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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That might go a long way to explaining why I remember Cap's Nomad phase so much - it all felt different at the time , which I think was that period
I've always thought it must have been Gil Kane that I was remembering!

...and MAN FROM ATLANTIS !

Richard Mantle said:
"Ok so we open on December 22nd 1941 at 3am– (which knowing Roy Thomas is not only a significant date but a significant time check on that date too!?)"

This was the actual date that Churchill arrived in the U.S. to meet with Roosevelt so he would 'historically' have been there and thus able to give The Invaders their name.


Thankyou John, As i said, I knew with thomas it would be more important than I realised!
John Moret said:

This was the actual date that Churchill arrived in the U.S. to meet with Roosevelt so he would 'historically' have been there and thus able to give The Invaders their name.

Invaders #1 & #2 “The Ring of the Nebulas!” and “The Twilight of the Star-Gods
By Roy thomas, Frank Robbins & Vince Colletta


As explained in a text piece by Thomas, these two issues would have formed the full Giant-Sized Invaders #2 had original publishing plans been maintained. As it is, the extra splash page and recap page of issue two fit seamlessly.
The story is a confusion however, beginning with a mysterious beauty found in the ruins , through German Wagner tribute band gone bad and ending in a blaze of alien energy. I think.

I’ve read it a few times and I still can’t quite work out who/what the main ‘baddies’ were.
They appear to be three male aliens, who are being controlled buy this stories main nazi – and call themselves Froh, god of Lightning, Loga, god of fire and of course Donar king of meaty smacks or thunder and the mysterious beauty called Hilda or Brunhilda that our heroes encounter and go all alpha-male in trying to protect.


The main nazi here is probably the most memorable as he’s called ‘Brain Drain’ and is one of those staple sci-fi bad-guys …a brain in a jar on a robot body.


There is some attempt at characterisation here, much better than the story, as the Invaders bicker with each other. Namor and the Torch are accepted as old rivals but seeing Toro and Bucky spat is quite natural here, as is there friendship that therefore develops over the series.
What is notable is that the Torch is at last refered to as an android here (but no explanation or origin shown!) and Namor is the custodian of ‘undersea science’ that enables the team to zip around the globe in his special flying-ship .
Captain America gets the lead-hero role in his concern for the mysterious beautiful female and her interest in him - it’s so Jim Kirk I expected to see his ripped shirt and split lip by issue #2!.


The ‘Wagner’s Ring’ culture bit was and continues to be completely lost and wasted on me but the Invaders have gelled as a team (I loved seeing the debate over the team title here) and Robbins has shown he can draw beautiful women….and so it must have been noted that this is an all male team….and through his text pages Thomas is already naming the Whizzer and Miss America as up coming guests …and a group called the Liberty Legion!


But before that…and coming next…”The U-Man”….(it gets better honest!)

Here’s me, joining the discussion late. First, a reminiscence…

Marvel started releasing “GIANT-SIZE” issues right around the time I started collecting. I never hoped to be able to collect the entire run of an established title, yet I yearned to get in on the beginning of something. Consequently, I bought the first issue of any new series I saw: E-Man, Skull, Stalker, Claw, Warlord, Inhumans, Champions and Marvel Chillers to name a few, not to mention the entire Atlas-Seaboard line. I also bought every GIANT-SIZE comic book I could get my hands on: Avengers, Defenders, Man-Thing, Super-Stars (later Fantastic Four), Super-Heroess (later Spider-Man), X-Men, etc. Which brings us up to GIANT-SIZE Invaders #1.

This was the fifth version of Captain America’s origin, following Simon & Kirby’s (Captain America Comics #1), Lee & Shores’ (Captain America Comics #59), Lee & Kirby’s first version (Tales of Suspense #63) and Lee & Kirby’s second version (Captain America #109). In his Marvel Comics Index series, George Olshevsky referred to the version from GIANT-SIZE Invaders #1 as “the most complete account of Captain America’s origin in terms of explaining the motivations behind the actions of participants, naming names and keeping track of the sequence of events.” Because (in continuity), this is the “freshest” version in Cap’s mind, I also like to think of it as the most accurate (until Stern & Byrne’s version, anyway). Regarding the fact that Cap’s origin is told in so much detail whereas Torch and Subby’s weren’t related at all, I suspect that to more clearly establish a dichotomy between Cap and Master Man.

About ten years ago I researched a lengthy post tracing “Captain America’s WWII Career,” drawing details from both Golden Age as well as modern comics. Since that time I have read far more Golden Age stories (thanks to Marvel Masterworks collections), plus Ed Brubaker has since revealed hitherto unknown details of Cap’s past. I’ve been meaning to update my research with information from those resources for some time now. Perhaps I’ll take this opportunity to do so. For example, the reference to Young Allies #1 you cited above is an early example of true “retroactive continuity” as defined by Roy Thomas, some several years before he himself even coined the term, but now I have actually been able to read (a reprint of) the comic in question.

Issues #1-2: As I indicated above, I bought GIANT-SIZE Invaders #1, but I missed (regular-size) Invaders #1. The next issue I bought was #2, and boy was I confused! I didn’t know there were actually two “number ones.” I (incorrectly) assumed that #2 immediately followed G-S #1. It did not make for a very pleasant reading experience, believe me. Luckily, I did manage to score a copy of #3. More about that anon.

ADDENDUM: The Frank Robbins Captain America you are remembering is #192, also the first appearance of Karla Sofen, now Moonstone.

-Regarding Cap’s origins, Jeff, of those listed, I think the ‘Lee & Kirby’s second version (Captain America #109) is not only my favourite, it’s the best drawn, most memorable and most like the version used here.

I agree that the dichotomy between Cap and Master Man’s origin must have been the reason his origin was included, where as there was nothing for either the Torch or Namor, but there’s also a kind of Captain America is the star of the book vibe, with the others team members as supporting characters. This is supported by the Cap- gets-the-girl plot of the above issues.

So that Cap A issue is #192 is it? I really do not remember the plot so the fact that Moonstone originated here was defiantly lost on me (as yet another aside – was she actually related to the original male Moonstone or not?) – but I think I read it in the UK Marvel hardback Christmas Annual (1977?) under the ‘Titans’ banner..?



Jeff of Earth-J said:

Here’s me, joining the discussion late. First, a reminiscence…

This was the fifth version of Captain America’s origin, following Simon & Kirby’s (Captain America Comics #1), Lee & Shores’ (Captain America Comics #59), Lee & Kirby’s first version (Tales of Suspense #63) and Lee & Kirby’s second version (Captain America #109). In his Marvel Comics Index series, George Olshevsky referred to the version from GIANT-SIZE Invaders #1 as “the most complete account of Captain America’s origin in terms of explaining the motivations behind the actions of participants, naming names and keeping track of the sequence of events.” Because (in continuity), this is the “freshest” version in Cap’s mind, I also like to think of it as the most accurate (until Stern & Byrne’s version, anyway). Regarding the fact that Cap’s origin is told in so much detail whereas Torch and Subby’s weren’t related at all, I suspect that to more clearly establish a dichotomy between Cap and Master Man.

ADDENDUM: The Frank Robbins Captain America you are remembering is #192, also the first appearance of Karla Sofen, now Moonstone.

Of the origin stories listed above, the one from Captain America #109 is my favorite, too. It’s the most dynamic, and also introduced the concept of “vita-rays.”

At the time I originally read Giant-Size Invaders #1, of Timely’s “Big Three” the one I was most familiar with was Sub-Mariner. The Hulk was my first favorite character, and at the time, I was reading his adventures in both his own solo comic as well as the “split book” he shared with Subby (Tales to Astonish, originally, but of course I was reading the reprints in Marvel Super Heroes). The Sub-Mariner story I read featured artwork by Jack Kirby.

It’s been a while since I read it, but Cap #192 dealt with a group of terrorists hijacking an airliner. Cap was able to clue the authorities in that something hinky was going on by referring to it as “Flight 911.” The original Moonstone was one of Karla Sofen’s psychiatric patients, but she did not adopt his villainous identity until Hulk #228.

Ordered a bunch of comics and just got them today. Some of the comics are Invaders 2,4,5,6,9,10 & 37. This almost completes my Invaders run but I did read #2 and understood the story without a problem. Brain Drain mind-controlled the 3 male aliens, who were the female's mates on their long space journey (just take a minute to THINK about that!).

It was also explained that it was Brain Drain's idea to rename the aliens after teutonic Gods because he enjoyed Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung Opera.

I enjoyed issue 2 even if it was more about Cap, Brain Drain and the aliens. Good stuff!

Richard Mantle said:

Invaders #1 & #2 “The Ring of the Nebulas!” and “The Twilight of the Star-Gods
By Roy thomas, Frank Robbins & Vince Colletta


As explained in a text piece by Thomas, these two issues would have formed the full Giant-Sized Invaders #2 had original publishing plans been maintained. As it is, the extra splash page and recap page of issue two fit seamlessly.
The story is a confusion however, beginning with a mysterious beauty found in the ruins , through German Wagner tribute band gone bad and ending in a blaze of alien energy. I think.

I’ve read it a few times and I still can’t quite work out who/what the main ‘baddies’ were.
They appear to be three male aliens, who are being controlled buy this stories main nazi – and call themselves Froh, god of Lightning, Loga, god of fire and of course Donar king of meaty smacks or thunder and the mysterious beauty called Hilda or Brunhilda that our heroes encounter and go all alpha-male in trying to protect.


The main nazi here is probably the most memorable as he’s called ‘Brain Drain’ and is one of those staple sci-fi bad-guys …a brain in a jar on a robot body.


There is some attempt at characterisation here, much better than the story, as the Invaders bicker with each other. Namor and the Torch are accepted as old rivals but seeing Toro and Bucky spat is quite natural here, as is there friendship that therefore develops over the series.
What is notable is that the Torch is at last refered to as an android here (but no explanation or origin shown!) and Namor is the custodian of ‘undersea science’ that enables the team to zip around the globe in his special flying-ship .
Captain America gets the lead-hero role in his concern for the mysterious beautiful female and her interest in him - it’s so Jim Kirk I expected to see his ripped shirt and split lip by issue #2!.


The ‘Wagner’s Ring’ culture bit was and continues to be completely lost and wasted on me but the Invaders have gelled as a team (I loved seeing the debate over the team title here) and Robbins has shown he can draw beautiful women….and so it must have been noted that this is an all male team….and through his text pages Thomas is already naming the Whizzer and Miss America as up coming guests …and a group called the Liberty Legion!


But before that…and coming next…”The U-Man”….(it gets better honest!)

What a well timed arrival of Invaders comics!

   I was probably being a bit glib - it just seemed to me that Thomas had the idea of Wagner's Ring and shoehorned the rest in making it all  unnecessarily complicated.

Glad you're along for the ride Mark,  - issue #3 and #4 will be next...

Mark Stanislawski said:

Ordered a bunch of comics and just got them today. Some of the comics are Invaders 2,4,5,6,9,10 & 37. This almost completes my Invaders run but I did read #2 and understood the story without a problem. Brain Drain mind-controlled the 3 male aliens, who were the female's mates on their long space journey (just take a minute to THINK about that!).

It was also explained that it was Brain Drain's idea to rename the aliens after teutonic Gods because he enjoyed Wagner's The Ring of the Nibelung Opera.

I enjoyed issue 2 even if it was more about Cap, Brain Drain and the aliens. Good stuff!

"it just seemed to me that Thomas had the idea of Wagner's Ring and shoehorned the rest in making it all  unnecessarily complicated."

That sounds like Roy. 

Counting this, he tackled Wagner's Ring 3 times!!  (The 2nd time in THOR with Keith Pollard, and the 3rd time, the actual opera, with Gil Kane.)

Invaders #3 & #4 “Blitzkrieg at Bermuda” and “U-Man Must Be Stopped!”
By Roy Thomas, Frank Robbins & Vince Colletta

 

Issue 3’s cover (I spy Romita’s hand surely?) looks like three separate figures of Cap Namor and the Torch have just been cobbled together from elsewhere..?


This two-parter starts with Namor destroying a german U-Boat – with obligatory comedy-ugly nazis on board. This serves to flesh out Namor a bit and show how much he hates the Germans and why he would ally himself with this team.

The debut os a ‘super-soldier-nazi-Atlantean’ the U-Man deepened this into a Namor spotlight tale and we get views of Namor’s pride, his arrogance, his anger and his power as he ends up fighting off his teammates for the ‘honour’ of fighting the bad-guy alone , seeing as he originated from under-the-sea, Namor feels responsible.

The hero vs hero is not a new idea and it is indeed only a temporary tiff between the Invaders, we’re certain they’ll all make up and be shoulder to shoulder against the U-Man by the tales end and of course they are.

Such is the brightness of the spotlight on Namor that we even get a guest-starring role for his girlfriend-of-the-day Betty Dean, who had such an involved role that it was feasable she could have become a recurring character. Perhaps the way she fitted in so well and again Frank Robbins showing how he could draw beautiful blondes led to the addition of Spitfire to the ranks later?


What was refreshing was seeing Bucky side with Namor rather than his mentor Cap in the early in-fightine. Showing not only that Bucky had an independent streak but also that Thomas didn’t write every cliché going.
There are real-time/real-world references to what Churchill was doing and technically correct renditions of ships and planes.


Merrano was a silly name for an Atlantean (they can’t all have water-themed names can they?) but ‘U-Man’ was even sillier – however it fitted into this title! He was another example of a meaningless costume, however, - why did he need a mask?
So now we’ve seen a super-soldier nazi Master Man and now a super-soldier Atlantean in U-Man – what would be next issue’s villain – some super-soldier-flaming-android…?

 

Come back and see….a mega villain and a hugely expanding cast-list!

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