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The Complete History Behind Marvel's First Super-Skrull, Kl'rt

Kl'rt — better known as the Super-Skrull — made his debut in the pages of "Fantastic Four" #18 all the way back in 1963. A member of the race of shape-shifting aliens called Skrulls, Kl'rt has their natural ability to shapeshift, allowing him to take on the form of anyone he desires. But he's also a unique warrior who was transformed by his leaders into a living weapon, granted the ability to take on the superpowers of the Fantastic Four themselves.

Over the years, Kl'rt's story has been one of devastating loss, shocking betrayal, and furious vengeance, and he's gone from loyal soldier of the Skrull Empire and foil of the Fantastic Four to powerful warlord and eventually cosmic hero. During his journey from deadly menace to righteous protector, Kl'rt has clashed with the best the Marvel Universe has to offer, from the Avengers and the X-Men to Spider-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy. He's been an ally and an enemy to Thanos, taken down entire alien armies, and fought off threats to both the Skrull Empire and planet Earth.

With the Skrulls taking center stage in the Disney+ series "Secret Invasion," and rumors that he finally might be entering the MCU, there's no better time than now to give newcomers a history lesson on Kl'rt, the Super-Skrull.

Meet Kl'rt: husband, father, and Skrull warrior

First and foremost, the mighty Kl'rt is an honorable warrior, a member of the Skrull army who has fought in countless wars in defense of his people. Highly decorated for his actions on the cosmic battlefield, Kl'rt draws the eye of a Skrull countess from Zaragz'na, with the two eventually marrying and starting a family. They have two children together, but their married life is anything but peaceful. Over time, Kl'rt's wartime record suffers, and the Skrull military shuns him for his failures, ultimately leading to his wife later rejecting him. 

Years later, however, Kl'rt's daughter Jazinda distinguishes herself as a Skrull warrior too, following in her father's footsteps. She even gains the power of resurrection — making her unable to ever die — thanks to bonding with the Sy-Torak Gem, a prized relic of the Kree Empire, during a botched mission. This leads to a rift between Jazinda and her father, who doesn't take kindly to the further black mark on the family name.

A frequent foe of the Fantastic Four

Over the years, the Skrulls' attempts at invading Earth are repeatedly thwarted by the Fantastic Four. To finally get past them, they select Kl'rt to be their instrument of destruction, granting him the powers of the Fantastic Four themselves and becoming the ultimate weapon in their fight to take over the planet.

Now known as the Super-Skrull, Kl'rt's powers are controlled by the Skrull leaders, transmitted to him from afar. This makes it an easy enough matter for Reed Richards and his friends to defeat him after simply blocking the signal, returning him to his ordinary Skrull status. But repeated attempts by the Skrulls see Kl'rt return to battle the FF once more, re-gifting him the Super-Skrull powers. With his shapeshifting abilities, he even takes on the guise of the villain known as "The Invincible Man," wrecking the city while claiming to be Franklin Storm, the father of Sue and Johnny.

After a few clashes, Super-Skrull quickly becomes one of the most famous adversaries the Fantastic Four will face, and becomes a key ally of other villains like Dr. Doom who have their own vendettas against Marvel's First Family.

Fighting in the Kree/Skrull War

One of the first major event storylines in Marvel's history was the Kree/Skrull War, an epic saga that crossed through the pages of "The Avengers" and involved The Fantastic Four, Captain Marvel, and Nick Fury. It saw Earth getting dragged into the middle of a conflict between two of the galaxy's most formidable powers, the Kree and the Skrulls, with Kl'rt the Super-Skrull right in the middle of the action as one of the Skrulls' greatest warriors. In fact, Kl'rt is part of the opening salvo, sent to Earth by Emperor Dorrek to see what the Kree soldier Mar-Vell is doing here.

After a confrontation with Captain Marvel leaves him defeated, Kl'rt returns, this time disguised as Mar-Vell's compatriot, Carol Danvers. As Danvers, Kl'rt is able to worm his way into the inner circle of Earth's superheroes, while Skrull agents trick the Avengers into disbanding. He's then able to fool Captain Marvel into building a devastating weapon called the Omni Wave Projector. But while Mar-Vell discovers the deception, Kl'rt is able to capture several heroes and bring them back to Dorrek as prisoners, hoping to make up for previous failures. 

In the end, the Kree prevail in their war against the Skrull Empire, and Kl'rt finds himself disgraced. Imprisoned by the Emperor, Kl'rt is viewed as an outcast and pariah by his own people.

Aiding Thanos

While Kl'rt had engaged in battle with Captain Marvel, and as a Skrull was a blood enemy of his people the Kree, he wasn't the biggest foe to threaten the cosmic hero. That would of course be Thanos, the Mad Titan and eventual wielder of the Infinity Gauntlet. But in their first major conflagration, Thanos didn't take on Captain Marvel alone, and called upon Kl'rt to be his right hand man. 

It all starts in the pages of Captain Marvel #25, after Kl'rt manages to escape his captivity. There he teams up with a fellow Skrull mercenary named Skragg to join Thanos in his fight against Mar-Vell and his quest for the Cosmic Cube. But the Kree hero is no slouch, and Kl'rt winds up on the losing end of a one-on-one battle. Tired of their uselessness, Thanos turns Skragg to stone and deals with the situation himself, leaving Kl'rt in charge of his base on Titan while he leaves to finally get his hands on the ultimate weapon. Unfortunately, while in charge, Mar-Vell is able to escape, and the two duke it out a second time. Once again, the Super-Skrull is no match for Captain Marvel, who is nevertheless beaten within an inch of his life. In the end, Thanos manages to prevail against Captain Marvel without Kl'rt's help.

Leading the Rat Pack

Following his defeat at the hands of Captain Marvel, Kl'rt goes back to Earth to lick his wounds. There he poses as a man named Joshua Plague, using the identity to usurp control of a group of criminal thugs called the Rat Pack. As their leader, he adds to their numbers by recruiting new members, and winds up facing off with an unexpected Marvel hero: the future Avenger called Tigra.

The story plays out across several issues of "Marvel Chiller," where it turns out that the Rat Pack's criminal activities are getting in the way of Tigra's attempts to regain her humanity. Plague and his Rat Pack seek out an ancient relic of the Cat People capable of literally trapping souls within it, but after exposing himself as the Super-Skrull, his plan backfires. In his attempt to steal Tigra's soul, Kl'rt's becomes trapped, and in doing so, inadvertently leaves him a prisoner of Reed Richards after Tigra turns over the relic to the leader of Kl'rt's greatest foes.

Battling Spider-Man

A year after the story in "Marvel Chiller," Kl'rt remains a captive of the Fantastic Four, trapped within the Soul Catcher still being held at the Baxter Building. In "Marvel Team-Up" #61, however, Spider-Man is visiting the home of the Fantastic Four when he's apparently attacked by the heroes themselves. But Reed Richards and his Fantastic Four haven't turned evil — it's actually Kl'rt the Super-Skrull mimicking them, after he's accidentally released from the Soul Catcher and is on the loose.

As luck would have it though, Carol Danvers — the super-powered Ms. Marvel — just happens to be passing by aboard a cruise ship and gives Spidey an assist. Not only does Danvers manage to defeat the Super-Skrull soundly, she uses a powerful Star Drive to banish him to the hyperspace dimension, where he remains for some time, unable to help even when Galactus decimates the Skrull throneworld.

He eventually escapes the hyperspace dimension thanks to scientists at a Canadian research station in the Rockies. Once released, Kl'rt goes on a rampage, battling Alpha Flight, the team of Canuck superheroes, in "Alpha Flight" #10. But in the aftermath, Kl'rt discovers that he's suffering from a form of terminal cancer.

Becoming Captain Hero

In perhaps one of the more unusual stories in the history of the Super-Skrull, Kl'rt takes on the identity of a dying child. The action picks up in "Power Man and Iron Fist" #111 in 1984, where we meet a new super-powered being calling himself "Captain Hero," who battles the crime-fighting duo when he is refused entry into the Heroes for Hire. But they can't go too hard on the big galoot, because Captain Hero is actually a little boy named Bobby Wright, who's somehow acquired superpowers. That's not the whole truth, however, as it's later revealed that Bobby isn't even a real person: he's Kl'rt, the Super-Skrull.

Detailed in the pages of Namor the Submariner #25 in 1992 — from "Fantastic Four" artist and writer John Byrne — we learn that Kl'rt has made a diabolical pact with the villain known as Master Khan, the Lost Lord of K'un-Lun. Having come upon Kl'rt dying of cancer, the two make a twisted deal that sees the Super-Skrull pose as Bobby Wright in an attempt to defeat Power Man and Iron Fist, in exchange for a cure for his disease. As chronicled by Comic Book Resources, the storyline was an attempt by Byrne — who had written his appearances in "Marvel Team-Up" and "Alpha Flight" — to retcon the Super-Skrull's cancer, which had disappeared without explanation under another writer. 

K'lrt lived a quiet life on Earth

Kl'rt makes a brief return to outer space, where he attempts but fails to regain his reputation as a feared warrior by making an unlikely alliance with the Kree Supreme Intelligence. As with so many defeats, time and time again, Kl'rt resigns himself to remaining on Earth, perhaps for good, taking up a human identity and living an apparently normal life. He chooses the form of Lon Zelig, a special effects tech in the movie industry, and by all accounts he has a successful career with nobody suspecting that he's actually an interstellar villain. 

Unfortunately, his hopes for a calm, quiet life on Earth don't last because even working in Hollywood can't keep him out of trouble. Thanks to a surprise encounter with Johnny Storm, he's brought back into conflict with the Fantastic Four, which ultimately leads to his imprisonment in the Vault, an extra-dimensional jail for supervillains built by Mr. Fantastic. The Negative Zone prison doesn't hold him for long, though, and before the Marvel Universe knows it, the Super-Skrull is back terrorizing Earth's heroes. 

Clash with the Young Avengers

By the mid 2000s, Kl'rt wasn't the only Skrull on Earth, as the son of Skrull Princess Anelle was hiding out as a member of the Young Avengers under the guise of Hulkling. The product of a forbidden union between Anelle and Kree hero Captain Marvel, Hulkling — human name Teddy Altman, real name Dorrek VIII — owes his very existence partly to Super-Skrull, as he was conceived while Mar-Vell had been his captive during the Kree/Skrull War. Now, Kl'rt seeks to capture Hulkling and bring him back to the Skrull throneworld to unite the Empire, while Kree agents want to do the same.

Though the Young Avengers are unable to stop Kl'rt, leading to a climactic clash between him, the Young Avengers, the New Avengers, and Kree forces, Kl'rt eventually accepts that Hulkling has no place in either empire. Showing mercy, Kl'rt helps arrange it so that Hulkling can remain on Earth, which is the start of a personal journey that will ultimately see the Super-Skrull switch sides from villain to hero.

Kl'rt, galactic savior

While Kl'rt shows flashes of heroism, most notably by sparing Hulkling's life, he becomes a true hero not long after, when the villain Annihilus invades from the Negative Zone. Backed by the Annihilation Wave — a vast armada that has destroyed millions of worlds in its path — Annihilus threatens the entire Andromeda galaxy, and Kl'rt steps forward to help defend it. But to do so, he needs the help of a former foe, one that once kept him locked away in the very dimension that he now needed to raise an army against Annihilus: the Fantastic Four.

With the help of Reed Richards, Kl'rt is able to enter the Negative Zone and get information on Annihilus' allies that leads him to the one responsible for the Annihilation Wave's greatest weapon, the Harvester of Sorrow. Freeing a group of prisoners who agree to join him, Kl'rt obtains a deadly virus that can stop the Harvester, halt the Annihilation Wave, and defeat the megalomaniacal Annihilus. But to complete that mission, he has to come together with another villain-turned-hero, the Kree menace Ronan the Accuser, as well as Earth hero Nova.

Resisting the Phalanx

Having tasted the life of a hero, Kl'rt starts to be seen in a different light after saving the Andromeda Galaxy. With the Annihilation Wave defeated, Kl'rt remains allies with Ronan the Accuser, whose new mission is to rebuild the Kree Empire's defenses. But they don't have much time, because a new threat quickly emerges with the arrival of the Phalanx, a biomechanical alien race now under the control of Ultron, who are determined to conquer every world they encounter. Marvel's version of the Borg from "Star Trek," they can assimilate worlds into their techno-organic collective.

With the help of a Phalanx-resistant warrior named Wraith, Kl'rt would show his heroic side once more, helping free Ronan from Ultron's control after the Kree world is conquered. He even gets help from some of the cosmos's greatest heroes, including Nova, Adam Warlock, Quasar, and the newly formed Guardians of the Galaxy led by Peter Quill. At this point, Kl'rt is embraced as a protector, with his life as a deadly villain seemingly behind him for good.

Helping Earth's heroes resist an invasion

In 2008, the Marvel Comics universe experienced one of its greatest upheavals in "Secret Invasion," a landmark company-wide event that saw the Skrull Empire attempt an all-out war on Earth. During the story, not only is the planet invaded by thousands of super-powered Skrulls who can mimic the power's of Earth's greatest heroes, but it's revealed that members of the X-Men, Avengers, and more have been undercover sleeper agents for years. Unfortunately for Kl'rt, his people pick the wrong time to invade, as he is no longer a revered Skrull hero and can't take part in their war.

Nevertheless, when word reaches him that the Skrull Empire has descended upon Earth, Kl'rt races to the Terran planet. Allying himself with Nova, they fight a faction of enhanced Skrull warriors, and eventually are successful in getting to Earth — but stopping the invasion isn't Kl'rt's true mission. Having learned that his estranged daughter is also there on Earth, Kl'rt seeks vengeance for her betrayal, planning to kill her and remove the Sy-Torak Gem to prevent her from resurrecting. But thanks to a last-minute plea from Jazinda's partner She-Hulk, Kl'rt spares her a final fate, not long before Earth's heroes successfully repel the Skrull attack.

Infinite Super-Skrull

In the aftermath of its failed invasion of Earth, the Skrull Empire is in pieces, with various factions vying for power. Kl'rt returns to his people and becomes a powerful leader who helps unite their fractured Empire after the emergence of a deadly race of ancient cosmic beings known as the Builders. With the help of other galactic powers — including Earth's Avengers — they're able to defeat the Builders, but the Skrull Empire is in even worse shape after the conflict.

Repaying his debt to the Avengers, Kl'rt returns with them to Earth to help defeat Thanos, who has used the cosmic chaos to take over the planet. Along with Ronan the Accuser, Gladiator, and Annihilus, Thanos is expelled from Earth, but Kl'rt's run-in with the Mad Titan may have sparked a plan for how to return the Skrull Empire to its once former glory: He intends to collect the six Infinity Gems once held by Thanos and use them to make the Skrulls great again.

Thankfully for the rest of the Marvel Universe, Doctor Strange gets wind of his plans and uses the Time Gem to travel into the future. There, with an army of duplicates of himself pulled from future timelines, Strange is able to stop Kl'rt from bringing the gems together. But without them, the Skrull Empire remains vulnerable.

Uniting empires and joining the Guardians

Though the Skrulls remain weak, a new hope rises, with a prophecy that a young Kree/Skrull offspring will lead both cosmic powers together in a mighty interstellar alliance. In Marvel's "Empyre" storyline, it's revealed that this offspring is none other than Teddy Altman, aka Hulkling, the Young Avenger who Kl'rt had discovered on Earth and the child of Captain Marvel and Skrull Princess Anelle. Now, with the arrival of the Cotati, a deadly new threat to both empires, it's Teddy who Kl'rt calls upon to lead both people, as prophesied, in an effort to resist them.

The war between the Cotati and the new Kree/Skrull Alliance, led by Hulkling and Kl'rt, comes to Earth and draws the attention of the Avengers, who have been fooled into allying themselves with the Cotati. Once the ruse is revealed, however, the Avengers and the Alliance defeat the Cotati, ushering in a new era for both the Skrulls and the Kree. In the wake of the victory, the Galactic Council — assembled following the Builders' invasion — ask Kl'rt to become a part of the Guardians of the Galaxy, who are selected to become an official galactic peacekeeping force. Now a fully-fledged hero, Kl'rt fights alongside many of his former foes.

Super-Skrull, Hollywood veteran

Despite having yet to appear in the MCU, Kl'rt the Super Skrull has been onscreen many times. Perhaps surprisingly, his first appearance came on television just a few years after his introduction in the pages of "Fantastic Four," in the 1966 Saturday morning cartoon showcase, "The Marvel Superheroes." He reappeared a year later in the "Fantastic Four" cartoon, in the "Invasion of the Super-Skrull" episode. 

Since then, Kl'rt has shown up in numerous animated adaptations. He recurred in 1994's "Fantastic Four" cartoon, where he even shapeshifted into young Franklin Richards, and in "The Super Hero Squad Show," where he led a Skrull attack on Super Hero City. In the 2006 "FF" reboot "Fantastic Four: World's Greatest Heroes," Super-Skrull teamed up with Ronan the Accuser, Annihilus, and Impossible Man, battling the Fantastic Four at the behest of cosmic trickster The Gamesmaster in the episode "Contest of Champions." In 2010, he fought Captain America in an episode of "Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes." With "Secret Invasion" and "Fantastic Four" coming to the MCU, it's just a matter of time before Kl'rt makes his first live-action appearance.