by Etienne Paul, CMRO Contributing Writer
Written by James Robinson, Art by Steve Pugh
I really wanted to write about this comic even before I knew what it was going to entail. I am a big fan of team books, much more so than solos because I feel they give a much longer period of storytelling before they start to feel stale. Now do not get me wrong, I love some of the solo books as well, Deadpool is a very good example of that, but I find that the best solo books end up forming a team around the lead character and so the difference starts to become one of name only. I was looking forward to this because it was another team book and it was one with the longest of pedigrees being the predecessor of all the Marvels team books as the All-Winners Squad back in the time when Marvel was Timely Comics. However I had forgotten one vital fact and that was Captain America.
The way I see Marvel comics now is as a victim of its own success. They have two major divides in the main universe between ‘Avengers’ and ‘X-Men’ with Spider-Man, the Hulk and the Fantastic four providing some high selling, but not very diverse titles as well. Anything that gets published has to fall into these categories or it seems to fall rapidly away because it has no supporting titles to provide marketing opportunities. Fearless Defenders was a victim of this; one of the best stories with some fantastic art but it had no A-list character leading the team and no supporting stories to bring in more readers. To be honest if it had been called the ‘Fearless Avengers’ then I expect it would have had much higher sales and survived beyond its meagre 12 issue run.
So are the Invaders are going to suffer the same fate then? Well it could well be cancelled after 12 issues, but it would not be for the same reason because this comic is lead by Captain America and therefore simply becomes another Avengers title. Therein lies the problem for me. I recently reviewed Avengers Assemble #22-23 and this was so much fun because it was a group nominally under the ‘Avengers’ banner, but comprised of Black Widow, Spider-Woman and Spider-Girl which is something I have never seen before and I do not think has been done before. Unfortunately that will not get a series because no one is going to read it even if it was written by a reincarnated Shakespeare an illustrated by Rembrandt.
Onto the review of All-New Invading Avengers. They are clearly taking the long build up method for this team comic and this issue introduces the Human Torch. No, not that one, the other one, the one that is a walking oxymoron on the grounds that he is not human at all, but an android. He is however more entertaining that the other Human Torch and, as this comic shows, actually has more humanity to him that you would imagine. He has been hiding out in a rural community working as an assistant in a garage and eating his way through a bite of pie and a sip of coffee to maintain his illusion of that humanity. That all comes to a grinding halt as Tanalth the Pursuer decides to destroy his facade and kill anyone who gets in her way.
I have to be honest here; I have no idea where this series is going, or how Cap and Bucky are already together or what the flashback means because the comic seems to imply it is a flashback to an event that did not happen. As is often the way with comics with extensive backgrounds, unless you have read all of them it is impossible to tell what is a ‘real’ historical moment and one that was manufactured for the comic itself. Admittedly in this age of the internet it is a lot easier to find out, but I neither have the time, nor the inclination and for a major series launch I found this too confusing to follow. Seeing as how I have read every comic Marvel has put out for the last two years (save for the Ultimate universe, I do have some dignity) if I do not know about it then I am pretty damn sure that a large proportion of their readership will not know either.
This series could be great or it could be as dull as anything, I just do not know based on this comic. Usually I know from the first issue if I am going to enjoy a series or not, or as often happens I like the first three of four issues and then the story trails away, but I very rarely come away feeling completely neutral about a comic.