A Timely in­va­sion

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - READS - Re­view by MICHAEL CHEANG All-New In­vaders #1 & #2 (on­go­ing) James Robin­son Steve Pugh Marvel Comics

NAMOR wasn’t the only su­per­hero to be in­tro­duced in Marvel Comics #1 back in 1939. In fact, it was an­other su­per­hero who graced the cover of that par­tic­u­lar book – the orig­i­nal Hu­man Torch, a “syn­thetic hu­man” named Jim Ham­mond.

Then in 1941, pub­lisher Timely Comics in­tro­duced its most iconic su­per­hero yet – the Star-Span­gled Avenger him­self (though he wasn’t an Avenger at the time), Cap­tain Amer­ica, and his trusty teen side­kick, Jim “Bucky” Barnes. Later, the four of them formed part of Marvel’s first ever su­per­hero team – the All-Win­ners Squad!

While the squad only lasted two is­sues ( All Win­ners Comics #19 and #21) be­fore be­ing dropped, an­other in­car­na­tion of the Cap-NamorHu­man Torch team was in­tro­duced in 1969 by writer Roy Thomas and artist Sal Buscema in The Avengers #71. Called the In­vaders, the team fea­tured five he­roes – Cap­tain Amer­ica, Bucky, Namor, Hu­man Torch and his side­kick Toro – bat­tling the Nazis dur­ing WWII.

Now comes the lat­est in­car­na­tion which drags the team into the present day and up­dates their sta­tus quo ac­cord­ingly.

Yes, all four of them are still around, for a va­ri­ety of rea­sons: Cap is now the bona fide leader of the Avengers; Namor has just lost a war (and his en­tire city) to the Wakan­dans; Bucky is now the wanted but pre­sumed dead Win­ter Sol­dier; and The Hu­man Torch? Well, he keeps try­ing to lead a nor­mal life, but things just keep go­ing up in, er ... flames around him.

It takes an old fash­ioned trope, a MacGuf­fin, to bring the four of them to­gether again – a Kree de­vice called the Gods’ Whis­per, which al­lows its wielder to con­trol As­gar­dian gods. Dur­ing WWII, the de­vice fell into the hands of the Nazis, but a Cap-less In­vaders team man­aged to in­ter­cept and dis­man­tle it into three pieces be­fore hid­ing it. They then con­ve­niently got them­selves brain­washed into com­pletely for­get­ting it ever ex­isted.

The ac­tion in All-New In­vaders comes cour­tesy of the Kree (when in need of a plot, just add aliens), who send the blue, bad Big Bar­dawannabe Tanalth the Pur­suer to re­trieve the pieces from the for­mer In­vaders; which, of course, brings the old team to­gether again.

With Cap and Namor al­ready well es­tab­lished in sev­eral books in the All-New Marvel Now, the first two is­sues fo­cus mostly on in­te­grat­ing the Hu­man Torch and the Win­ter Sol­dier back into cur­rent con­ti­nu­ity.

With Cap­tain Amer­ica and Bucky re­turn­ing to the sil­ver screen via Cap­tain Amer­ica: The Win­ter Sol­dier this year, the rein­tro­duc­tion of these old Timely Comics char­ac­ters couldn’t be more, well, timely. In fact, aware­ness of Marvel’s char­ac­ters is a lot higher these days, and the chances of Jim Ham­mond be­ing mis­taken for Johnny Storm are prob­a­bly a lot lower as well..

While the first two is­sues of the book mostly fea­ture a lot of punch­ing, some burn­ing, and more punch­ing, there are also some nice touches of char­ac­ter de­vel­op­ment here, es­pe­cially with Ham­mond’s at­tempts to make friends and fit in to the town where he lives.

With Namor yet to truly re­join the team, how­ever, it still feels a lit­tle un­bal­anced, with the no­ble do-good­ers like Cap and Ham­mond dom­i­nat­ing mak­ing too pre­dictable Here’s up when swims

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