The X-Men are no strangers to outer space adventures. They have frequented the Shi’ar galaxy, dealt with the alien Brood and even traveled through space and time to the Skrull home planet. It should come as no surprise then that Wolverine, one of the most popular X-Men, heralded the beginning of one of Marvel’s most alien-centric crossover events, Secret Invasion, nearly a decade before the event began.
In a mission transcending space and time, the X-Men travel to the Skrulls’ home world. In an attempt to keep the world-devouring Galactus from destroying the planet, the X-Men are repelled and left stranded light years away from Earth. After commandeering a Skrull space ship, Kitty Pryde uses the ship’s stasis field to place the team in suspended animation while they make the long trip to Earth. This allows the team to survive the light years it takes to make the trip without needing food or water, which is a scarce commodity.
Upon reemerging from stasis, the team discovers that through the joys of time travel, they have actually arrived in Earth’s atmosphere before they ever actually departed. As they discuss undoing some of the damage they know is going to happen (particularly, preventing the death of one of their companions), the ship is hit by a magnetic flare. Fortunately, the ship automatically protects the X-Men, but it does so by placing them back into stasis. The X-Men wake unharmed a week later, which is just enough time to put them back where they should be.
Shortly thereafter, the team breaks up. As they go their separate ways, Jubilee is the first to realize something wasn’t quite right about Wolverine, but she chalks it up to stress over the team disbanding, never realizing that something far more sinister is in motion. A short time later, Cyclops and Jean Grey reform a ragtag assortment of X-Men — including Wolverine — to protect a group of genetically-altered children from Death, a Horseman of Apocalypse. The Horseman wields a strange sword and during a confrontation with the X-Men, he stabs Wolverine and kills him.
During the autopsy of his fallen teammate, Beast discovers the corpse is not the real Wolverine, but a Skrull imposter using his shape-shifting powers to impersonate Logan. This revelation ultimately leads to the discovery that “Skrullverine” had been switched with the real Wolverine during the time the team was in stasis floating above Earth’s atmosphere. In subsequent confrontations with Death, they make the even more shocking discovery that the Horseman is actually a brainwashed Wolverine working as an agent of Apocalypse.
Although this is the first time the Skrulls used their shape-shifting and power-duplicating methods to infiltrate the heroes of Earth, it isn’t the last. Almost a decade later in the pages of New Avengers, Hand leader Elektra is revealed to be a Skrull in disguise. This revelation triggers discord among the heroes and is explored in greater depth during the Secret Invasion event of 2008, a milestone in Marvel comics which presents the slightly used idea of Skrulls infiltrating various Earth organizations, including the Avengers themselves.
Although Secret Invasion extends far deeper into the mainstream than the X-Men story, the “Skrullverine” story stills deserves recognition as being the precursor to an event that completely changed the landscape of the Marvel Universe.
KEEP READING: Marvel’s Next Secret Invasion Has Already Started
Wolverine kicked off the Secret Invasion storyline nearly a decade before it began when agents of Apocalypse replaced him with a Skrull.