The Revolution found Avengers/Invaders #1 to be a solid debut issue. Krueger did a nice job quickly introducing all the various Invaders and laying a solid foundation for what should prove to be an exciting story. I am confident that we will get another quality read in Avengers/Invaders #2. Let’s go ahead and hit this review.
Plot: Jim Krueger & Alex Ross
Script: Jim Krueger
Artist: Steve Sadowski
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Ms. Marvel talking with Iron Man about the appearance of Steve Rogers from the past. Ms. Marvel tells Tony that someone is messing with the time stream and that they have to get the Invaders back to their World War II era. Tony replies that this could be some plot by either Immortus or Kang.
Ms. Marvel comments how Tony is the head of SHIELD because he is stronger than anyone. That it isn’t the armor. That Tony is here because impossible things happens and when they do they call on Tony to deal with them. Ms. Marvel says that Tony sees all the angles. That Tony sees possible solutions to things that shouldn’t be happening.
Tony still seems lost in his thoughts over Steve’s reappearance. Ms. Marvel tells Tony that he needs to remember that he was not responsible for Steve’s death. (That’s true. The Red Skull, Dr. Faustus and Sharon Carter are responsible for Steve’s death.)
We then cut to Iron Man assembling the Mighty Avengers. Iron Man informs the Mighty Avengers that they are not to mention anything about the present day world or make any personal contact with any of the Invaders. Iron Man states that the Invaders must be returned to their own time. Iron Man also tells Ares that there is to be no killing. That if the Invaders don’t live to return to the past then there will be no Avengers.
We shift to Brooklyn where the Invaders are realizing that they are in New York but that they must have been transported to the future. The Human Torch states that this might not even be New York. That this might all be an elaborate Nazi plot to trap the Invaders.
Suddenly, the Mighty Avengers arrive on the scene. Iron Man tells Captain America and the Invaders to stand down until they can bring some semblance of order to the situation. Well, you know how the Invaders react, right? Yup. Captain America calls the Mighty Avengers “The Axis” and then orders the Invaders to attack them.
We then get a big brawl in which the Invaders are fighting at full strength while the Mighty Avengers are pulling their punches and fighting defensively. Iron Man and Captain America hook up. Iron Man basically just absorbs Captain America’s attacks and refuses to fight back and hurt Steve. Ares and Namor lock horns and have a battle of who has the bigger ego. Ms. Marvel battles Bucky and doesn’t take kindly to him calling her a “dame.” Ms. Marvel quickly takes out Bucky. The Mighty Avengers then take out Toro and the Human Torch.
Iron Man continues to fight defensively and tries to reason with Captain America. But, Steve is pretty one-track minded and is of no mood to talk to someone that he thinks is a Nazi. Iron Man finally realizes that this has to end and powers up his repulsor rays and pleads for Cap to stand down.
Suddenly, Cap grabs his head in pain and collapses to the ground. We see Wasp fly out of Steve’s ear. Iron Man thanks Wasp for sparing him the emotional pain of having to put down his close friend. Namor is the last man standing. Namor grabs a hold of Ares’ battle axe and throws it into Iron Man’s armor. Namor then flies off saying that he will return with more allies than they can imagine.
We shift to the next day with Captain America (Bucky flavor) holding a copy of the DB that has a picture of the Mighty Avengers standing over the defeated members of the Invaders. Bucky looks at the younger version of himself in the picture. Captain America then whispers “Steve.”
We slide over to Manhattan where the America soldier, who also got transported to the future along with the Invaders, is tracking down his present day self. The soldier’s name is Paul Anselm. Paul arrives at the door of his present day self’s apartment. And knocks on the door.
We hop over to the SHIELD Helicarrier brig where Iron Man is visiting Captain America in his cell. Iron Man tells Cap that he is not a Nazi. That America is fine. Iron Man says that he is not at liberty to give Cap any information. That Cap and the Invaders are being held to insure the safety of both their team and the population. Iron Man says that they have a problem bigger than the war that Cap just left. That if they don’t act carefully, that the whole planet is in danger.
We shift back to the young WW II era Paul Anselm meeting with the present day old Paul Anselm. Young Paul asks his older self to tell him everything about the last sixty years. The old Paul agrees to do so figuring that it can’t cause any harm now. (Oh, this can’t be good.)
We slide back to the SHIELD Helicarrier where we see Human Torch being held in a cell that has its fire sprinklers on full blast. Human Torch is still attempting to make some flames between his hands. A SHIELD agent enters the cell and Human Torch immediately grabs him and attempts to heat the soldier’s blood just to the point of exhaustion so that the Torch can escape. Instead, the SHIELD agent melts and it reveals that it was just a Life Model Decoy. The SHIELD agent monitoring Human Torch from the control room comments that this Torch is not like the other one.
We then see Toro held in the SHIELD medical bay as they run tests on him. The agents talk about Toro being a mutant. Toro shouts what is a mutant?
Then we cut to Bucky sitting in his cell. Bucky thinks how he is always marked as a non-threat. Powerless. Bucky calls his captors idiots. Bucky states that Captain America would never have let Bucky be a part of the war if he was just a kid. Bucky says that Cap knows that is Bucky’s power. It is part of Cap’s strategy. No one would ever think that Bucky is capable of doing what he can do. After all, Bucky is just a kid.
Bucky wonders what kid carries a stash of plastic explosives in his arm. We see Bucky tear off his thumbnail and use it to slice open his left arm and pull out several plastic explosives. Bucky then uses the plastic explosives to blow open his cell door.
Bucky exits his cell and thinks how they have no idea what it is like to be an American. What it is like to fight beside Captain America. What it is like to do the right thing. Bucky thinks “Hell, Id’ give my right arm just to see Cap fight again.”
We cut to Doctor Strange’s Greenwich Village Starbucks. The vagina kicker states that they have to go and free the Invaders from the Mighty Avengers. (I see Echo is sitting with her legs crossed. Smart move, hermana, you never know when Luke is going to get the urge to kick you in your va-jay-jay.) Wolverine chimes in “Okay, Axis…Here we come.” End of issue.
The Good: Avengers/Invaders #2 was a great read. Krueger continues to impress me with this big event. Krueger presents a well paced issue. Avengers/Invaders #2 delivered a fine blend of action and drama. Krueger deftly handles the pacing as he begins with a measured pace and a dialogue heavy scene and then cranks up the pacing with a furious action scene before backing off and bringing the story back to a nice simmer as we head to an excellent ending. Krueger employs seamless scene transitions which gives this story a nice smooth flow to it.
Avengers/Invaders #2 was a strongly plotted issue. Krueger keeps the story nicely focused as he adds layer upon layer to this story. Krueger is taking his time and letting the story unfold at a measured pace. But, do not mistake Krueger allowing the story to unfold organically for a story that meanders. Krueger delivers a tightly written story that moves with a purpose.
Krueger’s greatest strengths are being able to quickly convey a character’s personality and his ability to give each character such well rounded and realistic sounding dialogue. And Avengers/Invaders #2 is no exception. Krueger treats the reader to plenty of well crafted dialogue. The dialogue is pleasant to read and adds plenty of emotion to this story.
Krueger continues to display a great feel for each character’s personality and is able to convey it to the reader in such a quick and economical fashion. Even readers who are not familiar with the various members of the Avengers and the Invaders immediately get a wonderful sense of the personalities of the various characters. Krueger performs plenty of wonderful character work. Ms. Marvel, Iron Man, Namor, Human Torch, Toro and Bucky are all characters that particularly shine in this issue. Krueger presents such well developed personalities for these characters.
Krueger is a balanced writer who is also capable of delivering great action scenes. And we get treated to a good battle between the Invaders and the Avengers that had nice psychology. The Mighty Avengers roster is loaded with some serious heavy hitters with members like Iron Man, Wonder Man, The Sentry, Ms. Marvel and Ares. The only serious heavy hitter than the Invaders have is Namor. In a straight up fight, the Mighty Avengers would wipe out the Invaders. However, Krueger makes the fight realistic in having Mighty Avengers fight defensively.
Krueger does a great job handling the battle between Captain America and Iron Man. Captain America fights with such one-minded determination that a soldier fighting the Axis would have to posses. On the other hand, Iron Man is clearly pained by the sight of his best friend alive and well. Iron Man does not desire to hurt his friend at all.
This makes the fight more interesting since the physical confrontation between Iron Man and Captain America is not the important or interesting part of this fight. In a straight up fight, Iron Man would turn Cap into a grease spot. What is so intriguing about this battle is the psychological impact that it has on Tony.
It made sense that Namor would be the last man standing since he is the only serious heavy hitter for the Invaders. Krueger completely nails Namor’s imperious attitude during this fight. I adore Namor’s character and Krueger knows how to write a bad-assed Namor. The Sub-Mariner is Marvel’s answer to Black Adam and when written correctly can be an intriguing character. Well actually, Namor was created first since he debuted in 1939 and Black Adam debuted in 1945, but you get my point.
Krueger introduces a nice little plot wrinkle with Namor escaping and promising to come back with more allies. I am guessing that Namor is going to head straight for Atlantis in order to gather a posse. This was a good move by Krueger and should provide for some furious action later on in this story.
I am definitely curious to learn more about the Paul Anselm plotline. Paul Anselm serves as a nice plot tool to give the reader a view of the conflict between the Avengers and the Invaders from the eyes of a “common” man. I would imagine that this plotline is also going to have some negative impact on the timeline. I am not too sure where Krueger is going with this plotline, but I trust him to deliver an interesting story.
Krueger has succeeded in getting me completely interested in the original Human Torch. What a cool character. I also dig the twist that Toro is a mutant and that Toro has no idea what in the world a mutant is.
And Krueger’s handling of Human Torch and Toro leads me to a larger point. Krueger is doing a masterful job integrating the Invaders into the present day 616 universe. Krueger clearly wants to use Avengers/Invaders as a tool to flesh out and further establish Marvel’s Golden Age. And this is a wise move.
One of Marvel’s inherent weaknesses is that their universe is not as deep and rich as the DCU. Yes, Marvel owns some Golden Age characters, but the heart and soul of the Marvel universe is rooted in the Silver Age, while DC’s heart and soul is rooted in the Golden Age. I love history and it is great to see Krueger fleshing out Marvel’s Golden Age characters.
Krueger really impressed me with his excellent handling of Tony Stark’s character. I wish other writers could have given a more honest and professional effort to write Tony in this manner ever since the beginning of Civil War. Krueger shows the reader Tony’s palpable guilt stemming from his actions during Civil War, but contrasts them with Tony’s obvious heroic nature.
The opening scene between Tony and Ms. Marvel was well crafted. Krueger gives Tony some major props and pumps up Tony’s character in a fashion that has not been done outside of Iron Man’s own monthly title since Civil War began. Krueger shows that the Registration Act might be bad law that just does not work. However, Tony’s reasons for supporting the Act made sense and Tony is without a doubt a total stud who has the ability to handle impossible situations that would make your ordinary hero crack and crumble under the intense pressure.
And it is of no surprise that Krueger pulls off an impressive job being balanced and showing both sides with equal light. I expected this based on Krueger’s previous work. Krueger always likes to present the reader with a difficult choice. Krueger doesn’t preach to the reader and direct the reader on how they should think and feel. Krueger simply presents the entire story to the reader and leaves it to them to mull over what they have just read and then allows the reader to draw their own conclusions. That is the mark of truly exception writing by a very talented writer.
Krueger’s handling of Bucky is simply flat out amazing. I am one of the very few readers who actually prefer Bucky to Steve Rogers. So, you know that I enjoyed this issue. This was a nice job by Krueger of taking the version of Bucky that Brubaker created on Captain America and expanding upon it in a logical fashion.
The final scene with Bucky was awesome. Krueger crafts some intense narration. Krueger gives Bucky a seriously fierce personality. I loved the pride, grit and determination that emanates from Bucky in this scene. This is absolutely one seriously bad-assed version of Bucky. Seeing Bucky slice open his own arm to pull out the plastic explosives stored inside was just sick.
After reading this scene, there is no doubt in the reader’s mind that Bucky is a true warrior who is born and bred for fighting. I dig that Bucky’s unwavering faith in America and in Steve is what inspires him to never give up and to attempt to do the impossible. Krueger’s Bucky shows the reader that spirit and heart can be far more dangerous than any super power.
And the patriotic, loyal and dedicated young Bucky is nicely contrasted with the present day bitter and broken Bucky. After seeing what a proud America soldier Bucky was during World War II really hammers home to the reader how painful it was for Bucky to be re-made into the Winter Soldier and perform operations for America’s enemy.
I liked the quick scene the present day Bucky in his Captain America uniform looking at the picture of the Invaders in the newspaper. This must have been a mind blowing for him at the moment. Not only is Bucky seeing his idol and father figure, Steve Rogers, alive and in all his glory, but Bucky also sees himself before his life became a living nightmare. Krueger wisely let the art speak for itself and only delivered a single word for this entire scene. This made the scene much more powerful.
Steve Sadowski supplies the reader with plenty of excellent artwork. His artwork is such a neat modern spin on Golden Age styled art. Sadowski creates a clear and pleasant looking comic book.
The Bad: I wish Krueger would have ended this issue with the scene with Bucky. That scene was just so impressive. Instead, Krueger ends this issue with a one page scene starring what is quite possible the most unintelligent team ever in the history of the 616 universe. Seriously, does every writer purposely write the Secret Avengers so incredibly stupid?
And Wolverine’s line was lame. I think we have gotten more than enough from JMS and Bendis about how the Pro-Registration side are nothing but Nazis. This horse has not just been beaten to death; it has been completely ground into glue. It doesn’t really need to be re-hashed once again. It was not even that interesting the first time around.
As much as I loved Sadowski’s artwork, I will admit that the crotch shot of Tony’s package was a bit unsettling. Now we know why the ladies dig the Iron Man.
Overall: Avengers/Invaders #2 was an excellent read. Krueger makes it so easy for the reader to completely escape from reality and get sucked up into the story. I think that Avengers/Invaders #2 will appeal to a wide range of readers. I would definitely recommend giving Avengers/Invaders a try. This is one of Marvel’s more entertaining titles at the moment.