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New Avengers #40: Review

Apr 2008
Brian Michael Bendis, Jim Cheung

Story Name:

Secret invasion (part 1)

Review & Comments

4 stars

New Avengers #40 Review by (May 6, 2024)
Albert Deschesne and Richard Starkings share the lettering.

This is the 1st of a series of issues revealing information about events that led up to Secret Invasion. Mighty Avengers #12-19 are similar. Both sets will feature covers that are homages of important old issues with heroes replaced by Skrulls. This cover emulates Avengers #1.

Emperor Dorrek is mistakenly referred to as a King in this issue. And I believe the world where the story starts is the Throneworld Tarnax IV rather than the never-mentioned at that time Satriani.
Satriani was the birthplace of S'Byll (in Silver Surfer in the late 80's - early 90's) who was 1 of several contending Warlords after Galactus ate Tarnax IV until she became Empress and made her homeworld the Imperial Throne.
When Veranke is brought there S'Byll seems to have gone and Veranke has named herself Queen.
SI: Who Do You Trust 1-shot names the sect she leads the Dard'Van.
The middle entry in their prophecies, between Galactus and Secret Invasion, is the destruction of the Skrull Empire by the Annihilation Wave during the Annihilation event.

The Skrull Siri has only been pretending to be Elektra for short exploratory forays. She hasn't replaced the real deal. Mighty Avengers #16 will relate how she later tries to replace Elektra but fails, but another Skrull Pagon succeeds and that is who the New Avengers killed and uncovered in #31.

This is the 1st indication that Spider-Woman has been replaced by a Skrull. #42 will tell us how and when the swap was made.
The holo-screen also shows potential Skrull replacements Elektra and Black Bolt who we already know about. I don't think any of the others who can be deciphered are ever actually replaced.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

New Avengers #40 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue traces the Secret Invasion all the way back to the Kree/Skrull War in Avengers #89-97. Shortly after that Black Bolt, Dr Strange, Iron Man, Mr Fantastic, Professor X and Sub-Mariner gathered secretly together as the group we call the Illuminati (although I don't think they ever did) in the New Avengers: Illuminati 1-shot, and then invaded the Skrull's Andromeda Galaxy in NAv:Ill vol 2 #1 to warn them not to attack Earth again. But they were temporarily captured and their DNA sampled.

This issue begins on the Throneworld Tarnax IV with a replay of the end of that issue as Emperor Dorrek tells his Science-Priests to start working on the DNA. But now we see him interrupted by Princess Veranke, leader of a religious cult, who wants him to heed the prophecies about a devourer of worlds, a wave of destruction and a blue world that will be theirs. Dorrek has her arrested and taken away despite the protests of her followers. Wor'il of the War Council advises him not to make her a martyr by killing her. Head Science-Priest Dro'ge describes what they might be able to achieve with the Earthmen's DNA. Dorrek gives him Tarnax X to work on. Veranke is banished to a barren world.

We next see Reed Richards waking in a hospital bed with the rest of the Fantastic Four around him. They tell him he's just beaten Galactus but he can't really remember it. And strangely they want him to tell them everything he knows about the menace. But a nurse pulls an alien gun and blasts his head off. The others want to know why he did it and the nurse, revealed to be really Emperor Dorrek, says it's because Richards turned 1 of his family into a cow. (In the Skrulls 1st app in FF#2.) We see this 'hospital room' is inside a science base on Tarnax X, this is the 1st clone they've made of Mr Fantastic.

Years later (FF#257) Tarnax IV is destroyed by Galactus, the 1st of the prophecies to come true. More years later Skrulls come to her barren world to bring vindicated Veranke back to civilisation as Queen on the new Throneworld Satriani. The people now believe in the prophecies, including that Earth is destined to be their new home.

Veranke visits Tarnax X where Dro'ge describes the Science-Priests' progress. Because they had samples from a mutant, an Inhuman, a sorcerer, an Atlantean and 2 human geniuses they have been able to learn things about Earthmen that even they don't know. He introduces to her an example of Super-Skrull warriors who far surpass the original Kl'rt. Like him these warriors can be given combinations of powers from any Earth super-beings they can sample. A Delegate named Ch-Gra points out that physical attacks, no matter how powerful, have always failed before.

Dro'ge then announces the latest breakthrough. Previously their shapeshifting infiltrations have always been detectable if suspected. But new enhancements mean that as long as the Skrull maintains a chosen shape it will be completely indetectable, but that involves becoming the target mentally as well as physically. He brings in Skrull Siri who has spent some time on Earth masquerading as Elektra, and successfully interacted with Nick Fury, Daredevil, Wolverine and the Hand. Elektra is a good subject because not many people know much about her. Dro'ge recommends that they begin a program of replacing super-humans like her. He shows Veranke a hologram of various potential subjects. She authorises the plan but she insists that *she* be part of the infiltration. Wor'il suggests the person liable to be able to cause the most disruption is Spider-Woman.

Jim Cheung
Mark Dell
Justin Ponsor
Aleksi Briclot (Cover Penciler)
Aleksi Briclot (Cover Inker)
Aleksi Briclot (Cover Colorist)
Letterer: ?.
Editor: Tom Brevoort. Editor-in-chief: Joe Quesada.


Listed in Alphabetical Order.



Plus: Emperor Dorrek VII (Dorrek), Siri.

> New Avengers: Book info and issue index

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