Wolverine: First Class #20

Issue Date: 
December 2009
Story Title: 
Discreet Invasion Conclusion

Peter David (writer), Dennis Calero (artist), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letterer/production), Skottie Young (cover), Jordan D. White (editor), Nathan Cosby (supervising editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher), Alan Fine (executive producer)

Brief Description: 

Aboard the Skrull ship, Captain Marvel and Kitty Pryde distract the Super-Skrull, allowing Wolverine to escape from the torture rack. While Captain Marvel battles the Super-Skrull, Wolverine and Kitty head to the escape pods so they can return home. They encounter a Skrull disguised as Wolverine, whom Wolverine defeats after much confusion. Kitty, meanwhile, assists Captain Marvel in defeating the Super-Skrull. She and Wolverine then board an escape ship and return to Earth. Captain Marvel destroys the Skrull ship after they depart. Later, Kitty and Wolverine arrive safely back on Earth, much to the relief of their worried teammates.

Full Summary: 

Wolverine, standing strapped to a table, commends the Skrulls on their clever use of adamantium cuffs. It’s crafty to keep him bound against the wall using the same material from which his claws are made, he thinks. However, if the Skrulls were smarter, they would have made the cuffs fit over the end of his hands. He supposes they wanted to study his claws, specifically how they come in and out of his hand. That curiosity is going to cost them: they may have made the cuffs out of adamantium, but Wolverine wagers the rest of the rig is made from Skrullium, or whatever element it is they use to build their ships. And that, he thinks, he can cut his way through.

As Wolverine pops his claws and forces them through the Skrullium, he tells himself he had better do this fast; he’d hate for the fight to be over before he got a few licks in.

Meanwhile, in the fight to which he refers, Captain Marvel and the Super-Skrull stand at an apparent impasse. Kitty Pryde stands beside Captain Marvel, resting her hand on his shoulder—thus extending to him her powers of intangibility. The Super-Skrull sneers. Is this what the mighty Captain Marvel has fallen to? Depending on a child to protect him?

Mar-Vell glares at him. “You dragged me into this fight, ‘Super-Skrull’, he says. “I don’t see where you get to complain about how I choose to fight it. She has a warrior’s heart, Kl’rt. Certainly she should be commended for that rather than condemned.”

The Super-Skrull takes umbrage at his sworn enemy referring to him by his real name—as if they are somehow friends. As for the girl’s supposedly courageous heart, he’s sure it’s admirable—and looks forward to keeping it as a trophy.

Kitty chooses this time to speak. “First of all,” she says, “…ewww. Second, how do you plan to do that when you can’t touch me? Third: again…ewww.”

The Super-Skrull, standing with his hands behind his back, congratulates the girl: she’s outsmarted him. As he speaks, however, he amasses a sphere of energy between his hands. Wolverine sees this in time to warn Kitty to shut her eyes. Kitty, however, doesn’t react in time to follow his advice.

The Super-Skrull hits her with a blast of dazzling light. Mar-Vell manages to shield his own. Temporarily blinded, Kitty looks around the room in horror—and fruitlessly. She scolds herself for her stupidity: she’s light years away from home, facing off against a super-powered alien, and now is when she chooses to get overconfident? What is she supposed to do now that she can’t see?

Taking the opportunity to attack his unprotected opponent, the Super-Skrull lunges. He vows to destroy Mar-Vell as he strikes him across the chin with his rocky, fiery hand. The attack sends Captain Marvel barreling into the room’s rear wall. Kl’rt charges at his downed opponent. He’s spend too much time among the humans, he mocks. It’s made him weak!

Wolverine addresses the Skrull from behind. “‘Scuse me,” he says, smashing the insides of his fists into the Super-Skrull’s ears. “Does this look weak to you?” The Skrull, his pliable face visibly smashed inward, answers that it does appear somewhat weak. He counters the attack by binding Wolverine inside of an invisible force field, effectively immobilizing him—and painfully so. He follows this attack with a left hook across Logan’s face, powered of course by his matchless physical strength. He needs to realize, he tells Wolverine, that he’s playing far above the level he should be at! It’s going to cost him, he adds.

Pulling his arm back to enhance his strength, the Super-Skrull thrusts his fist forward to deliver the coup de grace, straight to Wolverine’s face. He is surprised to see his fist pass through his opponent’s head as if he were a ghost. Stunned, he looks down and sees Kitty Pryde resting her hand on his ankle. She may not be at his level, she says, but she’s good at moving up fast. He blinded her, he shouts! True, Kitty counters—but then he kept talking and making it easy to find him and render him intangible. She smirks.

Now recovered from the earlier blow, Captain Marvel rises to his feet and tells Kitty not to worry; the Super-Skrull is his. Once Kitty realizes he is certain of this, she releases her grip on the super-powered alien, depriving him of his intangibility. Mar-Vell instantly follows this up by firing a plasma blast at the menacing creature.

With the Super-Skrull preoccupied, Wolverine focuses on getting Kitty to safety. Although she claims to be fine, the fact that she cannot see puts her squarely in the ‘not fine’ department. He asks her to unbind his cuffs; they’re slowing him down, he says. When she asks about the Captain’s status, Logan tells her not to worry. “He’s got him in hand.”

Nearby, Kl’rt chokes Mar-Vell in a stranglehold. “This is the end for you, Kree!” he shouts. Captain Marvel, however, objects to the idea that anything has an end. There is no end to anything, he retorts: not life, not death…nothing. Everything is part of a cosmos so vast that even trying to comprehend it can drive one mad.

As if powered by his convictions, Captain Marvel overcomes the strength of the Super-Skrull, grabs him by his wrists and spreads his arms apart, rendering him helpless. His eyes and his Nega Bands grow brightly. Sensing doubt on the part of his opponent, Mar-Vell asks the Skrull to look into his eyes if he doesn’t believe him. He asks him to gaze into the face of cosmic awareness—into the infinity of it all. Try to grasp how much is undreamt in his Skrull philosophy, Mar-Vell commands. He tells the Skrull to observe the vastness of everything that was, is, and will ever be—and allows him to comprehend just how miniscule his place is in all of that. This, he says, should grant the Skrull insight into just how pathetic he truly is. As the Super-Skrull takes in this bombardment, his eyes roll back in his head.

Elsewhere, as Wolverine and Kitty Pryde limp their way to safety, Logan declares that he likes Mar-Vell’s style.

The Super-Skrull, meanwhile, throws back his head, presses his hands to his pulsating cranium, arches his back—and screams for Captain Marvel to get out of his head. Sensing this reprieve will only be temporary, Mar-Vell goes to Kitty and Wolverine and urges them to grab a shuttle from the launch bay and get control of the ship. Their controls are thought-responsive, he informs them; they should guide them home. This all sounds good to Wolverine, with the minor exception of him not knowing where to find the launch bay. Mar-Vell grants him this knowledge with a mere touch to his forehead. As the Super-Skrull recovers, Mar-Vell once again urges his companions to go. A moment later, he finds himself embroiled in yet another duel with the menacing alien.

Wolverine carries the helpless Kitty Pryde through the expansive corridors of the Skrull ship on the way to the escape pods. As they move, Kitty complains that she should be able to carry her own weight. Logan reminds her that being part of a team means carrying each other’s weight. Suddenly, he stops and gasps. Kitty asks what he sees, to which he responds by asking her to phase them both down through the floor. She won’t know when to stop them, she exclaims! What if she phases them both out into space? In response, Wolverine merely asks if he trusts her. With her life, she says. In that case, he responds, she needs to phase them down immediately.

As they drift through the floor, a sextet of angry Skrulls charges at them from the rear. Captain Marvel meets them head-on and knocks them to the ground with a mighty punch.

Below, Wolverine and Kitty Pryde drift peacefully down into the launch pad. He instructs her to stop phasing once they reach their destination. With her sight starting to recover, Kitty asks Logan to set her down; things may still be a little blurry, but it’s nothing she can’t handle. As she gazes around the room, she reminds Logan that they still don’t know why the Skrulls captured them. “Close-up study,” Wolverine replies. “Guess is they’re planning to seed the world with duplicates of us. Best kind of invasion is one that’s done in secret. Where you don’t know about it until it’s—”

A perfect duplicate of Wolverine lunges out of the shadows and tackles the real Wolverine to the floor. “—too late?” Wolverine says, finishing his thought with confusion. As he grapples with the imposter, he scolds himself for not sensing the duplicate earlier; he must’ve masked his presence somehow.

Shocked by the imposter, Kitty screams Wolverine’s name. Both versions respond by telling her he’s kind of busy at the moment. “Hey! Knock that off!” they both say to each other as they fight. “You knock it off!” they both say again. One Wolverine pins the other to the ground and tries to force an adamantium claw through the other’s head. The subordinate Wolverine pushes him off, however, and extends his claws. They lock blades. Wolverine commends his duplicate’s claws for standing up to his own. The other Wolverine tells him he took the words right out of his mouth. Good, he retorts, ‘cause he plans on knocking the teeth out of his.

Kitty, still utterly confused, asks Wolverine what she should do. While he fights for his life, he tells her to grab a ship and go; this ain’t her fight. “He’s ri—hey! Stop stealing my lines!” the other Logan snaps.

Suddenly, Captain Marvel comes crashing through a newfound hole in the ceiling. The Super-Skrull follows closely behind, enveloped in flames. They must end this now, he shouts! He declares he will first dispatch Mar-Vell and then see just how much punishment Wolverine’s healing factor can withstand.

“Oh no you won’t!” an enraged Kitty Pryde shouts. She charges at the immolated Super-Skrull and, after shifting to her intangible form, forces both him and herself out of the hull of the ship and into the vastness of space. She immediately regrets her decision: although the Skrull’s flames die out, Kitty finds herself adrift in the deadly void. The Super-Skrull cackles; her bravery outweighs her experience, he says as he creates a protective force field around himself. Out of respect for that, he vows to make her demise swift, rather than letting her succumb to the vacuum of space. He grabs her by the throat.

Before he can snuff out her life, however, a bolt of plasma hits him in the chest and forces him even farther away from the shift. Ordering him to spare her his mercy, Captain Marvel arrives at Kitty’s side, grabs her in his arms and eases her into his personal protective shield. With surprise, Kitty gasps that she can now breathe. Mar-Vell informs her that the protective shield around him will safeguard her against the ravages of space as well. He flies her back over to the ship. He will attend to the Super-Skrull, he says. As for her, he wishes her to live a long life of bravery. With that, he eases her back through the hull of the ship and into its life-sustaining interior.

That was too close, Kitty thinks to herself as she returns to the ship. Wolverine constantly reminds her to always remember her surroundings, yet she still forgets. Hopefully this will drive that lesson home permanently.

Once she fully assesses the room, her eyes grow wide with horror. She sees one Wolverine crouching atop the other, unconscious one; how is she supposed to know which is which. “Relax. It’s me,” the victorious Wolverine says. Kitty asks him to prove it. “You’re a dork,” he replies. That’s good enough for her, but Logan continues. “And I hate disco.” Again, Kitty tells him that’s enough, but Logan refuses to drop it. “Also, you got a crush on Colossus, but you think no one’s noticed—” Walking away, the frustrated Kitty tells him he had her at dork. Can they please go now?

As they depart from the Skrull ship in the escape pod, Kitty asks Logan if he thinks Captain Marvel will be okay. What if the Skrull ship comes after him? What if it comes after them? Before she can finish her line of questioning, however, a massive eruption occurs far behind them, obliterating the Skrull ship from orbit. At the center of the nova rests Captain Marvel, who basks in the explosion of energy. Kitty tells Logan he can ignore her question.

Back on Earth, near the X-Mansion in Westchester, New York, the X-Men declare they officially have a situation on their hands. As they head out into the field, Colossus reports that Professor X says they cannot find any trace of either Kitty or Wolverine using Cerebro. Perhaps they are in some sort of shielded hideout, Cyclops supposes. Or, Storm suggests, maybe someone stole their mutant powers, thus preventing them from registering as mutants. Nightcrawler, hating to suggest the obvious, reminds his teammates that Cerebro only detects living mutants. What if they are no longer..?

Cyclops refuses to consider that. He’d rather believe they were kidnapped by aliens before he accepted the possibility they were dead. At that very moment, Colossus points upward toward the sky and shouts that something is incoming. The projectile plummets toward the surface of the Earth and crashes violently into a nearby forest.

The X-Men rush to the crash site; Cyclops reminds them to be ready for anything. To their collective surprise, however, Wolverine and Sprite emerge from the flames, relatively unscathed. “Hi. We got kidnapped by aliens,” she says.

“You just have to be right about everything, don’t you,” Nightcrawler says to Cyclops. Meanwhile, Wolverine and Kitty nonchalantly shake off their return and head back to the mansion. She sarcastically commends Logan on his landing; he reminds her that any landing one walks away from is a good one. She reminds him that they’re only walking away alive because he’s indestructible and she phased upon impact.

As the duo walk home, Storm asks her teammates what just happened. Cyclops has no clue. Wolverine and Kitty continue to bicker, however. She’s starting to with he were the imposter; he might be nicer to her. That, Wolverine says, is exactly how she would know he’s a fake.

Characters Involved: 

Colossus, Cyclops, Nightcrawler, Sprite, Storm, Wolverine (X-Men)

Captain Marvel I

Super-Skrull (Kl’rt)

“Wolverine” (Skrull imposter)

Various Skrulls

Story Notes: 

Wolverine accurately infers the true plot of the Skrulls, which they later enact during 2008’s Secret Invasion crossover. For a full outline of how the Skrulls staged their discreet invasion of Earth, see NEW AVENGERS (1st series) #40.

Wolverine cannot detect his imposter because it is masked using technology pilfered form Illuminati member Reed Richards, as shown in NEW AVENGERS (1st series) #44.

This is far from the last time a Skrull will impersonate Wolverine. A Skrull poses as him when the X-Men travel to space to save Professor X in UNCANNY X-MEN #277. Later, a Skrull replaced him on the X-Men for an extended period of time following the X-Men’s visit to a Skrull training ground in UNCANNY X-MEN #369-70 and X-MEN (2nd series) #88-90. This Skrull imposter’s term lasted through WOLVERINE (2nd series) #139-145, HULK (3rd series) #8, X-MEN (2nd series) #92-95 and UNCANNY X-MEN #371-372 until his death at the hands of Apocalypse’s Horseman, Death, in ASTONISHING X-MEN (2nd series) #3. Finally, a third Skrull impersonated Wolverine during the Secret Invasion crossover, debuting in the Savage Land in SECRET INVASION #1.

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