Brew's Crew: Paibok the Power-Skrull
(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with cosmic comics and their many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of CosmicBookNews.com. He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)
By Byron Brewer
So many great Marvel Cosmic characters are Skrulls. I yearn to tell their stories and yet give you variety as well. Here is a story that has waited too long to see print, the story of Paibok the Power-Skrull!
Paibok was born on the planet Tarnax IV, in the Tarnax System in the Andromeda Galaxy. His home planet was part of the Skrull Empire, but has since been destroyed. Paibok was trained at the Skrullian military academy, becoming a Skrull espionage agent and a captain in the Skrull armed forces.
The Skrull Empire sought a way to defeat the Fantastic Four, who have handed them multiple defeats. Paibok suggests a subtle plan: replacing the Fantastic Four's associate Alicia Masters with Lyja, a Skrull spy and Paibok's former lover. Their relationship had not ended well. Lyja successfully impersonates Alicia and the real Alicia is held prisoner by Paibok.
Eventually, the FF realize what had happened and come in search of Alicia. They confront Paibok on “War World.” Paibok, now calling himself the "Power-Skrull" after being augmented in a manner similar to Super-Skrull, is prepared for the encounter and almost defeats the Fantastic Four and Lyja. Lyja seemingly sacrifices her life to protect the Human Torch and the Thing finally defeats Paibok. He is left for dead, buried under fallen rubble.
As Skrulls are wont to do, Paibok survived the battle and recovered Lyja's body. Seeking revenge on the Fantastic Four, he encountered Devos the Devastator, another alien who had clashed with them, and the two formed an alliance. Devos was able to revive Lyja, and Paibok and Devos altered Lyja's genetic structure, granting her the power of flight and the ability to project lethal energy blasts. Together, the three traveled to Earth to battle the FF again.
Arriving on Earth, they isolated and attacked the Human Torch in New York City, forcing him to use his nova flame against them -- a move which then led to his arrest for damage to the surroundings. A second attack confused and aggravated the situation, leaving the Human Torch a fugitive from the police. Alongside Devos and Lyja, Paibok witnessed the battle between the Fantastic Four and an alternate Fantastic Four. Paibok was betrayed by Lyja when she again joined the conflict and abandoned Paibok and sided with the FF. Alongside Devos, Paibok attacked the Human Torch during his trial.
Undeterred, Paibok and Devos recruited new allies -- Klaw and Huntara -- and the quartet continued their attacks on the Fantastic Four, becoming known as the Fearsome Foursome. Eventually they were able to capture their foes (including Lyja) and returned to the Skrull Throneworld to present the captives to the Empress.
Paibok's triumph was short-lived, though. Once on Throneworld, he discovered that Devos was a wanted criminal, a renegade with a price on his head and an entire world under his command. Devos promptly summoned his troops, took personal command of his flagship (the Death Cruiser) and attempted to destroy Throneworld. The Empress blamed Paibok for this and repaid him by ordering his death.
Seeking to redeem himself, Paibok made his way onboard the Death Cruiser and confronted Devos. The ship's stardrive was damaged during their confrontation and the cruiser fell into subspace. Devos and Paibok were both then believed lost along with the ship.
Paibok somehow escaped from subspace and struck a deal with Centaurian scientists to enhance his powers. Their treatment succeeded but also affected his appearance, leaving him in a cadaverous, zombie-like form. Still viewed as a traitor, he fled to Earth and assembled a band of Skrull renegades.
Disguised as Paul Balk, the owner of a traveling freak show, Paibok located and tried to capture an immature Watcher, a plan that led to clashes with the Thing and a band of Kree. The attempt failed and he was captured by the Kree, who left Earth shortly afterwards with Paibok as their prisoner.
It is not known how Paibok was transferred out of Kree custody, but he was next seen as one of the few convicts to survive when the prison transport vessel Dredge 01 crashed on its way to Kyln. Paibok's appearanced had, without explanation, been reverted to that of a typical Skrull. The prison ship crashed on Earth, near the town of Coot's Bluff in Alaska, and Paibok immediately took command of the other survivors (Lunatik and the Blood Brothers) in an attempt to salvage the wrecked ship's technology and escape the planet. Paibok's plan also involved taking control of Coot's Bluff and using the terrified population as slave labor, something which brought his renegades into conflict with the only other survivor of the crash, Drax the Destroyer!
Initially, Paibok and his allies defeated Drax, leaving him for dead. However, Drax somehow recovered and then hunted down his attackers, killing Lunatik and one of the Blood Brothers. Paibok's escape plan was abandoned and, faced with death at the hands of a vengeful Drax, he activated a distress beacon that he'd secretly salvaged from the wreck, summoning another ship and surrendering himself to the authorities who'd previously imprisoned him.
Paibok later reappears fighting for Annihilus and his allies as part of the Annihilation Wave. Following the death of Annihilus, the parasites injected into Paibok to force his obedience cease functioning. He briefly joins forces with Terrax the Tamer and the Delinquet (formerly the Infant Terrible) to kill Randau the Space Parasite, a being that had been slaughtering innocents. After the battle, which ends with the destruction of the planet by Terrax, he convinces the addled Delinquent to craft a spaceship. They return to what remains of the Skrull Empire.
Despite his people’s loss in Secret Invasion, I would not doubt this particular Skrull may be sneaking around the pages of FF or Avengers in future days.