Meet the Skrulls #1

Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Niko Henrichon
Color Assistant: Laurent Grossat
Letterer: VC’s Travis Lanham
Cover Artist: Marcos Martin
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Review by Nico Sprezzatura

It’s not unusual for Marvel to put out new comics that are meant to serve as tie-ins to their latest film and television projects. Ahead of Captain Marvel finally releasing in theaters this week, they recently relaunched her solo title with a new creative team, but that’s not where the synergy ends! This week also sees the debut of Meet the Skrulls, which undoubtedly looks to grab hold of readers who may be interested in a certain group of characters featured in the film.

While the new run of Captain Marvel is more on the nose with its intentions, something like Meet the Skrulls is a rarer, left-of-field idea that seemingly takes some abstract inspiration from the company’s latest blockbuster. As you can gleam from the title, Meet the Skrulls #1 introduces readers to the Warrens,  an unassuming American family who live an idyllic life in the American suburbs — but there’s more to them than meets the eye. As is revealed soon into the issue, they’re in fact not the Warrens, but a team of aliens from the shapeshifting Skrull race infiltrating Earth to save their race from obliteration. No pressure.

Meet the Skrulls is something of a revelation on the sole basis of its premise, and how it ties so tangentially into the Captain Marvel film while also being completely unrelated to the thing. It kinda reminds me of how Marvel chose to synergize the then-new Jessica Jones series on Netflix in 2015 with a new comic title not based on Jessica herself, but on Patsy Walker, who appears in the series as an unrecognizable supporting character. Some accuse Marvel’s cross-promotion tactics as being brazen (at worst), but in cases like these, I just have to applaud them for taking advantage of the timing here.

Enough of the preamble, though — how’s the comic itself? Pretty good, turns out! Based on this first issue, Meet the Skrulls plays like The Americans by way of Tom King’s The Vision, which is quite the hook if I say so myself. While the late FX series explored ideas of identity and assimilation, Meet the Skrulls takes that concept a step further by centering on characters who literally transform into other people. But then you also have the claustrophobic, “what is normal?” question of King’s Vision, with some connections to the broader Marvel Universe without relying on it as a crutch.

Writer Robbie Thompson (recently of the gone, but not forgotten Silk) shows off his trademark sense of humor in this issue, while also believably building the world around these new character. And it’s important to note that they are new characters who’ve never appeared before this title, because it’s so uncommon for Marvel (or DC, for that matter) to publish comics that don’t rely on nostalgia or prior fondness for its protagonists. I have no idea where (or if) these characters will end up after the fifth and final issue drops, but I’m definitely interested to spend some time with them before then.

Artist Niko Henrichon’s work on this title is also stellar. His renderings of the Warrens in their true Skrull guises look accurate to what we know of them from past comics, but his character work (in close-ups particularly) make them believable protagonists of a story. It could be very easy to draw each Skrull the same and call it a day, but even as a largely-identical race of people with little genetic variation, each member of this so-called family looks distinct. Color assistant Laurent Grossat and letterer Travis Lanham round out the creative team, each working in tandem with Henrichon’s visuals to deliver a handsome-looking book.

The Verdict: Buy it.

If you’re even slightly interested in the stranger corners of the Marvel Universe, Meet the Skrulls #1 is a great new addition to the Marvel pantheon.

Nico Sprezzatura
Nico Frank Sprezzatura, middle name optional. 24. Schrödinger's writer.

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