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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Except that Giant-Size Avengers #1 had the Whizzer say that he thought the Captain America he was in the All Winners Squad with was the original. There it was said to be Cap IV (the 50s Cap) but it was really Cap III (the Patriot).
 
Captain Comics said:

After the war, would the government need to pretend that Cap was the original Cap? They -- or Cap II -- could 'fess up then without hurting the war effort. If that happened, if it became common knowledge that the Captain Americas of 1945 to 1955 were replacements by, say, 1964, then you wouldn't need to change a word of Avengers #4.

I can't say that I appreciated Roy Thomas's penchant for retcons and revisionist history and reconciling old tales and connecting the dots ...

... because they all involved stories I haven't and will never read, in large part because they aren't and never were available to me.

Maybe he got a lot of fun out of all that work, but I sure didn't.

Well this one was Stan's fault for saying that Cap was frozen since 1945 and older readers knew better!

So what the Whizzer said doesn't agree with me, but it doesn't agree with Marvel's now-official continuity, either. So what he said no longer counts!

Philip Portelli said:

Except that Giant-Size Avengers #1 had the Whizzer say that he thought the Captain America he was in the All Winners Squad with was the original. There it was said to be Cap IV (the 50s Cap) but it was really Cap III (the Patriot).
 

I guess Stan wanted him to be a young character. All they really had to do was say the super-soldier treatment retarded his aging. They had already used the amnesia ploy on Namor but they could have come up with something to explain his absence. Then they could have avoided all of the retcons about the later appearances of Cap.

Philip Portelli said:

Well this one was Stan's fault for saying that Cap was frozen since 1945 and older readers knew better!

ALL WINNERS 70th Anniversary Special #1 (10/09)
*Old Soldiers Never Die…”

Writer – Karl Kesel Art – Steve Uy

That’s a fun cover by Daniel Acuna!
I worry with covers like this that ‘new’ readers will not realise there’s new material in this kind of issue and pass it by on the shelves believing it just full of reprints…which of course most of this issue was…except for the 22 page excellent story we’re looking at here!

 

This is kind of a first in this Invaders thread, the first issue not to have Roy Thomas behind it…I know he wasn’t credited as writer of all the previous but up until now he was certainly the main influence.
It’s fascinating to see other people play in his sand pit.

 

We are dropped straight into the story, our heroes have been involved in a desperate struggle against the villains shown, Madame Death and the Future Man and in a very modern way, and we don’t really know who they are or what’s going on!
What is immediately noticeable is the make up of the ‘All-Winners Squad’ shown here, the original big three of the Invaders – Cap, Torch and Namor, as well as the later joining Miss America and the Whizzer but also the never before combined in the membership, Bucky and Toro!

 

Equally clear, especially for anyone having read What If #4…is that this is NOT our original Cap and Bucky!

“I, uh… I didn’t mean to –“, says ‘Cap’,
“You never do!” chides Namor!

Cap tries to explain matters to the press after their victory but flounders and Miss America chimes in adding a gossip overtone and it is clear that the public persona is different to the real team.

 

In their own rooms later the team discuss the comics created about their adventures and the breadth of artistic license they represent and we learn that ‘Cap’ is indeed Jeff Mace, once the Patriot and while he’s a loyal and hardworking hero…he doesn’t quite feel up to the measure of the Original he replaced.
The Whizzer and Miss America in their civilian identities and in their finest clothes take the night for a date.

 

The Whizzer admits to being jealous of Miss America and Cap but she explains that is all for publicity, in reality she’s still his gal.


The actual plot kicks in as a passing marine turns zombie and an area of New York becomes a warzone.
In amongst the chaos two zombielike figures appear…the original Captain America and Bucky!!


They relate their vague memories of their ‘deaths’ and inform our heroes that if others die in their place they can be restored to life.
“If you die – I Live!”
Toro and others are suspicious and the present Bucky, Fred Davis, is not happy to lay down his life before he’s fully lived it. Jeff Mace however sees his life in exchange for “the greatest man who ever lived?” as a bargain.

 

Madame Death is revealed as the villain behind this and we learn she wishes revenge on Mace as it was he who sent her beau, Future Man effectively to his death.
She had disguised devices of doom as our heroes in the hope to trick Mace to his death but as they exploded she dies and the fight is over.

 

Mace mentions a friend of his that might help the team with a headquarters, Miss America gives the press a new angle as she openly and blatantly kisses the Whizzer and Namor informs Mace that his offer to sacrifice himself was so honorable and heroic that he had a new respect for his as a man and as Captain America and the story fades out as Mace writes up his journalistic piece and ponders over the new headquarters which will be housed in a building that will be known as…the Baxter building.

 

Artist Steve Uy I don’t think I’d met before but his painted artwork here is a pleasure to experience, there is a cinematic quality and a historical accuracy here that fits very well. My only criticism is that the Whizzer’s cowl whilst looking realistically tight etc is shown as having a mysteriously plain jewel like motif on the forehead…we know it should actually be a mongoose-head but clearly no-one told Uy that.

 

I’m sure this battle is lifted from an original All-Winners Squad wartime issue and I am sure I read it was tweaked slightly but rehash or otherwise, the battle is not the important bit.

 

So, Jeff Mace, the Patriot is the shield slinger here…we’ve bypassed William Naislund the Spirit of ’76 all together…but then, this isn’t a retread of the What If but set alter…

 

The scene between Bob Frank and Madeline Joyce on their date gives both more character in those two pages than several decades of other appearances….and I still mourn the fact that they weren’t Quicksilver and Scarlet Witches’ parents…..Madeline is really shown as being a major player in the team and it’s even she who realises that this can’t be much of a ‘trick’ as the majority of the world at large believe their Cap and Bucky to be the originals.
Madame Death refers to Cap’s death and his ‘NOT-death” in an interesting easter egg comment.
The link to the early days of the Baxter Building is another knowing nod to future continuity and I liked it.

 

I read this story as part of the contents of the Captain America Patriot trade and I must say I love it. From the text piece included in that trade from Karl Kesel the experience of this tale led to the mini that I will cover next…

 

I haven’t seen or read any of the original features of any other 70th Anniversary issues and I’m assuming none were particularly Invaders-centric like this one…?

Come back for …Captain America Patriot #1

Future Man and Madame Death are from the book-length All-Winners Squad story in All-Winners Comics #21, Winter 1946-47. The GCD's page on the issue has detailed synopses. It says the story was reprinted in Marvel Super-Heroes #17 and, recently, in Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age All-Winners Comics #4.

After the war Miss America started wearing glasses in her Miss America identity. She has them on the cover of #21 but not on the cover of #20.

The cover-image element of Cap and Bucky on a motorcycle with Bucky holding a machine gun might be after the covers of Captain America Comics #27 and/or All Select Comics #4.

"Come back for …Captain America Patriot #1"

My copy of the TPB arrived yesterday!

Wow, Pete!
Have a read of the above first!
Great timing!

Actually, I have to say that I think it's a really good TPB.

Not only does it contain the What If? tale which is a very detailed and 'important' Double-Size issue but it also contains the 22 page new adventure cont5ained in this All-Winners 70th Anniversary issue which are great in themselves AS WELL as the four issue PATRIOT series. .. and as I'm about to cover I think that's a really good  and well crafted series.

From the cover of the trade you probably wouldn't realise the quality of it's contents...calling it 'Captain America Patriot' and with that cover  - it looks a bit to me like 'Captain America wears another different uniform cuz he's fell out with the government-yawn'!

But I would say it's one of the best series and trades I've read in years....

.....we'll look deeper soon...

PowerBook Pete, the Mad Mod said:

"Come back for …Captain America Patriot #1"

My copy of the TPB arrived yesterday!

I remember Captain America: Patriot as being a pretty good series, and liking Jeff Mace more than I expected, too. I kept wondering who would buy such a thing ("Hey! This is old-timey! And it's not even the real Captain America!"), but looking at this board I guess there's more of a market than I would have guessed!

CAPTAIN AMERICA: PATRIOT #1 (09/10)
“Born On The 4th of July”

Writer – Karl Kesel Artist – Mitch Breitweiser
Colour artist – Bette Breitweiser

 

That is a beautiful cover, it has realism it has presence it has heart it also has a possibly unfortunate reliance on the Captain America name to sell it.


How many see this cover and this it’s about Steve Rogers wearing a different costume having fallen out with the government again…?


Those of us old enough to remember the Patriot link to Captain America may not have needed it– perhaps calling this series ‘Patriot: Captain America’ may have helped I don’t know.


Anyway, there he is, front and centre – the Patriot literally in the shadow of Captain America…

 

Inside and the story begins in July 1941 and where our narrator, meets up with wartime Captain America and is duly humbled while helping Cap against some Nazis.


“I’m just a private citizen following your lead!”


“You ask me, you’re not just a citizen…you’re a Patriot!”


While he’s contemplating that meeting we discover that our narrator is Jeff Mace, a reporter for the Daily Bugle.


Mace’s girlfriend Mary Morgan, is the usual sassy beauty and she supports Mace in his idea to become a costumed player, adding a different layer here, this is not your ‘my girlfriend mustn’t know I’m really a masked hero’ plotline as it is fairly obvious she could and did work it out herself.


Mace doesn’t get called up for the forces after Pearl Harbour but vows to work harder as the Patriot.


The most famous appearance of the Patriot is covered just as fleetingly as others and in newspaper headlines as we move on past the formation of the Liberty Legion...


By December 1943 girlfriend Mary Morgan and Mace discuss her alleged reported capture by mad Nazis and exposure to super-power tests that left her with enhanced hearing or ‘radar-vision’ prompting her to create her own version of Mace’s costume and join him as ‘Miss Patriot’.


That’s not a prospect Mace jumps at, keeping her at arms length and conspicuously NOT inviting her to join the Liberty Legion.


By mid 1945 Patriot is becoming almost surplus to requirements as Miss America and the Whizzer are invited to join the Invaders and he is left treated as a poor man's Captain America.


1946 and Mace is being debriefed by federal agents and discusses another time he met Captain America and the Invaders, now called the 'All-Winner's Squad'.


Mace relays how the heroes were fighting a synthetic bad guy (Adam II), trying to replace a local politician (JFK) leading to the death of Captain America. (As per What If#4)


The federal agents explain to Mace that the Captain America he saw dead was actually William Naslund – the second Captain America. With the Original having died well before that.


They follow it by offering Mace the opportunity to graduate from the Patriot to become Captain America, so the public would never know the great man had gone. --to carry on his work.


Jeff Mace is the Patriot. He says yes and tries on the uniform for the first time…

 

I love the meeting between Cap and Jeff Mace inspiring him to become the Patriot.

I also like that Mace works for not just any newspaper but the wartime Daily Bugle of Spider-man fame…little nods like this may seem clichéd to many but I like being rewarded for my knowledge with Easter Eggs like this.

 

The artwork is a joy, I’m not sure I’d like it for an Avengers issue or the like, but the darker film-noir 40s vibe it has seems perfect.


I’m presuming the list of headlines covering the Patriot’s exploits may be continuity points from actual wartime comics appearances of the Patriot back in the ‘Timely Comics’ days, I’m not sure but it gives the storyline some sense of depth and passing time.

The writing very effectively turn this into a Jeff Mace story and not just a faceless hero tale.
It’s a character piece and there’s more character in the first few pages for Mace than in several decades!

 

Foreshadowing of future storylines Patriot discusses with his Liberty Legion teammates that the Thin Man is actually the brains of the team and he’s just expected to lead them because of his ‘patriotic’ costume.

 

Did Mary Morgan really gain super-powers? It’s unclear if it’s not just a tall story she’s come up with so she can share the limelight with Mace…and I’m sure Miss Patriot must have been another actual comics character (?)…but why not 'MRS Patriot’ if she wanted to cement the relationship with her/our hero?

 

I was really glad to see the Liberty Legion members drawn as they had been originally, Jack Frost especially had suffered in his last depiction.

 

The female federal agent is not named here, but it would have helped if she was, just to give her a little extra prominence as she does become quite important to this whole series.


There is an authentic atmosphere to this series that makes it feel cinematic combined with a depth of characterisation that brings the players alive and immerses you in the tale.

Even down to each issue being billed as a ‘part’ rather than an issue or a chapter.


This is a quality product.

 

Come back for Part Two…"All Winners"

 

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