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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I read all these when they came out, and I still can't believe this particular incarnation of the team ever saw the light of day.  It's comforting to know that it's not just me.

NEW INVADERS  #6 (03/05)

“Oil & Water”

Writer – Allan Jacobsen    Art – C.P.Smith with Jorge Lucas

Scott Kolins cover shows the not-so-mystery guest-star as Wolverine is announced on the cover and the link to ‘Enemy Of The state’ described as a ‘Tie-In’.

 

The action is back in the war-torn country of Mazikhandaria and with the contingent of New Invaders that did not go off to England for the last story.

 

US Agent, although he still wants to call himself Captain America and still dresses just like him, the Blazing Skull, described as ‘mystically empowered’ for the first time here and Namor,  back in his winged black suit contrary to the cover image.

 

We soon learn that with the failure of the previous nazi-badguys, the axis mundi’s pterorists, Hydra takes an active hand and Baron Strucker an active interest.

 

Strucker is not happy that the scientist who had created the pterorists (which I’m sorry, no amount of re-reading can explain to me) Eckhardt must be assassinated so his secrets die with him, despite being in the hands of the other side.

 

We flip to see the Invaders attacking and capturing Eckhardt, who on fear of his own life, shuts his creations down and submits.

US Agent is thanked by the locals, and is called ‘Captain America’ which Namor takes exception to.

(You can guess where that’s going can’t you?)

Blazing Skull basks in the victory and quips with ally Sulumor (‘hilariously’ calling him ‘Charlie Tuna’) who is suddenly skewered to death by Wolverine’s claws!

Enter the guest star.

Namor pursues Wolverine and the others take Eckhardt to the Infiltrator ship.

Wolverine and Namor’s battle is violent and Namor gets himself dangerously stabbed by Wolvie’s claws before Wolvie is taken away by his side and Namor is saved by US Agent.

 

Thankful for John Walker’s idea that ‘no one gets left behind’ Namor makes friends with him

(you knew that was coming didn’t you?)

We are told Wolverine’s story is contained in Wolverine #20-25 and as far as I know this near murder of Namor is never mentioned between them again…?

A Tie-In is not a crossover then?

 I presume that means ‘Enemy of the State’ can be enjoyed without necessarily reading this issue. I’m not sure if this issue can be read without reference to 'Enemy of the State' however.

 

Strucker refers to his leniency with Herr Nacht ‘out of deference to your father’ – so is this the Herr Nacht of the Byrne-Namor issues or is this his son…I can’t tell.?

In that scene there is another super-female-baddie in green with an  eagle motif corset who I don’t recognise, I don’t think it’s supposed to be  Warrior Woman, perhaps some version of Viper or Madame Hydra or something…?

 

Introduced as the Invaders there is a mini roll call of – Namor King of Atlantis, US Agent Super Soldier, Blazing Skull Burning Immortal and in the same font ‘Sulumor Atlantean Advisor’.

So does that mean Sulumor is an actual full-blown member of the Invaders here?

I know events make the question moot very quickly – but I would like to know if he really did ‘count’ or not!

So Namor and the US Agent find common nobility in each other – but Walker is still NOT Captain America and Namor doesn’t call him that either.

 

The art is almost Kirby homage and aside from the strange shading is quite a bit clearer than other issues have been – for once the lights look like they’re on.

Namor actually looks much more like Namor, facially and his black-suit look works better here, especially his glider wings. Wolverine is depicted in wife beater and jeans and that ridiculous hairdo of his.

 

Difficult to tell the difference between a mind-controlled Wolverine (as I presume he is here) and an ordinary Wolverine and there is no real attempt at any characterisation of him here at all.

 

The only ‘original’ Invader present here is Namor and he comes over as very easily beaten in these pages, I would have liked more  of his power on show, they could still have had the ‘respect’ moment between him and US Agent without Wolverine defeating Namor so easily.

 

It strikes me that Baron Strucker would have made a great arch-nemesis for the Invaders – rather than always the Red Skull, but he never really engages them in any memorable storylines does he?

 

What is good is that this is a ‘done-in-one’ story and in terms of this as an ongoing series the spotlight needed to be shared between heroes, but to still having no characterisation – again – of Tara is tiresome.

Come back, for the beginning of the final arc of this series…..

So Namor got stabbed and they never mentioned it again?

Not that I can see Mark - but my X-Men reading is very light and I have not read the 'Enemy of the State' storyline but considering Namor spent a lot of time with them when the X-Men moved to Utopia - he never seemed to hold a grudge against Logan.

But as I say my reading is not comp[rehensive when it comes to X-Men - so I can only say  I believ that's the case.

Mark S. Ogilvie said:

So Namor got stabbed and they never mentioned it again?

I would think that there would be a lot of people in the MU nursing scars and thinking very bad thoughts about Wolverine. Some of them big guns like Namor and Hulk. But as long as his sales are good, he will always be Mr. Popularity!

Richard Mantle said:

Difficult to tell the difference between a mind-controlled Wolverine (as I presume he is here) and an ordinary Wolverine and there is no real attempt at any characterisation of him here at all.

Yes, in the Enemy of the State storyline, Wolverine is being mind-controlled by HYDRA.

Doing horrible things while mind controlled is not something I'd hold against anyone.

NEW INVADERS  #7 (04/05)

“Cruel & Unusual”

Writer – Allan Jacobsen    Art – C.P.Smith

Scott Kolins cover shows the US Agent as Captain American with ubiquitous big-gun.

I think this was the beginning of an intended series highlighting Invaders one per issue and would probably have included the entire team by its intended end – if this series was not cancelled soon.

 

As it is it’s indicative of this entire series, dull, dark, muddy and annoyingly incorrect (why oh why is he STILL shown in a Captain America suit?)

 

We begin with a virtual reality dreamscape where the thin man is trying to get secrets from the captured Eckhardt’s mind in a reenactment of when he apparently executed the three villains that collectively produced the original Agent Axis.

 

Nia and the Fin remonstrate with him, not happy with the ethics of the Thin Man’s techniques.

 

Spitfire the Torch and Namor discuss Namor’s injuries from Wolverine and that the Torch now leads the Invaders.

 

The Thin Man’s origin is revisited where we learn about the utopian society of Kalahia and the strangely – thin – occupants there, mercilessly destroyed by the Nazis.

 

We also learn that Captain America brought the Thin Man to justice after he killed Agent Axis and the Thin Man willingly went to prison where he meted out his own justice on the inmates in secret.

 

The interrogation of the Nazis borders on torture as it appears the Torch and friends are about to discover it…they actually walk in on android Tara posing naked for the rest of the Invaders Team, much to the disgust of papa-Torch.

 

Captain America caps (!) the issue off by arriving and announcing to the Thin Man that he’s there to shut his operation down.

 

Art wise it’s just as it was before the assist last issue of  Jorge Lucas (I’ve just realised his name – that can’t be a real one can it?) it’s all vey stylised and vague dark and  confusing with Namor again depicted out of his wet-suit and just in his trunks.

 

The origin of the Thin Man  is explored in more depth than we’ve seen before and the art shows the Kalahians as much more alien/ethereal and there is a feeling here that the destruction of their secret city was too easy and perhaps there was an intention to bring the residents of Kalahia back at a later date…?

 

Again the art jars the reader out of the story - at the end the arrival of Captain America, because the US Agent wears the same costume it is unclear if this is Steve Rogers or John Walker who has arrived and any presence that Steve usually brings is lost.

 

On its own this is not much of an issue, as part of a long series it may have had some more redeeming factors but at this point it’s a dull read…again. 

Oh and  we learn that characterless Tara doesn’t feel embarrassed in her nudity in front of her teammates …again, we’d been made aware of that before. – Oh and the Torch feels a fatherly duty to her…again...- we knew that before too!

 

Come back for the penultimate (hurrah!) issue of this series…

I remember it did seem to me that the kalaharians were defeated rather easily, when the Thin Man alone gives them fits.

NEW INVADERS  #8 (05/05)

“Cruel & Unusual”

Writer – Allan Jacobsen    Art – C.P.Smith

Scott Kolins cover shows the Blazing Skull in the second of a series of solo covers, again presumably originally expected to include the whole team but curtailed after next issue due to cancellation.

 

I find the placement of the hands here slightly odd as they cover the crossed bones over the Blazing Skull’s chest – marking out his costume, without it his blazing head looks very similar to a variant of a Ghost Rider cover and I do wonder if there was any confusion.

 

The frustrating dull murky colouring is still present which still does no favours for any of the cover stars.

 

The title here is or rather should be ‘Cruel and Unusual’ part 2 of 3 but actually it only has the story title as ‘Cruel and Unusual’ inside and not on this cover at all.

 

The story begins in Antarctica where Meranno the U-man is terrorising surface dwellers and reveling in it.

 

Continuing on from last issue the Infiltrator is turned over to the newly arrived Captain America (the real one, you remember?).

The Thin Man professes confusion in his own actions  as the Human Torch explains that he now knows that people the Thin Man said he was allied with, such as Red Raven etc (from back in  issue 2) were never working with him at all.

 

We hear what Meranno is planning, to set of a nuclear device at the pole and flood the surface world with melted ice caps.

US Agent and Cap argue (again) as we learn that Cap never did turn down leading the Invaders as the Thin Man had claimed. 

Eventually the Invaders attack Meranno’s team, from the skies.

In the fight it is again shown that female-android-human-Torch Tara is not very humane. 

As the tide seems to be turning against our heroes, Meranno barks orders at Tara for her to “activate the crucible protocols” and it appears she is to self destruct - killing the Invaders,

“You were to gain their confidence and then eliminate them.”

Tara appears to burn herself out and collapses only to have a vision of the Red Skull project around her.

“Guten Tag, Invaders

 “Meranno is insane” Namor is quite astute.

Blazing Skull’s comment when he faces both US Agent and Captain America. “It’s the attack of the clones!” – is just not funny is it?

When they attack Atlanteans, “We need some tartar sauce!”, still not funny.

Then “…and lemon wedges!”…is that starting to get there…?

 

So, let me get this right, the Thin Man sails too close to the wind, gets the jobs done but may be a bit too much of a  zealot for the Invaders collective stomachs…but other than that he’s an ok kind of a guy?

The Torch sums him up as “He isn’t a bad man. He just needs some help.”

 

Captain America actually does shout “Okay Axis, Here We Come!” here!! Hurrah!!

 

For once something happens here, the ‘truth’ about Tara starts coming out – can this really have been a surprise to anyone? - The Red Skull was Del Rusk, Del Rusk initiated the creation of this Tara android, didn’t he?…did no one see the possibility she might turn on them…really?

 

Still the art is dull and dank and murky, at least the heroes seem different from each other here and there does appear to be an attempt to make Cap and the US Agent look different to each other but it’s only tinkering with the thrust of the presentation which is still way too confused for description.

 

Come back next issue – at last – the end of this Invaders series, which had some good ideas but served them so poorly…”Cruel and Unusual Conclusion”

Man this sounds sad.

I remember expecting the Tara reveal at the time. It was, as you say, pretty predictable.

I also remember at the time pining for this title to be canceled. What they were doing to the Torch's personality, in particular, was criminal. I believe this was the beginning of a long slide for Hammond, where subsequent writers started writing him as unreliable/disloyal to the human race. For example, Rick Remender wrote him that way in Secret Avengers.

It's like when Jim Shooter wrote Hank Pym hitting Janet Van Dyne. I'm not condoning domestic violence, but he was crazy at the time, he only did it once and he paid for when Jan divorced him and the Avengers kicked him out (for other actions arising from the psychosis). But subsequent writers wrote Pym as a wife-beater for decades after. It was like all those writers started reading Avengers with that one Jim Shooter issue, and didn't know that Pym had had a long heroic career stretching back into the early 1960s and was instead forever defined by that one issue.

Similarly, it was like all subsequent Human Torch writers knew nothing about the character except his treatment in this series. It was annoying at first, and eventually became repugnant.

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