Thursday, October 2, 2014

Days Of Future Past

Avengers/Invaders was a 12-part series published in 2008-2009, with a story that takes place in--well, that's where the fun begins. The Invaders are unknowingly sent forward through time to 2008--the aftermath of the Civil War, after Captain America had been assassinated, where they encounter the Avengers and initially misinterpret them as Nazis. Of course, with the Invaders, Captain America is alive once again, though once again a man out of time.

And time is what this series is fueled on, with both teams of heroes (as well as the underground New Avengers) battling in their own way to set things right. First blood goes to Tony Stark's group of Avengers, who capture the '40s heroes and contain them on the SHIELD helicarrier--with the exception of Namor, who makes his way back to his homeland to find allies to return with. Only this Namor has little reason to think that his home would have long since ceased to exist:

This post is something of a sampler for you, before we later explore the series in depth here. I found Avengers/Invaders to be a fun story as far as the confrontations and interactions it provoked--but I wouldn't call it an epic in the sense of it being a grand, heroic tale that will be long remembered. Think of it more as an interesting idea that was put on the table, given the green light after further discussion, and then executed fairly well. In addition, you may find it to be an engaging supplemental story to Civil War--a crossover event which has been dead and buried for awhile, but receives an interesting interpretation here when its results are seen through the eyes of heroes who fought so hard for American ideals. "Nazis," indeed.

As for Namor, the beautiful cover of issue 3, painted by Alex Ross, gives us an idea of what else he's liable to find in his search:

Yet this match-up isn't as black-and-white as we might think--for the contemporary Namor remembers this conflict taking place, and tempers his response accordingly.

I never did read The Invaders on a regular basis, but I imagine it was a struggle to remember sometimes that the "Sufferin' Shad!" Namor of that time period was more likely to settle matters with his fists than the Namor of our time (though the apple certainly didn't fall far from the tree in that regard). Perhaps that made him a perfect wartime ally; but, here and now, engaging in yet another conflict with surface dwellers is the furthest thing from the minds of his "people," and they side with his counterpart. It comes as a surprise to the younger Namor, and he fights on; his elder, on the other hand, knows that this encounter needs to be brought to a swift end.

Avengers/Invaders is both a look back and a look forward, to more depth than in the Fantastic Four annual which was content with simply a meeting/brief alliance between the Invaders and the FF. Oddly enough, this 2008 story gave me an appreciation of the Invaders that their own book never managed to do, though not enough to bring me on board with The Invaders itself. As we move forward with the series, perhaps those of you in the same boat will enjoy a more "one-shot" appearance of the team, which gives us a fine display of their prowess but knows when to return them to the past.


Anonymous said...

Namor says "I was going to rule - I was going to be King Namor the First" but he was the ruler of Atlantis and only called PRINCE Namor. Yes, that Alex Ross cover is very nice even though I'm not usually a fan of his - I like the rest of the art too, whoever did it.

Comicsfan said...

Colin, Steve Sadowski was the artist for the issue. As for Namor, perhaps he was making reference to a more formalized rule since his grandfather, Emperor Thakorr, never named him as his successor. We know that Namor once abdicated the throne of Atlantis, so he must have been regarded as its ruler in some capacity--perhaps because, aside from Byrrah (Thakorr's stepson), he was the only remaining member of the royal family. Let's not also forget that, for the younger Namor, Thakorr still ruled Atlantis, the throne of which Namor only aspired to at the time.