Ms. Marvel (2nd series) #29

Issue Date: 
August 2008
Story Title: 
Secret Invasion – The Battle of Manhattan – Part 2

Brian Reed (writer), Adriana Melo / Paulo Siqueira (pencillers), Mariah Benes (inker), Dave Sharpe (letterer), Chris Sotomayor (colorist), Joe Sabino(production), Thomas Brennan (asst. editor), Stephen Wacker (editors), Joe Quesada (editor in chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Greg Horn (cover art)

Brief Description: 

Ms. Marvel continues her single-handed battle against the Skrulls who have invaded Manhattan. She takes out a giant Super-Skrull while trying to save as many lives as she possibly can. She finally gets a little help with the arrival of Agent Sum. Together, they plan a way to get the handful of survivors they are shepherding to safety. Carol’s first thought is to take them to Stark Tower but she finds that it is in lockdown due to the Skrull’s attempt to co-opt Stark technologies. She opts to take the civilians to The Raft and holds the legions of Skrulls at bay while Sum drives a busload of humans to safety. Carol triggers one of the Skrulls who possesses the powers of Nitro to explode, which kills many of his fellow Skrulls. Ms. Marvel then flies the bus to The Raft. She finds the facility apparently abandoned but quickly finds something much more sinister. The facility’s personnel have been ritualistically slaughtered. One SHIELD agent clings to life and tells Ms. Marvel that a Skrull did this. But not just any Skrull, this one was different and even the other Skrulls were terrified by it!

Full Summary: 

Ms. Marvel commands a crowd of bystanders to “RUN!” as a gigantic Super-Skrull that towers above them collapses a pair of skyscrapers. People fall from the buildings as they crumble and Ms. Marvel takes to the sky to rescue as many as she is able. She knows that she will not be fast enough to save them all, but she does the best she can. The buildings collapse killing hundreds. Carol knows that she managed to save a few dozens but the thought of those that she was unable to save fuels her rage. As the dust settles, Ms. Marvel emerges. Her face speaks volumes about her grim determination. She says coldly “All right, you gigantic Skrull &%$#. Time for you… to die.”
As Carol rockets towards the giant Skrull she thinks how deeply tires she is. She has been fighting since the Avengers landed in the Savage Land and then flew all the way back to New York under her own power. Since she arrived, she has been in constant combat with super-powered Skrull invaders. She’s not sure if it’s been hours or days though it feels like seconds. Carol realizes that the battle fatigue she is feeling feels good.
The giant Skrull roars out a challenge in the Skrull tongue and Ms. Marvel responds with an immense energy blast that burns out the Skrull’s eye! He howls in pain as Ms. Marvel flies away. She remembers that with shape-shifters their vital organs are not always in the traditional position. She also notes that the sheer size of this one makes him less vulnerable to her attacks. So she adjusts her strategy. Using her superhuman strength, she rips a large communication tower in half and flings it at the enormous Super-Skrull. It rips through the center of the Skrull’s chest. Carol then fires a bolt of energy through the tower, frying the Skrull from the inside. The Skrull falls backwards and Ms. Marvel punches him again so that he does not fall into a building but onto the street below.
Carol lands over the dead body of the Skrull and says simply “Welcome to New York.” A voice from behind calls out her name and Carol is overjoyed to see Agent Sum who is leading a group of survivors to safety. He reports that some of the people he’s with claim she was shooting at them. Ms. Marvel looks at him and says simply, “Extenuating circumstances. Agent Sum looks at her with a suspicious look. She tells him flatly that he apologized the last time he put a gun in her face and asks if he plans to make the same mistake twice. He grits his teeth and replies “of course not.”
Sum asks where the other Avengers are and Carol briefly explains that they are in the Savage Land. She adds that she’s been fighting Super-Skrulls since she arrived in New York. Sum reports that the local SHIELD network is down and he’s been unable to contact anyone. Carol suggests that they head towards the nearby Stark Tower where they can properly regroup. Sum replies that that was his plan.
As they talk, an armored Super-Skrull swoops down from the sky towards them. Ms. Marvel casually interrupts their planning with “ ‘Scuse me a second.” She unleashes an energy bolt that causes a nearby car to explode, killing the Super-Skrull in the resulting blast. A cadre of Super-Skrulls converges upon them. She and Sum fight them back-to-back and this time, Carol feels less alone in the battle. She can hear more fighting and chaos in the distance but she never hears sirens. All she can hear is the sound of New York being beaten but never responding. As she kills one Super-Skrull after another, it feeds her desire to see every last one of them dead and their bodies burned in the center of Times Square as a warning to those who would dare attack Earth.
When the last Super-Skrull has fallen, she orders Sum to help her get the survivors to safety. She flies ahead to Stark Tower to ensure that things are under control there before the civilians arrive. She finds the Tower in lockdown mode with a message indicating contamination by an alien virus. She tries entering her Avengers priority code with no success. She returns to Sum who is gathering those who survived the initial attack on Manhattan. Carol tells him that Stark Tower is no longer an option and begins to talk through their options. She is determined to get these people out of the city, preferably to a location with a SHIELD hard line that is secure. She spots a bus and tells everyone to climb aboard. One man protests and says that he was one of the people that she zapped earlier. He asks if she’ll do it again if they refuse. Ms. Marvel replies that she will leave him there to fend for himself. The man says “Fine” and gets on the bus. Sum asks what her plan is and she tells him that she’s going to take them to The Raft, the island uses to incarcerate superhuman felons. It has a SHIELD communication set-up and is easily defensible.
At that moment, another swarm of Super-Skrulls arrives on the scene. They pour into the streets in seemingly endless numbers. Carol tells Sum to start driving and she’ll catch up. She kills the first wave in mere seconds and the rest of the battalion pursue her as planned, leaving Sum and the civilians to make their escape. Sum drives at the highest speed possible. The snarky man who challenged Ms. Marvel before boarding the bus makes a snide remark about Sum’s driving and Sum tells the man politely to shut up. As they speed along, a large group of Skrulls gather in the street to block their escape. The annoying guy yells to Agent Sum to “Look out!” but instead he plows right through the Skrulls.
Ms. Marvel continues to battle the latest swarm of Super-Skrulls. One of them has elasticity powers and wraps himself around her. She blasts her way free of him and rises above the crowd. She figures that Sum has had ample time to get clear and begins looking for a Skrull with a particular power among the cadre below. She finally spots one with a particular glow of energy around his eyes. The energy signature is the same as the Skrull who blew herself up aboard the Minicarrier. Both possessed the explosive power of Nitro! She zeroes in on this Skrull and begins to beat on him hard, taunting him to try and kill her. Finally, the Skrull explodes with incredible force. The resulting energy blast sweeps through the streets, killing the vast majority of the Skrull contingent.
Agent Sum brings the getaway bus to a stop. One of the passengers notes that they’re at a dead end. Sum replies that they got far away from the site of the battle which means he accomplished his goal. He begins to tell them to stay calm and is interrupted by the annoying guy once more. He demands to know what Sum is going to do. Sum tells him that he is very argumentative and that he’s had enough of him. At that moment, the bus lurches as Ms. Marvel hoists it into the air.
Ms. Marvel thinks to herself that she’s “damn tired” but vows to get these people to safety before she collapses. She flies them to The Raft and sets the bus down. When she lands, no one emerges to greet them. Given their high security level and numerous back-up systems, this is cause for concern. Carol tells Sum to stay with the bus while she checks things out. As she opens the door to the facility, the stench of death hits her. She ignites some energy around her fist to light the way and a grisly sight awaits her. The personnel of The Raft have been slaughtered and hung from the ceiling and walls. Blood coats the floor. Carol notes that they’ve been pinned to the walls with bent metal bars, indicating that whoever did this was superhumanly strong.
After a moment, she hears the faint sound of a voice among the carnage. She finds one SHIELD agent who is still alive. The man is disoriented and keeps asking what he did and asking why. Carol gets him down and asks what happened. The man isn’t making total sense and says he “… why did it come for us?” Ms. Marvel asks him what it was that came for them and suggests that it was one of the prisoners. The agent reveals that it was a Skrull. Carol looks around and thinks the whole thing through. The Skrulls are ruthless killers but what was done here looks purposeful, almost ritualistic. The agent is gripped by the horrors he’s endured and grabs hold of Ms. Marvel. He tells her that she doesn’t understand. “The other Skrulls were scared of it!” he screams.

Characters Involved: 

Ms. Marvel
Agent Sum
Invading Skrull forces including countless Super-Skrulls
SHIELD agents
Innocent bystanders

Story Notes: 

This battle follows directly after the events depicted in SECRET INVASION #2 in which Ms. Marvel is sent back to New York City following the Avengers discovery of the Skrull Invasion forces in the Savage Land.
Ms. Marvel fired low-level energy blasts into a crowd of humans and disguised Skrulls in MS. MARVEL (2nd Series) #28 in order to determine who was and was not a Skrull agent.
Agent Sum pulled a gun on Ms. Marvel because he believed her to be a Skrull infiltrator in MS. MARVEL (2nd Series) #25-26.
The Skrull warriors depicted in this issue display a combination of powers derived from Earth’s superhuman population. The following characters’ abilities are among those mimicked by the invading force: Cannonball, Colossus, Giant-Man, Human Torch, Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Nightcrawler, Nitro, Thing, and Wolverine
Hidden in the background is a Colbert ’08 political banner. This was part of an ongoing joke in Marvel Comics during the 2008 Presidential election. Political comedian Stephen Colbert famously joked about running for president. Marvel ran with the idea, incorporating campaign posters, bumper stickers and more throughout their comics during the build-up to Election Day ’08.
Ms. Marvel’s SHIELD-issued Minicarrier was destroyed by a Skrull impostor that she had taken prisoner in MS. MARVEL (2nd Series) #27. It was not revealed until this issue that the Skrull possessed the explosive powers of Nitro.

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