Invaders get its final wrap up this week thanks to the second volume dropping in comic shops. Chip Zdarsky, Carlos Magno, and Butch Guice impressed me with the first volume, melding flashbacks with a conflict that is now rocking the world. Namor is going through quite a lot too as he discovers a voice in his head may have been put there by Xavier, or at least that’s what Cap thinks. This is an interesting take on the Invaders as it plays around with their time bonding in World War II while showing how Namor’s anger may have a root cause.
This book opens after Atlantis changed a few humans into underwater breathers. It’s a plot by Namor to fix the world as the oceans continue to get polluted. At the same time, Roxxon is looking to figure out this technology to make money on it, Captain America is harboring guilt for allowing Namor to change those people, and Namor is trying to figure out what is wrong with his head. Zdarsky has plotted this book very well, building up the tensions inside Namor while never losing his humanity or casting him off as a blindly evil villain. The story builds on the fact that Namor was good friends with Cap in the war and what he has become here in the future. There is an ever so slight look at Namor’s rage and possibly mental illness–although things steer away from that in the final act–and Cap’s judgment of Namor as a good man at his core is explored well.
By the end of this book, Namor comes off as more complex than ever. Given he’s one of the oldest heroes in the Marvel universe, it’s interesting to see how Zdarsky explains his anger issues, or at the very least how he might have gone evil for a time. He’s still not a perfect hero by the end — he’s a king too, after all, and must think of his people first, but you’ll believe he’s thinking hard on his actions in this story. That includes a moment where he unleashes monsters on scientists, something Cap points out Namor himself hated when Red Skull did it in WWII. It’s clear Namor is made more interesting due to his emotions.
The art by Magno and Guice, with colors by Alex Guimaraes and Dono Sanchez-Almara, continue to be sharp in the present and old-school looking in flashbacks. The idea of memory is a strong one in this narrative and Guice’s flashback scenes solidify them as such thanks to the style of work. Magno gets to draw plenty of heroes in the all-out war final sequence, all of which is event-caliber stuff.
This is a great story that’s even stronger when reading in the collected format. The Invaders are a tricky team to write since they’re so entrenched in WWII and Zdarsky has done well to bring them up out of the period for new and old readers alike.