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Skrulls

The Skrulls are an extraterrestrial semi humanoid race who have created a vast interstellar empire, the oldest known such empire still in existence, within the galaxy known on Earth as the Andromeda Galaxy, or M-31. Skrulls are basically reptilian but have certain mammalian characteristics such as hair and (in females) mammary glands. Newborn are hatched from eggs but are nursed by their mother. Skrulls have life spans of about 210 Earth years. An average Skrull is about as strong as an average Earth human being of the same physical age, height, and build who engages in the same amount of exercise. However, while many Skrulls have natural heights and weights that are the same as those of ordinary Earth people, a considerable percentage of the Skrullian race is much shorter than most Earth human beings. Skrulls generally range between 4 ft. 6 in. and 6 ft. 4 in. in height.

The Skrull race originated on the planet Skrullos in the Drox system in the Andromeda Galaxy hundreds of millions of years ago. Skrullos apparently has an atmosphere and gravitational conditions similar to those of Earth, inasmuch as Skrulls have proved able to live on Earth without difficulty.

While the Skrulls were still in their early stages of evolutionary developments, the Celestials, a star-spanning race of genetic engineers, landed on Skrullos and selected a number of natives upon whom to experiment. With one sample group, the Celestials affected a series of genes related to longevity, and thereby created Skrullian equivalents to Earth's Eternals. With another group, the Celestials tested for genetic stability and diversity, and created the Skrullian counterparts to Earth's Deviants. (Note: According to Ghaur, priestlord of Earth's Deviants, a single Celestial, the socalled "Dreaming Celestial," was responsible for the creation of Earth's Deviants and was punished by other Celestials for doing so. It is as yet unknown whether the creation of the Skrullian Deviants was the work of the Dreaming Celestial alone, or of other Celestials as well or apart from him.) In a third group the Celestials implanted a gene series, which would permit rapid benevolent mutation under the right conditions when the species matured. This group, its genetic modifications latent, remained the Skrullian "Normals." After performing their genetic experiments, the Celestials left Skrullos.

There were either two separate Deviant races of Skrulls, or else the Deviant Skrulls evolved into two separate races. The Deviant Skrulls proved to be able to change their shapes, began to dominate the planet, and eventually eradicated both the Eternal and Normal branches of their species. (This is in marked contrast with Earth's human race, another subject of Celestial experimentation, in which the Normal branch continued to dominate the species.)

Later, the majority race of shape-changing Skrulls sought to exterminate the minority Deviant Skrull race, who are today known as the Dire Wraiths. The majority of the Skrulls regarded the Wraiths as a threat to them. However, through sorcerous means the Dire Wraiths escaped to the so-called Dark Nebula, and did not clash with the "true" Skrull race until relatively recent times. (Apart from this description of the origin of the Skrull race, all information in this entry pertains only to the "true" Skrull race, or, in other words, the Deviant Skrulls other than the Dire Wraiths.)

All "true" Skrulls possessed the Deviant gene series which endows them with the ability to alter their size, shape, and color through mental concentration. (Some of Earth's Deviants have the same ability, but to a far more limited extent due to the differences in basic genetic material between the two races.) A Skrull could mentally cause the unstable molecules that comprise his or her body to become pliant, enabling him or her to assume other forms through muscular expansion and contraction. Once a new shape had been assumed, it took a conscious act of will for a Skrull to assume another form or to revert to his or her natural form. Hence, Skrulls did not lose their assumed forms spontaneously when asleep or unconscious. Skrulls only took on the appearance of an object or person and did not take on any of that objects or person's characteristics apart from that. For example, if a Skrull had imitated a metal box, he or she would not actually have become metal or have metal's characteristic hardness Similarly, if a Skrull had imitated the form of an exceptionally brilliant or strong person, the Skrull would not have acquired that person's strength or intellectual ability. There was a limit to the size of the object or person a Skrull could imitate. The average Skrull could not distend his or her mass any more than 1.5 times as large a volume as his or her original volume, nor could he or she contract his or her mass any more than .75 a volume as his or her original.

Despite these limitations, the power of mimicry enabled the "true" Skrull Deviants to master their own world by infiltrating and sabotaging their rival sister races. After the Skrulls discovered space travel, this ability also proved a valuable tool for the conquest of other worlds. Assuming the forms of a world's natives fostered a seeming common bond between the Skrulls and the natives. Upon becoming capable of interstellar travel, the Skrulls began to build their interstellar empire. Although imperialistic, the Skrulls were not a particularly militaristic race, and set up their early empire based on free trade.

Approximately ten million years ago, the Skrulls first ventured outside their native galaxy into the nearby Greater Magellanic Cloud and Milky Way Galaxy. In the former region the Skrulls encountered the Kree, a humanoid race still in its rudimentary stages of civilization, and the Cotati, a race of sentient plants, both of whom inhabited the same planet, Hala. The Skrulls wished to incorporate Hala into their empire, but only wanted to deal with one of its native races. The Skrull Emperor Dorrek went to Hala with a party of other Skrulls to hold a competition between the Kree and Cotati to determine each races worthiness. The Skrulls decided in favor of the Cotati. Enraged, the Kree slew the Skrull emperor and his party and most of the Cotati race, and confiscated the Skrull party's starship and technology. Due to the immense distance between Hala and the Skrull Empire, no word of this atrocity reached the Skrull Empire until the Kree had sufficient time to master the fundamentals of the stolen technology. Decades after Dorrek's murder, the Kree ventured into the Andromeda Galaxy and began attacking Skrull outposts and finally Skrullos itself. The Skrulls, forced to become more militaristic, retaliated. Thus began the series of Kree-Skrull war, which were waged over the course of millions of years until very recent times. It was because of the Skrulls' growing militarism the Skrull culture and ethics became ruthless, devious, and aggressive as they are today.

At some point thousands of years ago, a Skrull emperor, seized control of the first known Cosmic Cube, which had been created by Skrull scientists. The Cube could transform reality according to the wishes of whoever held it and concentrated upon it. After years of obeying the emperor's demands, the Cube began to develop a consciousness and personality of its own in the image of the mind of the power-mad emperor. Acting on its own, the Cube destroyed the civilizations of two thirds of the Andromeda Galaxy's inhabited worlds, thus causing the Skrull Empire to fall back into barbarism. The Skrulls eventually rebuilt their civilization and empire back to their former levels, and the Cosmic Cube, after achieving emotional maturity, became the creature today known as the Shaper of Worlds.

The seat of the Skrull Empire was moved about 100,000 years ago to Tarnax IV, a planet more centrally located in the empire. This planet was renamed the Imperial Throneworld. The Skrull Empire was governed by a totalitarian monarchy. There was one supreme emperor of empress, and a government for each of the 978 member worlds in the empire. In recent years, the Skrull emperor was Dorrek (presumably named after his predecessor who was murdered by the Kree on Hala), who was assassinated and succeeded by his ambitious wife R'kill.

While some worlds have voluntarily entered the Skrull Empire and thus have been allowed varying degrees of autonomy, others have been conquered and their populations subjugated. In some cases the Skrulls have colonized uninhabited worlds to extend the dominion of the empire. Among the many civilized worlds that make up the 978 member-planets of the Skrull Empire are the homeworlds of the Druffs, Guna, Kallusians, Morani, Pheragots, Queega, Tektons, and Yirbek. Among the few Andromeda Galaxy civilizations to resist Skrullian takeover are those of the Gegku, Wilameanis, Xandarians, and Z'nox. The Skrulls have established peace treaties with certain other, pacifistic races in their galaxy, such as the Ciegrimites and Krylorians, since the Skrulls regard them as nonthreatening and engage in profitable trade relations with them.

One of the Skrulls' more unusual accomplishments was the conversion of the Kral system's ten worlds into an amusement and resort center for the idle rich of the empire, The ten worlds feature recreations of certain alien cultures' habitats. Kral IV boasts replica cities of prohibition Era American Cities, as well as a replica of medieval Earth village. The Skrulls of Kral IV have adopted the forms of Earth humans on a permanent basis. The Kral system is the permanent site of the galactic gladiatorial tournaments.

Skrullian technology is very highly advanced. Their starships can travel faster than the speed of light through hyperspace, and tend to resemble the "flying saucers" of Earth legend. The Skrulls have a vast armada of warrior starships, commanded by General Zedrao.

Although the Skulls became aware of Earth eons ago, due to its proximity to a natural warp-space access point, it was not, until recent times that they considered Earth a threat. Skrull agents, adopting human forms, have spied on Earth for centuries. In the 1950s the superhuman adventurer known as the 3-D Man learned of Skrull activity on Earth, which was increasing now that Earth was developing space travel, and clashed with Skrull agents. Shortly after the superhuman Fantastic Four began their career as a team, the Skrulls had four of their race impersonate the Fantastic Four and commit crimes, hoping to ruin their effectiveness as opponents to the Skrulls intended conquest of Earth. The Fantastic Four thwarted the Skrulls, however, and have successfully battled Skrull threat on several other occasions. Emperor Dorrek had the Super-Skrull endowed with unusual powers in order to oppose the Fantastic Four, but he has continually been defeated by Earths superhuman defenders.

The team of Earth based adventurers known as the Avengers and their ally Rick Jones, played major roles in the more recent major outbreak of war between the Kree and the Skrulls. Believing the millions-of-years-long war had reached a stalemate, Empress R'kill and the Kree Supreme Intelligence proposed that the conflict finally be resolved through personal combat between the Skrull warrior Raksor and the Kree warrior BelDann. The Fantastic Four and the royal family of the Inhumans tricked Raksor and BelDann into cooperating to fight off their joint attack. Uatu the Watcher, the judge of the battle between Raksor and BelDann suggested that their cooperation meant that the Kree and Skrull Empires should cooperate as well. Whether the two emperors adopted this advice is as yet unknown.

Empress R'kill, her daughter princess Anelle, and millions of other Skrulls perished when the world-eater Galactus recently destroyed the Skrull Imperial Throneworld. The Skrull Empire was thrown into chaos. Each Skrull governor of a member-world of the empire declared himself or herself the new emperor or empress, and millions more Skrulls died in the ensuing civil wars. Amidst the chaos, the would-be conqueror Nebula and her mercenary army attempted to take over the Skrull Empire, but were defeated by the Avengers and General Zedrao's armed forces.

First Appearance: FANTASTIC FOUR #2

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