"ROMAN" SKRULLS

Inhabitants: None named (all believed deceased)

Purpose: To live life like the humans of ancient Rome did on Earth

Affiliations: Skrulls of Kral IV, Skrulls of Glenbrook (Kral X)

Enemies: The Cotati (especially the Celestial Messiah [Quoi] and his father, a Cotati Elder)

Base of Operations: The city of Rome, located on one of the ten worlds in the Kral System of the Andromeda galaxy

First Appearance: Empyre#2 (September, 2020)

Powers/Abilities: Like most Skrulls, the Kralians could assume any physical form within a certain range of their own mass. These particular Kralians had chosen to model their lives on the lifestyles of humans who had lived during the time of the ancient Roman civilization on Earth.

Technology: Like most Kralians, these Skrulls presumably possessed (or had access to) the same advanced weaponry as the rest of their race.

History:
(The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#10: Skrulls entry) - At some point, the Skrulls converted the ten worlds of the Kral System into an amusement and resort center for the idle rich of the empire. The ten worlds featured recreations of the habitats of certain alien cultures and the Kral System became the permanent site of the galactic gladiatorial tournaments.

(Fantastic Four I#91 (fb) / Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Fantastic Four 2005: Skrulls entry / 1939 Daily Bugle#1 (fb) - BTS) - In 1935, slavers from the Skrull colony on Kral IV who were making their first visit to Earth captured the human criminal "Machine Gun" Martin when he stumbled upon their starship soon after breaking out of prison. The slavers brought Martin to their world as a prize where he was (initially) made a slave. However, the Skrulls of Kral, including the planet's rulers, were fascinated by the gangster and by the films taken by the Skrull slavers (and presumably actual movies monitored, recorded, or stolen by the Skrulls). The mannerisms of Martin and American gangsters of his time period began to spread rapidly, and before long the entire planet had adopted the styles, manners, and speech of the gangster era.

(U.S.Avengers#12 (fb) - BTS) - Later, Skrulls who were part of various missions to Earth discovered the planet's culture. Since Skrulls had difficulty understanding representational art, the idea of assuming other guises for any purpose other than war was alien to them. As a result, these Skrulls became fascinated with "acting" and the concept of "movies," especially old-time gangster movies.

(U.S.Avengers#12 (fb) - BTS) - In response, the Kral system was set aside for the exploration of these forbidden ideas, and it became a melting pot of ideas and fashions, a place for those Skrulls who didn't fit in the rest of the empire.

(Empyre#2 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, one of the ten Kral worlds (or part of it) became the territory of Skrulls who wished to emulate the human culture of ancient Rome. The buildings in that territory were designed in the same architectural style as those of ancient Rome and the Skrulls living there adopted the forms of Earth humans on a permanent basis and began wearing the same types of clothing as those worn by the ancient Romans. It has not been revealed if they also began speaking Latin as their primary language.

(Guardians of the Galaxy Annual III#1/2 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, Kralian cultural artifacts began to become very valuable to collectors on the rimworlds. This led some criminal Skrulls (and, presumably, other aliens) to begin raiding and looting the Kral worlds, often killing Kralian Skrulls in the process.

(Guardians of the Galaxy Annual III#1/2 (fb) - BTS) - At some point, the Skrull Empire signed on with the Nova Corps Pan-Worlds Jurisdiction Treaty. Under the terms of this treaty, the Kral System became a Protected System.

romanskrulls3

(Empyre#2 (fb)) - As part of their secret crusade to eliminate all animal life, the Cotati known as the Celestial Messiah (Quoi) and his father (Swordsman) traveled to the Kral system where, in the territory of the "Roman" Skrulls, they conducted experiments meant to create a plant that could amplify Cotati magic and enable them to control all other plant life. They succeeded in creating a prototype of the Death Blossom and used it to cause the local vegetation to kill some (or many or all) of the Kralians in the area. In death, the bodies of all these "Roman" Skrulls reverted to their true, non-human forms. However, the Cotati amplifier was not powerful enough to wipe out all of the Kralian Skrulls quickly enough to prevent the Skrull Empire from responding.

(Empyre#3 (fb) - BTS) - Skrull Emperor Kl'rt received intelligence reports about how Rome had fallen, Chicago (on Kral IV) had died, and even Glenbrook (Kral X) had discovered new genres of horror. Faced with the fact that all of the planets in the Kral System had either already been infected by what the Cotati had done or were doomed to be infected within a standard hour, Kl'rt concluded that the Kral System was essentially already dead. Wishing to give the victims of the Cotati a quick end and hoping that he might be able to finish the Cotati with a single blow, Kl'rt ordered that the weapon known as the Pyre be used to detonate the sun of the Kral System.

(Empyre#2 (fb) - BTS) - Unbeknownst to the Skrulls, the Cotati had secretly left the Kral System and traveled to a Kree world to continue their experiments long before the Skrulls were able to attack.

(Guardians of the Galaxy Annual III#1/2 (fb) - BTS) - For security reasons, the Skrull High Command kept the real reason behind what it planned to do to the Kral System a secret and prepared to pull out of the Pan-Worlds Treaty just before their attack. Their cover story was that they had decided to "clean up" the Kral System because the subversive degenerates who lived there were weakening the empire.

(Guardians of the Galaxy Annual III#1/2 (fb) - BTS) - Having somehow learned of what the Skrull High Command was planning for the Kral System, a rogue squad of five Skrull soldiers traveled to Kral-IV and began looting and killing, seeking to steal some treasure for themselves before the end came. The locals sent out an 8x8 alert to the Nova Corps, and Nova Centurion Richard Rider responded.

(Guardians of the Galaxy Annual III#1/2 (fb) - BTS) - The Skrull High Command activated the weapon that would cause the Kral sun to detonate and contacted the Nova Corps to announce that they were pulling out of the Pan-Worlds Treaty. They also informed Nova Commander Scott Adsit that Nova Centurion Rider should get off their world right away or he would "face immediate penalty."

(Guardians of the Galaxy Annual III#1/2 (fb)) - On Kral-IV, Nova Centurion Rider faced off against the five rogue Skrull soldiers. Since civilian lives were in jeopardy, Rider offered them a final warning but had to use lethal force when they refused to surrender and prepared to open fire. When Rider contacted Nova Command to report, Adsit informed him of the warning from the Skrull High Command just before Adsit received another message advising that the Skrulls had already triggered the star-detonation process.

(Guardians of the Galaxy Annual III#1/2 (fb)) - The Skrull weapon caused the Kral sun to detonate , and the resulting nova-type explosion wiped out all of the planets in the Kral System.

(Guardians of the Galaxy Annual III#1/2 (fb)) - Maybe ten thousand Kralians (including Bugface Brown, Prince Dezan and Boss Barker's boys) survived because they had already evacuated, but everyone else burned except for Nova Centurion Rider who, protected by his Nova Force shielding, got to watch.

(Guardians of the Galaxy Annual III#1/2) <"Eight standard days later"> - In Tharg's Bar on the planet K'rii-3, Rider told Quasar (Wendell Vaughn) how "hardline Skrulls" had destroyed the Kral System and killed almost all of the Skrulls who had lived there.

(Empyre#2) - Sometime later, during a confrontation in the Blue Area of Earth's Moon, the Celestial Messiah revealed to the Avengers Captain America, Iron Man and Thor Odinson that the real reason why the Skrulls had resorted to such drastic and horrific measures in the Kral System was actually because they had been trying to stop the Cotati from growing there.

(Empyre#3) - Soon afterwards, on the Kree/Skrull Alliance command ship, Kl'rt revealed to Emperor Dorrek VIII the existence of the Pyre and explained why he had ordered it to be used to destroy the sun of the Kral System, killing billions of people to save trillions more and hoping to finish the Cotati with one blow. Emperor Dorrek VIII responded by pointing out that the Cotati had completed their "practice run" in that system and had already been on their way to the Blue Area and Earth.

Comments: Created by Al Ewing & Dan Slott, and Valerio Schiti.

   To be honest, I've identified these Skrulls who only appeared in one flashback panel in Empyre#2 as "Roman" Skrulls because Kl'rt mentioned "Rome" in Empyre#3. However, I can't really tell if their clothing and architecture is based on that of ancient Rome or on that of ancient Greece. Opinions?

Where was the Skrull city of Rome located?
   Although the "Roman" Skrulls definitely lived on one of the worlds in the Kral System, exactly which planet was their home has never been established. Therefore, while they could have lived on Kral IV alongside the civilization of the gangster Skrulls, they could just as easily have lived on eight of the other nine planets, specifically Kral I through Kral III or Kral V through Kral IX.

   Since their debut in 1983, various editions of The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe have insisted that the planet on which the "gangster" Skrulls lived was Kral IV. However, all of the actual stories about those Skrulls mentioned only THE planet Kral. It was not until 2019 that the planet was finally called "Kral-IV" in a story...but that was the story that told of the planet's destruction, and the only person who called it "Kral-IV" was Nova Centurion Rich Rider, a human from Earth.

   Similarly, those Official Handbook editions had also insisted that there were ten planets in the Kral System, that all of them had been converted into an amusement and resort center for the idle rich of the empire, and that the ten worlds featured recreations of the habitats of certain alien cultures. However, as with the Kral IV name, none of these ideas appeared in any actual stories that featured Kralian Skrulls. It was not until 2017 that a different planet in the Kral System, Kral X, was finally depicted in-story but that planet had also been a gangster planet until "Redwoodism" took over the colony and their culture changed to that of the fictional "happiest small town America ever knew." In fact, the first and only Kralian society that was NOT based on some form of American culture was the ancient Roman one whose destruction was briefly glimpsed in 2020 in a one-panel flashback in Empyre#2 and the fact that it was called "Rome" wasn't revealed until Empyre#3.

   So, yes, that means that this entire profile was inspired by a single flashback image and the words "Rome fell." Perhaps that's why I felt compelled to add more Kral-related data here in the comments section.

A list of significant Kral-related events (in order of publication):
1. Fantastic Four I#91-93 (October-December, 1969): Members of the Fantastic Four traveled from Earth to the planet Kral in the "Skrull galaxy" where they discovered that the Skrulls inhabiting the planet had remade their society into an imitation of Prohibition-era America.

2. Fantastic Four I#173-174 (August-September, 1976): The Human Torch (Johnny Storm) and Gorr the Golden Gorilla were transported to an Earth-like alien world in the same sector of space as Earth. The native dominant species appeared to be humans who lived in a society similar to that of Medieval Europe and hunted dragons. However, once the last dragon had been slain, these medieval humans revealed themselves to be Skrulls who had modified the entire planet to their chosen life style. Storm responded to this revelation by remarking that "This was just like that other world, that the Skrulls turned into an old gangster movie set!" After explaining that the actual native dominant race had been the now-extinct intelligent herbivorous reptilians, these Skrulls announced that there was now no more challenge for them in staying on that planet so they left in their space-ship to find new worlds to master and transform.

3. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe I#10: Skrulls entry (October, 1983): First mention of the idea that the Skrulls had converted the Kral System’s ten worlds into an amusement and resort center for the idle rich of the empire, that the ten worlds featured recreations of the habitats of certain alien cultures, and that Kral IV boasted a replica-city of Prohibition Era New York and an Earth village of the medieval age.

4. Avengers Annual I#14 (1985): Members of the Avengers encountered some Kralian Skrulls from the Skrull colony on Kral and learned that most Skrulls considered the Kralians to be a bit eccentric.

5. The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe II#12: Skrulls entry (November, 1986): The information on Kral IV was modified slightly so that it now stated that the planet boasted replica cities of Prohibition Era American cities, as well as a replica of a medieval Earth village.

6. Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe: Fantastic Four 2005: Skrulls entry (August, 2005): First mention of the idea that one of the ten worlds of the Kral system resembled medieval Earth.

7. Black Panther IV#31-34 (December, 2007-March, 2008): Another fantastic foursome from Earth arrived on the planet Kral and discovered that, in the wake of the slave rebellion, some of the surviving Skrulls had resumed their gangster lifestyles but many other Kralians had found inspiration in the American Civil Rights Movement and wished to build a new society based on morality, self-worth and tolerance.

8. Skrulls! (2008): A Warbook File on the "Kralians of Kral IV" prepared by Chancellor Kal'Du for Queen Veranke described the Kral system as being viewed by some Skrulls as a carefree vacation spot and by others as an alternative lifestyle choice. Kal'Du personally considered the Kral system to be "an abomination against the true Skrull way of life" and that the "gangsters" were a disgrace to the Skrull Empire who should be left "on their backwards little planet, in their remote little system."
   The part of the file that was not in-universe stated that one Kral resort (possibly located somewhere on Kral IV away from the cities of the gangsters) emulated Earth's medieval periods and was inhabited by the Dark Knight of Astralon (but the text mistakenly used the name "Astrolon" instead).

9. U.S.Avengers#11-12 (December, 2017-January, 2018): Sam Guthrie and other members of the U.S.Avengers team learned that the Skrulls of the small colony on Kral X had been gangsters like the Skrulls from "gangster planet" but had converted to "Redwoodism" after one of them had discovered a "cartoon" show called The Richie Redwood Show that had been broadcast on Earth in the 1960s.

10. Guardians of the Galaxy Annual III#1/2 (August, 2019): The destruction of the worlds of the Kral System by the Skrull High Command was revealed, with the stated reason being to "clean up" a system that was perceived by most Skrulls as being inhabited by subversive degenerates who were weakening the empire.

11. Empyre#2 (September, 2020): The real reason why the Skull Empire had destroyed the worlds of the Kral System was revealed to be a drastic attempt at eliminating the extreme threat posed by the Cotati. Some of the Kralians who had been slain by the Cotati's Death Blossom were shown to have lived in an area modeled on ancient Rome.

12. Empyre#3 (September, 2020): Former emperor Kl'rt described the Kral system as a place where Skrull "artists and dreamers" had studied and imitated the cultures of Earth. Kl'rt revealed that he had ordered the Skrull weapon known as the Pyre to be used because those worlds in the Kral System that had not already been infected by the Cotati would have been infected within a standard hour so the system was "already dead" and that he had killed billions in order to save trillions more. Kl'rt specifically mentioned that "Rome" had fallen, "Chicago" had died and even Glenbrook had "discovered new genres of horror."

Slavery and Romans: How did they come to the Kral System?
   Although the captured human criminal known as "Machine Gun" Martin is credited for inspiring the Kralians to use "gang wars" fought by slaves to settle territorial disputes, slavery itself existed in the Kral System before Martin's arrival. After all, the only reason why Martin was abducted in the first place was to BE a slave. The real question is exactly why did the Kralians start using slaves? According to the Warbook Files compiled by Chancellor Kal'Du, slavery was a "relatively recent addition" to Skrull culture and it was "one of the very first slavers" who abducted Martin from Earth and brought him to Kral IV. With that fact in mind, what does it say about the claim that the Kral System was the permanent site of the galactic gladiatorial tournaments? Given that the gladiators were all aliens who had been abducted from their homeworlds and sold into slavery, does this mean that the gladiatorial games were also a recent addition to Kralian society? If so, maybe the idea for them came from Martin?

   I had been thinking that maybe the Kralians had been introduced to the concept of gladiatorial games by these Skrulls who emulated ancient Roman culture. However, that could only be true if there had been "Roman" Kralians before Martin's abduction and there is no evidence that the Kralians had any contact with Earth before 1935. In fact, aside from the first Emperor Dorrek's visit to Earth's Moon almost one million years ago, there's no evidence that Skrulls visited Earth (aside from crashing there) until 1776, long after the fall of the Roman Empire. This makes it appear that the Kralian Skrulls only learned about the ancient Roman civilization by studying information that was available to early 20th century humans. It's even possible that that information came from books and movies brought back by the same slaver who captured Martin.

Profile by Donald Campbell.

CLARIFICATIONS:
The "Roman" Skrulls have no known connections to:


images: (without ads)
Empyre#2, page 9, panel 3 (main image)
a more focused view of the main image
Guardians of the Galaxy Annual III#1, page 8, panel 1 (detonation of the Kral sun)


Appearances:
Guardians of the Galaxy Annual III#1/2 (August, 2019) - Al Ewing (writer), Yildiray Cinar (artist), Darren Shan (editor)
Empyre#2 (September, 2020) - Al Ewing & Dan Slott (story), Al Ewing (script), Valerio Schiti (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)


First Posted: 11/07/2020
Last updated: 11/07/2020

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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