Wednesday, December 27, 2017

"The End" Week: Invaders #41 and #15!

From 1979, Invaders #41, "Beware the Super-Axis!" Written by Don Glut, breakdowns by Alan Kupperberg, finishes by Chic Stone, edited by Roy Thomas. (Who I'm sure had some input!) And from 2015, All-New Invaders #15, "The Return of Toro, part 2" Written by James Robinson, art by Steve Pugh.

Even though it's not a series I read regularly at the time, I have strong memories of the old Invaders: they appeared as the Grandmaster's pawns in Avengers #71, which was reprinted in Marvel Super Action #32, which was probably my first Avengers comic. (Man, I haven't blogged that yet? At all? The hell? No, I did post one Invader-less panel way back when!) And I remember reading an issue where the team was captured and the Human Torch was kept in an airless, vacuum container; and I was trying to figure out why he didn't suffocate: I didn't know the "Human" Torch was an android! Not positive what issue that was.

Anyway, this issue is mostly fight sequence, between the Invaders (with less well known members the Whizzer and Miss America) punching it up with the Super-Axis, featuring Baron Blood, Master Man and Warrior Woman, and U-Man. The Torch is hypnotized by Lady Lotus for a good chunk of it, and the issue ends with Lotus escaping to fight another day, with her uncle, the Yellow Claw!

The modern, "All-New" Invaders was at least two-thirds old members: the Torch, Namor, the returned (and now of Inhuman origin) Toro, and as of this issue the old Steve Rogers, since he had lost the Super-Soldier Formula. I kind of suspect that was at least part of the reason this was cancelled: keeping consistency with Steve appearing in his book, who knows how many Avengers titles, and anything else. While Steve is having a hard time adjusting to being old, he meets with Namor and the Torch, over the coordinates in the ocean where the Avengers found him, frozen in ice.

In a recent adventure, Lash, an Inhuman searching for others of his kind that he deemed 'worthy,' intervened in a fight to invite Toro and Iron Cross to join him. Card-carrying Nazi Iron Cross was not thrilled at that revelation, but realizes his old life was over, and joins Lash. While their current adventures appeared to be wrapping up, Namor tells the Torch that he had "been the villain to Steve on many occasions," but Jim Hammond brought out the best in him. And Jim was not only working with S.H.I.E.L.D, he had rescued another former lab specimen like himself: Speedball's cat, Niels!

Who trashed a good chunk of his place, but seems to be coming around to him. It's a nice ending, that I'm pretty sure was crapped all over by Secret Empire, if not sooner; and a better storyline--the Winter Soldier, the British Invaders, and Killraven versus a new Martian tripod invasion--was left hanging. Robinson notes in the closing that some of the loose ends might be wrapped up elsewhere, but Secret Wars might've derailed that. Unless they were in Robinson's next book...better look for the last issue of that, now.

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