Saturday, February 22, 2014

All-New Invaders...?

I enjoy James Robinson's writing.  I just picked up the first two issues of All-New Invaders that he's written. I like The Invaders. Captain America and Bucky, The Human Torch and Toro and Namor, The Sub-Mariner. These five heroes fighting the Axis in World War II. After Batman and Spider-Man had introduced me to comic books, I started reading "history" through The Invaders and found I enjoyed World War II stories. That was the '70's. In the '80's, I followed Invaders writer Roy Thomas over to DC where he wrote All-Star Squadron, which was about every Golden-Age DC character together during World War II. In the '90's Robinson picked up where Thomas left off with his mini-series The Golden Age, Starman and Justice Society of America. Robinson built up so much on the foundation that Thomas laid.

I am cautious not to use the word "fan". As much as I would like to say that I am a "fan", I'm more likely to pause, take a deep breath and confess that I like both Robinson's and Thomas' writing. I once said I was a fan, when I was a boy in school and it was pointed out to me that I wasn't much of a fan because I didn't have the bed-sheets to prove it. I've always had a limit to my obsession, where others have gone the whole nine yards with either cos-play or a tattoo.    

I put James Robinson alongside New Teen Titans writer, Marv Wolfman; Kurt Busiek, known for Marvels, Astro City and Untold Tales of Spider-Man; Kingdom Come, The Flash and Fantastic Four writer Mark Waid; and, Paul Dini, who with Bruce Timm created the DC animated universe starting with Batman, then Superman and finally the Justice League. Dini then collaborated with artist Alex Ross to create a rich Bronze Age tribute through a number of stand-alone over-size graphic novels, Peace on Earth, War on Crime, Power of Hope, Spirit of Truth, JLA: Secret Origins and JLA: Liberty and Justice. I like reading these five writers. I put them together, and I would group them with Stephen King, Michael Crichton, Peter David - as a Star Trek novelist - Eoin Colfer, creator of Artemis Fowl; and Kinsey Millhone creator Sue Grafton.

When I say that there is a limit to my obsession, that means that there is a point where I draw a line. I like Marv Wolfman for his work on New Teen Titans. I'm not sure I would pick up anything else he's written. James Robinson has a unique voice as a writer when it comes to The Golden Age of comic books. But, I was never compelled to pick up his Superman or Action Comics. I read his Justice League: Cry For Justice and felt a little disappointed. When he took over from the late Dwayne McDuffie on the regular monthly Justice League, I wanted to like it. Unfortunately, it was a hybrid of the Justice League and Teen Titans; it was a Justice Titans. Dick Grayson had taken over as Batman; Diana Prince's younger sister Donna Troy was Wonder Woman; Mon-El was standing in for Superman along with Supergirl. I really wanted to like it. I still do.

That's the feeling I'm having after two issues of All-New Invaders. I want to like it. It's the characters I enjoy by the writer I enjoy. It just doesn't feel like a story I'd enjoy.

What Robinson has done is pretty similar to what he was doing on Earth-2 before he left DC. DC launched a reboot of it's entire comic book like branded The New 52. Robinson was re-imagining the Justice Society. As newer, younger characters. With no connection at all to World War II. Instead, the team came together in the wake and aftermath of a cosmic event involving Jack Kirby's New God's and Darkseid. Robinson left Earth-2 with issue #16, and now launches both All-New Invaders and Fantastic Four.

Here's what I'm thinking. Both teams have a Human Torch. Jim Hammond is the original Human Torch; Johnny Storm is the modern age version. I'm wondering if Robinson is planning an Invaders-Fantastic Four team-up crossover. I wouldn't be surprised. The first two issues of the new Invaders comic are cosmic in nature. An alien race called the Kree have come to Earth in search of something called God's Whisper. The Invaders dismantled it and hid the pieces to keep it from ever being used. They first encountered God's Whisper fighting Hela, during World War II.  It's a bit of a stretch, but that doesn't seem to fit the team. The most common Invaders stories have been against Axis despots. Like The Red Skull or Baron Blood. Now they are fighting aliens. That seems more within the Fantastic Four's wheelhouse. The Fantastic Four are more cosmic in nature.

I have to admit, I haven't read The Invaders since the '70's. The team was brought back not to long ago in an Avengers/Invaders team-up, and an Invaders Now! series.

I'm wondering why James Robinson is writing The Invaders like they are the Fantastic Four. Because, I'd like to see them fighting bad guys like the ones they faced before. Like The Red Skull, Baron Zemo, Von Strucker, or maybe Doctor Doom. They could be working with aliens. The Invaders are more soldiers. I have a hard time seeing soldiers fighting aliens. 

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