In Incoming! and Empyre, the million year-long war between the Kree and Skrull has finally come to an end after 50 years of Marvel Comics history.
More than a millennia ago in the Marvel Comics Universe, a small conflict was born that would grow to epic proportions, culminating in the Kree/Skrull War. Two alien races were trapped in a toxic cycle of hate and anger for so long, neither could remember how the conflict even started. Earth’s heroes became involved when, in the words of the original writer, Roy Thomas, our planet became “the cosmic equivalent of some Pacific island during World War II.” Nobody could bring a stop to this bloody endless war between the green-skinned shapeshifters Skrull and the blue-skinned warrior Kree. Until now.
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The “Kree/Skrull War” is a major storyline that ran from 1971 to 1972 during Thomas’ run, following Stan Lee’s, as writer on The Avengers and was drawn first by venerable artists Sal Buscema, Neal Adams and John Buscema. It was in Avengers #89 through Avengers #97 that fans discovered the warrior-like Kree and the sneaky shape-shifting Skrull were not only enemies of one another, but also of Earth’s. This is the conflict in the background of the 2019 Marvel Studios film Captain Marvel, which introduced the Skrulls and the eponymous hero to the MCU.
Over the past year, the current writers in charge of the Marvel Universe devised a shocking method to bring peace to the cosmos and an end of the Kree-Skrull War! Many writers tried a huge variety of plots from tricking the two empires into declaring Earth the victor, a “Hyperwave Bomb” freezing the Skrulls’ shape-shifting abilities, annexing the Kree under the Shi’ar Empire from Uncanny X-Men, to replacing the leader of the Kree Empire with a Skrull in disguise. But it wasn’t until 2019 that they finally achieved peace by combining the warring races together under one unifying emperor: Hulkling. The Young Avenger was revealed to be the son of the great Kree hero Mar-Vell and the Skrull Princess Anelle in the final issues of the first Young Avengers series in 2006. The unification came in the final pages of the Incoming! one-shot from December 2019. Despite tensions throughout the 6-part Empyre mini-series that followed in 2020, this armistice was never reversed. Teddy Altman, conceived off-panel during the original “Kree/Skrull War” story, has brought the two warring races together as The Alliance!
Though the Skrull race have been a menace since Fantastic Four #2 in 1961 and the Kree since Fantastic Four #65 in 1967, the earliest days of the war were not revealed until a time-travel plot in Avengers #133, written by Steve Englehart and drawn by the returning Sal Buscema, a few years after the original “Kree/Skrull War” story. The Skrull race discovered Hala, the home-world of the Kree and the Cotati, millions of years ago and invited it into the Skrullian Empire but insisted that only one species may be representative and the two indigenous peoples would have to prove themselves. When the Cotati won, the Kree slaughtered all the Cotati they could find. They then murdered the Skrull envoys and took apart their ship to jump-start their own space conquests. The first planet attacked was the Skrull home-world. Earth only became involved during the 20th Century in that first famous story from 1971 when borders shifted that made Earth the strategically-valuable halfway point between the two empires. Mar-Vell was imprisoned by the Skrulls and caught the eye of the peace-loving Princess Anelle, so as Hulking said in Incoming!: “Your conflict created me! I am the living embodiment of your war! And today–I call an end to it!”
This isn’t the first time the Kree/Skrull War has ‘ended’ in the almost 50 years since the concept was introduced, but it does far and away have the most sticking power as it’s been depicted in a crossover event mini-series involving all the Marvel characters and probably follows the best real-world logic. Europe’s kings and queens avoided major war for generations by inter-marrying their royal families in blood alliances until any invasion would have meant attacking one’s own uncle or cousin. Alliances work wonders to end conflicts and epic year-long stories work wonders to wrap-up long dangling plots.
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