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)
UNION JACK #3 (02/99)
Ben Raab - Writer – John Cassaday- Art
Cover Art – John Cassaday
'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...
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!
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"
"Has anyone else ever seen this series?"