The Marvel Comics series THE INVADERS, which ran for 41 issues from August 1975 to September 1979, remains one of my all time favorite Bronze Age comic book series. With scripts by Roy Thomas (my all time favorite comic book writer) and artwork by Frank Robbins (and others), this massive retcon teamed Captain America, Bucky, the Human Torch, Toro and Prince Namor, the Sub-Mariner (and other Golden Age super heroes, some vintage, some newly minted)against various foes in the Nazi occupied Europe of World War II. This mash up of Golden Age comic book characters and the more-or-less real history of WWII punched two of my major hot buttons. I loved it!
One of my Christmas presents this year (thanks Judy!) was the trade paperback collection ALL-NEW INVADERS: GODS AND SOLDIERS written by James Robinson and illustrated by Steve Pugh. This 2014 iteration of the venerable super group teams Captain America, The Winter Soldier (formerly Bucky), Namor and the Human Torch. But since WWII and the Nazis are now a thing of the distant past, who can pose a big enough threat for these stalwarts to handle?
Would you believe the Kree Empire, a star spanning race of warlike aliens that have been a staple of the Marvel Universe since the Silver Age? The Kree have a weapon that can neutralize the gods themselves. At least, it did back in WWII when it was used against Hela, the Asgardian goddess of death. But in present day, the Asgardians are no longer effected by the weapon. But other gods are. Like Ikaris of the Eternals.
Our four heroes join forces with Aarkus, the original Golden Age Vision, to journey to the Kree home world for the final showdown. Things are wrapped up but left open for the rest of the series with a hint of bigger and deadlier things (hint: Galactus) to come.
GODS AND SOLDIERS is well written and well illustrated. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and will definitely seek out more collections of this series. While I prefer to see these heroes in WWII, I understand that a comic book series set more than 70 years ago just isn't commercially viable in this day and age. The battle with the Kree sets the stage nicely for more challenges to come.
The one thing that struck me the most while reading the book was how many characters and concepts that were created by Jack Kirby are still in play in the Marvel Universe. Kirby died twenty years ago but his imagination and work is immortal. Here we have Hela, Ikaris, the Kree Supreme Intelligence, Galactus and Captain America and Bucky, all of which were created (or co-created) by Jack Kirby.
ALL-NEW INVADERS: GODS AND SOLDIERS is a fun, fast paced, action packed, good old-fashioned super-hero romp. Thumbs up.