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)

Views: 18047

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Finally, at the Lincoln Menorial, the two Torches are well matched by Red Raven and the Whizzer, indeed Toro is captured by the good guys leaving the Human Torch to get really mad and fly off to attack Bucky at his base….next ish!- to be continued in Marvel Premiere #30!

I read that issue of MP, and I found it pretty boring. The handful or so issues of Invaders I recall reading I did like. It has been a while though.

What ever happened to her?

Richard Mantle said:

Definatly Mark, although I think he got a bit 'wet-teenager' towards the end of the run when he fell for the 'Golden Girl'.

I always felt he was never given enough credit - after all - no super-pwers, no 'super-soldier-serum' - not even a shield!

Mark S. Ogilvie said:

I think that in the Invaders I read the best depiction of Bucky that I'll ever read since I refuse to read Winter Soldier.  He was headstrong at times and even sided with Namor against the rest of them once.  I always thought that they did a good job of depicting a young man from that time period.

Mark S. Ogilvie said

What ever happened to her (Golden Girl)?

She thanked you all for being a friend!

Ok.
Coming soon - the end of the Liberty Legion introduction - and then we will get to. . . Union Jack!

Marvel Premiere #30  “Hey Ma! They’re Blitzin’ the Bronx!”
Writer/editor Roy Thomas
Artist Don Heck
Inker Vince Colletta

Here comes the final finale - following Invaders #6 the hypnotised Human Torch attacks,Bucky’s base of operations at the Radio Station that he’s been broadcasting from throughout this tale and just as it seems the Torch will kill off Bucky and the Thin man – he withdraws.


It appears there is a limit to how evil the hypnotised Invaders willl be even under the power generated by the late ‘Brain drain’ nazi genius.


The Red Skull, pretends to be a patriotic money man Bettman P Lyles (was he a real person?- Knowing Thomas it’s quite likely – but the significance is completely lost on me now – or then!) complaining to the Liberty Legion how his money has been wasted and learning how Toro has been brought back to the side of the angels…
The Red Skull issues an ultimatum to the allies – a showdown with his Invaders, at Yankee Stadium..


The Liberty Legion attend – without Bucky and Toro…


The battle begins in the public limelight. Namor vs Blue Diamond. Captain America vs Patriot, Whizzer vs Namor, Human torch vs Jack Frost, then Red Raven, then Miss America.


It is then revealed that Bucky is disguised as Toro and a baseball mascot is disguised as Bucky in a plot to confuse the Skull (confused me!)


Toro attacks the Skull and all ends well, the Invaders are freed from their hypnotism, the public are saved from the fallout and the teams part ways in mutual admiration.


This oh-so-powerful hypnotism is not used again – and the ‘vortex’ that transported our heroes around is never explained at all!


The readers are asked to write in and vote for an ongoing series staring the Legion – and we return to our usual service in the Invaders title.


There is a fascinating Thomas written text page explaining where he plucked the various members of the new team from and what he changed to shoehorn them in. (Also reprinted in the Invaders Classic volume 1)

 

As detailed earlier in this column, the Liberty Legion members individually fare badly over Marvel continuity which is a great shame – nowadays of course, the team would have flourished , with a retroactivly-active pre-Wolverine Logan, and a probably-purple Hulk …oh and a name change to “Avengers World War 2”.

…come back for Invaders #7 – “The blackout Murders of BARON BLOOD!”

INVADERS #7 (7/76)
(is that the right denotation? – I am trying to learn on this forum – I’m trying to show that it was originally published with a ‘July 1976’ cover date?)
“The Blackout Murders of BARON BLOOD!”
Writer/editor Roy Thomas. Artist – Frank Robibins, ink- Vince Colletta.

Well, here we go then – this must begin the most famous and fondly remembered runs of the Invaders title – certainly the most influential…and the title gives most of this issues plot quite neatly!

After their, frankly, poor showing against the Red Skull in the recent cross-over, our heroes are fighting Nazi planes in the skies over England and afterwards change out of their costumes for a bit of R&R.

The Torch, however, is feeling a tad unsociable and goes his own way as our heroes and we, the readers, are informed/reminded that the ‘Human Torch’ is anything but that – being, in truth, an android.
I think this is the first time we get this info, and this one panel origin, ( - issue #7 ! These days that wouldn’t even be in the first trade volume! How deconstructed!!)

Anyway as he mopes through the streets the Torch catches the eye of a pretty blonde british lass, patroling the streets with a friend called Derek. (You just know he’s NOT going to become a significant character don’t you!) and considers the human condition – only for the lass to be attacked by a mystery villain!.

As the Torch intervenes he discovers the villain to be a fully costumed, wings and fangs, vampire, going by the name of Baron Blood and a legend is formed.

After cultural references to 1942, Bela Lugosi and a nickname of ‘Bat-boy’ the vampire withdraws courtesy of his glider wings and a freak hurricane force wind that blows the Torch back, but not the gliding vampire.

Getting Derek first aid (see – never to be mentioned again!), the Torch introduces himself, “Never had a real name, though I used to call myself Jim Hammond a year or so back.” And the beauty is escorted to her castle-like ancestral home.

The owner of the castle, her father, Lord Falsworth, is in turn introduced to the Torch and takes meeting him in his stride, explaining he has his own ‘secret’ – that he was a costumed adventurer in WW1 known as Union Jack! (Not much of a secret when blurted out so openly!)

He also details his exploits alone and with a group of other heroes known as the Freedom’s Five”
(Another group? Even more influenced by the Seven Soldiers of Victory!?)
The team consisted of Union Jack, the Phantom Eagle, the Crimson Cavalier, Sir Steel and the Silver Squire – no footnote suggested an avalanche of mail to the Marvel bullpen would garner a series…

The girl, Jaqueline announces Baron Blood has returned and his lordship explains they were old adversaries in the last war.
The Torch signals for his Invader teammates who group together, get in Namor’s plane and whilst en-route are actually attacked by Blood himself.
Blood escapes and changes to a human disguise as the Invaders meet the Falsworths – and are introduced to his lordship’s ‘nephew’, John Falsworth who we recognise to be – Baron Blood himself!!!”

I love this!
It should be said that the American view of English/British speech pattern is one of the most annoying things in comicdom – and here it is played up for all it’s worth! - but, as with the outragous Robbins art – somehow it works here where it doesn’t anywhere else! – Probably because the Falsworths are actual nobility within the British establishment and it’s much more likely they would talk like that among their castles and clubs than those of us British reading the stories in the 1970s after walking home from our secondary schools to our subburb homes.

Yet again, I do not believe the Invaders is served by a good cover – it’s pretty generic and Baron Blood looks quite dull, Namor’s ship doesn’t look right and as if the London Bridge structure wasn’t enough Cap bleats about being splattered over London – just in case the topical references are lost on the reader!. Oh and he doesn’t quite have Spidey’s knack for the quips does he…””Mister you haven’t seen anything yet” – all very proper syntax!

So here they are – Union Jack the noble aged hero of WW1 , beautiful daughter Jacqueline (Union Jacque – I had no idea!) – and vamipific John Falsworth – who’s last panel appearance puts me so much in mind of another last panel appearance it’s almost a homage once you’ve notice it… 

“Ok Tiger…!???”

That picture just begs the next thing he says to be "But I'm not a vampire!"  ;)

INVADERS #8 (9/76)      

“UNION JACK Is Back!”
Writer/Editor – Roy Thomas artist – Frank Robbins ink- Frank Springer

 

We open with a sumptuous splash page of our five Invaders dining with Lord Falsworth, his beautiful daughter Jaqueline and nephew John.

 

We get a few catch up panels to explain the current state of the main players at the table.
Lord Falsworth (did he have a first name?) – reminising his time in WWOne as the costumed adventurer Union Jack! (Now – there was a quality costume! So good really that many decades later Paul Cornell tried to use it for a new-look Captain Britain in the MI!3 series – but it didn’t take and Rick Remender appears to have swapped it back…the point is – this is THE British costume! Iconic! Classic!. This issue has THAT cover with UJ taking centre stage!)

 

Jaqueline Falsworth, the Lord’s beautiful daughter – who remembers being attacked by her father’s old enemy the supernatural Baron Blood, only to be rescued last issue by the Human Torch.
(I’m intrigued by the above mentioned ‘Union Jaque’ idea – it didn’t get the go ahead because the costume didn’t look right on a girl.(?) Can that be true? Was there no other way it could be adapted…? The direction taken with Jaqueline is more than acceptable ……though we’re not there yet…)

 

At this point – the Human Torch fancies her rotton and is miserable as sin – believing, quite rightly it appears – that she’s much more interested in Captain America than his android rugged good looks.

 

Then there’s John Falworth – the ‘nephew’ of his lordship – who we are reminded – as if you couldn’t tell by his remarkable depiction by artist Robbins – is in secret Baron Blood himself!

 

Union Jack tells the flashback tale of how he first got deployed against Baron Blood – revealed as an actual true vampire. An adventure taking place 24 years earlier – i.e. 1918 .

 

Jaqueline gets all girlie and upset and storms from the dining room as her father takes too much pleasure in remembering his war time exploits – upset as her mother had died in the blitz two years before and rightly rueing war itself…

 

The next day Cap and Jaqueline talk with John Falsworth…who is rarely seen in the daylight (hmm…?) and references the murder of his own father , the Lord’s brother, in the far east, years ago.

 

That night, the Invaders patrol London searching for Baron Blood, who has prepared booby traps for them. The Torches get a snuffing out from an exploding vampire dummy and Namor gets a whiff of gas from another as all our heroes fall victim of the real Blood into an electrified net.

 

Enter Union jack!


There’s a tussle and the Baron gets Jack’s gun off him and fires at Jack but it’s doctored and fires silver dust into the Baron’s eyes turning the tide of battle. Baron Blood flees, the Invaders are freed and welcome the ageing but valued Union Jack to their ranks.

 

It’s left to the ‘Human Torch to ruminate on the reaction daughter Jaqueline will have to both him and Cap when she finds that her beloved father is to put himself in harms way on active service again!

 

Beautiful art here people – Robbins pencils being inked by Frank Springer have a real glow about them. Kirby’s cover’s okay – and as I say, iconic, but there’s a frantic kinetic action to the interior work here that is just not conveyed by the cover.

 

It’s pantomime characterisation, you can almost hear the ‘boo-hiss’ everytime John Falsworth is on panel.


The ‘first historic meeting’ between Union Jack and Baron Blood, whilst being well depicted and fleshed out both quite well, is noticeable by it’s actual lack of any real close ties between them. The one does not seem to know or have their origin tied up in the origin of the other. The obvious family relationship – even the one we are aware of at this point – seems to have nothing to do with the two facing each other.

 

It is notable that the android Torch is being used as the human interface character with the team these days, the readerds sympathies are much more with him than with, say Captain America…although if he continues to mope into his dinner I shall soon turn on him!

 

Next issue …The Untold Origin of Baron Blood! The Baptism of Fire of Union Jack! Plus – The End Of An INVADER! (But don’t be sure which one!)

(Well, actually – was it ever in doubt…?)

INVADERS #9   (10/76)


“An Invader No More!”
Writer/editor- Roy Thomas
Illustrators – Frank Robbins & Frank Springer

 

Behind another lacklustre cover – (I’m sorry, I know to some people Kirby can do no wrong, but I find his Invaders covers a bit derivative to say the least (I still reckon it’s possible someone has used Kirby’s figures and made collages…)…”The End of An Invader!” is predicted – “It’s tragic! It’s true!”

 

The splash page of the full Invaders team, with new member Union Jack centre stage, shows how dynamic the covers could have been if the interior art team had covered the cover (!)

 

His lordship’s costumed return to his castle is not greeted by all as a celebration, as daughter Jacqueline rails quite vigorously at Captain America, holding him responsible for her father’s return to the dangerous business of costumed warfare – only to collapse in a faint.

 

Closer inspection reveals that Jacqueline has a fresh vampire bite on her neck – proving that Baron Blood is not only back, he’s close by and he knows the Falsworth’s secret of being Union Jack. (This does become, throughout her Marvel history, quite a very significant plot point. Jaqueline is a vampire (kind-of) from this point onwards – predating……..well…lets wait an issue or two….)

 

Concern that nephew John Falsworth may also have been harmed by the vampire are allayed when John is spoken to and excuses himself as he feels a tad anaemic and finds the room too bright…and not a word is said by any of our heroes…!! (Honestly! You cannot read this page without shouting at the book!!)

 

The team leave to search London for Baron Blood, with Union Jack remaining to guard the stricken Jacqueline.

 

With the other Invaders out of the way, John becomes Baron Blood and attacks Union Jack, using his vampire-hypnosis on him but stopping short of instantly murdering his nemesis, wanting Jacqueline awake to understand the full ramifications of his victory. (Old fashioned storytelling for old fashioned characters!)

 

Before she becomes an undead vampire also, Baron Blood explains to Jacqueline that after the death of the last Lord Falsworth, the present lord’s younger brother left for Transylvania, found the crypt of Dracula himself and was turned into Baron Blood with a bite. Recognising true evil he joined the Germans side in the war. (Nazis – Vampires – they’re all the same you know…!)

 

Jacqueline realises the truth, - that ‘cousin’ John is actually her uncle! (Why this is such a big plot point I cannot really fathom. Why couldn’t he have been her uncle right from the beginning…? I know it’s to try to explain that rather than being an aged character like her father, this vampire is still young and vital – but it’s a bit unnecessary and without doubt complicates things where they don’t really need it…)

 

At last the Invaders show some brain activity as the Human Torch bursts in explaining that he never left as he had his suspicions about ‘nephew john’. (but wherever were the clues…?!)

 

Baron Blood counters with more hypnosis – trying to get the Torch to power down and sleep – but due to the appeals of the damsel in distress he fights back and flames fully on after the bad guy who flees with his captive.

 

Once outside, however, the torch is defeated by a kick to the face and …um…British weather….as he gets rained on. (No, honestly…I know….)

 

Union Jack revives him and the Torch recalls the Invaders to the castle. The grand finale is ready.

 

In a large cave area below the estate, Union Jack squares up to Baron Blood to save his daughter.
Blood crushes the Englishman’s legs beneath a thrown boulder, and slurps more of his neice’s blood.
Union Jack releases the boulder – that hits Baron Blood, impaling him on a stalagmite and killing the vampire, who withers to dust before the teams eyes.

 

Expecting a happy ending…? Not this issue – crippled for life Lord Falworth appeals to know how his daughter is – but Cap relays the fact that she’s lost a lot of blood and the prognosis is not known…..

 

Actually this is probably the most surprising ( and best..?) part of this tale. In 1976 to have a ‘multi-part’ story was quite rare – most adventures being completed in one or two issues. This was the end of the third issue covering the Union Jack vs Baron Blood story and convention screams that the last page should depict the death of the villain, the recovery of the hero Union Jack and the escape to freedom and health of heroine Jacqueline. – But no! The last page kills off Baron Blood, but confirms the end of Union Jack’s career as it reinforces that his crippling injuries are permanent – and the recovery of his victim daughter is not complete launching a surprise cliff-hanger ending…!

 

…Next Issue : “ The Traitor Within! Plus: A New and startling Invader!”

 

(Obviously I know where we’re going with the ‘New Invader’ – but I don’t remember the ‘traitor’ bit …oooh I can’t wait…!)

..and for those following (is anyone still out there?) via Invaders Classic trades – that’s the end of volume one – go seek out volume two before next issue’s entry…..soon.

Hope you don't mind, Richard but here are the covers for

INVADERS #7

INVADERS #8 and

INVADERS #9

These issues show Roy Thomas pushing the Age of Heroes further back to World War ONE with the Freedom's Five consisting of a young Union Jack, the Phantom Eagle (a masked German-American aviator from Marvel Super-Heroes #19) and three retconned characters: the British Sir Steel & Silver Squire and the French Crimson Cavalier who was later depicted as the grandfather of the Swordsman.

Baron Blood was probably the greatest original vampiric villain from the 70s. He was even worse than Dracula because he was a Nazi.

So the Invaders met Dracula's proxy and a Frankenstein's Monster. Too bad they didn't meet a werewolf or Abbott & Costello!

Not at all Philip, glad someone's out there.

As I said, not really impressed with the covers - #8 is the iconic one but the other two are pretty poor IMHO regardless of the pedigree.

As for the Freedom's Five, I think Thomas was pushing it trying to create yet another heroe grouping, so close after the creation of the Liberty Legion  and as it was only in passing in one frame it seems to be more a Thomas fanboy moment than a necessary plot point.

 By the way - I knew the Phantom Eagle character (wasn't he in a Herb Trimpe Hulk issue too?) - but where's the idea of the Crimson Cavalier being the Swordsman's grandfather come from..? (I learn so much here!)

 

Philip Portelli said:

These issues show Roy Thomas pushing the Age of Heroes further back to World War ONE with the Freedom's Five consisting of a young Union Jack, the Phantom Eagle (a masked German-American aviator from Marvel Super-Heroes #19) and three retconned characters: the British Sir Steel & Silver Squire and the French Crimson Cavalier who was later depicted as the grandfather of the Swordsman.

Actually the Crimson Cavalier is referred to as the Swordsman's ancestor in AVENGERS SPOTLIGHT #22 (S'89) written by frequent Amazing Heroes contributor Lou Mougin and drawn by his co-creator Don Heck!

It's possible Roy Thomas didn't want Union Jack to be the only costumed hero of WWI.

The Phantom Eagle appeared as a ghost in, naturally, GHOST RIDER #12 (Ju'75) and I was wrong. His first appearance was in MARVEL SUPER-HEROES #16 (S'68).

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Welcome!

No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.

SOME ESSENTIALS:

RULES OF THE ROUND TABLE

MODERATORS

SMILIES FOLDER

TIPS ON USING THE BOARD

FOLLOW US:

OUR COLUMNISTS:

Groups

© 2020   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service