With a title like “Meet the Skrulls,” one has to imagine a classic sitcom with a well-adjusted family and plenty of laughs. Then you take a look at the cover, a shattered picture frame revealing bizarre looking aliens pretending to be human, and you jolt back. I spoke about this series on this week’s AiPT! Comics podcast and was intrigued partly because this narrative could go in different directions. Are the Skrulls happy living as humans, or do they despise us? Maybe a bit of both?
So what’s it about?
Read the preview.
Why does this matter?
It’s hard to not compare this to Tom King and Gabriel Hernandez Walta’s Vision. It’s about a family of outcasts of a sort living amongst regular folk in suburbia. What’s interesting however is the main conceit of the series isn’t about fitting in to be accepted, but rather the opposite. Haunting stuff.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This comic grabbed me from the very first page and didn’t let go. It opens with regular teenagers attending a butterfly exhibit for school. Bullies prod one of their classmates who, after enough pressure, disappears. We soon learn one of the butterflies was the girl. We later learn her name is Alice and she’s a Skrull. It’s a surprising turn especially since most Skrulls that we know of are angry beings who strike first and ask questions later. As the story unfolds we learn about the family dynamic of the Skrulls and why they are here. It’s all laid out, but at the same time issues between family members become clear. This isn’t a perfect family, but at its core one has to imagine, is any family?
One of the more fascinating aspects of this issue is how Robbie Thompson reveals how each family member is on a mission of their own. Alice’s sister, Madison, is a bully at school and uses it to her advantage. The way she speaks about the other kids at school is alien and disconnected. It’s how one might imagine an alien pretending to be human would talk about the others. It’s also interesting to see how angry these characters are. We’ve seen Skrulls exhibit empathy in the past, but at the very least the father and mother in this unit are your typical diabolical Skrulls.
The art by Niko Henrichon is very good at depicting the ordinary. The house and its car in the garage to the dining room that opens up to the living room is rendered very well. It helps make the Skrull family eating dinner all the more striking. The colors by Laurent Grossat are fabulously used to show the rage in the Skrull faces. There’s a brownish pink used to show their blood is up, further enhancing Henrichon’s pencils of this not-so-normal family. The use of light in the dinner scene helps convey the normalcy of everything as well as the family . There’s a soft glow from lightbulbs, for instance, that hangs over them as they talk about their day of plotting.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
Some additional context would be helpful to understand what this family is going through. One can assume they’ve been on Earth for a while, but we never learn how long exactly. Has it been a couple of years, a decade? It’s not clear. There are signs the kids are acclimating to human life, but we don’t know enough yet to understand how entrenched they might be besides a hint or two.
There is a mysterious figure introduced that could use more fleshing out too. I know, I know, it’s the first issue, and from what I can gather a threat to the family is getting closer, but who he is and why we should care about him is yet to be set up.
Is it good?
I’m on board and ready for more Skrull family drama. It’s an intriguing domestic drama with sci-fi sensibilities. The politics of family life are on full display under the microscope of alien espionage.