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)
INVADERS (v2) #4 ((08/93)
“And A Hero Shall DIE!”
“Sorry, it’s an ugly cover, don’t like it.”
Inside, the nasty Nazi Dr Death brags to his assembled Battle Axis members , “Behold how the mighty are fallen – Behold – The INVADERS”
and we see the captured complete set of our heroes, the Sub-Mariner, Miss America, the Whizzer, the Silver Scorpion, the Blazing Skull and Captain America.
Cap laments that Dr Death, with his Nazi squad and added strength of the Golem and the Vision appear to be in charge.
We are reminded that the Vision is a reluctant Nazi-sympathiser here, afraid only Dr Death’s side can operate the machine he needs operated to return him home and the Golem is working with the goosesteppers because he has been promised he and his brother may go free once the war is won.
Dr Death adds to his master plan by repeating how hard done by he feels never to have had his credit for assisting in the creation of the Human Torch and that causing an earthquake and releasing poison gas will look like a natural accident but will take America out of the war…etc….etc…..oh and he mentions … “I retained only a second, less fully developed android.” -- do you think that’s important?
Cap attempts to rally the heroes but Dr Death pumps gas into their individual chambers knocking them out.
However, he didn’t calculate that pumping extra oxygen into the Torch’s chamber with the gas would allow the Torch to activate his powers and burn his way free of his cage!
Volton and the Vision soon subdue the poor android again though.
Cracks begin to appear in Dr Death’s control over his minions as the Golem wants his brother, Volton doesn’t want to be bossed about and the Doctor himself does vocalise the one personal drawback in his master-plan…”I crave recognition woman – and I never got it as Dr James Bradley. Of course in this particular venture, I must remain anonymous.”
Captain America steps up and goads Volton into attacking the heroes and inadvertently freeing them from their captivity by revealing to Volton a truth he finds hideous and devastating – that he is in fact….—an android!!
Indeed, the spare android Dr Death took away from Professor Horton – which is why Volton remembered no l8ife before the ‘lightning strike’ that gave him his powers…he had no ‘life’ to remember!
Volton stabs his own hand and when he doesn’t bleed – he believes he is the spare android as Cap claims.
Our heroes are freed and a final battle royal erupts.
The Golem and his brother see the light but it’s too late for the scientist who’s shot dead.
Volton attacks Dr Death and appears to kill him.
The Vision finally changes sides, leaves our dimension for his own, taking the poisonous gases with him and the day is saved!
Our heroes reflect on a narrow escape and the death of the Golem’s brother and the adventure and the entire mini-series is over.
In fairness the art does try hard here, the splash page and the following two-page spread of the roll call of players is a valiant one, but this is no advert for super-hero artwork in the 90s, the series has suffered greatly throughout for it’s grossly out of proportion, muscle-bound depiction of heroes and villains alike and general scratchy rushed looking almost childish feeling pages.
The long detailed reminder of everyone’s motives for the battle delays the action in this issue, clearly it is a necessary point as there are so many characters here and they’re not all ‘deep-down-evil’ but we’re in issue 4 of 4 is anyone really picking up this one who doesn’t know what’s going on?
The Human Torch burns his way out of his cage…again?!
Dr Death miscalculated…again?!
There wasn’t anyone who was actually surprised by the Volton is an android revelation was there…?
If Volton is a similar android to the Torch, why doesn’t he actually bleed?
The Torch gave Jacqueline a ‘blood transfusion’ to give her her Spitfire powers…there was blood…..Volton has no blood.
Volton attacks Dr Death and appears to kill him. – it’s not remotely revealed here, but somewhere somehow Dr Death is still around in ‘modern’ Marvel…back to calling himself Dr Nemesis and on the side of the angels in the X-Men.
(I think. He may well be an alternate universe version or anything!)
Last issue we were promised “Next: And One Shall Die…”
This issue we were promised “ And A Hero Shall DIE”
– But did anyone really think that would refer to the brother of one of the bad guys rather than a fully fledged costume wearing Nazi-smasher…?
Overall with this series I’ve been somewhat down on most aspects but to me it just wasn’t what the INVADERS had been all about. – No Bucky or Toro, not even Spitfire or Union Jack and hardly any moments in the limelight for Cap or Namor or even the Torch – his ‘brother’ Volton hardly affected him at all.
The pacing was wrong, the characters shallow (Silver Scorpion loved her dead boyfriend….honest!) and there were far too many cast members (!) -but the writer was possibly the best and most likely favourite to write a good Invaders yarn in Roy Thomas so what happened…?
Artwork was bad as described, but so was everything in the 90s.
The storyline could have weathered that storm, if it had any soul in it at all!
Things will get better!
Come back next year when we take a look at -
‘When 'What-If?' Became ' What-Next!”'
Luke Blanchard said:
If the Human Top became an M.D., he'd be a spin doctor.
What I find ironic is that this issue is penciled by Chic Stone and the character Lou Costello played in A & C Meet Frankenstein is named Chick Young! Coincidence?
Richard Mantle said:
INVADERS #31 (08/78)
Editor - Roy Thomas. Guest Writer – Don Glut guest artist Chic Stone Inker – Bill Black
A perfectly serviceable Joe Sinnott cover with “The INVADERS Meet FRANKENSTEIN!” logo and the imposing Nazi-Frankenstein centre stage (which of course is so much more frightening than ordinary Frankenstein isn’t it?)
Worthy of note, however, is the rather ridiculously proportioned Human Torch figure… Look closer, if the flame bolt collided with Frankie’s back it wouldn’t be so wrong but as it is, it looks like the Torch has been shrunken to firefly-size. – I put this down to being some sort of a collage cover with maybe Cap and Frankie being the original cover stars and the figures of Namor and the Torch added from elsewhere and added badly…but, no! – The original pencils are on line out there and all figures are as the end result.
It loses marks I’m afraid.
The actual story must be a contender for worst ever and it is not helped by the appalling artwork throughout. This is an example of a fill-in tale of the worst order, indeed it read and looks almost like a ‘try-out’ amateur effort.
I’m not familiar with ‘guest-artist Chic Stone’ but I’m sure he did do some other work for Marvel, but was this his first…?
The story itself is related to Spitfire in flashback, by Captain America after she finds a very large Nazi hat which had been a souvenir of an early Invaders exploit.
It involved wheelchair ridden Doctor Basil Frankenstein, a grave robbing scientist, and his undead monster in a Nazi uniform. – and his assistant a female Japanese scientist also obsessed with curing Basil of his ailments, out of his wheelchair and to some sort of world domination or something. I’m sorry, it’s really really tedious.
He says he needs the Human Torch’s android energies and proceeds to drain them into his monster only to be stopped by Namor .
The monster cries, realises its own lack of humanity – or something – and jumps over the castle cliff, with the baddies.
The villagers rejoice but the Torch sticks up for android/monster rights and warns that the castle will be protected by him, as some sort of monument (or something?) to the humanity of the monster at his end.
Thankfully, that ends this issue!
There really is not much to say about this issue, the characters are written in such broad strokes it’s very ‘silver-age-DC’ in my opinion, with even worse art.
Toro is hardly in the flashback tale, but Union Jack isn’t even in the framing sequence, yet again alienating him from the full team membership.
The month is back on the number insignia box...why did it ever go away... what was that about?
For continuity buffs….Frankenstein actually stated he traced his lineage back to the original Victor Frankenstein and his own original monster (from marvel’s "Monster of Frankenstein #1) (which if I’m right, was different again from the Frankenstein’s monster the X-Men also once faced…?)
With the last two issues – possibly being an aborted Annual and this issue a clear – and poor, filler…I presume the sales on the Invaders may have been slipping ….perhaps that’s why the next move for the title would be a ‘crowd-pleasing crossover’ with that popular World War Two hero…THOR…?
Next Issue: THOR Enters The War! But – On WHICH SIDE??
I'm pretty sure that the reason that Volton was retconned as the Human Torch's "little brother" was because, when John Byrne revived the original Torch in West Coast Avengers, he undid the business of the Torch having been recycled into the Vision, and instead declared that the Vision had just been built out of spare parts that Horton had lying around. Since much of the reveal of the "Vision was originally the Torch" story hinged on the Vision having random memory flashes involving a deep seated fear of water, Volton was now put in place to be the water-fearing android who would one day grow up to be the Vision. I have no idea if Marvel officially ever connected those dots, but I'm certain that was the plan at the time.
I didn't say it was a good solution to the problem of the Vision suddenly being made of spare parts, just that it seemed to be intended to explain the Vision's short-lived fear of water that led to the now-defunct "he was recycled from the Human Torch" origin. For the record, I don't recall the Vision ever bleeding or donating artificial blood either, so he'd seem to have more in common with Volton anyway. As far as I'm concerned, until "modern" writers got a hold of him, the original Torch always seemed to have been portrayed as a "Classic Android": an artificial human grown in a test tube, while the Vision always seemed more like a humanoid robot, full of mechanical parts.
I never liked the idea of the Vision being rebuilt from the Torch. The two power sets were so completely different that it was hard for me to believe that their bodies were the same.
It wasn't a great idea--supposedly, it was to show that the Vision had been created by a human "father" to live as a human being, thus making his relationship with the Scarlet Witch seem more plausible (hey, I didn't make this stuff up!), but as far as I was concerned, all it did was draw more attention to the fact that the original Torch was, and remains, the single most advanced android in the entire history of the Marvel Universe. Well, maybe Dynamic Man in The Twelve was comparable, altho I assume, for no real reason, that the Torch was anatomically correct, but he was of similar vintage--just why was the secret to creating convincing artificial humans lost after the very early 1940s?
Dave Elyea said:
--just why was the secret to creating convincing artificial humans lost after the very early 1940s?
I get the impression that Professor Horton was run out of the scientific community. Maybe his secret disappeared with him, or he destroyed it. Kind of like the super soldier formula being lost when Dr. Reinstein/Erskine was killed.
When the Vision came along the default version of an android seemed to be a robot. In the original Twilight Zone stories, Star Trek, and older science fiction, an android is almost always a convincing-looking copy of a human form, not a robot.
I guess we could say that Ultron-5 created the Vision "in his image", being a robot himself.