Friday, 10 May 2013

Avengers/Invaders Graphic Novel

This Graphic Novel written by Alex Ross and JimKrueger, and drawn by Steve Sadowski, is set after the events in Marvel's 'Civil War', and the Death of Captain America (Steve Rogers).

It collects all 12 issues of the original comic run, plus some nice extra's at the back of the book. The alternative covers, and black and white pencil sketches by Alex Ross are absolutely fantastic. Alex Ross provided all the covers for this comic run, and as you would expect from his art, it is pretty amazing.

For those of you that don't know, which I'm sure there aren't many of you, The Invaders were a team of Superheroes in World War 2, who battled Hitler's forces. The team was built around three main characters, Captain America, Namor, and The Original Human Torch (Jim Hammond), a supporting cast consisted of Bucky Barnes, Captain America's sidekick, Toro, Jim Hammond's human sidekick, who also burst in to flame, and the two British members, Spitfire and Union Jack.

Quite a lot happens in this Graphic Novel, so I'll try to keep it brief and skirt around the edges a little with what actually happened.

A lot of this story is taken from the journal created by Bucky Barnes, who believes in recording everything, and quite a bit of what happens revolves around Bucky. The story starts in 1943 and The Invaders, and some American soldiers are storming a monastery held by the Germans who have some type of Occult item that Hitler requires.

The Invaders and the American soldiers come under heavy fire, which results in heavy casualties for the soldiers and Union Jack also shot, and mortally wounded.

The Invaders race on on enter a green mist, which then deposits them into the future, New York 2008 to be precise. America is a very different America to the one they were used to.

This is 2008, the Civil War has just ended, Captain America has just been shot, and any heroes that will not register their identity are being hunted. The first thing they encounter is Spider-Man fighting for his life against the government sanctioned Thunderbolts. The Invaders think The Thunderbolts are Nazi's and fight them, and win, quite easily, then go to ground in this new world, which they think is ruled by Nazi's.

As I've already stated, a lot happens after this! The Avengers get involved, both factions, the one lead by Iron Man, who wants to capture them, knowing they shouldn't be in this time stream, and could upset the balance, and the rogue Avengers who are being directed by Doctor Strange, who also knows things are not right, and also wants to return them to their correct time.

A lot of fighting happens, Avenger Versus Avenger Versus Invader Versus a legion of Ultron controlled LMD's. The one thing that stood out for me from the middle section of this book, was how powerful Jim Hammond actually is. Not only was he responsible for defeating the LMD Ultron's, who had duped him in the first place, but he single handedly defeated The Sentry, very quickly.

So the big question is, Just how powerful is Jim Hammond/ He was the original Marvel hero, the very first Marvel creation, but is he more powerful than Johnny Storm?

Doctor Strange traces the anomaly that has caused the Invaders to be in this time, which turns out to be the cosmic cube, which is in the hands of D'Spayre, who in turn, turns out to be The Golden Age Vision, who says he is a caretaker of the Cosmic Cube, and is here to guide it towards it's calling!

The invaders, plus a sole surviving soldier, and various Avengers return to 1943, but at the time of travelling back the soldier takes the cube and trys to save his buddies, who were killed in the initial assault, along with Union Jack. He uses the cube to bring them back to life, and also Union Jack, but forgets to protect himself. He's shot, drops the cube, which is then collected by The Red Skull.

The Red Skull uses the cube to conquer the world, so The Invaders, and Avengers arrive back in a 1943 New York ruled by The Red Skull.

The heroes now have to fight their way to Germany to regain the Cosmic Cube, so they can once again correct history. The Avengers have to wear disguises so as not to let the Red Skull know they are from the future, and these disguise are those of heroes from that era, most of them I've never heard of. Heroes such as Captain Terror, The Black Avenger, and The Challenger, to name but three.

There's a nice bit where the Red Skull ponders the appearance of The Axis heroes, standing in front of a display cabinet, where every hero of that era is pinned, like a butterfly in a collectors display.

Invaders/Avengers fight The Red Skull and his own superhuman beings, Masterman, U-Man etc, the usual WW2 super villains, plus in this reality Thor is a member. Heroes die, both Spitfire, and Union Jack sacrifice themselves to destroy one of the Red Skulls creations, and the American soldier who caused this reality to happen, grabs the fallen cube, dropped by The Red Skull fighting Captain America, grabs the cube brings all the old heroes back to life, and returns time to it's rightful place.

One thing this book explored was the feelings and emotions felt by Bucky and Toro. In the course of their jaunt in to the future Toro discovers that he's dead, this disturbs him greatly, and he has a hard time coming to terms with his death, questioning where was Jim Hammond, and the other Invaders, why had they let him die?

One of the final pages of this tale shows the Golden Age Vision resurrecting Toro, which now makes sense why he was brought back to life. He features in the other Invaders tale written by Alex Ross, 'Invaders Now'.

I really enjoyed this graphic novel, it's far better than the Invaders Now story by Alex Ross. It has lots of action, a huge cast of characters, and some real emotion.

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