Posted by:
Byron Brewer

What the D'ast? Veranke



(Editor’s note: This is another in a series of irregularly-scheduled columns by Managing Editor Byron Brewer, mainly dealing with Marvel Cosmic and its many denizens. Mr. Brewer’s opinions do not necessarily reflect that of He welcomes both raves and opposing views.)

By Byron Brewer


When Brian Michael Bendis introduced Veranke in the flashback issues of New Avengers and Mighty Avengers that were telling the story of Secret Invasion, my heart broke for her. Here we had a sorceress who had by blood a right to a say at the throne. Instead, she was exiled from her people, and not in a chivalrous manner at all!

But in retrospect and having seen the entire SI event and most of its minis, it serves her memory well that Veranke’s death at the hands of Norman Osborn on national television – the other shot heard ‘round the world – led to his rise in stature and power during his Dark Reign. In the end, both characters were despicable, amoral and, well, green. (And we know it ain’t easy being green.)

Veranke’s purity of focus suffered, I think, during her long exile. And coming willy-nilly into King Dorrek VII’s long-term plans of Earth’s invasion did even less for this founding member (as Spider-Woman) of the New Avengers.

Compare the heart and soul of a young Skrull princess from the Tyeranx 7 province who warned her peeps about not heeding the words of the Skrull prophecies to the evil, tainted witch-queen who tries to convince Tony Stark he is indeed a mind-cleansed Skrull and allowed others of her kind (mind-cleansed to believe they in fact were Earth super-heroes) to die in a Savage Land diversion for both Avengers teams. (The death of that Captain America replica who truly believed in the American Dream as his character was sad. “I am Captain America. I am an Avenger …” Sad.) And I have not even mentioned making poor Janet Van Dyne a human bomb!

Before we discuss her “secret” invasion and her death, let’s talk about Veranke’s life.

We do not know but I imagine that since she is both a sorceress and a princess, her early life was probably good ones, days of privilege. Such beginnings in a spiritual world lend themselves to faith. Her belief in the Skrull prophecies was all-consuming, but a concern for her world and Dorreck’s ignorance of the writings molded that faith into something that later became akin to obsession … obsession in the vain of kamikazes in World War II or the pilots of those 9-11 hit planes: dark glory, purpled pride. Reminds me of the excellent captions Chris Claremont wrote to describe Dark Phoenix shortly after Mastermind’s (oops!) mistake.

Veranke the young princess would never have concurred with the suffering brought about by the Super-Skrullian invasion on Times Square, much less some of the other activities of the Skrulls under her command (“Remember the Wasp!”). Veranke the empress would and did. Subterfuge is one thing, religious zealotry another.

That said, this invasion got as close to success for the Skrulls as any. I never understood why they did not utilize more Skrulls in the key human positions in which they should’ve been placed by this time. We saw some of that, but the beginning seemed a never-ending face-off in the SavageLandbetween 2000’s and 1970’s Avengers-plus, and the ending seemed a European line war ala Braveheart … because that’s the way Thor called it? Hm.

The fact that House of M and Annihilation seemed to further her prophecies for all the wrong reasons? Well, how cruel can fate be?

When you get down to it, Veranke may have been the greatest success of an event that was a total cosmic failure. Secret Invasion shot for the moon, but fell not among the stars but among the black holes.

What a pitiful woman Queen Veranke was!