Cover of The Invaders #1 (August 1975)
Art by John Romita, Sr.
|First appearance||The Avengers #71 (December 1969)|
|Created by||Roy Thomas
Captain America (Sam Wilson)
Iron Cross (Clare Gruler)
Bucky (Fred Davis)
Captain America (William Nasland)
Captain America (Steve Rogers)
Union Jack (Joseph Chapman)
Union Jack (Brian Falsworth)
Union Jack (Montgomery Falsworth)
The Invaders is the name of two fictional superhero teams appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The original team was created by writer Roy Thomas and artist Sal Buscema in The Avengers #71 (December 1969). A present-day incarnation was introduced by writer Chuck Austen and artist Scott Kolins in The Avengers vol. 3, #82 (July 2004).
Fictional team history
The prototype for the Invaders, the All-Winners Squad, created by publisher Martin Goodman and scripter Bill Finger, was an actual historic Golden Age comic book feature with only two appearances—in All Winners Comics #19 (Fall 1946) and #21 (Winter 1947; there was no issue #20). This team had much of the same membership as the Invaders, but had its adventures in the post–World War II era, the time that their adventures were published. This group was also notable for being the first in which its members did not entirely get along, prefiguring the internal conflicts of the Fantastic Four in the 1960s.
World War II
The Invaders team first appeared in flashback stories set during World War II, and comprised existing characters from Timely Comics, the 1940s predecessor of Marvel. Originally, Captain America (Steve Rogers), his sidekick Bucky (James Barnes), the original android Human Torch ("Jim Hammond"), the Torch's sidekick Toro (Thomas Raymond) and Namor the Sub-Mariner were together as heroes opposing the forces of Nazism. When these superheroes saved the life of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill from Master Man, the thankful Churchill suggested that they should become a team, known as the Invaders.
The Invaders fought the Axis powers over the world until eventually finding themselves in England, where they met Lord James Montgomery Falsworth, the original Union Jack. He joined the team and provided them with a base of operations in England. Eventually, Falsworth's children Brian (Union Jack) and Jacqueline (Spitfire) became members. The team later added Miss America (Madeline Joyce) and super-speedster the Whizzer (Bob Frank), during a battle with the Super-Axis. Later, against the threat of the Battle-Axis, the team was assisted by the Blazing Skull and the Silver Scorpion.
The team continued to fight against several threats, (including a Nazi occupation of Atlantis and the emergence of HYDRA backed by a time traveling Baron Strucker) and faced an emotional trauma with the apparent deaths of Captain America and Bucky in a drone aircraft's explosion near the end of World War II, as first described in The Avengers #4 (March 1964). After the war's end, several members—including the second Bucky and Captain America (respectively, Fred Davis and William Naslund, formerly the superhero Spirit of '76)—created a new team, the All-Winners Squad. When that team dissolved, Marvel retconned several members, having them join Citizen V's V-Battalion.
After the Invaders' introduction in the pages of The Avengers, the team appeared in its own try-out title, Giant-Size Invaders #1 in 1975, followed by the ongoing series The Invaders later that year, and a single annual in 1977. Issues #5–6 of the series introduced another retcon World War II team, the Liberty Legion, in two parts of a story arc, "The Red Skull Strikes", interlaced with another two parts in Marvel Premiere #29–30.
In 2004, a new Invaders team was created in the four-issue story arc "Once an Invader...", beginning with The Avengers vol. 3, #82, written by Chuck Austen. The revived team was spun off into its own title, The New Invaders, running 10 issues (August 2004–June 2005) beginning with issue #0. It was written by Allan Jacobsen with artwork by C. P. Smith.
The new team consists of Blazing Skull (Mark Todd), a mysterious flame-generating girl named Tara, former Liberty Legion member Thin Man (Dr. Bruce Dickson), U.S. Agent (John Walker, the fifth Captain America), and Union Jack. Later the ageless android Human Torch joins the team, feeling an affinity for Tara, who had been revealed as an android herself. The Invaders were also assisted by former Golden Age hero The Fin and his Atlantean wife Nia, although they did not officially join the team.
They were formed by the putative U.S. Secretary of Defense Dell Rusk—in actuality the Red Skull—who coerced the Thin Man into gathering this new team, which the Skull intends to use for his own goals. The new Invaders eventually learn of the plan, however, and thwart it. This apparent "death" of the android Human Torch results from the betrayal of the Skull-planted Tara. The majority of the members quit the team after this.
The 2007 twelve-issue crossover series Avengers/Invaders saw the original WWII team of Bucky, Captain America, the Human Torch, Namor, and Toro (leaving Spitfire and a wounded Union Jack in the past) brought to the present-day Marvel Universe by the Cosmic Cube, which had fallen into the hands of the villain D'Spayre. His use of it to draw on the grief generated by Captain America's death had unintentionally caused it to grant the wish of those who wished for his return. Upon arriving in the present-day, the Invaders battle the Thunderbolts and The Mighty Avengers, believing them to be Nazi agents. Eventually, the Invaders come to trust the Avengers teams (both Mighty and New versions) and agree to go back to where they belong. The teams collect the Cosmic Cube and an American soldier who traveled into the future with the Invaders. However, the soldier took it upon himself to steal the Cosmic Cube and save his dead friends in the past. This triggers a new timestream to emerge. Most of the Avengers are wiped from time. Doctor Strange manages to send the Invaders and the surviving members of the Avengers into the past before being wiped from time himself.
In the past, the soldier raises his dead friends and heals a dying wounded Union Jack. The soldier then attempts to destroy the Nazis with the Cosmic Cube, but loses it when he is attacked by the Red Skull's henchman. The Red Skull later comes into possession of the Cosmic Cube and transforms the world in his own image. Elsewhere, the Invaders and the Avengers arrive in the past, but find that it has dramatically changed. The Avengers take up identities of Golden Age characters so they can fit into the past without giving the Red Skull too much information about the future: Luke Cage as Black Avenger, Iron Man as Electro, Ms. Marvel as Black Widow, Spider-Man as Challenger, Spider-Woman as Silver Scorpion, and Wolverine as Captain Terror. Wasp uses her powers to stay hidden from sight. They put an end to the Red Skull's reign of terror and restore the timeline to normal.
At the end of the series, Toro is revived in the modern era thanks to Bucky's temporary acquisition of the Cube. His story continues in the eight-issue limited series The Torch, which deals with the resurrection of the original Human Torch. In the series, the two Golden Age heroes battle the Mad Thinker and the Inhuman Torch.
In September 2010, Marvel launched Invaders Now!, a miniseries starring Captain America (Barnes), the original Human Torch, Namor the Sub-Mariner, Captain Steve Rogers, Spitfire, and Toro. The Invaders are all reunited by the original Vision and Union Jack to face a resurfaced threat from World War II. This threat manifests as a disease that mutates those infected, causing horrible deformation, granting superhuman strength, and driving the victim insane with pain and rage. Those infected are driven to attack and thereby infect others. In World War II this pathogen was created by Arnim Zola, as his last project before suffering the wounds which necessitated his consciousness being transferred into a robotic form. To contain the plague the Invaders had to kill the entire population of a village in the Netherlands, including some who had been infected but had not yet transformed. Now, the infection has returned in the modern era.
In 2014, Marvel launched a new series written by James Robinson and starring Captain America, Winter Soldier, the original Human Torch, and Namor the Sub-Mariner. A Japanese heroine named Radiance (the granddaughter of Golden Girl) will join the team during the book's second arc.
The stories have been collected into trade paperbacks:
- Invaders Classic:
- Volume 1 (The Invaders #1–9, Giant-Size Invaders #1, and Marvel Premiere #29–30, 248 pages, July 2007, ISBN 0-7851-2706-2)
- Volume 2 (The Invaders #10–21 and Annual #1, 240 pages, July 2008, ISBN 0-7851-3120-5)
- Volume 3 (The Invaders #22–23 and #25–34, 224 pages, February 2009, ISBN 0-7851-3720-3)
- Note: The omitted issue #24 was a reprint of the Namor/Human Torch team-up from Marvel Mystery #17, 1941
- Volume 4 (The Invaders #35–41 and The Invaders vol. 2 (1993) #1–4, 248 pages, July 2010, ISBN 0-7851-4551-6)
- Avengers, Vol. 5: Once an Invader (Avengers vol. 3 #82–84, New Invaders #0, 152 pages, November 2004, ISBN 0-7851-1481-5)
- New Invaders: To End All Wars (New Invaders #1–9, 216 pages, July 2005, ISBN 0-7851-1449-1)
- Avengers/Invaders (Avengers/Invaders #1–12, 324 pages, August 2010, ISBN 0-7851-2943-X)
- Invaders: The Eve of Destruction (Marvel Universe #1–7, 192 pages, August 2010, ISBN 0-7851-4552-4)
- Invaders Now (Invaders Now #1–5, 136 pages, March 2011, ISBN 1-84653-479-8)
- All-New Invaders Volume 1: Gods and Soldiers (All-New Invaders #1-5, material from All-New Marvel Now! Point One #1, 120 pages, August 2014, ISBN 978-0785189145)
In other media
- An ensemble of Invaders team members appeared on television in a Spider-Man: The Animated Series story arc named "Six Forgotten Warriors". It shows Black Marvel, Captain America, Destroyer, Miss America, the Thunderer, and Whizzer.
- The Invaders appear in The Super Hero Squad Show episode "World War Witch". The team consists of Bucky, Captain America, the android Human Torch and Toro. They help the Scarlet Witch, after she was accidentally sent back in time by Thanos, stop the Red Skull's plot to launch a missile at the Allied forces.
- The Invaders appear in a series a flashbacks on Ultimate Spider-Man episode "S.H.I.E.L.D. Academy". They consist of Captain America, Bucky, Miss America, the android Human Torch and The Whizzer.
- In Captain America: The First Avenger, the Invaders are combined in concept with the Howling Commandos as a strike force under Captain America's field command. Specifically, it is depicted as a hand selected Special Forces infantry unit with only Captain America in costume. Bucky Barnes is seen in a stylized blue jacket reminiscent of the character's original outfit. In addition, the unit includes James Montgomery Falsworth as its British member, albeit without his costume or moniker.
- The Invaders made their video game debut in the video game Captain America: Super Soldier. They infiltrate a castle belonging to Baron Zemo that has fallen into the hands of HYDRA forces. When they are captured, Captain America comes to rescue them.
- The Invaders is one of the many available Team-Up Bonuses in Playdom's Facebook game, Marvel: Avengers Alliance. It is obtained by using both Captain America and Union Jack.
- All-Winners Squad
- Crusaders (Marvel Comics)
- Golden Age of Comic Books
- Kid Commandos
- Liberty Legion
- Timely Comics
- The Invaders #6 (May 1976)
- The Invaders #12 (January 1977)
- The Invaders #38 (March 1979)
- "Chuck Austen: Once an Avenger, Still an X-Man". Newsarama. March 26, 2004.
- "Jacobsen Talks Invaders". Newsarama. March 22, 2004.
- "Illustrating The Invaders: CP Smith". Newsarama. May 6, 2004.
- Avengers/Invaders #1-8 (July 2008 – March 2009)
- Avengers/Invaders #9-12 (June–August 2009)
- Avengers/Invaders #12 (August 2009)
- The Torch #1-8 (November 2009 – July 2010)
- Invaders Now #1 (November 2010)
- "Marvel surges into 2014 with All-New Invaders, Inhuman, Avengers and more as…".
- "Exclusive: James Robinson Talks ALL-NEW INVADERS, Original Sin, and New Characters". Comic Vine.
- "Comics Continuum".
- Moore, Roger. "Joe Johnston On How Captain America's 'Howling Commandos' Confined Their Name". Orlando Sentinel. Retrieved 24 July 2011.
- Coovert, John. "FIRST AVENGER Friday: The Howling Commandos". Lost in Reviews. Retrieved 24 July 2011.