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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UNION JACK #3 (02/99)
Ben Raab - Writer – John Cassaday- Art
Cover Art – John Cassaday
   "Fate"
'It is Cold and Dark and he Cannot fight them..."
Another good, simple but effective cover, this time with a white background which makes me suddenly realise that the three-issue mini has background colours for the covers of Red, Blue and White.

My OCD desperatly wants this to have been Red, White and the Blue but you get the idea eh?


The story reopens where we left with new Baron Blood/Kenneth Crichton trying to bite the neck of paralysed 'best-friend' Union Jack.
This produces a mouthful of holy-water that UJ has had hidden as part of the uniform since Lord Falsworth's day. Nice touch.


Joseph tries to appeal to his friend who pushes him away, with strength and disappears into the night as escape.
UJ catches up with getaway truck manned by vampires who drop a "We have a party to crash, mein freund" clue.

Baroness Blood collects the Holy Grail from Kenneth who takes him into her... bedroom...?


Joey's friend arrives to see how frustrated he is at this point and by reminding him of his father reinvigorates his determination,
"That's why you put on that silly costume?"
"That's why I fight harder."
It then dawns on Joseph that the "--party to crash" will be Jaqueline (Spitfire) Crichton's Christmas party at Falsworth Manor.


While Lady Crichton flounces off to prepare UJ takes on Vampires with bombs in the Manor.
(There is a large panel reminiscent of all those covers that have a horde of enemies crowding in from top left against cowering hero bottom left. Where DID that image originate?)


One of the bombs does explode but innocents are saved not least by Spitfire pitching in.
This is the first and best heroic thing Jaqueline has done in this mini-series - in fact she has been written as aloof and pompous which flew in the face of previous portrayals - presumably this was to make this a kind-of redemption arc but it still makes her come across as less-than heroic.


Union Jack follows the trail to Glastonbury Abbey where as the sun begins to come up Baroness Blood drinks from the Holy Grail infront of a huge crowd of vampires expecting a similar drink will propel them into imortality.
She breaks the Grail and the sun destroys all the vampires!! She has betrayed the crowd.
UJ holds vampire-Kenneth in his arms as he turns to dust. Only the Baroness is immune and only she survives, "Kenneth Crichton has done his part. For helping me, he will live on. And I shall live Forever."
We then learn what she means by this - eight months later, the Baroness is very...pregnant...!


The issue and the series closes with the burial of Kenneth and Joseph explains that being Union Jack was not Kenneth's family destiny but it was...fate.


I think the offspring of this Baroness Blood cropped up in the Captain Britain and MI13 series (?)


Not a bad mini this, with very creditable art and progress with the characters.
It did not lead to an ongoing series... but there was another mini-series...


Come Back...

It's getting a bit repetitive with Union Jack/Joey Chapman always being involved with the Chichton family drama and vampires as if that's all he could do!

UNION JACK #1 (11/06)
Writer - Christos Gage Penciller - Mike Perkins
Inker- Andrew Hennessy
Cover Art – Mike Perkins & Andrew Hennessy
  "Enemies of the Crown"


So, Union Jack is back and Joseph Chapman is still the man behind the mask. He seems to have changed from 'strawberry-blond' in the last series to mousey-dark' haired this series and we are told he has ended his relationship with Spitfire (presumably it began well after the last series as they did not seem that close there did they?) and has 'left the Invaders'.


He begins this series battling vampires again though, so not everything has changed.


The story itself begins at the Thames-side HQ of MI5 in London and we are straight into a virtual precurser to Paul Cornel's Captain Britain and MI13 territory - he even had the Captain change his iconic uniform to a rehash of this Union Jack costume but that's a thread for another day...!


MI5 agent 'Gavin' and UJ have a history (does anyone know it? Was this another reference to the 'Knights of Pendragon' series or something else?) and they discuss this as UJ is taken into an underground (presumably secret) level where he is added to other heroes to form a kind of anti-terrorist team that consists of, SHIELD agent Contessa Allegra Valentina De La Fontaine from the USA, Sabra, from Israel (in a 'new' costume?) and a 'new' Arabian Knight from Saudi Arabia.
(Again this reminds me of Cornel's grouping behind Captain Britain - where do you think he got his ideas from?)


Predictably, Sabra and the Knight do not get on.


They are introduced to a captured agent who had infiltrated the computers (?) Farouk Al-Fasaud. (Didn't he battle the FF when Crystal and the Ms. Marvel/Thingette took over from Reed and Sue? If so - he looked very different. Why make this connection and not make it correctly?)


We learn the terrorist bad group (R.A.I.D) has enlisted a group of 'C'-list villains to attack London.
UJ suggests (sensibly) calling in the Avengers or similar but we are told they (and everyone else!) are unavailable, "It seems they're off on one of their Secret Infinity Wars or whatever it is they do."
"Right, Lets get to work then."


Trying to get a lead on RAID agents Machete and Zaran our heroes seek out their old mate Batroc (zee leepair) who refuses to turn 'traitre' but leaves a phone with contacts in it.


Sabra calls in disguise and UJ and Val catch up on each other's love lives.


The Arabian Knight puts his foot in it and we learn Sabra once had a son who was killed when his school-bus was ambushed - these two don't like each other but they stop fighting and race off to the Houses of Parliament and fight the RAID guys instead.
Injuries do not occur that should - UJ just had his cause on his side - and the Knight has had his predecessor's flying carpet made into clothing as armour. (?)


The issue closes as explosions break out all over London despite Union Jack trying to use the Media to warn everyone,
"You're the protector of the common man are you? Then protect them from this."


The artwork is very good, the backgrounds being very detailed and authentic views of London ( not heard of Mike Perkins) and the story is okay, Union Jack could kind of be any British do-gooder really though - which is probably why and how he could be so easily exchanged when the Captain Britain and MI13 pitch came around.


Having said that it is really refreshing to see him fighting anything other than Nazis or Vampires!

Has anyone else ever seen this series?


Next Issue "London Falling"


Come Back...

I remember liking this mini very much as they were finally doing something important with Union Jack and made Sabra interesting at last!

I thought that the new Arabian Knight had a lot of potential but he was obviously inspired by the character of Sayid from LOST.

"Has anyone else ever seen this series?"

Not I.

UNION JACK #2 (12/06)
Writer - Christos Gage Penciller - Mike Perkins
Inker- Andrew Hennessy
Cover Art – Mike Perkins & Andrew Hennessy
  "London Falling Part 2"
So, London is being evacuated and RAID are attacking. Union Jack blames himself for adding to the chaos, "It's not your fault Union Jack"


"Did you hear his voice? See his eyes? In the past, union Jack was a man to reckon with but this...... this is a man to Fear."


UJ fights Shockwave, Jackhammer and Jack O'Lantern in the Thames tunnel,
"Shockwave, It's Captain Britain!"
"That's not Captain Britain you tosser. It's Union Jack." - Best line in the book!


A previous battle with Shang-Chi is referenced which I enjoy and we learn how clever and forward thinking Chapman is in his UJ role nowadays, this is not the picked-up-an-old-costume fighter any more - this is a considered crusader.


Injured but ignoring it, UJ moves on to the next threat at Tower Bridge.
there is a full page downshot of explosions at Tower Bridge that is beautiful - Perkins the artist has really done his homework and he's very good at his craft - howcome I've never herd of him before or since?


Sabra proves herself a worthy teammate as her enemies debate her abilities, "She' s Mossad-- Israeli Intelligence, she probably knows how much your implants cost."


Sabra does get her eyes injured and Union Jack directs her flight power in a neat scene ending in the vain female villain giving up rather than risk getting caught in an explosion and getting scarred for life - vanity eh?


Elsewhere, Heathrow Airport and the Contessa and Arabian Knight are trying to prevent a plane disaster. Boomerang loses out to the Contessa, "They don't make you Deputy Director of SHIELD for having a 'nice rack'"


Arabian Knight tries to ground the plane by tearing into it's undercarriage as it tries to take off to attack Buckingham Palace as Union Jack and Sabra arrive and crash on in.


The plane is stopped and UJ gets out to sudden realisation that his team has been brainwashed into obeying anew enemy who has arrived - the Corruptor! (Who appears to be a blue skinned version of the Purple Man!?)
He orders the other good guys to attack - "Destroy Union Jack... Then All Of London!" - I have no idea why he hasn't mind-controlled Union Jack (something to do with the circuitry/insulation within UJ's costume as he mentioned a few times this issue?)


The background artwork continues to be glorious and realistic with the characters being kind of foreground as if in an animated film. Nice effect.


The line about the confusion as to Captain Britain or Union Jack is not only funny - it's apt as this could almost be retconned into Captain Britain and MI13 Zero-Year with only a little tweak.


Not very 'Invaders' in that UJ is a tad generic but very British which is great for a native like me - even the idioms are correct! Love it!.
This is a far more enjoyable and better presented book than I had remembered.


Next Issue "It Gets Worse!"


Come Back...

UNION JACK #3 (01/07)
Writer - Christos Gage Penciller - Mike Perkins
Inker- Andrew Hennessy
Cover Art – Mike Perkins & Andrew Hennessy
  "London Falling Part 3"
Another quality cover, Union Jack and his team, very dynamic very detailed. I like it.


The issue opens with the exact question I was asking last time - answered, the Corrupter doesn't mind-control UJ as he's 'just a glorified acrobat. Not much use to me." and plans instead to murder him infront of citizens of England.
"I can honestly say I never thought I'd miss fighting vampires."


Union Jack ,manages to position himself, as he's being attacked by his allies, in the right place that they miss him and hit the Corrupter himself.
Refreshingly, the Corrupter being rendered unconscious does NOT snap our heroes back to their senses.

He does use their anger and suggestibility against them and sets each one against each other.

Nicely done. "Blimey"


Jack gets an endorsement from a bystander boosting his ego and confidence and returns to the HQ.
There, arch-villainess Ecstasy arrives to free the prisoners. as she takes her power from 'a dimension of darkness' the ideal weapon against her seems to be the Arabian Knight's scimitar...Jack sets out to retrieve it.
The Knight is not up to a fight and the scimitar will only work for him while he lives - the solution is simple if drastic, "There is a way. kill me."


UJ decides he'll try another way and radios Captain America for info on Ecstasy. "She steals her power froma hero named Cloak." - (Really? I must pick up some Cloak and Dagger stuff - I remember their origin/debut stuff but little since.) Cap advises a large amount of Biological Energy may help and UJ has an actual idea.
Union Jack introduces Ecstasy to energy-villain Fassaud and "Looks like your darkness ate something that disagreed with it. Must've gone home to sleep it off." He knocks out the powerless, naked Ecstasy in victory.


In a later briefing our recovered heroes are informed that a Dreadnaught robot has been smuggled into London. We are reminded Nick Fury beat one on his own but this is a newer model and the team catches up with this much improved robot monsterous problem destroying London and that's the cliff-hanger.


So, wonderful art again, the characters have been used well, there is continuity with previous Marvel history and our titular hero has used brains and ingenuity rather than a secret/magical device to subdue enemies.
This is a good solid team book.
Shame there's only one issue left...(?)


"Next: Endgame!"


Come Back...

UNION JACK #4 (02/07)
Writer - Christos Gage Penciller - Mike Perkins
Inker- Andrew Hennessy
Cover Art – Mike Perkins & Andrew Hennessy
  "London Falling Part 4"
And so the series closes out with another quality cover. I say again - we should see more of this Mike Perkins chap.


The issue opens with our heroes battling this new huge Dreadnaught from their flying SHIELD car.
Sabra is covered in liquid nitrogen and Union Jack suggests a laser-pen to cut her an airway and he and the Arabian Knight attack Dreadnaught. Their hope is that the Knight's magic sword can cut it. The knight is knocked out, Sabra returns to the fray and pulls open a flap in it's side, cut by the sword.


UJ and the Contessa plan to throw a bomb inside the dreadnaught (as he and Captain America had done some time before)
It doesn't work out that way and as Dreadnaught bears down on our heroes - a wrecking ball hits their enemy! Local construction workers are fighting back to help their hero-for-the-common-man Union Jack! UJ thanks them and rejoins the fight, "Time you learned a lesson, my friend. Don't mess with workin' men." and rams a flagpole (a Union Jack flagpole naturally) in.
The aim is successful and Trafalgar Square / London is saved.


A little later Union Jack is being patched up in hospital and (minor/unknown/obscure) UK Marvel hero Micromax relieves his duties and informs UJ that his international allies are leaving.
Everyone says their goodbyes - even Sabra and the Arabian Knight grudgingly praise each other.
"Enjoy your rest, Union Jack, you've earned it."


As UJ sleeps the TV news relays how calls for the resignation of the Director General have begun and as he wakes (Love the dream- "Nobody expects the Spanish Inquisition!") it seems Gavin - the government liasion UJ has been working under - is next in line for that big political position.
"Joey Chapman, you bloody Idiot."


After that Union Jacks races to Gavin's office , "I'm on to you, Gavin."
It turns out Gavin had been less than honest - he said the USA heroes were unreachable at the beginning of this story but UJ got hold of Captain America when he needed to, first try, Excalibur and Micromax and others locally were off on 'pointless' missions , that Gavin sent them on!
"You planned this. The attacks, the outcome..." - the plan being to undermine the Director General enough to discredit her and look good himself!


Eventually Gavin agrees, "You have to admit, a man dressed in the flag makes an excellent Martyr."
UJ says he'll expose Gavin but Gavin explains the futility of that position and suggests he backs down, "For once, do the smart thing."
So Union Jack does ... he punches Gavin, "Go To HELL!" and he drags him before the press intent on spilling the beans... a career defining moment for Union Jack.
It's a good ending.


Again, the artwork has been really good in this series, the plot twists nice to see and the symbolism in this issue powerful.


This entire mini-series smacks of a dry-run for the Captain Britain and MI13 series which adds to the multi-national team and deepens the 'Britain's hero representing the people' - it also explains why Captain Britain changed his familiar costume for a mask-less - Union-Jack-like one for that series.


A shame this did not lead to bigger and better things for Union Jack or stronger Invaders links between then and now...
...Now...?


...There's a new Invaders series isn't there..? (Jeff?)


We have a lot still to discuss in this 'Complete Invaders' thread...!


Come Back...

"There's a new Invaders series isn't there..? (Jeff?)"

Yes, indeedy do there is, the ninth issue of which ships today.

I'm champing at the bit to get into it.

Richard Mantle said:

I say again - we should see more of this Mike Perkins chap.

This Wiki article lists his work:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mike_Perkins

I'm going to be out-of-town for ten days or so meaning no access for full issue reviews - so it'll be after that that I'll begin the New " Invaders" series - which it appears is CANCELLED after #12 !!??.

Makes it all the more 'traditional' I guess.

"...which it appears is CANCELLED after #12 !!??."

Dissappointing. I hadn't heard that. I didn't expect it to last forever, but longer than a year would ahve been nice.Looking forward to your return.

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