Anticipation for the MCU's SECRET INVASION on Disney+ is high, promising to escalate Ben Mendelsohn's screen time as Skrull leader Talos the Untamed. Have collectors been sleeping on one of the cheapest keys of recent memory?

The Looming Skull Renaissance

2019's Captain Marvel film sparked controversy before it even opened when review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes had to put a halt to their Audience Score interface when it became clear that a smear campaign was underway weeks before the first preview screenings. Despite a divided fandom, the film held onto the coveted "Certified Fresh" assessment and its reputation has actually improved over time (possibly in contrast to how poorly Phase Four films have been received). But even among detractors, Ben Mendelsohn's performance as Skrull leader Talos the Untamed was universally praised.

The Australian actor who first came to prominence as a teen actor in the excellent coming-of-age drama, The Year My Voice Broke, found a late career reinvigoration playing complex villains in a broad selection of TV shows and films that includes Ready Player One and the best-reviewed Star Wars film of the past 30 years, Rogue One.

By the time Captain Marvel opened, audiences were conditioned to expect Mendelsohn's signature, nasty villainy –which afforded an opportunity for surprise that has made Talos a popular MCU character. His subsequent (uncredited) appearance in Spider-Man: Far From Home, and his pending status as Nick Fury's co-headliner in the next Disney+ series, Secret Invasion, along with the recent revelation that the Kree-Skrull War will be a factor in the forthcoming Marvels film (and a likely plot point to the introduction of the Fantastic Four) showcases an ongoing role in the MCU for Talos and for Skrulls in general.

And that brings us to the topic at hand: Why is the undisputed first appearance of a popular character who has already proven consequential to the ongoing plot of multiple MCU projects available in CGC 9.8 for an FMV of $60?

That's right! As of this writing Hulk #418 Collector's Edition has a 9.8 FMV of $60 with a 1-year average of $71, 90-day average price of $59, and sales within the last month averaging $48. Since CGC has increased their prices, it will cost you more than $48 to send, grade, and get a comic back from them. So if you bought one of those $48 9.8s you basically paid for the grading, but got the comic for free.

The die-cut Collector's Edition has a lot of white ink on the cover that is very prone to fingerprints, dirt, and smudging, so the 370 9.8s among the 500 total graded copies (there is also a single 9.9) might not spike much percentage-wise as more copies get submitted.  Interestingly, the standard edition of Hulk #418  is a bit more expensive, boasting a $90 FMV, with the 30-Day average going slightly above at $97, and the Newsstand Editions of the standard and collectors editions are assessing similar values.

This comic did experience some spec interest back in December of 2018 when Mendelsohn's casting in Captain Marvel was first confirmed –which you can read about in Matt Tuck's article from back then, right here on GoCollect. And while the investment potential of the first appearance of Talos should in-and-of-itself be enough to elevate the value well above where it's at, there are actually other points of significance.

The Peter David story within this issue is one of the weirdest from his long run on Hulk. Professional side-kick, Rick Jones, is set to marry girlfriend Marlo, who it turns out has an unwanted sex tape out in the ether (making this the first-ever comic book mention of that early 90s phenomenon). With Rick upset, she makes a deal with the devil (literally Mephisto) to erase it from existence but the seating arrangements at a wedding that is literally filled with Kree, Skrulls, and most of the cosmic superheroes cause drama and then the devil demands his due.

Hulk eventually defeats Mephisto and saves the wedding. And who is the officiant of the ceremony? None other than Father Peter David. Gary Frank drew writer Peter David into the issue, making this a great candidate for a Peter David signature since it's his first depiction in comics.

But wait! There's more! This issue also has an unofficial version of Neil Gaiman's DEATH OF THE ENDLESS as a major plot catalyst.

While Gary Frank's rendition hides her face, the wardrode is ubiquitous, and when you take into consideration that it was Gary Frank who would eventually bring Alan Moore's Watchmen characters officially into the mainstream DC universe with Doomsday Clock #1, there's an element of memetic legitimacy to this completely unsanctioned appearance of everybody's favorite immortal goth girl.

It's no secret that many Gaimanverse collectors are absolute completists, and this extends beyond comics helmed by Neil, himself, to non-canonical appearances and even fanzines.

You can see in the image above that there are three panels (strewn about the last two pages of the comic) featuring Death. The Ankh around her neck is much more prominent on the original artwork, but likely fearing copyright infringement litigation, the editor saw fit to have the colorist hide the majority of her necklace so that only the loop at the top is visible, and assumed hidden under her tank top.

There is also a fun wordplay on the fact that Marvel's depiction of Death, which is a completely different character from DC's, was the love interest of Thanos.

Taking all of that into consideration, $60 is a very low threshold for investment. What do you think? What role do you see for Talos or the Skrulls in Marvel's future? Please comment below, and don't forget to give this column a "Like".

This blog is written by freelance blogger Matt Kennedy: Matt Kennedy is owner of Gallery 30 South and author of Pop Sequentialism: The Art of Comics. The first comic he bought on the newsstand was Werewolf by Night #32 which he somehow managed to keep in good enough condition to get it graded 9.0 forty years later. Please follow him @popsequentialism on Instagram & Twitter and visit his website:

Any perceived investment advice is that of the freelance blogger and does not reflect advice on behalf of GoCollect