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"All-New Marvel Now!" Review: "All-New Invaders" #1!

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If you were saddened by Ed Brubaker leaving "Captain America," or get excited for every new tidbit of info on the upcoming "Winter Soldier," you're in luck. James Robinson's "All-New Invaders" is the book you were waiting for.

RECAP:

The book opens on some Kree soldiers in Egypt, having dispatched a Shi"ar Imperial Guardsman. They take off in search of some hidden artifact.

Cut to Jim Hammond, Human Torch (the first one from WWII's Timely Comics). Jim is working as a mechanic in small-town Illinois, enjoying some pie and chatting up locals. That all ends when Tanalth the Pursuer (a large Kree woman who resembles Ronan the Accuser) busts up his job and zaps him with a special ray that unlocks an apparently hidden memory. In the memory, Hammond notices that Namor and Winter Soldier are watching as well, as they recall a fight with Baron Strucker and Hela, Asgardian mistress of Hel (Hell). During the fight, a hero named Major Liberty tries to take on Hela one-on-one, and she reduces him to a skeleton in seconds.

Hammond recovers, and the fight resumes. Tanalth gets Hammond on the ropes, revealing she's after Strucker's device that allowed him to command Asgardian Gods. She goes in for the killing blow, just in time for Captain America and Winter Soldier to arrive and come to his aid. Elsewhere, on the Kree homeworld of Hala, the Supreme Intelligence looks at Namor, who he has restrained to an alien device, pleased that his plan is apparently coming to fruition.

REVIEW:

I dug this issue a lot. It was mercifully short on WWII recaps but still had plenty of intrigue and mystery. I like that Robinson focused on Human Torch instead of the more-popular and more-explored members (Cap, Bucky, Namor). Those characters have all held their own titles at some point, but not the Torch. The quaint small-town life he's carved out for himself is so pleasant and enjoyable that pathos are set up instantly, and every time he and Tanalth swing at each other you wince a little, knowing it's getting smashed to bits.

It's also good that the title has a modern feel while taking advantage of vintage roots. The team has already been put together in the past, so all that's needed is a common event to bring them together again. Props to Robinson again for not having any of the team seeking out adventure or trouble, and instead it apparently finding them. The story feels more natural for it, which is important for a seemingly random group like this.

Steve Pugh's art is excellent in this first issue as well. Despite all the debris, flames, and bodies flying around, the storytelling and action don't get lost in the details. During the flashback sequence Pugh lays out the main characters across a double-page spread, letting the wood balloons sit over them. This way you can tell who is who, which is important when it's a huge spread of Allied Forces and Nazis going at it. In the close up shots his style resembles a mix of Salvador Larocca and Steve Epting, maybe some John Cassaday thrown in. If this book doesn't consistently sit in the top ten for sales, I predict Pugh is going to get snatched up for an event or an "Avengers" book. Everyone will be talking about him soon enough.

You should be talking about this book too. "All-New Invaders" is a fantastic read. Even with only a bit of knowledge on the characters going in, I was able to get right into the story, read along, and have a great time. You owe it to yourself to read this book.

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