Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Invaders - Winning It All!

The Invaders wrapped up its run with some action-filled stories which called back many of the flamboyant characters which had been created over the few years of production. In these issues you do get the sense that Roy Thomas knew the comic was shutting down and was closing the books a bit on some of the story lines with the help of Don Glut. Long gone is Frank Robbins who will in a few months leave comic books entirely to head out to Mexico and a long life of fine art painting. Taking over the regular art chores is Alan Kupperberg with some assistance by Rick Hoberg from time to time. The regular inker is a Bullpen veteran returned to the fold after many years away, the great Chic Stone. Some of the artwork in these issues is by Don Heck when work he'd done some time before for a proposed Liberty Legion comic is taken and framed by new stuff from the new Invaders art team.

Alan Kupperberg and Joe Sinnott
The Invaders (Cap, Subby, and Torch) are called back to the United States, New York City in particular where they are soon found by The Whizzer. He tells them that the Liberty Legion has been captured by an iron-clad foe called The Iron Cross, a German super-patriot who fights on the side of the Nazis. His goal is to capture his former colleague who developed the intimidating armor and make it even more potent.

Alan Kupperberg and Joe Sinnott
The team face off against The Iron Cross and he proves a sturdy opponent. It takes all the team can muster to finally free the Liberty Legion and save the day.

Alan Kupperberg and Joe Sinnott
When they finally do so, they find that their number have increased by two as The Whizzer and Miss America join up for the time being, presaging the All-Winners Squad which will debut after the war is over.

Alan Kupperberg and Joe Sinnott
This team then falls under the spell of the vivacious and seductive Lady Lotus who is assembling a super team of villains to further her schemes to advance the Japanese war cause. Her first conquest is Merrano the U-Man who she hypnotizes from afar to join her.

Alan Kupperberg and Joe Sinnott
Her goal is to tempt the Golden Girl of the Kid Commandos to join her in her schemes. That fails when Gwenny Sabuki rejects Lotus utterly,  but not before the former teenage sidekicks need some help from The Invaders themselves.

  Dave Cockrum and Joe Sinnott
Then the Invaders team is alerted to the revived threat of Baron Blood, who likewise has been recruited hypnotically by Lady Lotus. We check in on Union Jack and Spitfire who battle the Baron only to lose track of him as he heads for the U.S. and a rendezvous with his new mistress.

Al Milgrom
There he joins U-Man, Master Man, and Warrior Woman to form the Super-Axis, all fighting under the hypnotic sway of Lady Lotus. The battle is furious and lengthy but in the end as they must the Invaders win the day and the villains are captured for the police who are faced with the challenge of keeping hold of the villains, all captured save Lady Lotus.  Afterwards the team returns to London, England to continue their primary mission to "invade" Fortress Europa and stop the Axis forces. Our final  image of the Invaders in this extra-lengthy finale is the team of Cap, Torch, Subby, Spitfire, and Union Jack charging off to face the next threat the war will bring their way shouting their evocative battle cry "Okay Axis - Here We Come!"

Meanwhile the defeated Lady Lotus hides out in New York's Chinatown where she encounters the Yellow Claw who informs her that while she did okay he plans to do better with time and patience.

And that's a wrap folks on the grand experiment to bring to a Bronze Age audience the revised and extended adventures of the Golden Age heroes.  The book closes with a delightful two-page spread by Kupperberg of all the heroes and most of the villains who have appeared in the series during its impressive run.

But Roy Thomas is not done with The Invaders, not yet -- though it will take several years. More tomorrow. 

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  1. I am missing the first trade in the series of paperbacks that were issued several years ago. I recall back during this series run dropping it due in large part to Robbins' art and then getting back into it during the last issues you describe above. While the "new" art was not top shelf, it was welcomed.

    I love this concept. Maybe this was the original "Untold Tales" concept?

    Thanks for the overview!


    1. If not the original then certainly the most expansive effort along those lines at time. Roy's need to organize the rampant storytelling of the Golden Age has yielded some great material.

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