A ‘Giant-Size’ beginning, 41 regular issues ,one Annual, from the 1970s, a follow up 4-issue mini-series and some significant tales in Captain America and Namor before a mini revival in the new millennium…!

 

We will be starting in June 1975 – with Giant-Size Invaders #1 , a 30 page special written by Roy Thomas with art in the individual style of Frank Robbins and inked by Vince Colletta.


World War Two heroes Captain America and Bucky, the android Human Torch and partner Toro and Namor the Sub-Mariner find themselves thrown together against the Nazi villainy of Master Man and no less a figure than Winston Churchill helps form the …Invaders!

 

I’d love to know what memories anyone has of this series before I summarise it issue by issue….anyone up for it? (I’ll wait a bit for people to locate their issues if you’d like…)

 

(First question I’ll throw out there – anyone else notice the mistake on the cover of Invaders classic tpk #1)

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Yes, I like to refer to '90's comics as The Dark Age because not much good came out of it. Comics, in general, seemed to be mired in mediocrity if not downright bad storytelling. I remember getting this mini, genuinely excited to read The Invaders, a book I loved a decade before, only to find the insides so terrible that I had trouble finishing it!

I remember Dave Hoover doing a lot of DC work, I think. The Wanderers immediately come to mind. Marvel at the time wanted all of their Artists to emulate Todd McFarlane, which made all of their books look the same. Unfortunately, because other artists AREN'T Todd McFarlane, the end result just looked terrible.

The less said about this Invaders mini the better.

Even if Horton was run out of the scientific community (and from the looks of things, the guy who created Dynamic Man was far more eccentric), it seems odd to me that the original Torch remains so much more sophisticated than any of the androids used by the alien Kree or the futuristic Kang or Tomorrow Man.  At one point, Mark Gruenwald did a series of backup stories that made Kang a secret benefactor of Horton's, presumably to advance 20th century science for his own ends, but again, that just drew more attention to the fact that all the androids Kang had used over the years were powerful but crude tinker toys compared to the Torch, who was almost indistinguishable from an actual human being.

That raises an interesting "What If" -- what if the scientific advances of the Marvel Universe in the mid-20th century weren't stopped, but were allowed to develop? In other words, what if Erskine had lived, Horton's ideas gained traction, and so forth? And what if that's how we got Kang?

Mark, I agree wholeheartedly with you about the 90s in general and this mini in particular.
         When I returned to re-read the mini for this thread I genuinely couldn't remember much about it - other than I loathed it! I tried not to be too down on it and be - you know - balanced, but other than it had a good idea in restarting the team it just got so much wrong!

  
Mark Stanislawski said:

Yes, I like to refer to '90's comics as The Dark Age because not much good came out of it. Comics, in general, seemed to be mired in mediocrity if not downright bad storytelling. I remember getting this mini, genuinely excited to read The Invaders, a book I loved a decade before, only to find the insides so terrible that I had trouble finishing it!

The less said about this Invaders mini the better.

When Frankie Ray burst into flame in the Fantastic Four (a plot idea I never really liked) it was revealed that he was hera stepfather I think and from what I remember of that issue he did seem pretty bitter. I think a lot of it depends on how artificial the Torch was (is? Is he still dead or alive?). Frankenstien was made from pieces of dead people and you can argue that he is an artificial life form. For the Torch though as an android his flesh and all other organs would be some sort of synthetic or plastic. I think of him as something like Data from Star Trek.
Maybe back in the 1940's he ran afoul of mindset of the time. The US after all was a pretty conservative country back then.

Dave Elyea said:

It wasn't a great idea--supposedly, it was to show that the Vision had been created by a human "father" to live as a human being, thus making his relationship with the Scarlet Witch seem more plausible (hey, I didn't make this stuff up!), but as far as I was concerned, all it did was draw more attention to the fact that the original Torch was, and remains, the single most advanced android in the entire history of the Marvel Universe.  Well, maybe Dynamic Man in The Twelve was comparable, altho I assume, for no real reason, that the Torch was anatomically correct, but he was of similar vintage--just why was the secret to creating convincing artificial humans lost after the very early 1940s?

Frankie Raye was originally intended to be the biological daughter of Toro Raymond, and would have then inherited her flame powers from him.  John Byrne, who apparently never met an origin he couldn't over-complicate beyond human endurance, decided that instead of that, Frankie was the step-daughter of the occasionally dead Prof. Horton (has anyone here kept track of how often he died?  I lost track after around the third time.), and got her powers after being doused by a drum full of some unknown "android juice"--assuming that the Human Torch was a "classic S/F android" and NOT a robot that looks like a man, that was probably the basic chemical concoction that Horton grew the Torch from in that tube in the first place.  Somehow, this dousing gave her the same powers as the various Torches, altho how or why escapes me, since she wasn't an android like the Torch, or a mutant like Toro, so shouldn't being covered in an apparently highly flammable goo just cause her still-human body combust when she flamed on?

Her being the daughter or Toro or even the long lost descendent of the Torch and Spitfire does make more sense.

Dave Elyea said:

Frankie Raye was originally intended to be the biological daughter of Toro Raymond, and would have then inherited her flame powers from him.  John Byrne, who apparently never met an origin he couldn't over-complicate beyond human endurance, decided that instead of that, Frankie was the step-daughter of the occasionally dead Prof. Horton.

Very well said. I can't understand why he has this penchant for changing origins to make them more "realistic" or "plausible" or whatever, and regularly coming up with something that is just pointless. (Plus, as I often say ... whenever someone speaks of making comics 'realistic,' more often than not they mean doing something that takes the fun out of them.)

I recently remembered how much I enjoyed the What If? series and bought the first three trade paperback collections (still waiting for volume 2). I discovered that volume 1 contains the reprint of What If? #4 (AUG77), "What If the Invaders Had Stayed Together after World War II?". Does anyone else have access to this story?

Yes, I have a trade with the first six issues, although I'm not 100% sure exactly where it is.

Richard Willis said:

I recently remembered how much I enjoyed the What If? series and bought the first three trade paperback collections (still waiting for volume 2). I discovered that volume 1 contains the reprint of What If? #4 (AUG77), "What If the Invaders Had Stayed Together after World War II?". Does anyone else have access to this story?

In the Fantastic Four issues by Roy Thomas in which Frankie appeared she was portrayed as having a strong aversion to the Torch's using his powers. In one issue when he flames on and flies off a caption had her realising that (quote from memory) "all this has happened to her - before!" This wasn't followed up on, and between Thomas's and Byrne's runs she only appeared a couple of times. Thomas's issues didn't indicate she was Toro's daughter, but as I recall a letters column somewhere raised the possibility of Toro's having children and the reply referred to this as an idea Thomas had had in mind when writing Fantastic Four. The line I quoted suggested that her aversion to the Torch's flame was connected to a trauma in her past. That Thomas might have intended her to have inherited the Torch's powers hadn't occurred to me as a possibility. I suppose the trauma might have been intended as an occasion when she flamed on herself, but it could instead have been a time when she saw her father flame on, perhaps as a little girl, which would explain why she didn't consciously remember it.(1)

 

When John Byrne was starting out he drew an FF story about a flaming lady which can be read at his website (click on "Galleries"/"The Early Days"/"Fan Fiction"/"FF Fan Fiction 1973"). His design for the flaming Frankie Raye was taken from this. I've posted an interpretation of the story here.

 

(1) Thomas had earlier written Sub-Mariner #14 (spoiler warning), in which Toro turned up brainwashed by the Mad Thinker into thinking he was the original Torch. After recovering his memory he sacrificed his life to avenge the Torch's death at the Thinker's behest in Fantastic Four Annual #4.

An older "Mister Raymond" with limited flame powers appeared in a couple of issues of Power Pack in the 80s.

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