The last four issues of the first volume of Invaders bring a number of the title’s most devious villains together, reunite the Invaders with the
Teen Titans Young Avengers Champions Kid Commandos, and bring the British contingent back to the team after borrowing a couple Liberty Legionnaires. As with the last four issues, there isn’t a lot for Captain America to do here, especially anything of ethical interest, but there are some cool things to point out nonetheless as this volume of Invaders comes to a close.
(Why the delay between the last two issues? The title was cancelled after issue #40 in Marvel’s own version of “The DC Implosion,” but the next two issues, already finished, were eventually published together four months later as the double-sized issue #41.)
In issue #38, the three main Invaders—the “Invaders Prime”?—and the Whizzer come upon some Nazis trying to intimidate a German-American man into giving them information on a secret American bombsite, giving Cap the chance to re-assert their opposition to Nazism everywhere, as well as give the Invaders’ rallying cry.
When the rest of the workers at the plant thank the Invaders, Cap returns the gratitude, emphasizing—as he often does with veterans—that the real heroes are the ordinary people doing their best everyday without powers or enhanced abilities.
(Gee, I wonder if Cap ever thanked Tony Stark for the same thing after they met!)
We turn next to a meeting of the Liberty Legion, adapted from pages originally drawn by Don Heck for the abandoned Liberty Legion book (as in issue #35), in which the Whizzer tells his teammates that the Invaders need them (although I don’t think they actually asked)…
…and Miss America elects herself to be a new Invader as well.
I think Miss America’s real superpower is sending mixed messages. (Poor Whizzer.)
After the two lovebirds join up with the Invaders—and the Whizzer assures Namor that the arrangement is only temporary, as if he cares—all five heroes fly to San Diego, both to investigate suspected spying and to meet up with Bucky and the rest of the Kid Commandos (last seen in issue #28).
Hmm… in What If? #4, it was President Truman who named the post-Invaders team the All-Winners Squad (and Miss America didn’t like it much then).
Before we get to the next issue, let’s see our new villain, Lady Lotus, glimpsed on the final page of issue #37 but introduced formally here.
What she wants is for U-Man to capture Golden Girl, and by the beginning of issue #39, it seems he is well on his way to a positive employee review…
…especially after defeating Cap and the Torch and escaping with Golden Girl after the scene above.
The rest of the issue has Golden Girl escaping from Lady Lotus, who then flees with U-Man before the rest of our heroes show up. Meanwhile, the next story is set up, with the last page showing Spitfire and Union Jack “facing” their uncle, Baron Blood—which must be very strange for them, seeing as how their father, the original Union Jack, killed him in issue #9 (so Blood doesn’t know that this is Union Jack Junior).
In issue #40, Lady Lotus summons Baron Blood away from family time with his niece and nephew, and the Invaders fly eastward, with Cap and the Torch discussing their sidekicks (who both have a crush on Golden Girl) and Miss America again using her favorite superpower on the Whizzer.
The team makes a stop at New Jersey’s Fort Dix to lift some spirits—as Union Jack and Spitfire did in England themselves back in issue #23—with one GI getting to bit too involved.
Of course, Cap defends their efforts to boost the troops, even when they knew Baron Blood is back.
When the Invaders catch up with Baron Blood, now stateside at Idlewild Field (which eventually became JFK Airport, although little else about it has changed since 1942, trust me), the vampire says something that invokes another speedster…
…this guy, who had a feature in Captain America Comics #1-11 (and has since been retconned to be the Eternal named Makkari).
(We won’t even get into the whole “son of Thor” thing, although I’m surprised Roy Thomas didn’t work this into the two-parter with the God of Thunder in issues #32-33.)
After fighting the Invaders, Baron Blood escapes and reunites with Lady Lotus, who introduces him to two people we’re all too familiar with.
Together, as we see on the first page of issue #41, they are the Super-Axis… but don’t tell Cap, as he is trying to recuperate from the battle in the last issue.
“They won’t… catch me… lying down… Doc!”
Or… will they? The next time we see Cap—after the Human Torch finds Lady Lotus and falls under her spell—he’s still on his back, although apparently more comfortably. (Looks like someone’s running out the clock on this cancelled book!)
When Cap sees Miss America in danger of falling for Baron Blood’s hypnotism, he uses his enhanced strength (“preternatural,” that is) to… throw his shield vertically. (More like magic, but oh well.)
(If only Buffy had had a shield!)
Eventually, they face their mesmerized team number, the Human Torch… and the Whizzer sticks his foot in it again.
Miss America flies away, only to be downed by the Torch’s heat, and is caught by the Whizzer again. (Good thing he’s stubborn!) Below, after Namor extinguishes the Torch’s flame, Cap pulls his now-familiar routine of countering an ally’s brainwashing, something he will do time and time again in the future when Bucky and the Falcon fall under an evildoer’s sway..
Eventually the action shifts to Chicago’s Riverview Amusement Park and its famous wooden roller coaster, the Bobs, where everyone fights some more… and someone else remembers the Hurricane (as well as the Patriot)!
There, Cap faces a more traditional foe in Master Man, whom Cap taunts by provoking his atheism and sexism…
…and then uses his acrobatic skill to save his neck from Master Man’s berserk fury (which, to be fair, Cap whipped up).
After the four fighting members of the Super-Axis are defeated and captured—and Lady Lotus remains unaccounted for—the Invaders go their separate ways, the three originals heading back to England and the two Legionnaires returning to their team and presumably more ambiguity about their relationship. (They do eventually marry after the All-Winners Squad disband.)
Finally, the Invaders Prime return to England, where they reunite with Spitfire and Union Jack, and give their rallying cry for the last time in this volume of Invaders.
The Invaders will return in a four-part Invaders mini-series in 1993, set immediately after the issues covered in this post, and written by none other than Roy Thomas. (There will also be several Invaders series later that are set in the present day, updated to include the Winter Soldier… whoever that might be.)
Invaders (vol. 1) #38, March 1979: Roy Thomas and Don Glut (writers), Alan Kupperberg and Don Heck (pencils), Chic Stone (inks), Carl Gafford (colors), Jim Novak (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Invaders (vol. 1) #39, April 1979: Roy Thomas and Don Glut (writers), Alan Kupperberg (pencils), Chic Stone (inks), Carl Gafford (colors), Tom Orzechkowski (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
Invaders (vol. 1) #41, September 1979: Don Glut (writer), Alan Kupperberg (pencils), Chic Stone (inks), Carl Gafford (colors), Gaspar Saladino and Diane Albers (letters). (More details at Marvel Database.)
All collected in: Invaders Classic: The Complete Collection Volume 2.
LAST ISSUES: Invaders #34-37 (November 1978-February 1979)
ALSO THESE MONTHS: Captain America #231 (March 1979), Daredevil #157 (March 1979), Black Panther #14-15 (March and May 1979), Avengers #181-185 and Doctor Strange #35 (March-July 1979), Captain America #232 (April 1979), Captain America #233 (May 1979), Captain America #234 (June 1979), Captain America #235 (July 1979), Captain America #236 and Marvel Premiere #49 (August 1979), Avengers #186-187 and Iron Man #125 (August-September 1979), and Captain America #237 (September 1979)