Cornell and Titan’s Secret Invasion is based on Marvel’s 2008 comic book event series written by Brian Michael Bendis and illustrated by Leinil Francis Yu. The book centers on an army of shapeshifting Skrulls, who covertly invade Earth by impersonating many of its greatest superheroes. The free excerpt from the novelization comes in the form of its prologue, in which Tony Stark/Iron Man ruminates on the events and consequences of the Marvel Civil War.
Read the excerpt from Paul Cornell’s Secret Invasion below:
TONY STARKTONY STARK had never felt more alone.That was saying a lot. He’d felt pretty damn alone on several occasions in the last year or so, never mind during his excuse for a childhood. He’d felt pretty damn alone when he’d been captured in a war zone. At least then he’d ended up imprisoned with a genius who’d designed the first version of what he’d been working on and improving ever since: the powered cutting-edge-tech armor that made him Iron Man, founding member of the Avengers and the one who usually picked up the tab for all their good works. But even during all those years of being a public hero—one who, eventually, the public came to know by name and to trust—he’d still felt pretty damn alone through all that.But right now… yeah, this was the nadir. He’d kept fighting for what was right, pushing hard to keep the public onside with the super hero community. Since he’d become Director of S.H.I.E.L.D., the global taskforce that was the official liaison between the political world and the super hero community, he’d pushed through the Superhuman Registration Act, which had been an attempt to hold his fellow heroes accountable, to give them official status and training, to make them more than a bunch of distrusted vigilantes. He’d also spearheaded the plan to send the Hulk off into space to live on a peaceful alien world where “smashing” was, hey, probably just saying hello. Both steps had saved countless lives, those of the everyday people super heroes were meant to protect.But from moment one of all that, Tony’s so-called “friends” had jumped on their high horses.Steve Rogers had actually led an army against him. Because, it seemed, Steve Rogers, when push came to shove, cared more about getting to be Captain America than about, you know, America. The media had started to call it the Super Hero Civil War. That made it sound much more glamorous than it had been. It had felt more like the end of the world. Tony’s side had won, like they were always going to, because getting the public onside with “I want to wear a flag and beat up whoever I like with no consequences” can only get you so far. But it had been such a hollow victory. Even those he’d been onside with now seemed to be holding him at a slight distance. It had been a bitter business, they seemed to think, and that bitterness now felt like it was being directed at him. These days he was basically in charge of super hero culture, and he was absolutely sure the world was now a safer place because of it, but it had left him… yeah, pretty damn alone.And of course, Steve had gotten himself arrested, and the bad guys had used that opportunity to… to assassinate him. Steve Rogers was dead. Captain America was dead. Tony closed his eyes at the pain of the thought. His job was to anticipate consequences, to follow chains of cause and effect as far as chaos would allow. He should have seen that coming. That thought haunted him night and day. He opened his eyes again. No. He couldn’t let himself be drawn back into brooding about that, because… because…Because now, now with what he’d just discovered… well, it was the worst possible time for him to be isolated, and the worst time for there to be no Steve Rogers to annoy the hell out of him, because it turned out the world was being threatened by something else he hadn’t anticipated—and what was coming might be the actual, not metaphorical, end of it.
Additionally, an official synopsis for Secret Invasion reads as follows: “The shapeshifting alien race known as the Skrulls have infiltrated every branch of the Marvel Universe, from S.H.I.E.L.D., to the Avengers, and even interplanetary defense force S.W.O.R.D. As the New Avengers watch leader of the Hand, Elektra, transform into a Skrull after her death, they come to realize that an attack is coming, one that has been planned for many years. From heroes to villains, anyone could be a Skrull in disguise. Uncertain of who to trust, the team tries desperately to unite against an unseen foe. But it is too late. The invasion has begun.”
Secret Invasion gets two adaptations in one year
Interestingly enough, Cornell’s novel is actually the second time Bendis and Yu’s comic has been adapted into another medium this year. June 26 saw the Disney+ premiere of Marvel Studios’ Secret Invasion, a loose adaptation set against the backdrop of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Starring MCU mainstay Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury, the live-action limited series ran for six episodes through July 26.
Secret Invasion by Paul Cornell is on sale now from Titan Books.