Invaders #1-4 (August 1975-January 1976)

Just two months after Giant-Size Invaders #1, the (mostly) monthly Invaders title began (the first two issues originally intended for a second giant-size comic). As I wrote in the post for the last issue (after some background regarding its origins), this series is heavy of the action and light on the moral dilemmas—this being an early version of Captain America—so I will usually discuss several issues together, with panels fewer and farther apart, and less synopsis in between. (And with the same money-back guarantee you’ve come to rely on!)

As our heroes fly to London after their adventure in Giant-Size Invaders #1, Cap takes exception with the name given the group by none other than British prime minister Winston Churchill, with the rest of team bickering and Cap left to be the voice of reason (a pattern also established in the last issue).

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After a lengthy firefight in the air, Cap and Bucky land their plane and find a dazed woman named Hilda wondering in the wreckage. Believing her to be German, the Invaders (minus Bucky) fly Hilda home—in the middle of a world war, no big deal—but a giant axe hits their plane and they are forced to bail out. Hilda’s chute doesn’t open, prompting some skilled aerial acrobatics, not to mention a great deal of courage, on Cap’s part.

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Luckily, an old pal shows up to provide some welcome hot air.

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Above, Cap references a famous scene from the 1934 Frank Capra film It Happened One Night starring Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert (although, as you can see here, it was Colbert who managed to hitch a ride, and it was not by using her thumb).

The axe belonged to one of a trio of men dressed like Teutonic gods, and after fighting them in the beginning of issue #2, Cap and Hilda seek shelter, and almost have a moment…

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…before being discovered by Nazis and taken to the secret bunker of the man behind the development of Master Man (seen in the last issue).

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“Wait!” you say, being a loyal reader of The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (as we all are). “That can’t be the same Brain Drain I know and love, with his droll existentialist commentary and general heroism!”

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Well it is! You’ll remember, of course, that Brain Drain was re-introduced in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl (vol. 2) #12 (November 2016) as an ex-villain, like so many other notable Marvel heroes. And you don’t get more villainous than a Nazi, which he was at this point.

After the Invaders defeat Brain Drain (as you knew they would), issue #3 sees them flying back to the States, where Cap, always happy to acknowledge the courage and service of others, gives a shout-out to the British merchant navy…

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…and then directs the Torch to help them out after Namor leaves to face an attacking German U-boat.

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After Namor manages to destroy the U-boat, the Invaders capture one of the German officers onboard, and Namor almost goes too far to get him to talk, prevented only by Cap’s forceful words about maintaining character and integrity even in the heat of battle.

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After they return to Washington, the FBI tells them about a renegade Atlantean, Meranno, who’s working with the Nazis under the name U-Man (yes, like the boat, except… well, you get idea). Predictably, Namor gets upset… well, more upset than usual.

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He gets upset enough, it turns out, to fight Cap, which is unusual even for Namor.

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Namor turns to fight the Torch, giving Cap a chance to sneak up on him…

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…and even though Namor admits his admiration for Cap, he is particularly motivated here, and even Cap’s mighty shield is not enough to stop him.

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Namor manages to escape and, joined by a sympathetic Bucky, flies off. In issue #4, the rest of the Invaders try to follow, but they face some… difficulties.

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It may be strange to consider American military personnel that don’t recognize Captain America, but to his credit, he realizes why (and kindly reminds us readers).

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Of course, the Torch just has to remind Cap that not everybody in their little crew is wet behind the ears.

Cap does his best to prove who he is, to no avail, so he finds himself in the uncomfortable position of having to evade his own military.

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Oddly, he doesn’t seem as broken up about as we might expect—although, to be fair, he didn’t have to fight them (yet).

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Speaking as a guy who starts most every day listening to Der Bingle… yes he can! (By many measures, Bing Crosby was at the peak of his long career during the war, as recounted in Gary Giddins’ recent book, Bing Crosby: Swinging on a Star: The War Years, 1940-1946.)

Now Cap has to fight some GIs, during which he acknowledges his conflicted feelings and, more notably, his good fortune in being the one with the Project Rebirth stamp of approval. (Just don’t ask me to explain his moves in the first panel.)

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In the end, Cap does get off with the plane, with the help of the Torch and Toro, and gets one final friendly word to the general.

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Cap and the Torches make it to Bermuda just in time to distract Namor enough for U-Man and the rest of the Nazis to escape without assassinating Winston Churchill as planned… so we’ll call that a win.


ISSUE DETAILS

Invaders (vol. 1) #1, August 1975: Roy Thomas (writer), Frank Robbins (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Petra Goldberg (colors), John Costanza (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Invaders (vol. 1) #2, October 1975: Roy Thomas (writer), Frank Robbins (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Petra Goldberg (colors), John Costanza (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Invaders (vol. 1) #3, November 1975: Roy Thomas (writer), Frank Robbins (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Don Warfield (colors), John Costanza (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Invaders (vol. 1) #4, January 1976: Roy Thomas (writer), Frank Robbins (pencils), Vince Colletta (inks), Janice Cohen (colors), John Costanza (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Collected in: Invaders Classic: The Complete Collection Volume 1


LAST ISSUE: Giant-Size Invaders #1 (June 1975)

ALSO THESE MONTHS: Captain America #188-189 (August-September 1975), Captain America #190-192 (October-December 1975), Avengers #141-143 (November 1975-January 1976), and Captain America #193 (January 1976)

NEXT ISSUES: Invaders #5-6 and Marvel Premiere #29-30 (March-June 1976)

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