EARTH'S MOST WANTED: The Jacks

Mon, January 28th, 2008 at 12:00am PST

Comic Books
Dave Richards, Staff Writer

In previous editions of EARTH'S MOST WANTED, CBR News along with Marvel Comics editor Tom Brevoort unveiled The Aces, Kings and Queens; three suits of characters likely to prove to be huge threats to the Skrulls' in-progress plans for Earth, which will come to a head later this year in "Secret Invasion" #1 by Brian Michael Bendis and Leinil Francis Yu. Brevoort is back again this week as we unveil the final set of face cards in the Skrulls' poker deck, The Jacks.

JACK OF SPADES- THOR

The Skrulls have battled the Thunder God before, most notably when he and his fellow Avengers attacked the Skrull Armada in the now classic "Avengers" storyline, "The Kree-Skrull War."  Based on this experience, the alien invaders know how formidable of an opponent Thor can be, but what makes him truly dangerous to the Skrulls is the fact he was until recently dead. "There's no way that the Skrulls could have foreseen Thor's return from the grave," Tom Brevoort told CBR News. "He has to be something of a wild card in their plans, and one they'll need to take into account in some way if they're to succeed."

Thor's resurrection and godlike powers will make it difficult for the Skrulls to come up with an exact impostor of the Thunder God. "We saw a Super-Skrull with Thor-based powers in 'New Avengers: Illuminati' #5, but that Super-Skrull would have been based on the traditional Thor," Brevoort explained. "Given that the current Thor still maintains some connection to the Odin-Power, it's doubtful that the Skrulls can duplicate that power level through purely scientific means. That said; all they really need to do is create a doppelganger who can display enough power so as to convince others that he's the real thing, and we've seen them do that at least once so far."

Even if the Skrulls can't come up with an impostor to neutralize the threat of the Thunder God and his fellow Asgardians, Thor still has one very big weakness the Skrulls could exploit.  "Thor would certainly be easier to overcome were he attacked in his mortal form of Don Blake," Brevoort said. "That is presuming that the Skrulls find out about his human incarnation."

JACK OF HEARTS- THE SENTRY

The Sentry is one of the most powerful forces the Skrulls will confront in their invasion of Earth, but what makes Robert Reynolds' alter ego especially dangerous is the fact the shape shifters can't seem to recall ever hearing about him. "Whatever encounters they may have had in the past, the Skrulls would have forgotten about them in the same way the rest of the world forgot about the Sentry for all those years," Brevoort said. "So they'd only really know him as a new player on the field starting around the time of 'New Avengers' #2."

For the Skrulls to be successful in their invasion of Earth, it's essential they gain whatever intelligence they can get about the Sentry's abilities – which, as readers of "Mighty Avengers" know, just might include the ability to resurrect the dead. "We don't know how much the Skrulls know about what the Sentry can and cannot do--even the Sentry doesn't seem to realize the extent of his own abilities," Brevoort remarked. "On the other hand, maybe the Lindy Reynolds who got back up was a Skrull impostor, and the Sentry never resurrected her in the first place."

Using their shape shifting powers to impersonate and replace heroes is one of the biggest weapons in the Skrull arsenal, but when dealing with the Sentry it's likely they'll use their shape shifting abilities in other ways. "The Sentry's powers and mental state are so fragile that trying to replicate his abilities in order to replace him would be exceedingly dangerous," Brevoort said. "It would probably be far easier to replace those around him, those he trusts, and use their forms and likenesses to manipulate the Sentry into doing what the Skrulls wanted him to do."

JACK OF DIAMONDS –HULKLING

It's not Hulkling's abilities which make him dangerous to the Skrulls, it's his parentage. As "Young Avengers" fans know, Hulkling's father is the Kree Captain Marvel and his mother is the Skrull princess Anelle, making the young hero a direct heir to the Skrull throne and a credible threat to the Skrull conspiracy with designs on Earth. "I can't say too much about any of this without giving away some key elements of 'Secret Invasion'," Brevoort said. "But the specific sect of Skrulls who are behind this plan are a branch of religious fundamentalists who were in conflict with Dorrek VI in the first place, so Hulkling's status as Dorrek's heir might make him a greater target, rather than giving him a leg up."

At the end of "Young Avengers" #12, Kl'rt the Super Skrull volunteered to impersonate Hulkling and live half the year with the Skrulls and the other half with the Kree. With the Skrull people scattered following Galactus' consuming of their homeworld and events like "Annihilation" and "Annihilation: Conquest," it's unclear whether or not Kl'rt's ruse is still in effect or which Skrulls were even fooled by it. But one thing is for certain: when the Skrull invaders choose to confront Hulkling, they won't try to recruit him. "Given his connection to Dorrek and the previous regime, I think the Skrulls would just as soon have Hulkling out of the way," Brevoort remarked. "Plus, he's also descended from their greatest enemy, the Kree Captain Mar-Vell."

For the Skrulls, the best way to remove Hulkling from play could come by exploiting what they see as a trait of psychological weakness. "For all that he's a big, hulking guy, Teddy has a pacifistic streak in him--he doesn't really relish fighting," Brevoort explained.

JACK OF CLUBS- BLACK PANTHER

The Black Panther plays many roles. King, scientist, diplomat, but to the Skrulls, it's the Panther's role as Monarch of Wakanda that is most dangerous. "The Panther has all of the resources of his technologically-superior nation of Wakanda at his disposal, not to mention one of the world's two sources of Vibranium to draw upon," Brevoort said. "And he's forward-thinking enough that he probably has a plan ready to implement in the case of a Skrull invasion."

King T'Challa's strategic mind and royal status make him a dangerous adversary to the Skrull invaders, but it also makes him the perfect target for replacement by a Skrull imposter. "If the Skrulls replace the Black Panther, they get a secure beachhead of territory on Earth, access to cutting-edge technology and resources, and control of the Vibranium Mound," Brevoort explained. "Plus they get to sleep with Storm."

If the Skrulls are able to replace T'Challa, not only would they reap a number of strategic rewards, but the Black Panther's secretive tendencies would make such a scheme that much more difficult to discover. "The Panther so often plays his own game and keeps his own council that were you to replace him, even seemingly contradictory instructions would appear to be normal coming from him," Brevoort said. "And by the time anybody realized that it was a Skrull Panther calling the shots, it would be too late."

EARTH'S MOST WANTED
The Aces
The Kings
The Queens

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