By d. emerson emmy — I'm a sucker for spy infiltration thrillers. I love the feeling of an unexpected reveal of a character right under your nose being something other than what was shown previously. When you find out that the character than you loved is really working for the bad guys. Meet the Skrulls isn't exactly that, we already know that they're infiltrators. We're let in on the secret from the onset, much more like The Americans, which is kind of how this has been marketed to us, but this first issue still works well as the set-up for a spy thriller.
Across the backdrop of a program, Project Blossom, being implemented that is designed to ferret out and identify Skrulls across the globe, Robbie Thompson, Niko Henrichon, Laurent Grossat, and Travis Lanham introduce us to the Warners, a family of Skrulls infiltrating different levels of society in order to perpetuate their survival. Although they're definitely a foreign invading force, I think it's interesting that their approach isn't necessarily an unsympathetic one. Due to the defeat in Secret Invasion and beyond, there seems to have been a collapse in Skrull society. They're less trying to take over and more fighting for survival.
Don't get me wrong, though, they're still thoroughly evil. As the Elders point out that one member of the family is giving them concerns and require her to be dealt with, adding another complication on top of the family's regular mission, but Thompson does a great job of building these characters and making us at least sympathize for their situation. And the actions through their individual missions are quite compelling.
Henrichon, with color assists from Grossat, bring the story to life nicely. I'd probably buy just about anything Henrichon is illustrating, his work is always beautiful, but he seems particularly suited to this mix of real life espionage and the absurdity of shapeshifters. Combined with a rich colour palette, the artwork works well to make you feel comfortable in reality, but still off-putting enough with the reveal of the Skrulls themselves that you always feel like something is not quite right. That uneasiness, almost like the sensation of uncanny valley, just elevates the overall feel and tone of the story.
Also enhancing the overall feel for the story is the lettering from Lanham. There's a nice variety of word balloon and narration box styles and fonts, from the creepy singing of the agent murdering Skrulls to the shaky differently coloured balloons of the Skrulls in their own form, that adds to the experience. I really quite like the approach to the Skrull balloons because it subconsciously reinforces their ability to change shape and the idea that they're alien.
Overall, this is an excellent debut. Thompson, Henrichon, Grossat, and Lanham deliver an opening chapter into this thriller that effectively presents an interesting core cast of characters in the family, sets up their own individual foibles and missions, and provides a broader context for their mission that acts well as a hook to see what happens next.
Meet the Skrulls #1
Writer: Robbie Thompson
Artist: Niko Henrichon
Color Assistant: Laurent Grossat
Letterer: VC's Travis Lanham
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d. emerson eddy is a student and writer of things. He fell in love with comics during Moore, Bissette, & Totleben's run on Swamp Thing and it has been a torrid affair ever since. His madness typically manifests itself on Twitter @93418.