All New Invaders #1
Written by James Robinson
Art by Steve Pugh, Colors by Guru eFX
Cover by Mukesh Singh
Published by Marvel
The appeal of the Invaders has always been their roots in World War II, their connection to the Golden Age of comics and a simpler time. The world was in real danger from villains doing more horrendous things than any comic book bad guy. After the Axis Powers, taking on other comic book villains can seem silly. These roots in the past can make the team feel like they don’t belong in the present, and justifying their reunion often saps Invaders’ stories of urgency. All New Invaders #1 does a good job of connecting their past, and hints at exploring interesting themes for these classic heroes, even if this first issue doesn’t manage to hook readers.
Out of all the Invaders, the original Human Torch is the least explored, and this first issue wisely makes use of him to give the audience access to the story. When Tanalth the Pursuer attacks the Torch’s town, he reluctantly springs to action. One of Tanalth’s weapons sends the Torch into a flashback, recalling an Invader’s mission involving the God’s Whisper, a machine giving its user control over Norse Gods. It’s a testament to the plotting and dialog that all this doesn’t read as convoluted on the page.
With a character this long-lived, it might seem unnecessary to fill readers in on his powers and back story (Human Torch is a pretty descriptive title), but being a synthetic being from the World War II era is fertile ground for the kind of thematic work that would make this book stand out. Jim Hammond (the Torch’s alter ego) is still a blank slate, character wise. Captain America, Namor and Bucky have changed dramatically through the years and no doubt their current standings in the Marvel Universe will play a roll in the team’s dynamics. Using the Torch as a cypher for the audience is a great opportunity to invest All New Invaders with a sense of wonder.
This issue manages to provide a compelling enough story to get the Invaders back together. James Robinson’s narrative is strong. Steve Pugh’s pencils do a fine job, and give the pages a classic feel. Connecting the Invaders who fought in World War II with alien Kree and the Norse Pantheon should feel like more of a feat. With a little more thematic cross-hatching, All New Invaders might do more than make readers wistful for the Golden Age.