Invaders #34-37 (November 1978-February 1979)

These four issues focus heavily on other heroes, so there is little Captain America content at all (much less ethically interesting content), but there is other material of interest concerning the other characters and history of the day, so full speed ahead!

Issue #34 begins with the Invaders receiving distressing news about a colleague and friend. (Given that, we can forgive Cap for not disputing Namor when he calls the Daily Mailyour newspaper.”)

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(By the way, the newscaster Cap is referencing is Gabriel Heatter, whose famous sign-on phrase was “there’s good news tonight,” which he also used as the title of his autobiography.)

Union Jack is the most upset about the news of the Destroyer, but even he must acknowledge it’s possible his old friend Roger unwillingly changed sides, as the Invaders review his recent history (also covered here).

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Once Union Jack and Spitfire find the Destroyer, they discover that this man is in fact not Roger Aubrey, which only leads to the question: What happened to Roger Aubrey?

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Found him! And we learn who is now wearing the mask of the Destroyer.

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As Spitfire breaks Roger out, Master Man and Union Jack fight, on the ground and then in the air, and when Union Jack breaks free of the Nazi’s grasp, who should catch him but…

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Although Roy Thomas apparently claimed he never intended to imply or suggest it,  writer Fabian Nicieza established (in Citizen V and the V-Battalion: The Everlasting #1, March 2002) that Roger Aubrey and Brian Falsworth were lovers. (I couldn’t find the original commentary from either writer—if anyone could help me find them, I’d be very grateful!)

After the ordeal, Roger takes up the Destroyer identity once again, and once again turns down the offer to join the Invaders. (And note Speedo Boy’s disdain for “gaudy costumes.”)

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Just when you thought Cap would have nothing to do in this issue other than lead a failed recruitment drive, he gets a message from President Roosevelt…

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…and the three original (adult) Invaders leave for the States, leaving Union Jack and Spitfire to protect England on their own for a few issues, and even (unofficially) replacing them, as we shall soon see. (I assume that was meant to be the Torch in the last panel above, unless Brian was replying to himself.)

Issue #35 starts a three-issue focus on the Liberty Legion (incorporating pages drawn for an abandoned Liberty Legion series). As such, again, Cap isn’t featured much… but we all love the Liberty Legion, right? Especially Ms. America and the Patriot, of course. (They seem so familiar.)

But first… meet “those dreamboat Invaders”!

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Below, Cap makes an excellent point, as usual, one tragically as true today as during World War II.

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If Cap weren’t so focused on their mission, the lads might have taken in a movie. I would have loved to see the movies below in their initial runs (even if “White Cargo” has not aged well); all four came out in 1942, although some earlier and others later in the year.

After our three heroes review the powerful threat they were called home to fight, they’re noticed by some Howlin’ Commandos—none of whom had apparently met the Invaders yet—and Cap invokes the name of the stars of this story before some passersby get their attention.

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Cap is as polite and accommodating as we would expect, but the surprising thing is how well-behaved Namor is! And the readers get a gentle reminder of Bucky and Toro’s whereabouts (covered here).

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At that moment, the Whizzer runs up to the Invaders and tells them of the Liberty Legion’s battle across the Iron Cross, a Nazi version of future armored heroes and villains.

We won’t discuss much of this part of the story, but I will point out some interesting parts, such as Patriot’s resentment as being appointed team leader due to a family resemblance. (And this before Cap’s now-legendary leadership skills had even been developed.)

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Note that, both above and below, the Legion is very concerned with the issue of revealing their real names to the government… very ahead of their time! More important, though, they are also concerned with ongoing prejudice against persons of certain nationalities, and the Whizzer, intentionally or not, hits Miss America’s raw nerve about, as the only woman on the team, being presumed to take minutes (as seen in an earlier panel, not included here).

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Ironically, it is Miss America who faces the Iron Cross first, and holds her own with both clever maneuvering and pure force.

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Ultimately, she does fall to the armored Nazi, but soon after the rest of the Legion shows up and fights to rescue Miss America, the Whizzer runs off to find the Invaders.

As issue #36 begins, the Iron Cross has defeated the rest of the Legion, and by the time the Whizzer and the Invaders arrive on this scene, they find only the disaster the battle left, and Cap makes sure they all know the priority is saving everyone they can…

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…which one of them doesn’t seem to hear, even though he covers well. Cap seems satisfied, but Namor, of course, is not. (He likes giving lectures as much as the later Cap will like giving speeches.)

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Eventually, Namor faces the Iron Cross underwater, and he encounters a moral dilemma of his own: whether to save the lives of the Liberty Legion, held captive on the U-Boat, or chase after the Iron Cross and prevent the many deaths he would likely cause.

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This might be a standard superhero variant of the trolley problem if not for the added element of Namor’s half-human side and the mixed emotions it generates within the proud son of Atlantis.

Of course, in issue #37 he saves the Legion (with the help of the Thin Man to patch a crack in the hull of the U-Boat), and the Invaders and Liberty Legion combine to defeat the Iron Cross and save the professor (an anti-Nazi German) who designed the armor.

And what about the Whizzer’s affection for Miss America? Well…

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It’s hard to believe they ever got together (much less got married).

Finally, we end the post with a panel that applies to all four issues!

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ISSUE DETAILS

Invaders (vol. 1) #34, November 1978: Roy Thomas and Don Glut (writers), Alan Kupperberg (pencils), Frank Springer (inks), Nel Yomtov (colors), Joe Rosen (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Invaders (vol. 1) #35, December 1978: Roy Thomas (writer), Alan Kupperberg and Don Heck (pencils), Rick Hoberg (inks), Carl Gafford (colors), Joe Rosen (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Invaders (vol. 1) #36, January 1979: Roy Thomas (writer), Alan Kupperberg (pencils), Chic Stone (inks), Carl Gafford (colors), Joe Rosen (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

Invaders (vol. 1) #37, February 1979: Roy Thomas (writer), Alan Kupperberg and Rick Hoberg (pencils), Chic Stone (inks), Carl Gafford (colors), Irv Watanabe (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)

All collected in: Invaders Classic: The Complete Collection Volume 2.


LAST ISSUES: Invaders #32-33 (September-October 1978)

ALSO THESE MONTHS: Captain America #227 (November 1978), Avengers #177-178 (November-December 1978), Daredevil #155-156 (November 1978-January 1979), Captain America #228 (December 1978), Amazing Spider-Man #187 (December 1978), and Captain America #229-230 and The Incredible Hulk #232 (January-February 1979)

NEXT ISSUES:  Invaders #38-41 (March-June 1978)

 

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