I read – and, I confess, immensely enjoyed – Secret Invasion a few months back. So if you haven’t read it, or you’re just not a serious comics geek like I am, I advise you not to read the rest of this post.
Now that it’s all over, and the Dark Reign has begun, I think it’s past time to look at some of the mistakes the Skrulls made in their failed invasion. Not that I’m entirely blaming them for it – to my mind, Bendis was just a little too ready to hide behind his excuse that these people are religious extremists and therefore don’t act logically. Sure, there’s an argument to be made for that, but most of the time, it seemed to just be an excuse for lazy plotting.
Leaving that aside, here are what I consider to be the worst mistakes of the Skrulls, purely from a strategic perspective:
- Putting everyone in superhero costumes – not only did this make it unneccesarily easy for the defenders to tell who had what powers, it may in some cases have also indicated that they shared weaknesses with whoever it was. (I mean, really, since when are costumes a part of a person’s genetics?) An army that looked like an army would have been much less predictable. Also, it would have been much less humiliating for the Skrull who got stuck wearing Power Pack’s costumes.
- Not impersonating Tony Stark – by impersonating one guy – just one – you could have managed to practically rule the world already. So why not impersonate him?
- Not impersonating Namor – I mean, there were some good choices, but really, why did no one impersonate Namor? It’s not like he wouldn’t have been fairly easy to capture and replace without anyone noticing, and you would then have had the whole Atlantean army to use as cannon fodder (and to hide your own presence behind – after all, wasn’t this Invasion supposed to be a Secret?). Not to mention getting access to those sleeper agents we keep hearing about…
- The tip off – what was the strategic purpose of this? Why not continue to strike from the shadows, and keep it going that way until you had even more forces in position, even more people impersonated? I understand the power of fear and paranoia, dividing your enemies against themselves – that makes sense. But why then? Why not later? And why Elektra? The Hand could have been a very useful resource in the war, but was casually discarded in a way pretty much guaranteed to get them gunning for the Skrulls.
- Engineering a few more deaths at Camp Hammond – it would have been child’s play to wipe out a few more – or even a lot more – of Earth’s superhumans in tragic training ‘accidents’, most of which could easily have been explained away as the inevitable result of inexperienced superhumans using their powers with insufficient care. And each enemy killed that way would have been one less to deal with later on. Not so much an error as a missed opportunity.
- Not listening to the ersatz Hank Pym – what if, instead of killing him for being defeatist – three times, no less – Veranke had instead listened to what he had to say, and modified her plans accordingly? I mean, if he’s really smart enough to see why it won’t work, he can probably see ways to change that…
- Not wiping out obvious enemies – it didn’t occur to anyone that people calling themselves the Skrull Kill Krew might be a good choice to quietly remove prior to the invasion? Or representatives of hereditary Skrull enemies like Noh-Varr?
- Was this a military invasion or a propaganda war? – because it seemed like a little bit of both. I mean, doesn’t the huge invasion of New York kind of undermine the whole ‘we’re here to help’ message of the propaganda? For that matter, given that your entire race is specialised towards infiltration, why even bother with a military war? A little more patience, and they could have taken over the Earth and made us ask them to.
That said, the Skrulls did get some things right:
- Disabling the Starktech – sheer brilliance. In one move, taking out one of the smartest men on the planet, all of SHIELD, Earth’s eyes and ears… this was a masterstroke. Of course, it’s nothing you couldn’t have done by replacing Tony Stark with one of your own in the first place.
- Infiltrating the Initiative – getting one member on each team in 50 states was a fine plan. Probably would have been better to replace each of the team leaders, though.
Here’s hoping Dark Reign doesn’t go the same way, because this whole ‘the villains are brilliant right up until the bit where they have to act stupid so that the heroes can win‘ thing is getting really old.