If I had a penny for every time Emilia Clarke was the center of a mismanaged beloved franchise; I would have at least four pennies now. Secret Invasion is Marvel’s attempt at a Television series based on the beloved comic book series, where it’s revealed shapeshifting Skrulls live amongst us, silently replacing Earth’s powerful figures and Super Heroes.
Heroes thought long dead were revealed to have been Skrulls in disguise allowing writers a chance to revive some of their most beloved characters who had been killed off, all the while providing intrigue on who might be a Skrull, who could suddenly betray their fellow Hero with the Skrulls using their technology to replicate super powers. In this story, Nick Fury leads a squad of his men in a heroic attempt to hold back and fight the invasion, being one of the key figures in finding undercover Skrulls.
The last attempt to adapt this story was made by The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes cartoon, where a Skrull infiltrates thirteen episodes in advance, and the ongoing weakening of the Avengers takes place over the course of many episodes. The only human aware of the Skrull threat is Nick Fury, who has gone underground as a result.
Fury, in this series, is portrayed as the only man who knows. He has spent months not trusting anyone and only talking to those he knows he can trust, in this case, Iron Man. He is key to revealing the ploy due to his ingenuity and spy savvy.
So what does Nick Fury do in this new re-imagining?
Kind of nothing, really. Olivia Coleman’s character seems far more capable. Fury spends most of the series clutching his head, being quite sick of everything.
And then the series ends, and he goes home with his Skrull wife… his home being in space. Retirement in space. Sounds kinda nice.
The trailers really sold the idea of this being Nick Fury’s final mission, one last hurrah for the character as an old spy’s last grab at glory. It’s Fury against Gravik, a radicalized Skrull who he promised he’d find a home but never did. Tension, lies, betrayal! And wait, the villain is a marginalized refugee who blows stuff up again? Didn’t we see this in Falcon and the Winter Soldier?
Well, let’s go down the list of Fury’s achievements in the series!
– In the past, Fury promises Skrull refugees that he will find them a new planet, and until then, they can help him with his spy work.
– Fury comes back to Earth to deal with the Skrull threat he started by not holding up his end of the bargain. Gravik is mad that Fury did not uphold his promise and wants to wipe out all of humanity now.
– Fury is told he’s too old for this many times.
– Fury gets Maria Hill killed through a bad operation, along with a large number of civilian casualties through failing to stop Gravik, despite there being others he could have contacted to help even within the episode.
– Fury spends time trying to convince his wife not to be mad. He abandoned her for five years, and his wife turns out to be a Skrull, possibly jeopardizing many things. Why this is a priority with the threat of nuclear war looming, I cannot say.
– Fury and Talos prevent a Skrull U.K Navy commander from firing a missile at a U.N aircraft. The only reason they can do so is because of G’iah. Fury and Talos are rendered mostly ineffective, but they do kill a Skrull, so…hooray?
– Fury gets fired and humiliated by Skrull Rhodey, the only Hero replaced by a Skrull. However, they do not use the Warmachine armor. Fury does not realize he is a Skrull from his behavior, something his senses should have picked up on, in my opinion.
– Fury convinces Talos that he needs him to help him, and an episode later, Talos is killed by Gravik.
– Fury saves the American President. The one good thing he does in this series.
– Fury has gathered up the DNA of many, many beings who died at the end of Avengers Endgame. He calls it Harvest. Why did he do this? What possible good reason could there be for having Thanos’ DNA on file ripe for cloning?
-Fury allows Gravik access to the Harvest. Why? Because he believes G’iah can defeat Gravik even if he has it? Why not tell G’iah to murder him before letting him have the god power juice?
-Fury and his wife leave an incendiary planet Earth, who has begun a Skrull genocide like when the Silence invaded Earth in Doctor Who. Fury effectively breaks his promise, dooms innocent Skrulls to death for his mistakes, then goes, “Nah, I’m out, peace.”
Let’s talk about the “Harvest” for a second. While I believe it is possible that Captain Marvel could have bled from being hit by the power stone, how in the heck does he have the blood of anyone who was snapped? Their entire being, even parts ripped from their body, should have been erased. Snapping doesn’t leave any trace of them; that was the whole point?
So all of this creates two very deep and strong reasons why this series fails to live up to standards of quality. First, as an adaptation of a beloved comic book series, it fails in scope. It does not live up to the promises of subterfuge on a global scale. Gravik does not have the same presence as the Skrull Princess from the cartoons. And Fury himself does not embody his all-knowing spy presence, meandering around the series like a lost child.
The second is the promised Nick Fury adventure. Do we get Nick Fury at his best, cleverly outmaneuvering Skrulls left and right? No. In fact, this series’ purpose in the wider scheme is to set G’iah up as a new hero, a sort of prototype Super Skrull ready for the Fantastic Four reboot, perhaps? There is no mention of Kl’rt, the comic book Super Skrull, so we have to assume G’iah is now the de facto character. Fury is not left to go out with a bang but with a small yawn. The marketing, presentation, and idea all fall short of what was promised.
Secret Invasion has one of the lowest ratings of any Marvel products, and in a time where the MCU is failing in many regards, we can’t say that ignoring the source material is feasible anymore. Marvel has to start channeling the real heart and soul of their comics again, Endgame didn’t have to be the end of the MCU, but as we march forward, it’s becoming clearer that good storylines like Secret Invasion should never have been used as a stepping stone for future projects.