February 29, 2024

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #321: Paibok The Power Skrull

A Skrull mastermind gave himself some additional superpowers to mess with the Fantastic Four.

Sure, I could probably write up a couple more Young Avengers, but there was some rumors about an actor cast as an unknown character for the upcoming Disney+ series Secret Invasion.  That would most assuredly involve the Skrulls, and could that mean the Super-Skrull?  Methinks not since he was given the powers of the Fantastic Four, and I would think the FF would be introduced first before someone came along that could copy their superpowers.

But there is a lesser-known Skrull that gave himself some superpowers that could be used by the show instead.  That would be Paibok, the self-described Power Skrull.

Paibok started off as your standard run-of-the-mill Skrull mastermind during the long Fantastic Four run of Tom DeFalco and Paul Ryan (the artist, not the former Speaker of the House), and man, did Paibok find a good way to infiltrate the Fantastic Four.  He managed to kidnap Ben Grimm’s longtime girlfriend, the blind sculptor Alicia Masters and replaced her with his own girlfriend Lyja.  He even made sure to set Lyja up as blind herself.  Skrulls being natural shapeshifters, she was easily able to slip into the FF’s inner circle…with one small problem:  Ben Grimm had stayed on Battleworld following the first Secret Wars, and he had been replaced on the team with the She-Hulk.  Undeterred, Alicia/Lyja instead romanced and eventually married the Human Torch, staying in the union even after Ben came back.

She was eventually found out, and if you think there isn’t a Lyja entry in the future for this feature, you have another thing coming.

Anyway, Lyja’s reveal also revealed something else:  she was still smitten with Johnny Storm, and the two would attempt to stay together once Johnny got over his anger and disgust over how she was a Skrull the whole time.

But what about Paibok?  Well, he stole Lyja back, and eventually the FF went to rescue her, even getting Alicia back (and she then went back to Ben).  But Paibok had a surprise of his own:  like the Super-Skrull before him, he gave himself some additional superpowers.  Unlike the Super-Skrull, he didn’t go with copies of the FF’s powers.  If anything, he went with some X-Men abilities, gaining the ability to fly, shoot lightning/energy, create ice, and turn his skin to organic steel to gain superstrength and invulnerability.

Now, just gaining new powers isn’t enough to defeat the World’s Greatest Superteam as their comic book cover’s often refers to them as, so he put together a foursome of his own and even managed to capture the FF and the traitorous (to him) Lyja, gaining some honors  on the Skrull Throneworld.

But it turns out Paibok wasn’t the best of talent recruiters because one member of his new team was Devos the Devastator.  Devos was anti-war…in that he made it his mission to kill any being capable of waging war, and he had a really broad definition of what that meant.  And that guy really liked taking out Skrulls.  Apparently, inviting him to Throneworld was a really bad idea.  Since he upped and attacked the place, Paibok lost all his honors, the FF escaped, and Paibok generally bounces in and out of space prisons now.

If anything, his appearances from that point had more to do with his abilities as a master planner, showing up in a Drax the Destroyer mini-series and in various parts of the Annhilation story more as a plotter than a powerhouse.  But you know, that would make him a prime candidate for some sort of Secret Invasion.

You know, if that were a thing that was happening.