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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  As I recall Master Man's strength was near early Hulk levels and he could jump very high.

Richard Mantle said:

Now what about Mr Night, Luke

 

I'm not familiar with him. This Marvel Wikia page says this was his first appearance. I've not found a Golden Age Mr Night he might be based on. Apparently, Mary Marvel met a Mr Night in Wow Comics #13, but he wasn't a Nazi. The net also tells me there's a Kenny Loggins song called "Mr Night". I'm surprised the name hasn't been used more often, actually.

NAMOR #12 (03/91)

“The INVADERS Fight Again!!”

Written, penciled, inked and lettered by – John Byrne

There you go! Look at that!! Finally!!

Modern Marvel and we get the Original Human Torch, Captain America and the Sub-Mariner together!!

The INVADERS are back!!

What a great cover, what a great celebration for this Namor’s 12th ‘Giant-Sized Anniversary Issue!


The sketchy look of the inks was a phase Byrne was fully immersed in at this time, Cap is coloured brighter than he generally is and the Torch’s definition is all a bit vague – but it’s the Invaders!! They’re Back!! Thankyou Mr Byrne!!.


Even the Namor masthead is cropped to make way for the trio.

Inside and we are in 38-page Giant-Size third of three part storyline….


Ann Raymond looks on as Namor battles through the bad guys still hallucinating them into wartime Nazi troops in the shadow of the inert Original Android Human Torch and he heralds the arrival of his allies, “The INVADERS are here!”
except these are not quite right as Invaders.


Union Jack fits the profile but we know this is a man wearing the uniform that Namor has never met – also he should be wearing a different version of that costume these days…

Spitfire is young and vital – she should be aged frumpy powerless lady…..
And Namora….was never an Invader…and should be dead too!

We flashback a day to find out how Lady Crichton – the aged Jacqueline Falsworth – who was once the Invader Spitfire, meets Namorita who is recovering from a beating.

She in turn explains how she had followed Namor to a building in Berlin where he was ambushed and she was defeated but managed to get away to raise the alarm.


Jacqueline and Namorita try to raise help from Captain America but he’s out so leave him a coded message. “Tally Ho”
With the New Warriors too far away also, Jaqueline reveals a handy preserved warplane they can use as transport – and ropes in the current Union Jack .

 

So, we finally learn as the flashbacks catch us up that the INVADERS Namor believes arrive are in actuality Lady Crichton, Union Jack III and Namorita.

 

Eventually he clears his head and everyone gets acquainted with each other and Anne Raymond – the widow of adult Toro.


Master Man then arrives from his flight begun last issue.

Meanwhile Bad guy Herr Nacht makes his romantic intentions clear to Warrior Woman, he’s been carrying a torch for her for some time…but she isn’t interested and that gets put down to brain damage over her suspended animation.

 

Whilst battling Namor, Master Man suddenly reverts to his weak and feeble true self and Herr Nacht arrives explaining that he has taken Master Man’s power – for himself, as a new Master Man.


While he battles Namor, the girls revive the Android Torch and Lady Crichton gets shot in a final burst of her faded Spitfire speed.

Captain America arrives to sway the battle the good guy’s way!!

Between then Cap and Namor defeat Nacht and the girls defeat Warrior Woman but feeble Master Man blows the building up.
While that’s happening Lady Crichton is discovered, dying due to her injuries but the revived Torch vows to save her.

Once the procedure is complete, we learn that the Torch has transfused his blood into Lady Crichton – as he did back in the War – which led to her gaining her speed powers on that occasion.
On this occasion we discover – she has regained her youth!!

Fit, healthy... and young!

Days later and the heroes of the Marvel universe are gathered together to give a funeral farewell to the Original Torch due to his death saving Jacqueline.

We learn though that the funeral was a smokescreen, in fact the Torch survived but appeared to have lost his flame powers and has decided to live a quiet life, with Toro’s widow and retires from the hero game.

So that’s it!
Namor’s title used for a damn good Invaders update tale.

The image of Namorita in the hospital is unfortunately very similar to the first view we have of the rejuvenated Jacqueline and it jars the reader enough to wonder if there has been a plot point missed or something –( at least it did me.)

 

Union Jack wears a different costume and is much more bulky and stocky a heroic figure although this is indeed still the Joey Chapman we met in Caps earlier adventure. He explains “ the green Knight invested me with the power of the Pendragon, all my abilities have been enhanced to superhuman levels’ and even Namorita refers to him when she first meets him as "Captain Britain…?”
I believe this turn of events occurred in the ‘Knights of Pendragon’ short-lived series which was a Captain Britain led series that I think concentrated more on the mythology of England etc than other series and may even have been a 'Marvel-UK’ production?

Either way I’m not familiar with it, or why Joey was bulked up like this or aware of how long this look lasted for him.
I don’t like the look; Union Jack has an iconic costume. Which is why Byrne has Namor hallucinate it in all its glory.

Captain Britain later takes ups a few costumes very similar to this look of UJ and he gets dumbed down as a powerhouse only and that further blurs the edges between the two characters.

We still don’t get any explanation for Mrs. Raymond being in her underwear.

Herr Nacht’s costume is pretty awful combination of string and leather and includes a mask, for no reason I can determine!


You can actually hear the yells of the crowd as Cap arrives I swear!

 

It’s a strange stretch of events that a second transfusion of the Torch’s blood somehow makes Jacqueline Crichton young again – and we presume she has her speed powers restored, but it’s not made obvious here.
Surely this opens the floodgates to the use of the Torch as some sort of fountain of youth and no-one need ever die again that knows him, a quick pint of his blood will save anyone’s life – all that kind of thing?

Where was the precedent for this?


Admittedly the idea of his blood initially giving her her speed powers was a stretch but this is even more so.
I think it’s explained later as a mix of the blood and her vampire taint from Baron Blood’s bite, that no-one yet knows affected her…but its gobbledygook however you look at it.


The Fantastic Four’s Human Torch lighting the eternal flame for the Original Torch was a neat idea as was the funeral itself – it is very annoying how many funerals there have been for the character since however!!

 

Why did Byrne bring the Invaders back only to sideline the Torch?
Surely his intention was to reintroduce the young Jacqueline as a retuned Spitfire - but I don’t think he did use the character again did he?


Anyway, surely it’ll only be a matter of time before someone brings the Invaders back as a current continuity team…!

 

Come back …over a decade later…!


…..”Once an INVADER!”

For the sake of my own sanity, I'd decided that the only reason that the infusion of android blood made Jackie young again was because of her previous exposure to the stuff, plus whatever metagene caused her to develop super-speed from the combination of vampire attack & pyrotic android blood.  That way, android blood isn't an automatic "fountain of youth" gimmick--altho it might be fun to see a cabal of elderly billionaires hiring someone to capture all the androids in the Marvel Universe in an attempt to use their blood for eternal youth.

With the speed/youth effect here and the flame/fire effect with Toro I did wonder if his blood might work as some kind of universal catalyst but again that didn't quite hold up.

What a great cover, what a great celebration for this Namor’s 12th ‘Giant-Sized Anniversary Issue!

What jumps out at me is that Byrne omitted the wings on Namor's feet. Otherwise great.

Actually Richard, Byrne had written the ankle wings out earlier in the Namor series. I agree that the likelyhood of them actually helping him fly was pretty silly but Byrne's removal smacked of high/handedness bordering in his treatment of the Vision.

If my memory isn't playing tricks, Cap had a line about holding an Invaders reunion when he met the revived original Human Torch during Byrne's run on Avengers West Coast.

I think that was shown in a couple of pages in one of the annuals.
Byrne seemed so interested in the Invaders it is a suprise he never pitched a modern series especially after he'd (almost) got the gang back together!
If you check Byrne's website, you should find a couple of commissions he's done featuring the Invaders.

My collection of Sub-Mariner didn't start until within a year before it was cancelled, but I do recall one letter referring to the unrelenting tragedy in previous stories and suggesting that the mag ought to be renamed "Sob-Mariner".  As it was, although Lady Dorma had been Namor's true love for about 7 years in the comics and her death was one of the very few of such a key supporting character, it appeared to have resulted in barely a ripple compared to the fan reaction to the killing of Gwen Stacy in Spider-Man about two years later.  Indicative of how far more popular Spider-Man was than Sub-Mariner.
 
Henry R. Kujawa said:

Yes, Richard, I knew that was the one.  If memory serves, somewhere, I have a reprint of that... I think it was in a TREASURY EDITION.  (I could look it up, but... you know.)  Roy's comics were always too serious for their own good, I felt, and of course, when his pal Gerry Conway took over (mainly because Roy got too busy to do it himself), it got worse.  Betty was shown old and lonely and miserable, Dorma got murdered on her wedding day, Namor gave up the crown, Leonard McKenzie got murdered right when Namor managed to find him, and the last straw was Namor getting a bout of amnesia.

My impression is, sales were dropping, and Roy probably figured by then, oh well, might as well let Everett have a shot, WHAT MORE HARM could he possibly do?

In his 1st issue, Namor was cured of amnesia within a couple pages, and we were introduced to Namor's cousin Namorita.  This flew in the face of one of the things Stan Lee "hated" about comics-- KID SIDEKICKS!  But just like Batman when Robin was introduced, she brought a spirit of youthful JOY and excitement to every page she was on. And nobody ever drew her as cute as Everett did!

A couple issues later, Namor told her he was living alone by choice-- and SHE had no choice but to do what HE said, which was to live with someone ELSE who could look after her.  And that's when Betty came back into the picture.

Before long, Everett also had another character he used to do make a guest appearance... VENUS, Goddess of Love!

What a GREAT book that was for awhile... such a shame it didn't last.  In a better world, Everett would have taken over at least 49 issues earlier...

Welcome Fred,

   You are quite right, I remeber Dorma with great fondness - and Namor has suffered without her ever since she was bumped off.

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