So far in EARTHS MOST WANTED, CBR News and Marvel Comics editor Tom Brevoort have unveiled an assortment of adversaries the shape shifting Skrulls will want out of their way when their "Secret Invasion" of Earth kicks into high gear later this year. We've discussed the Aces, Kings, Queens, and Jacks, and now Brevoort helps us complete our Royal Flush as we reveal the Tens in the Skrulls' "Secret Invasion" poker deck.
Doctor Doom has launched numerous schemes to conquer the world, many of which almost succeeded. This makes the armored monarch a more than dangerous competitor to the Skrulls' claim on Earth. "Doom is virtually as intelligent as Reed Richards, and completely ruthless," Tom Brevoort told CBR News. "And he's got the resources of a small country at his beck and call. So it's the total package that's most dangerous to the Skrulls."
At first glance, Latveria, the small Eastern European country Doom controls, may seem strategically insignificant. But a shape shifting culture like that of the Skrulls knows appearances can be deceiving. "[Latveria's] where Doom hangs his hat, where he's stockpiled his arsenal of weapons of mass destruction," Brevoort said. "So it's significant simply for that."
Doctor Doom's access to an arsenal of advanced weapons makes him a target for replacement by a Skrull doppelganger, but his seemingly endless supply of lifelike robotic impersonators means replacing him won't be an easy task. "It might prove difficult for the Skrulls to be certain they were replacing the true Doctor Doom," Brevoort agreed. "But if they managed to do so, then the imposture would be relatively easy to maintain, as even Doom's closest advisors know the folly of questioning him, regardless of how insane or nonsensical what he's saying or doing may appear."
If the Skrulls don't watch their step, their invasion plans could incur the wrath of Ares, a being capable of showing them how little they know about the arts of battle. "Ares is an experienced warrior who's not only fought in innumerable campaigns over the years, but who practically invented the art of war," said Brevoort. "And he's an immortal god on top of it-a potentially devastating combination, even to the Skrulls. By the same token, Ares always seems a little bit disinterested in the affairs of mankind, so unless the Skrulls do something that's likely to have an impact on Ares' life directly--potentially something like trying to convert the masses to their own belief-systems--it's possible that his heart won't be all that much in the fight."
Ares is doubly dangerous to the Skrulls because the shape shifters don't realize the Greek God is exactly who he claims to be. "I think everybody tends to underestimate Ares just a little bit, Skrull or not," Brevoort stated. "So that's a definite edge in his favor."
Ares's immortal longevity means any duplicate the Skrulls try to replace him with would only be partially complete. "The Skrulls could probably replicate Ares' raw physical power, but they couldn't duplicate his centuries of experience and his know-how," Brevoort explained. "But Ares is such a relatively new face on the super-heroic scene that such a replacement would be easy to disguise."
If replacing Ares proves difficult, even the God of War has exploitable weaknesses. "Ares has a half-human son that he's trying to raise in the mortal world, which could prove a vulnerability for him," Brevoort stated.
It's not a coincidence The Skrulls accelerated their invasion plans when Steve Rogers was assassinated. Now, the emergence of a new Captain America, Bucky Barnes, could prove to be a disastrous complication for the alien invaders. "Cap is probably most dangerous symbolically, as an individual with a long history of providing a rallying point for his fellow heroes and the common man alike," Brevoort said. "But the new Cap isn't the same man, so he may not be as adept at forging those bonds of commonality and being able to bring his fellows together."
The new Captain America's ability to be a living symbol and inspire people is still unproven, which suggests he's not a high profile target for replacement. But even if the new Sentinel of Liberty can't bring his fellow heroes together, the Skrulls still face a resourceful foe armed with an indestructible shield and decades of combat experience, both as a front line solider and a deadly covert operative.
However, this combat experience could prove to be a double-edged sword, as it has made the new Captain America vulnerable to specific kinds of psychological attack. "The new Cap spent decades as the brainwashed pawn of Soviet spymasters, so he's particularly vulnerable to mind-control and the like," Brevoort said. "And while in thrall to the KGB, the new Cap did all manner of terrible things that continue to haunt him, and those memories could be used to rattle him."
Luke Cage, Hero for Hire has a tough reputation, but it's Luke Cage, New Avenger that's most dangerous to the Skrulls. "Luke's absolutely more dangerous as the rallying point for the underground Avengers," Brevoort stated. "As a solo hero, sure, Luke's strong and durable. But especially in the absence of Captain America, Luke has really stepped up as a natural leader. Plus he's a guy who lives for fighting for a cause, especially when he's the underdog."
Cage's New Avengers were the first heroes to stumble across the Skrulls' Secret Invasion plans. Their knowledge of the shape shifters' infiltration of Earth has made Cage's team a big threat and made Cage himself a target for replacement by a Skrull impersonator. "If the Skrulls replace Luke, they'd have a somewhat easier time of keeping their secret invasion a secret until they're ready to act," Brevoort said.
Luke Cage may have unbreakable skin, but that doesn't mean the Skrulls' can't take him down by messing with his heart. Brevoort pointed out, "Cage is a married man with a wife and young daughter."
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