With Invaders #1, Marvel harkens back to its legacy of World War II-era characters including Captain America, Namor, and others. Brought forward into the modern age, though, we see the dynamics in the characters’ relationships have shifted.
The book follows directly from the events of Avengers and Zdarsky’s recent Namor: The Best Defense. Namor prepares his kingdom for war, considering a preemptive strike against the surface as his best option. Memories of his experiences in World War II haunt him throughout the narrative, though. At the same time, Captain America and others weigh how to respond, providing exposition for the narrative.
Yes, Invaders #1 pits Namor against the surface world yet again. This time feels different, though, lending pathos to Namor’s turn toward villainy.
Though it’s a team-up book, the narrative is decidedly Namor-centered. We watch as he consolidates the forces to realize his plans through half the book, with expository flashbacks occupying many of the other pages. Cap and Human Torch get relatively little time, while Bucky only enters at the book’s end.
Jim represents the voice of empathy in Invaders #1, telling Steve that Namor needs help, not a fight. For Namor, the war “never ended,” as Jim puts it. Through flashback sequences, we see how the deaths of close comrades weigh on Namor, though he tries to deny it. The survivor’s guilt, leading to the desire to achieve peace…by whatever means necessary.
Exploring the character from this perspective is an intriguing idea. This will likely become the focal point of Zdarsky’s narrative, given a few key lines Namor offers up about his plan towards the book’s end.
Invaders #1 ends on a clear turning point in the story. Zdarsky gets the band back together with the mission to redeem one of their own, which sets us up for an epic and consequential story in future issues.
The art provided by Butch Guice and Carlos Magno fits the style of book beautifully. The pair employs a heavily-inked, shadowy style for the flashback sequences. This provides a look reminiscent of the older comics to which Invaders #1 pays tribute, distinguishing them from the sharper, more modern look of the present-day panels.
The character designs in both time periods are highly-detailed. Dynamic figures fill every panel, making the art jump off the page. However, the layout in the flashbacks is tighter, compared to the expansive and splashy layouts of the present sequences. Both styles compliment the subjects well.
Alex Guimarães captures the right colors for the present and past segments of Invaders #1. The muted, earthy tones used in the flashbacks give it a sense of mournful nostalgia. In contrast, the present day segments benefit from a vibrant palette employing just about every color at the artist’s disposal.
Invaders #1 sets up an intriguing premise, dropping hints for mysteries to be addressed in later issues. This one’s worth adding to the pull list.