All-New Invaders #1 review

OK axis, here we come! That was the battle cry of the Invaders at their Seventies height, when Roy Thomas, Frank Robbins and a bunch of other creators revealed untold tales of Captain America, Namor, Human Torch, Toro and Bucky in the Big One.

This comeback comic is set in the present day, is absent Toro and as yet, there's no rallying call. But if one comes I'll be there to see it, as in just one issue, core creators James Robinson and Steve Pugh have grabbed me but good. Because this is rather the fun comic, with well-loved characters in surprising situations.

For example, there's the Torch, Jim Hammond, fighting a Kree warrior woman for the life of his town. There's Norse Queen of the Dead Hela tormenting patriotic Invader Major Liberty in a World War Two-set scene.

Major Liberty? Yes, this obscure fellow has usurped Cap's place in an apparent memory of Jim's, one he feels he's experiencing, more than recalling. It's a tad confusing, even for an artificial human who's lived for almost a century.

Robinson does a splendid job showing us Jim's new life away from New York; in search of peace he's settled into Blaketon, Illinois. He's found himself a job as a car mechanic ('I have a thing with machines'), a diner that serves good pie, and a waitress who's sweet on him.

So of course, it can't last - after a few pages of Jim's idyllic new life he's fighting to preserve it. In a nice touch, Jim wonders if blue skin means the woman who's ambushed him is one of Namor's Atlanteans. In fact, she's Kree-Lar's Tanalth the Pursuer, on Earth in search of a maguffin.

Torch fights like a fury to save his new friends, but things aren't going too well. Then a couple of old pals turn up ...

While I loved the original Invaders book, this new series has a couple of big black marks against it - Cap's hideous new 'realistic' duds, and Bucky's kill crazy Winter Soldier persona. Luckily, it has one big plus - James Robinson, whose work at DC Comics has shown his facility for getting into the minds of the old timers and making them fresh.

We have yet to see how he's going to handle the modern versions of Cap and Bucky, but I have faith. And given that two years ago DC dismissed its history as unimportant, if Marvel wishes to pick up some of the slack, I'm there. Who knows, Robinson may even give us a legacy hero or two.

For now, he's delivered a first chapter that lays down a decent mystery - why doesn't Jim remember his memories? - while using action to reveal character. I like that while he's a veteran superhero, always ready to defend the weaker, Jim just wants a bit of peace.

I also like Steve Pugh's illustrations, which tell the story with intelligence and style. Look how well thought out this sequence of Jim returning to his workplace is so far as building suspense goes (click on image to enlarge).

As coloured by Guru-eFX, Pugh's work has a pastoral Alex Ross quality, without that artist's stiffness. Torch fair blazes off the page, never more so than in his splash reveal. And check out the hat - Pugh remembers that heat rises.

One thing with the colours, though - washed-out sequences are a terrible cliche for flashbacks, I'd like to see Guru come up with another approach.

A few comments as regards the production design: the cover stock is appalling, even thinner than the interior paper, and certainly not good enough for a $3.99 price tag. The logo is hideous, especially the Avengers-style branding around the 'I'. And the credits spread of recoloured, repurposed images is visually appealing but a waste of space only just better than Jonathan Hickman's snoozesome Avengers charts - it'd be great as a collected edition frontispiece, but if there are story pages available, tell us a story.

I do, though, appreciate the clever recap page to catch up newer readers, and older readers like me who have, pardon the expression, lost the plot.

Mukesh Singh's cover illo looked great as promotional art; here, the trade dress and logo take away from it something rotten.

Overall, a fine first issue, with just a few tweaks needed to make it feel worth the money. OK, accountants?


  1. So Jim's back. I thought he was dead? Wasn't he dead just a few short years back, with his corpse being used as a way to store a deadly disease and to disperse said virus? Bucky Cap stopped that one I think. Hmm. Glad to see he's back though. Pugh's art really does shine here, especially that Alex Ross-eque flaming on page. I'm sure it being Robinson, the golden age characters are in safe hands, and yes, I fully expect the revival of a legacy hero or two before this is all over. Maybe he'll finally bring back the Twelve I miss so much.

    1. Hiya Dale, I must have missed his latest death - was that in the recent-ish (oh, just checked my review - 2009!) Torch series from Dynamite?

      I did like the Twelve - it took its time, but it was good

  2. The comic itself, I liked pretty well, for pretty much the same reasons you did.

    But that 2-page title-card spread INFURIATED me. Had the comic been $2.99 I wouldn't have even noticed, so long as I got a decent number of story pages. But for a $3.99 book, I have serious doubts as to whether I'll pick up the next issue. And this from a guy who really, really likes Robinson.

    1. Let's all tweet Marvel - we only got 20 story pages.

  3. robinson says that there will be no nazis in this series cause he says it's been done to death also a new legacy character will appear and spitfire union jack will join or re join the team in the next arc also

  4. I am a big fan of the original Invaders with Robbins art, one of the first memorable comics from my youth. So this reimagining by Robinson (who I like a lot) was too intriguing to pass up.

    As you say, it was a fine enough issue ... but was it a big enough hook to grab me. I read it and kind of sighed. I need a whiz bang first issue to get me to add something to my pull list. I don't know if this was spicy enough to get me. I liked the issue well enough, especially as a fan of the original Torch (remember when Byrne brought him back?).

    I suppose I'll give it another issue to see what happens when more Invaders are around.

    One thing that did catch my eye was the art by Steve Pugh which looks way more streamlined than the murky stuff I am used to from him dating back to his Animal Man days. His Hela is delightfully over Kirby!

  5. if you want more bang for your buck try batman beyond unlimited 2 stories for the price of one plus the justice league beyond storyline world war b is heating up the league battles a more powerful brainiac without the aid of their mysticall allies and already heroes like the ray red star and the metal men have fallen under his sway the atlantean royal family prepares to assit meanwhile flash has gathered the few mystic left amethyst empress of gemworld ragman whose more rags than man klarion the warlock nightmistress and as wally is calling much to his anger zombie felix faust p.s. use this to check out somne the pictures let me know waht you think


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