Longevity, resurrection, vampirism ... one way or another, Second World War fighting force the Invaders are pretty much all active in the Marvel Universe of 2010. So why not get them back together for one more go-round, showing the whippersnappers of today how it's done?
That's this mini-series at its most basic. Captain America and Bucky, the original Human Torch and Toro, the Sub-Mariner, Spitfire, the newest Union Jack, the first Vision ... they're reunited to investigate modern deaths somehow related to their darkest day.
Along the way we're presented with some neat vignettes, such as the mutual disappointment of former sidekicks Toro and Bucky in the modern world (they were promised jetpacks); the Human Torch helping Namor round up a lost 'pet' and impressing the mutant kids with his war stories; Steve Rogers calling the Vision out on his apparent addiction to obfuscation. Everyone gets a moment before coming together. As for how they'll gel as a team, whether the tactics that were right for the 1940s still feel appropriate for the team-mates today, that's for future issues.
With Avengers: Initiative and Avengers Academy's Christos Gage writing (from a story he devised with cover artist Alex Ross), I've no doubt the answers will come, and they'll be far beyond satisfactory. In this debut issue he does a fine job of capturing, or defining, character voices, and choreographing the globally scattered comrades.
And with luck, Caio Reis will continue illustrating, and Vinicius Andrade colouring, as together they whip up a thoroughly appropriate atmosphere of gung ho for our veteran heroes. A pat on the back, too, for letterer Simon Bowland, for a confident job.
This comic shows that you don't have to be flashy, you don't have to have 'shocking' deaths, you don't need to be part of a crossover to succeed. Invaders Now is simply a solid superhero comic, and done right, that's enough for me. There's a mystery, fine character interaction, baddie bashing, pleasing illustrations ... it's thoroughly professional - not in a workmanlike sense, but in terms of craftsmen at the top of their game. And best of all, there's not a tired old neo-Nazi in sight.
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