Skrull, as Hank Pym, then started sleeping with the heroine Tigra, but (3) the process that allowed the Skrulls to pass undetected also caused them to take on the personality of the person they replaced, meaning that the Skrull(s) replacing the brilliant but unstable Hank Pym was actually a series of Skrulls who kept becoming too unstable and needing to be replaced by other Skrulls - all of whom had to maintain the sexual relationship with Tigra AND (4) one of whom got her pregnant.
  • Shiny New Australia: Invoked by Moonstone, who offers to defect to the Skrulls in exchange for ownership of South America.
  • Smug Snake: The Skrull Queen, Veranke, gets a little bit of this, especially in her speech to Stark in issue #3. The Skrull Pym, initially, is less convinced: in one of the Mighty Avengers tie-ins he talks to the Skrull impersonating Dum Dum Dugan and tells him the invasion won't work because Humans Are Special.
  • Something Only They Would Say: Used very frequently in this story as a way of sussing out Skrulls. Though it's implied that the Skrulls have been on Earth for a long time so even this isn't particularly effective for the most part. The most notable example is Hawkeye assuring Mockingbird is the real one by asking them about what October 14th means to them, and she correctly replies it would have been that date of birth of their miscarried child. But then she turns out to be a Skrull anyway, having gained Fake Memories from the real Bobbi and didn't even know she was actually a Skrull.
  • Spot the Imposter: Ms. Marvel gets into a situation where several Skrulls are hiding in a huge crowd of civilians, and taunting her by killing a few every once in a while, and she has to find a way to tell them apart. Her solution? Hit them all with a weak version of her blast, with the ones that No-Sell it revealing themselves to be Skrulls.
  • Stumbled Into the Plot: The Runaways became caught up in the Skrull Alien Invasion because they just happened to be visiting New York City on the very day that the Skrulls attacked the city, making the whole thing an Outside-Context Problem for them.
  • Suicide Mission: Several of the Skrull impostors know their job is akin to suicide, but they're all fervently devoted to the cause. The most notable example being Dum Dum Dugan's Skrull imposter blowing up S.W.O.R.D. defensive satellite with himself on it.
  • "Take That!" Kiss: Veranke as Spider-Woman gives Tony Stark a taunting kiss when she reveals herself to him, all while Gaslighting him into thinking he's also a Skrull Manchurian Agent.
  • Tap on the Head: Deconstructed. Shanna the She-Devil tries to knock out a female S.H.I.E.L.D. agent in order to steal her uniform, but the karate chop to the neck ends up killing her instead. It turns out that the "agent" was actually a Skrull impostor anyway, so there's no resulting angst.
  • Tempting Fate: In Secret Invasion #7, Spider-man tells Iron Fist that the battle has to be going well, and is overall insignificant because The Watcher hasn't shown up. Guess who shows up?
  • This Was His True Form:
    • The Skrull imposter return to their Skrull form upon death. The New Avengers killing Elektra only to watch her body turn into a Skrull is what triggers the whole event.
    • This also seems to happen to any part of a Skrull that's separated from the main body; when Crusader's hand was cut off during a training exercise in Avengers: The Initiative, it started turning a little green by the time they'd reattached it.
    • Super-Skrulls also return to their Skrull form when they die.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: This trope only raises up Paranoia Fuel - some of the Skrull agents were brainwashed into believing that they were the people they'd replaced. Which means you can be a Skrull and not even realize it. Veranke even attempts to convince Stark he is one, just to mess with him.
  • Trigger Happy: Black Widow's solution to finding out who's a Skrull and who's not is to fill 'em full of lead. Thankfully the only person she does that with is Wolverine
  • Trust Password: How Wolverine gets Black Widow to stop shooting him.
  • Undefeatable Little Village: Wakanda, a tiny nation in Africa, defended just by a Badass Normal king and his mutant wife, is attacked by a powerful Skrull armada and their Super Skrulls of composite powers. Poor Skrulls, they never had a chance...
  • The Unreveal: The Skrulls have devised a way to hide their shapeshifting from every possible means of detection. But we don't get to hear what exactly that method is.
  • Victory Is Boring: When we last saw Maximus the Mad, he had finally achieved his goal of overthrowing his brother Black Bolt and ruling Attilan. When we see him here in the Inhumans tie-in, Maximus is having to deal with the day-to-day running of an entire species... and he's bored out of his skull. He can't step aside fast enough when Black Bolt comes back.
  • Villain Ball: That good old Skrull idiocy, several times in Avengers: The Initiative. The minute 3-D Man identifies a Skull, rather than try to play dumb or waive off suspicion, the infiltrators immediately go on the attack.
  • Villain Episode:
    • Crusader, being a Skrull, is supposed to be a villain, but a good portion of Avengers: The Initiative is actually told from his point of view as he struggles with whether to fight for his birth people or his adopted home.
    • The tie-in issues to Mighty Avengers and New Avengers detail the Skrull's infiltration efforts, especially Veranke's point of view and backstory.
      • Mighty Avengers #15 and #17 shows Criti Noll meeting, seducing and replacing Hawk Pym.
      • Mighty Avengers #16 shows How Elektra got captured by the Skrulls, and what her replacement did as the Elektra impostor.
      • New Avengers #40 shows Veranke's backstory, and how she went from exiled princess to ruler of the Skrulls. Issue #42 and #45 shows How time on Earth, how she replaced Spider-Woman and what she did under the Spider-Woman identity. Issue #46 shows the Hood and his crime syndicate of super-villains fighting against the Skrulls.
  • Villain with Good Publicity: Norman Osborn was already this due to his efforts of hunting down rogue heroes post-Civil War, but thanks to being the one to deal the final blow to Queen Veranke, thus being credited to ending the invasion, he's elevated more than ever before.
  • Vlog Series: Marvel Comics did one of these (in which a teenage girl suspected that her brother had been replaced by an alien) as viral publicity for the event.
  • What Measure Is a Non-Human?: Every hero killed Skrulls by the truckloads without blinking even when there were beaten and on the run, even if those heroes had Thou Shall Not Kill rules before. A particular example of Hawkeye and Mockingbird's Skrull stands out among the killed Skrulls. This Skrull is a Tomato in the Mirror who is a perfect copy of Mockingbird (Hawkeye's late wife) in every way, including memories and personality, and very honestly believes it when she professes to be her. At first, Hawkeye believes her, too, since she thinks and acts exactly like her. But when he finds out that she is Not Even Human, he kills her in a fit of rage — Even though she had done nothing villainous whatever until then, and did not appear about to. In fact, she died confused and pleading with him, never understanding why her Clint would want to murder her.
  • We Are Everywhere: The Skrulls infiltrate several key teams and positions on Earth, and make sure to spread the paranoia that anyone can be a Skrull, so further causer chaos in the ranks of their enemies.
  • We Come in Peace — Shoot to Kill: The Skrulls, obviously. At one point a bunch of stupider-than-normal Marvel civilians try approaching some of the super-soldiers, who immediately get angry and try to attack them. The kids are saved by Fury's Secret Warriors, and aren't even remotely grateful.
  • We Have Reserves: Apparently, the Skrull Empire had more fighters than the "broken and desperate shell of a former powerhouse" description of them implied, considering they went through over ninety attempts to recreate the original Captain Marvel, and whenever a Skrull Pym broke his programming and protested the invasion's effectiveness, they just killed him and brainwashed a new one. Keeping track of the series, they went through at least five warriors just on that alone, and Skrull Dugan implies there were many more.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Sentry freaks out and runs away from the fight, which is the last he's seen or mentioned in the main book. Mighty Avengers shows the Void bursting into Avengers Tower to save Lindy Lee from Skrulls... and then they just vanish from the entire event. Once it's over, Bob's back and no-one asks... but Lindy becomes nigh-completely catatonic.
  • Xanatos Speed Chess: At the end of The Incredible Hercules tie-in evil god Amatsu-Mikaboshi took control over the army of gods assimilated by the Skrull Pantheon and is preparing to attack on Earth. However, for Athena that's good news.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Poor Hawkeye has a lot of this in the event: When a Skrull ship crashed and revealed a group of heroes. Most were discovered to be Skrulls, but Clint tested the Mockingbird they found with a question and decided she was the real Bobbi. Then it turned out she was actually a Skrull who honestly believed that she was the real Bobbi and had her Fake Memories, which led to Clint shooting and killing her. The real Bobbi finally returned at the end of the event. Only that turned out to be bad when, in the course of a team-up, Clint realizes the Bobbi who he reunited with in West Coast Avengers was also a Skrull and the real Bobbi still considers them divorced.
  • You Shall Not Pass!: A very brave case. The female Super Skrull wanted to attack Broxton, she had just defeated Beta Ray Bill, and someone stood in defiance. Not Thor, but Donald Blake, with the hammer laying between them. He has to take the hammer to turn into Thor, but can he do it before the alien simply kills him with some quicker attack? Volstagg did not want to take any chances, attacked the alien, and gives Donald Blake the second he needs to take the hammer.