Marvel’s Secret Invasion Introduced a Tragic Captain America

Long before the latest Skrull invaders emerged to threaten the Marvel Universe, the first Secret Invasion set the standard for the kind of damage world shaking events could accomplish. Not only did Secret Invasion pit friend against friend by sowing an unprecedented level of distrust between heroes, it even pushed nearly everyone to question their very existence, including Captain America. He might not have been the Steve Rogers fans know best, but that only proves how heartbreaking his story truly was.


When 2008’s Secret Invasion by Brian Michael Bendis and Leinil Yu first began, it came as both a shock and the culmination of a years long buildup that took place in the shadowy corners of the Marvel Universe. Eventually, things came crashing down quite literally into the Savage Land, where one team of Avengers that had supposedly been lost among the stars came face-to-face with their Earthbound counterparts. Standing on the frontlines of those who had only arrived was none other than Captain America who, despite being an impostor, was exactly who he claimed to be in every way that mattered.

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Marvel’s Secret Invasion Skrull Captain America Was Tragic

Marvel’s Secret Invasion Introduced a Tragic Captain America

While the rest of the world grappled with the onslaught of Skrull invaders, the heroes trapped in the Savage Land battled tirelessly against one another, slowly unraveling the mystery for themselves from both sides of the fight. Eventually, it was Shanna, Ka-Zar, and Spider-Man who cornered the false Captain America, leading to a tense standoff that was brought to a halt once the latter was struck with poison darts. Apart from confirming the heroes’ suspicions by revealing the Skrull beneath the Stars and Stripes, it proved just how deeply engrained in their roles these agents of infiltration were in the most tragic way possible.

As seen in 2008’s New Avengers #43 by Brian Michael Bendis and Billy Tan, the Skrull who impersonated Captain America was once Pitt’o Nili. As the last surviving member of his family, Pitt’o had little to live for besides his unwavering loyalty to Queen Veranke. For his fanatical dedication, Pitt’o was given the chance to undergo an operation which effectively made him an exact replica of Steve Rogers not just in body, but in his mind and heart as well. Like the rest of the Savage Land Skrulls, Pitt’o could not be convinced that he was anyone other than Steve Rogers, even during his dying moments.

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Secret Invasion‘s Captain America Had a Heartbreaking Ending

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Pitt’o’s story in itself is heartbreaking, yet it is also indicative of the unbridled cruelty that the Skrull invasion of Earth was operated under. Beyond warring in the streets and subverting nearly every expectation along the way, Veranke’s plot left no room for compassion or concern, even for those who helped to carry it out. Knowing the lengths that the Skrulls were willing to go to then also informs what readers can anticipate now that they have returned, and it is nothing good.

Considering no one noticed the Skrull imposters of today until recently, not to mention the invaders’ tendency to bide their time, there is no telling how long the latest Secret Invasion has actually been going on. As such, it is also a matter of pure speculation as to how much damage any high profile replacements have done in that time. Then again, there is always the chance that even they wouldn’t know enough to do any real harm, although as Pitt’o has already shown, that doesn’t necessarily make the situation any better.

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