All-New Invaders #1
Written by James Robinson
Pencils by Steve Pugh
Colors by Guru-eFX
Review by Mike Duke
I tried to bring as little as possible with me to All-New Invaders. I’ve never read a Winter Soldier comic–ditto Submariner. My only exposure to the Original Human Torch was in the Marvels miniseries 20 years ago. I am a fan of Captain America in the movies, but his recent run in Marvel Now wasn’t to my taste. I also know very little about the Kree or the Shi’ar. So yeah, I went in cold. Unfortunately, I came out pretty cold as well.
Most of this first issue centers around the Original Human Torch, Jim Hammond. He’s taken up residence in a small Illinois town fixing trucks. He’s trying to escape what he is, it seems, and it seems to have worked for about six months or so. The book tries to explain in plain terms what Jim is feeling, but it refers to events that I don’t have any context for, which can be frustrating. On his way back from lunch, Jim discovers his boss dead at the hands of a Kree Pursuer, who fires a gun at him that suddenly makes relive a memory from World War II, fighting alongside the Invaders. There is a strange villain and the Kree is looking for the artifact the strange villain wields in the memory. At the end of the book, Captain America shows up and the setup for an epic fight in issue #2 is complete.
I don’t have much positive to say about All-New Invaders, but I don’t feel passionately negative about it either. The book left a very bland taste in my mouth. I know that James Robinson is a veteran writer, but this book doesn’t feel like the work of someone with 25 years of experience. It’s packed with clumsy exposition and hokey dialog. We get very few different characters in this issue, but even the ones we get don’t feel fleshed out in any way. Some of Jim Hammond’s dialog made me cringe a little as he spouted one over-wrought line after another. While, in the story, the wheels of fate turn to bring these heroes together again, I personally have to wonder if it was really a good idea.
Unfortunately, Steve Pugh’s art is not enough to save Invaders from itself. I found myself much more drawn to Pugh’s regular people than his superheroes and villains. The first few pages of the book were filled with expressive, everyday people living in a small, vibrant town. His faces reminded me of Bryan Hitch and the like. But, once the huge Kree Pursuer came onto the scene and Jim lit up, all the life seemed to get sucked out of the story. The flashback scene in the middle was neat for a couple of pages as it took on this desaturated, not-quite-black-and-white coloring, but it just wasn’t enough.
Skip it. Without a compelling central character, and including the dialog and exposition problems, All-New Invaders just didn’t excite me. And without a clear connection to the rest of the Marvel Universe, it’s difficult for me to understand why I, or anyone else, should be picking this one up every month. Let’s just hope that the rest of “All-New Marvel Now!” holds up better than this.