In celebration of Marvel’s 80th anniversary Chip Zdarsky, Carlos Magno, and Butch Guice bring us a new Invaders series. It’s not just any team book though but one that builds on the history of the team during World War II. Witness history in the making as the creative team reveal new truths about the greatest superhero of the sea: Namor!
So what’s it about?
The official summary reads:
In commemoration of Marvel’s 80th anniversary and springing from events in the pages of AVENGERS and DEFENDERS: THE BEST DEFENSE, the Marvel Universe’s fi rst super-team is back! Captain America. The Human Torch. The Winter Soldier. Namor. They fought in World War II together as THE INVADERS. But now Namor is the enemy, a global threat more powerful than ever. His deadly plans are as deep and far-reaching as the ocean, and revelations about his past could threaten the Marvel Universe! It’s up to his old teammates to stop him, but what chance do they have against the man who knows their every move?
Why does this matter?
When it was announced Chip Zdarsky was writing a new Invaders series I was excited. After picking up the book and realizing it was more about the secret past of Namor I was even more interested. Namor is one of the most on again and off again villains/misunderstood superheroes who could use a good deal of character writing. This book does that.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
AiPT! Writer Ritesh Babu put it best when he wrote of this series, “A masterful balance of intimate person narratives that weave together with larger, sweeping universe-wide epics.” What is fascinating about this book is how the title draws you in for the team, but within its pages is an interesting exploration of who Namor is and why he is this way. The book is filled with flashbacks that reveal Namor befriended a soldier, lost him, and couldn’t bear to carry on after. We learn a bit about how his memories were tamped down and how he helped the mutant crusade before there ever was the X-Men. This book clearly makes Namor a more interesting and complex character.
At the same time, Captain America and the Human Torch (the original robot version) are trying to understand the flashbacks we’re privy too. It’s a classic case of the story giving the reader key details while the heroes try to play catch up. That adds an intensity to the narrative that keeps it pushing forward. By the end when war is looming there are big surprises and a message made about Namor trying to save the world.
I’ve always been a fan of Butch Guice, who keeps the flashback narrative looking gritty and real. Most of his scenes are during World War II and you get a good sense of the disarray the war put the characters and the world into. Carlos Magno draws the scenes in the “now” and his pencils are sharp and suit the superhero looks. The stand out element by both artists is Human Torch who can go from human to alien. His robotic nature is captured well in his body language and when he gets ripped to shreds it’s disturbing just as it should be.
It can’t be perfect, can it?
It’s kind of odd this is dubbed Invaders since it’s so focused on Namor. Expectations can be thrown off and it can be tiring when the pacing seems to tease more than reveal. Blame the mystery tropes, but the story seems to unfurl so slowly at times it’s maddening.
Is it good?
Invaders is a well crafted war-time story that’s secretly a fantastic Namor story. Read this for greater insight into one of the coolest mutants of all time.