What happens when you take a 90s-style family sitcom, but switch out the charming, all-American family for Skrull invaders, and the day-to-day tribulations for a sinister interplanetary plot? You get Meet the Skrulls #1.
Skrulls are embedded throughout human society, disguised as ordinary people. Our narrative settles on one Skrull family in particular, the Warners. Their mission is to uncover details about the mysterious Project Blossom, all in service of conquering Earth to host their new throneworld. While the “spies hidden in plain sight” thing may not sound too new, there’s a lot here that works.
Similar to shows like The Americans, Meet the Skrulls #1 relies on a family of protagonists carrying out espionage work. The characters check all the right boxes: the gruff father who hides a sensitive side, the caring mom, and the outsider teenager. Scratch the surface, though, and you find a lot more going on.
Much of the issue’s intrigue focuses on Project Blossom, the project the Skrulls are moving desperately to stop. At the same time, they’re being hunted by an unnamed man in a black coat working for the project, who appears like a character out of a stylized Western. However, there’s another dimension of storytelling at work, too.
One of the greatest strengths of Meet the Skrulls #1 is its understated storytelling. Tight dialogue hints at underlying tensions and threads to develop in later issues. Often, though, Thompson allows visual cues from artist Niko Henrichon to fill-in the gaps. Numerous panels allude to a third Warner child lost in the battle. But, rather than just plant that idea for cheap drama, Thompson uses it as an opportunity to build emotional sentiment, to the point that you actually begin to empathize with the family intent on destroying humanity.
As mentioned above, Niko Henrichon’s artwork plays a key storytelling role. It’s rare to see a writer/artist team so clearly in-sync. Even beyond that, though, it’s still excellent work even on its own.
He employs a lighter, penciled line style, which is filled-out by vibrant and heavy colors. While there is not much action in this first issue, he keeps things dynamic in the way he composes panels. Henrichon does an excellent job of capturing minor expressions, and conveying their weight.
Meet the Skrulls #1 offers great, understated storytelling and fantastic artwork. It takes what could be a goofy concept, and injects a surprising level of complexity. Highly recommended.