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New Avengers #43: Review

Jul 2008
Brian Michael Bendis, Billy Tan

Story Name:

Secret Invasion (part 4)

Review & Comments

4 stars

New Avengers #43 Review by (June 8, 2024)
Albert Deschesne and Richard Starkings share the lettering again.

Unlike most of the New/Mighty Avengers issues during the Secret Invasion event this 1 isn't completely flashbacks to what the Skrulls have been doing beforehand. But apart from Skrulls the non-fb bit only features Spider-Man, Shanna the She-Devil, Ka-Zar and Zabu.

It's still a Skrullised homage cover though, this 1 of Av Annual #2.

The Marvel Chronology Project has Veranke's fb here with Pitt'o Nili straight after she herself has been turned into Jessica Drew/Spider-Woman.

That was a long time before Veranke hears about the Annihilation Wave after House Of M in the fbs in #45. Pitt'o Nili says his homeworld Phalax 6 (which we never hear about elsewhere) was destroyed before this issue's fb, so it can't have happened during the Wave.

The transformation of Skrulls into Captain America and others on the crashed spaceship goes further than that of Veranke and others who have replaced current heroes. Those may be undetectable even by mind scan but they still remember who they really are. But Skrull-Cap and his cohort are brainwashed to really believe they are the human heroes.

Spidey, Ka-Zar and Shanna will rejoin the other confused heroes/Skrulls in Secret Invasion #5.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

New Avengers #43 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
In Secret Invasion #1 a Skrull spaceship crashlanded in the Savage Land and the Mighty Avengers went to investigate. But member Spider-Woman (secretly the Skrull Queen Veranke) arranged for the outlawed New Avengers to go there too. When they all got there they saw Earth heroes leaving the ship, including Captain America who of course died after Civil War. In #2 both sides claimed to be real Earth heroes and called the others Skrulls. They fought. Spider-Man got separated from the others and wound up with Ka-Zar, Shanna and Zabu in the non-flashback part of our #41, where they came across the equally-separated 'Cap'.

Cap believes Spidey is a Skrull but for some reason trusts Ka-Zar enough to ask for help to get to the US to fight against the Invasion. But KZ and Shanna know the real Cap is dead so they try to capture him. He slings his shield at them so Zabu the sabertooth tiger (depicted bigger than usual here) leaps to their defence and Cap punches it in the throat. A melee ensues ending with KZ getting Cap in a throatlock and Spidey stopping Shanna from killing him. Some Savage Land natives paralyse him with blowdarts and he turns into a Skrull but still insisting that he's Cap. Shanna suspects SM is a Skrull too but KZ slashes his arm with a dart and he doesn't change.

Now we get a series of flashbacks showing how Cap and the other Skrulls in the ship got here.

Several months ago on her throneworld Satriani Veranke in her Jessica Drew body interviews Pitt'o Nili, a Skrull whose family all died on Phalax 6. He's volunteered for a suicide mission to permanently and completely take on the identity of Steve Rogers. He will believe he is a human and Captain America until he dies. For this he will be remembered as a hero of the Empire. Veranke herself performs the ritual where he is given Steve Rogers' memories and identity. But it doesn't take completely, so a Priestess Of The Mind sends him to sleep.

They take him to Tarnax X which has better facilities. We learn that they don't actually have Cap's real memories to give him. They only have the memories they extracted from Reed Richards and Tony Stark (and the other Illuminati from when they invaded the previous throneworld Tarnax IV in their vol 2 #1), but with their research they can make him *want* to believe. The Priestess shows them a recording of when the Avengers and Fantastic Four separately invaded the Skrull's Andromeda Galaxy and met up (in Av Annual #14 and FF Annual #19). This was during their civil war between various factions after Galactus broke the Empire by consuming Tarnax IV and the Emperor. They give Pitt'o Nili this memory but changed such that the FF turned out to be Skrulls and killed all the Avengers except Cap. Then they repeatedly tortured him to extract information that he wouldn't give.

Veranke says that such lengths are needed to defeat the Earth heroes. The Skrulls have never been able to decisively beat them physically before. But tactics such as this will make them doubt themselves and each other. And even in the unlikely event that the Invasion doesn't work, the rot will have set in. Meanwhile they store Cap with other false heroes until needed.

Later we see him and other Skrulls brainwashed to think they are Earth heroes. They are being woken in hi-tech shackles by the telepathic voice of Emma Frost who tells them that they are in a Skrull spaceship with just 5 crew. While they are captive a Skrull armada is invading Earth. Jean Grey mentally joins in and says she's going to telekinetically break their chains and then they're all going to take over the ship. This they do and then Invisible Woman discovers that the ship is heading back to Earth but she can't work the controls. They're coming in too fast so Jean mentally cushions their crashlanding, which leads into Secret Invasion #1.

Now Shanna threatens to kill Cap-Skrull unless he tells them everything about the Skrulls' plans. He of course keeps saying he's human. So she kills him. Spider-Man doesn't think this is how heroes should act. But then they hear machine-gun fire and they all head towards it.

Billy Tan
Danny Miki
Jason Keith
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.


(Peter Parker)


Plus: Captain America (Skrull), Shanna (Shanna the She-Devil).

> New Avengers: Book info and issue index

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