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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Invaders (v3) 01 (01/19)
Writer - Chip Zdarsky Art - Carlos Magno & Butch Guice
Editor - Tom Brevoort Cover Art - Butch Guice & Romulo Fajado Jr
  “War Ghosts"
The actual cover to #1 amid all the variants doesn't have a logo so forgive me, I'probably shpouldve used the trade cover for this entry as you get the full atmosphere I think.
What is noticable is the byline star-billings - "Captain America-Namor-Winter Soldier" even though the Human Torch is featured on this cover he doesn't get billed and ... no love for Toro!


That is one punked-up Namor isn't it? He's been recently featured in the Avengers series and had his own chapters in the 'Best Defense' crossover - which I have read and are not really necessary reading.


What is necessary to know is that Namor has lost patience with the surface world and is trying to pull together all undersea races to stand strong against oppression. That's kind of it. Oh and he doesn't look like the Movie Aquaman to cash in on the popularity - it's all integral to the characterisation, okay!?
The story itself begins in flashback to WWII where during a battle the Invaders and some (previously unseen/unknown?) soldiers they are friends with are in the firing line - one friend, Tommy, is missing. Namor (anyone else glad to see the guy back in in his trunks?) , delierious having been away from water for too long promises to save him but arrives too late - Tommy is shot dead which devestates Namor.


We kick back into the present as Namor is woken from his regal sleep by his current Atlantean advisor Machan and prepares to take on the surface world!


Elsewhere, Avengers mountain to be precise (which is a buried dead Celestial - see the current Avengers series) Captain America is training and reminiscing by wi-fi with Jim Hammond (the Original Torch) who is researching their shared history for a book. It is discussed how as, despite being an android Jim still fogets events.
Recent events (Avengers #9 where Namor allegedly killed employees of Roxxon over sea-polluting issues) are discussed and there is a growing theory that 'something happened to Namor' - most likely when he was an amnesiac...
"Help him, Steve. No matter what's happened... he's our friend."


Back in flashback Jim and Cap fear Namor's reaction to the death of soldier Tommy.
We then see Namor womanising and playing at being uncaring in a bar and Cap warns him to attend Tommy's funeral.


Again in the present Namor and his advisor are off to meet another splinter-group of Atlanteans as part of Namor's recent drive to reunite all under-sea races together (with a reference to his doing so in 'The Best Defense' crossover.)
Political posturings boil down to one line - "Join me or die."


Incredibly Namor now can control water itself and actually pulls the water away from the approaching army and as he threatens to allow them all to suffocate their king agrees to Namor's terms and Namor lets the water return.

(How??Hmm...)
As Namor explains he and the sea have secrets we flashback to Tommy's funeral where Namor, in uniform, does actually attend to pay his respects.
The other friend soldier that we saw at the opening, Randall is then seen in the present day, elderly and seemingly on his deathbed as Jim Hammoind is visiting and we learn that Randall actually named his daughter Namor and she has now grown up to adulthood living with her father.


Randal hands over some old photos to Jim for his book, which his daughter 'Nay' is twitchy about.
As Jim shows us a mysterious photo, apparently taken when Namor was a lost vagrant ...with Charles Xavier of the X-Men (!) - we hear Captain America roping in the Winter Soldier/Bucky to try and help solve the Namor problem.


As the issue ends on this mystery, Namor is shown speaking to someone who is not there and we see Tommy's dog-tags...his surname was Machan...!
"The King is Mad."


Okay so - this is a classy book! Wonderful detailed artwork with contrasting styles between flashbacks and present and even a style for underwater.
Very much an opening chapter there is mystery and drama here set against high stakes as it seems Namor is intent on war. Cap and even the Torch are written in true enough character and Namor has had so many different sides shown in recent years that concentrating on the inconsistencies rather than ignoring them is long overdue. This feels like a considered storyline, like the writer has a particular and definate destination in mind and I'm happy to be along for the ride - I only hope he will be having enough time to conclude the story before the (now confirmed) cancellation of this series and it doesn't become another unresolved story...!

I'm not a great fan of continuity inserts and I'm very worried how this jives with Namor's first meeting with the X-Men but I'm encouraged that Paul Destine/Destiny has been remembered and even John Byrn'e explanation of a chemical imbalance setting Namor's moods askew.


Seeing Bucky(Does anyone actually call him Winter Soldier anymore?) at the end folding into the story was a cheer out loud moment but...still no / why no love for Toro..?


So far so great.

(Over to you Jeff...?!)


Come Back...

Namor does look rather late 90s-00s Aquaman-ish here.

I like the new Invaders series though it does not feel like a "team" book. The shared past of these five individuals have intertwined them in the present and the battle is now for the soul of the Sub-Mariner.

Namor has been unhinged before and has menaced the world far too often to hope for a peaceful solution. Blood has already been spilled! He almost killed Stingray who is his friend! For all his actions, it does seem strange that the Avengers are not taking a more active hand.

It seems like Professor X is being portrayed as a manipulator again but we'll see.

“Okay so - this is a classy book!”

See, I told you!

I’ve read this series twice already (the first six or so issues, anyway). You did a very thorough job summarizing the plot, and I don’t really have anything to add at this time. There are some things coming up, though, where you can bet I’ll chime in when the time comes, but for the time being, ‘nuff said! I’m glad you’re finally up to this point and look forward to your thoughts on the rest of the series.

Invaders (v3) 02 (02/19)
Writer - Chip Zdarsky Art - Carlos Magno & Butch Guice
Editor - Tom Brevoort Cover Art - Butch Guice & Romulo Fajado Jr
   There's the new Invaders logo - No billing for the Torch and of course no Toro.


As a cover it is dynamic, interesting brutal and different - so far so like this series.


This issue opens with Jim Hammond leaving the home of the Peterson family we met last issue, labelling them Honorary Invaders - which still miffs me slightly as we've never met these characters in any previous series and yet we are supposed to believe they are vital to the cohesion of the Invaders. I know continuity bothers me way too much but after all, it is what this is all about.


Jim knows 'Nay' Peterson is lying to him and we have it confirmed when she signals a secret message via a fish-tank. (No, honestly.....!)
That signal is picked up in Atlantis by Namor and his mystery/(imaginary?) advisor Machan and they determine to visit the Petersons - after they deliver the separated faction of Atlanteans back to their home.


A 1944 flashback shows Captain America and Bucky boarding a German boat. Cap is discovered and his fight goes overboard where he gets in underwater trouble until Namor arrives in the nick of time.


This underwater close-call segues into the present-day Cap lamenting being underwater as he approaches Atlantis in a special suit.
Tiger Shark and Orka attack (they've been working with Namor since recent issues of the new Avengers series.)
Cap explains he comes in peace (naturally) and warns them the absent Namor would not be happy with them if they kill him which they take in and lock him in a cage instead.


By the way, I've always had a soft spot for Tiger Shark - I loved the era of his debut in Namor's series of that time and although he's been poorly served for a longtime and is depicted more Shark-like than ever here...I like him and I'm glad he's included.


In a cage next to Cap he recognises..."...Morris Bench..."
I'll pause while you work that one out...
...No...?
No, me neither....thankfully Cap identifies him for us...
"...Hydro-Man?"
Ok. So, now we know how Namor can now control water - somehow he is harnessing Hydro-Man's powers...? Interesting.


On dry land Jim Hammond catches us up on the mystery from last issue of the found photograph of Namor (when he should have been a lost vagrant) with Charles Xavier (before they 'officially' met) at the Peterson home...information they tried to hide from him.


We are also reminded here that amongst the various 'eras' of Namor's past was the (John Byrne created) businessman head of Oracle Inc environmentalist and we are told even then the Petersons were his calming influence. (Even if we don't remember/didn't see any of his interactions in those days.) - See, continuity does matter.


We flashback to suited, mourning Namor at the graveside of the now/then dead Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes at he point where Captain America and Bucky as figureheads were to continue on despite their deaths. Namor was angry but Peterson calmed him down leaving him to remove the suit and honour the fallen alongside both Randall Peterson and the Human Torch. (No Toro again...was it past his bedtime or something?)


Contrasting with that flashback we return to angry Namor confronting captured Cap in Atlantis,

"Tell me, Captain. Do you have a Death Wish?"
"I've been dead before, Namor."
They discuss Namor's recent murder/execution of Roxxon guards in Avengers #9-#10 which Namor still refuses to apologise for.
(Namor actually destroyed worlds prior to the Secret Wars change-of-status-quo-which-didn't-really-change-much but that seems forgotten.)


Cap pleads as 'A friend" but Namor is not impressed and hits him with his own shield. He reveals more as he breaks Cap's helmet but removes water from around him so he can breath. Cap realises it's something to do with Hydro-Man's powers.
Namor leaves him with a parting threat, "Power over Water...Does that really belong with a Human? The next time you and I meet, Captain...I will not show such mercy."
Anyone else remembering the battle between these two during the Avengers/Defenders Conflict? Very similar vibe here.


Never one to be without a plan, we learn that while this battle was going on, Cap was distracting Namor while the winter Soldier/Bucky searched underwater for something he apparently found..

."...but I think I got something."


Back in 1944 after the last flashback where Namor saved Cap we catch up with them again where Namor reminds Cap that war has no place for kindness - evidently a sentiment he still agrees with.
Present Day Cap and Torch meet up with Bucky who tells them he stole information from the Atlanteans and translated...

"Namor is making a bomb. and from what I can tell, the only thing it's designed to kill...are Humans."


Namor arrives out of the sea at the Peterson place and Nay tells him what the Invaders have discovered - adding "I would never betray you after all you've done for us... for my son..."
- is this the first mention of a son? What did Namor do that she is so indebted to him for? Who is this son? Will he become important to the story? Am I missing something?


The issue closes out with mystery/Machan ominously advising Namor that with all the potential to spoil everything, perhaps it would be best if Namor just killed the Petersons!!


So, again this is a quality book. Intrigue and action coupled with quality characterisation and a t least the feeling of a coherent story and a plot direction. The art is beautiful too, I love both the present day and flashbacks and applaud that they are by different teams it just adds to the cinematic feeling here.


I hate Namor being the bad guy here, I so want some sort of redemption and a return to him being a heroic figure (and an ongoing series?) but I'm happy to be taken on this ride.


Is no-one going to ask where Toro is?


Come back...

I’m going to assume many of your questions are rhetorical, because you’ll find out soon enough. Here are a few comments, though.

“…which still miffs me slightly…”

I know what you mean. I try not to let it bug me. I’ve had to invent an entirely new reading paradigm (“Continuity doesn’t matter”) just for this series.

“'Nay' Peterson”

Makes me wonder why her father didn’t thin to call her “Namora” or ”Namorita.” (I know why Chip Zdarsky didn’t.)

“…his mystery/(imaginary?) advisor…”

Not imaginary. (I will say that.)

“I hate Namor being the bad guy here, I so want some sort of redemption and a return to him being a heroic figure…”

Hasn’t happened yet, although it has been hinted for the 12th and final issue.

Invaders (v3) 03 (03/19)
Writer - Chip Zdarsky Art - Carlos Magno & Butch Guice
Editor - Tom Brevoort Cover Art - Butch Guice & Romulo Fajado Jr


I'm a fan of the new grown-up Bucky/Winter Soldier and I really enjoyed his solo struff so this is a fine cover - he always had a closer relationship with Namor in the original series than most but that's not being capitalised so far in this series...maybe this issue..?


The issue opens with Tony Stark/Iron Man urging Cap and Jim Hammond that Atlantis needs to be attacked where Cap is urging restraint.


As Tony is not in charge of the Avengers (the Black Panther is these days) the US Navy is the more immediate problem. Our two friends try to convince the Admiral of the base to stand down while they sort out the Namor problem, the female Admiral does not take that request well.


As Cap distracts people with photo ops as the Winter Soldier/Bucky breaks in.


We are (about time too) reminded of 'Hydra Cap' and thus Captain America's currency is somewhat suspect. Our heroes get what they need and leave in search of Namor.


We find Namor addressing his subjects as his missiles are nearly ready, they just need an added something from the surface-world...


Bucky confronts a female scientist who is afraid he's after that component and he actually giver her his firearm to shoot him if she doesn't believe his good intentions...


Jim and Steve return to the Peterson home, insisting on speaking with Randall on his (possible) death-bed.
Steve explains they know about Namor spending time with Charles Xavier in his 'missing years' and asking for an explanation why Namor is 'going down this road yet again..."
Randall explains they thought Namor cured in Namor #1 where an oxygen imbalance was blamed for his temperament. (See continuity counts - told you!)
"But it didn't work did it?"


Randall again mentions how good Namor was to his grandson who we haven't met and assured Cap that is Namor does have a bomb - "He won't use it. He just won't"
Randall's daughter Nay again defends Namor as she taps a message to the Atlanteans via her fish tank as she had before.
Namor attacks. Cap is sent flying away into the ocean and the Torch races to save him while Namor confronts Randall.
Randall and Namor give little away as Randall collapses...and dies...

" Oh, Namor...who's going to save you...now?"


Namor leaves and Cap and the Torch return. Randall's daughter cries to Cap, "I'll tell you what you-- what you need to know-- I'll tell you who Namor really is..."
That's the cliff-hanger mystery we're left with!!


So, no actual flashbacks this issue and no real answers to anything either but it still feels like we've moved a little way forward in the mystery-story.


Seeing Winter Soldier working as the unseen Invader is a perfect use of the character and I love it.


We are getting hints that Namor is not quite responsible for his more violent actions although he seems to be aware of the secrets his history holds and so (presumably) bears some responsibility for them. It's an interesting mystery but it does need to be cleared up fairly soon please!


The artwork continues to be wonderful and the pacing excellent.


Is Namor's advisor Machan imaginary? Is he an Atlantean? Or is he the grandson of Randall in some way...? Or any combination of these three?


Still no mention of Toro.


Come Back...

“It's an interesting mystery but it does need to be cleared up fairly soon please!”

It will be.

“Is Namor's advisor Machan imaginary? Is he an Atlantean? Or is he the grandson of Randall in some way?”

Keep reading… :)

Invaders (v3) 04 (04/19)
Writer - Chip Zdarsky Art - Carlos Magno & Butch Guice
Editor - Tom Brevoort Cover Art - Butch Guice & Romulo Fajado Jr
   "Shocking! The Secret History of the Sub-Mariner!"
I love that cover - the various ages/looks of Namor and the almost ominous figure of Charles Xavier behind him in his 'missing years' look.


We begin at the Peterson home where Nay Peterson is assuring the Invaders how much of a good man Namor is and how much her family owe him.
She again mentions the debt of gratitude... and her son.(?)


"...He wasn't always like this."
Nay narrates the promised hidden secrets flashback then and we again learn that her father Randall Peterson was apparently, some sort of 'honorary Invader' working alongside the team in WWII. After the war Namor was a bit lost and so he visited with the family until eventually Atlantean duties called him away.


Nay grew up...became pregnant (no father named - I know it might not be important but come on - this is comics...!) and met Namor again!
This was amnesiac-Namor but his memories gradually came back and he had felt himself drawn to the family after his encounter with Destiny. (Check Sub-Mariner #1 (1968))
It seems Namor stayed with them for 'years' as she gives birth to son Roman and Namor gradually remembered things...including the war and that death of friend Tommy we saw in earlier issues which really seems to haunt him.
"He stayed with us for a long while. Years. Even helped raise my son." - this is the major continuity implant here, previously we thought Namor stayed a vagrant during this time. "But again... all things come to an end."


Charles Xavier arrived ( able to walk so in his pre-X-Men days...if we can believe that anymore either). against the advice of the family, Namor left with Xavier to search for other mutants.
This search apparently lasted a long time too and covered the globe with letters being sent back about their travels. (We get a cameo of Wolverine in his feral mountain man stage and it is unclear if Xavier deliberatly left him alone or was unaware of him.)


In search of 'cat-people' Xavier and Namor finally come across a mutant.
(Namor is sporting a headscarf/bandana a la Spock)
This mutant is a Tim Rhodes, called 'Genus' who it seems is so powerful he has been changing friendly animals into people (cat-people) hoping they could help him. "He can change the species of any living creature."
That's a big power for a mutant we've never heard of before. (I think we haven't anyway?)


Xavier basically wants to use him to what - change everyone into mutants? Namor sees the bigger more immediate picture - that the humans will use him to turn mutants back to human thus ending any fears of their kind.


Disracted Xavier cannot prevent a local police shooter gunning 'Genus' down.
This enrages Namor. Xavier pulls him into his mind and they discuss his issues. The war and Destine have left their scars on his psyche and at the centre of eveyrthing is the death of Tommy Machan. Xavier summons up Machan and encourages Namor to...talk with him.


It seems he may have invented a kind of invisible friend/therapist in the guise of Tommy for Namor to talk when he wishes/needs to.
This may not have been a good idea or may not have worked... "He tried to fix Namor, but instead he ... he damaged him more than ever."
(Xavier's intentions go wrong again - that's a common thread these days eh?)


The rest plays out as we all thought Namor's story did... found wandering by Johnny Storm etc but it appears he also returned to the Peterson's lives when he recovered his memories in that early FF issue.
Nay's son Roman now grown up seemed especially close to Namor....


Back in the present day Bucky/Winter Soldier is about to sabotage the cache of missiles Namor is trying to build when he gets ...shot in the head!
The woman shooting him then calls her contact, another undercover Atlantean agent - Comander Roman Peterson who is on board the Navy ship setting out to take down Atlantis.!


There's the cliff-hanger - Bucky has been shot - probably not dead but kinda should be and the Namor/Peterson conspiracy seems to show Roman is a sleeper agent ensconced in the US Navy!
This is a tightly woven mystery story that seems more complicated than it appears (if you pardon the pun) on the surface! (Couldn't resist!)


So, although billed as the secret history Revealed and despite filling this issue with detail we've not really learned all that much. Namor had some travels before when we didn't think he did. The War affected him more than we thought it did and he's been kind of unhinged throughout - not just due to his oxygen/blood imbalance we'd put it all down to before.


We have finally caught up with Nay's son Roman Peterson - and has everyone really looked at his name...backwards...? Oh yes...! 


We have also learned that Tommy Machan was created by Xavier as a mental construct for Namor way back when...is that then the same as the Machan character we see advising Namor in Atlantis these days...?
So many questions, such good writing enhanced by excellent artwork.
Loving this.


Toro? Who's Toro?


Come Back...

“…this is the major continuity implant here…”

To say the least.

The problem with continuity implants such as this, be it that Mary Jane Watson always knew Peter Parker is Spider-Man, that the “Illuminati” existed since the Kree/Skrull War or, more recently, that Moira McTaggart has the memories of multiple lives and Professor X has always know it, is that mistakes are bound to creep in. That’s why, when I read this very issue, in fact, I decided that continuity no longer exists and I don’t worry about it anymore. I now consider every story Marvel publishes going forward to be its own thing. If it fits previously established continuity, fine, but if it doesn’t, well, that’s fine, too.

In response to your questions (two of them, anyway), no, I don’t think we’ve seen Genus before, and yes, “Tommy Machlan” is the Xavier construct currently advising Namor. Speaking of Toro, where was it we last saw him again? (I’m sure the answer is above, but I’m too lazy to look for it right now.)

Toro was last seen 'feeling at home's with the Inhumans of New Attilan - before the Royal Family went to space, came back and the 'Death of the Inhumans' didn't really kill them off. 

He defiantly needs checking in with. 


Jeff of Earth-J said:

Speaking of Toro, where was it we last saw him again? (I’m sure the answer is above, but I’m too lazy to look for it right now.)

This new continuity works for a Namor who's always a guest star where his problems can be addressed by those around him. But as the lead of his own series (then and now), he can't be portrayed as all-heroic, noble and a leader if he's that psychologically damaged, let alone his time with the Defenders and the Avengers, if he was still an Avenger in their history.

Having close ties with a land-based but ocean-loving family, great. It showcases Namor the Man instead of the Monarch or the Menace but where were they during his numerous rampages especially his invasion of New York (Fantastic Four Annual #1) or trying to destroy the Avengers (Avengers #3-4) as examples.

And helping Xavier search for mutants? Did Namor ever really consider himself part of the mutant community? More like he was the Avenging Son...period! Imperious Rex!

Oh, also... I find it really difficult to swallow that he spent time visitting the Petersons' in the early years immediately following Fantastic Four #4. It's yet another example of sometnhing that just doesn't fit.

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