Sunday, March 30, 2008

Cover image featuring USAGENT from NEW INVADERS #0!
Are you evil genius enough
to mastermind the winning
combination? Follow the
instructions to draft your
team of heroes and villains!
In line, maggots! You've just been called to arms!

Instead of subjecting you to another Cover to Cover moment of reflection, you're getting drafted into a whole new element of the Infinite Wars! Close that mouth, soldier! There'll be no shocked slack jawing in this warzone, pantycrease!!!

Okay, maybe insults are a little counter productive...
In an effort to help build community spirit on the Infinite Wars I've decided to finally make good on the cumulative data of the Super Stock, and initiate a very simple program called the Infinite Wars Fantasy League!

The premise is very simple: You adopt a team of five characters, and their path in the Infinite Wars decides yours, via a points tally noted in the Punch-Up! If you like, you can sit on that team for the rest of the year, but for those of you looking for involving strategies in competition, there's the potential to use your points to make monthly trades in your team.

That, however, comes much later. Right now your task is simple!
Below, the Infinite Wars cumulative rankings [aka; Super Stock], as of March, have been divided into numerical groups. In the interest of giving everyone a level launch pad you're to select five characters in total, choosing no more than one from any grouping. Before you do that, you might want to know few things.

Fantasy League points will be derived from standard win/loss decisions in the usual fights featured in the Infinite Wars. Bonus points will be awarded (or deducted) based upon fluctuations in the monthly Super Stock rankings.

There are no prizes here, but you should be encouraged to be as strategic or competitive as you like. The Infinite Wars are not influenced by any particular logic of schedule, but certain themes and characters are known to emerge in review selections throughout the year. Most importantly, have fun, and be sure to pass on the task to friends of fans you might like to play against!

Competition will begin April 1st with the Quick Fix in the April Punch-Up.
Rest assured, this is not an elaborate April Fool's Prank! The date is merely coincidence, and indicative of severe procrastination. Entries received after the Punch-Up will still be counted, but inelligable from April results.

To enter, send your selections to, making sure to remove the XX's and enter the address in all lowercase. Please include the subject header, 1st Annual Infinite Wars Fantasy League.

Be sure to include your five selections (from different groups), a name for your team (witty, or otherwise), your name/handle, and if you have one, website. This a great opportunity not only for a bit of fun, but help the Infinite Wars better integrate with the blogosphere. I hope to see some of you bloggers joining in to adopt a team of characters. Perhaps something relevant or thematic to you and your cause.
Get creative! Make a meme of it! On the double!!!

Choose Your Destiny...
#1 Spider-man
#2 Batman
#3 Iron Man
#4 Hulk
#5 Wolverine
#6 Captain America
#7 Mr. Fantastic
#8 Superman
#9 Daredevil
#10 Thing
#11 Human Torch
#12 Invisible Woman
#13 Black Adam
#14 Venom
#15 Sub-Mariner
#16 Ryu
#17 Thor
#18 Steel
#19 Green Lantern
#20 Catwoman
#21 Green Arrow
#22 Storm
#23 Beast
#24 Iron Fist
#25 Silver Surfer

#76 Venom
#77 Nova
#78 Deathstroke
#79 Black Canary
#80 Atom
#81 Fei Long
#82 Green Lantern
#83 Colossus
#84 Black Widow
#85 Gambit
#86 Hawkwoman
#87 Dark Claw
#88 Black Bolt
#89 Lyja
#90 Tabitha Stevens
#91 Raiden
#92 Black Panther
#93 She-Thing
#94 Powergirl
#95 Lethal
#96 The Gorgon
#97 Human Torch
#98 Black Mask
#99 Death's Head
#100 Soldier

#151 N/A
#152 N/A
#153 Hellboy
#154 The Blonde
#155 Jin Kazama
#156 Rose
#157 Hurricane
#158 Sand
#159 Spoiler
#160 Wildcat
#161 Steel Phoenix
#162 Moonstone
#163 Blade
#164 Thanos
#165 Dr. Light
#166 Chun-Li
#167 Atlas
#168 Mach-1
#169 Songbird
#170 Moon Knight
#171 Wonder Man
#172 Galactus
#173 Elektra (Skrull)
#174 Deadshot
#175 Sinestro

#226 Frank Drake
#227 Rachel Summers
#228 Steel
#229 Nightcrawler
#230 Monica Rambeau
#231 Crystal
#232 Brainwave
#233 Shun
#234 Havok
#235 Northstar
#236 Catgirl
#237 The Captain
#238 Elsa Bloodstone
#239 Super-Soldier
#240 Janis Jones
#241 Wizard Shazam
#242 Bucky
#243 Ms. Marvel
#244 Doc Samson
#245 Joystick
#246 Beak
#247 Fantomex
#248 Emma Frost
#249 Esme
#250 Shriek

#301 Igor
#302 Mikhlo
#303 Paetor
#304 Scope
#305 Captain Nazi
#306 Hyena
#307 Count Vertigo
#308 Balrog
#309 Zor
#310 St. Roch
#311 Turk
#312 Diablo
#313 Abnegazar
#314 Rath
#315 Ghast
#316 Tri-Sentinel
#317 Lobo
#318 N/A
#319 Nimrod
#320 Scarecrow
#321 Hyena
#322 Kingpin
#323 Deathstrike
#324 KGBeast
#325 Eclipso

#376 Hammerhead
#377 Boomerang
#378 Ronan
#379 Mandarin
#380 Butterfly
#381 Quake
#382 Deluge
#383 Sickle
#384 The Ray
#385 Damage
#386 Black Condor
#387 Phantom Lady
#388 Iconoclast
#389 Firefly
#390 Super Adaptoid
#391 Executioner
#392 Baron Mordo
#393 Mr. Majestic
#394 Loki
#395 Sasquatch
#396 Annihilus
#397 Defile
#398 Constrictor
#399 Mr. Sinister
#400 Paibok

#451 Mercury Monster
#452 Victor Zsasz
#453 Glass Man
#454 Golden Roc
#455 Clay
#456 Slade
#457 Little Marcello
#458 Tiger's B. Daughter
#459 Gen. Thunderbolt Ross
#460 Maj. Glenn Talbot
#461 Whirlwind
#462 Sabretooth
#463 Killer Croc
#464 Rhino
#465 Tigra
#466 Hercules
#467 Norman Osborn
#468 Moleman
#469 Uncle Sam
#470 Human Bomb
#471 Metallo
#472 Toad
#473 Bane
#474 Attuma
#475 Azraeuz
#26 Luke Cage
#27 Hawkman
#28 Rogue
#29 Deadpool
#30 Dhalsim
#31 The Phantom
#32 Ken Masters
#33 Red Robin
#34 Dr. Doom
#35 Wasp
#36 Flash
#37 Robin
#38 Zatanna
#39 Elektra
#40 The Demon
#41 Jason Blood
#42 Kitty Pryde
#43 Ghost Rider
#44 Nightwing
#45 Tara
#46 Morbius
#47 Thin Man
#48 Union Jack
#49 Spitfire
#50 Scarlet Spider

#101 N/A
#102 Bizarro
#103 The Destroyer
#104 Atom Smasher
#105 Noob Saibot
#106 Akuma
#107 Mephisto
#108 Ganthet
#109 Sayd
#110 Drax
#111 Phantom Stranger
#112 Dr. Fate
#113 Deadman
#114 Zauriel
#115 Dr. Occult
#116 Access
#117 Tally Man
#118 Mallen
#119 Clone Thor
#120 Doppelganger
#121 Sakura Kusanago
#122 Harley Quinn
#123 Crimson Dynamo
#124 Tommy Jagger
#125 Deathlok

#176 Superboy
#177 Tryco Slatterus
#178 Thundra
#179 Fin Fang Foom
#180 MODOK
#181 Medusa
#182 Techno
#183 Machine Man
#184 Mr. Hyde
#185 The Wrecker
#186 Thunderball
#187 Bulldozer
#188 Piledriver
#189 Jubilee
#190 Captain Cold
#191 Unus
#192 Sulumor
#193 Vega
#194 Sadler's Cyborg
#195 Crossbones
#196 Lex Luthor
#197 Cheetah
#198 Spider-Woman
#199 Slam Bradley
#200 Captain Marvel

#251 Starfox
#252 Swordsman
#253 Isis
#254 Captain Marvel
#255 Arachne
#256 Century
#257 Gladiator
#258 Neosaurus
#259 Stuff
#260 Squorm
#261 Monstra
#262 Cosmo
#263 Arc
#264 Plutonia
#265 Blimp
#266 Schism
#267 Fader
#268 Oracle
#269 Manta
#270 Stepford Cuckoos
#271 Angel Salvadore
#272 Wyatt Wingfoot
#273 Colleen Wing
#274 Dazzler
#275 Dr. Octopus

#326 Plasmus
#327 Blacklash
#328 Cloak
#329 Wiccan
#330 Hulkling
#331 Goliath
#332 Patriot
#333 Stature
#334 Hawkeye
#335 Dagger
#336 Man-Ape
#337 Tigershark
#338 Dr. Dorcas
#339 N/A
#340 N/A
#341 N/A
#342 N/A
#343 Silver Samurai
#344 Kraven
#345 Amazo
#346 Mastermind
#347 Atomic Skull
#348 Space Phantom
#349 OGRE
#350 Echo

#401 Ra's Al Ghul
#402 Manticore
#403 Macro-Man
#404 Ra's-A-Pocalypse
#405 Dragomir
#406 N/A
#407 Mongul
#408 Banshee
#409 Hammer
#410 N/A
#411 N/A
#412 N/A
#413 N/A
#414 Matter Master
#415 Kobra
#416 Ahab
#417 Saviour
#418 Preus
#419 Dai Loe
#420 Giganta
#421 Girder
#422 Clayface
#423 Mister Atom
#424 Hydro
#425 Gouken

#476 Two-Face
#477 Electro
#478 Solomon Grundy
#479 Jocasta
#480 Masked Marvel
#481 Quicksilver
#482 Brick
#483 Lizard
#484 Taskmaster
#485 Zangief
#486 Magneto
#487 Dan Hibiki

#000 Apocalypse
#000 Libra
#000 Psylocke
#000 Goro
#51 Captain America
#52 Hellcat
#53 Batroc
#54 Flash
#55 Guile
#56 The Spectre
#57 Rainbow Mika
#58 Green Lantern
#59 Phoenix
#60 Angel
#61 Yellowjacket
#62 Martian Manhunter
#63 Dr. Strange
#64 USAgent
#65 Black Cat
#66 War Machine
#67 Iceman
#68 Blazing Skull
#69 Aquaman
#70 Cable
#71 Wonder Woman
#72 Cyclops
#73 Sagat
#74 Bullseye
#75 Ronin

#126 Gravity
#127 Firebird
#128 Dr. Polaris
#129 Zoom
#130 Ultron
#131 Captain Atom
#132 Burnout
#133 Maul
#134 N/A
#135 Despero
#136 Warlock
#137 Cannonball
#138 Forge
#139 Sunspot
#140 Banshee
#141 Frankin Richards
#142 Thunderhawk
#143 Superman
#144 Monolith
#145 The Sandman
#146 The Hood
#147 Termini
#148 Green Lantern
#149 Superman-Prime
#150 N/A

#201 Venom
#202 Scarecrow
#203 Professor X
#204 Scarlet Witch
#205 Super-Skrull
#206 The Punisher
#207 Scorpion
#208 The Trapster
#209 Wingless Wizard
#210 Baron Zemo
#211 Psycho-Pirate
#212 The Joker
#213 Birdie
#214 Vision
#215 She-Hulk
#216 Sandman
#217 Tombstone
#218 Radioactive Man
#219 Penance
#220 Darkseid
#221 Elongated Man
#222 Blue Beetle
#223 Abomination
#224 Equus
#225 Ghost Rider

#276 Stilt-Man
#277 Dr. Druid
#278 Puppet Master
#279 Alfred Pennyworth
#280 Ron Troupe
#281 Robot
#282 The Green Lantern
#283 Dr. Mid-Nite
#284 Stargirl
#285 The Flash
#286 Mr. Terrific
#287 Mrs. Arbogast
#288 Juggernaut
#289 Falcon
#290 Vulture
#291 Swordsman
#292 Lionheart
#293 Speedy
#294 Charnal
#295 Xorn
#296 Phantom Lady
#297 The Ray
#298 Doll Man
#299 Zorrm
#300 Grom

#351 Jack Flag
#352 Timber Wolf
#353 Colossal Boy
#354 Wildfire
#355 Shadow Lass
#356 Karate Kid
#357 Tyroc
#358 Dawnstar
#359 Shrinking Violet
#360 Sun Boy
#361 Yurrd
#362 Roggra
#363 Titanium Man
#364 Mysterio
#365 Krang
#366 Tri-Gorr
#367 Rommbu
#368 Giganto
#369 Green Goblin
#370 Dragon Man
#371 Carnage
#372 Grey Gargoyle
#373 Shocker
#374 Chameleon
#375 Hydro-Man

#426 Black Hand
#427 Sodom
#428 Grim Reaper
#429 Demogoblin
#430 Tarantula
#431 The Stalker
#432 The Jester
#433 The Penguin
#434 Felipe DeClaude
#435 Warden Nuchitt
#436 Gomdulla
#437 The Matador
#438 Billy
#439 Captain Marvel Jr
#440 Terrax
#441 Parallax
#442 Kryptonite Man
#443 The Sentry
#444 Moondragon
#445 Gruagach
#446 Ganryu
#447 Bruce Irvin
#448 Jack Staff
#449 Ord
#450 Stone God

Can't find a character you want to draft? Be sure to browse thoroughly in case a character has been listed under an alternate name. Otherwise, feel free to draft as many unranked characters as you like. Unlike other groups, there's no strategic advantage in including unranked characters, so you can include as many unranked characters as you like!

Saturday, March 29, 2008

ARTWORK: Jim CheungARTWORK: UnknownARTWORK: Alex RossSince I usually try to tie Saturdays to posts during the week, there was really only one option for this week. Not that I'm complaining! Actually, despite the relative absence of the series, message board hangover has me still considering myself as something of a champion for the under appreciated series, New Invaders.

While DC has earned a reputation for capitalizing on nostalgia value in their aged characters; Marvel's association with the Golden Age has been tenuous, even at the best of times. It's really only the Invaders who have endured into the Marvel Age that began in the sixties, chiefly the trinity of; Cap, Namor, and Human Torch.
Right now Marvel has opened the floodgates to it's long forgotten classics! Following the success of Agents of ATLAS, Marvel now presents, The Twelve, as overseen by J. Michael Straczynski.

Of course, a Golden Age reneissance at Marvel without the Invaders, just wouldn't be complete! With a great deal of their history as a team established in the mid-seventies, it's hardly surprising to see their story continues to evolve. Alex Ross, Jim Kreuger, and Steve Sadowski prepare to add their touch to the mythos with the upcoming Avengers/Invaders; a twelve-issue maxi-series that details the journey of WWII-era Invaders displaced in a post-Civil War contemporary Marvel. Reactions to internal division within the superhero community, the death of Captain America, and attitudes towards violence will be issues prominently explored in the issue, diving into the evolutionary process that made these soldiers into superheroes.

While this week's Cover to Cover is far from a complete guide to the Invaders, I invite you to take a look at some of the reviews that have chronicled their journies into the modern age. This includes not only the actions of a brand new militant Invaders, but also emerging influences like Namor's shocking return in the 1960's Marvel Universe, and the recent death of Steve Rogers.

X-Men #6 (July 1964)
"The Sub-Mariner joins the Evil Mutants" Lee/Kirby

He's the pink-skinned ruler of Atlantis, with the power to fly, and the strength of one hundred men, but how did he come to be?
Learning of Namor's return to the modern world, Professor Charles Xavier makes the radical hypothesis that the WWII anti-hero may in fact be one of the world's first mutants! Alas, Xavier is not the only man to have formulated this theory, and deep within the kingdom of Atlantis, the astral projection of Magneto sees about luring the Sub-Mariner to the cause of his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants!

The recruitment race is on as the Sub-Mariner is forced to choose between two sides in a brand new war that will shape the future -- for better or worse. Will the scion of the seas be swayed by the plight of his fellow mutants, or will it be all above sea who feel his wrath?

New Invaders #0 (August 2004)
"Once an Invader..." Jacobsen/Austen/Smith

When the Invaders receive information from United States Secretary of Defense, Dell Rusk, they are compelled to come out of retirement to intervene in the tribulations of the oil rich republic, Mazikhandar.

Unbeknownst to the team, and their leader, Thin Man, the Invaders are little more than puppets in the manipulations of a disguised Red Skull! The Nazi war criminal's true motivations are to aid the Axis Mundi, who require the mysterious Kahlarian technologies of the Thin Man to construct the ultimate inter-dimensional weapon!

Aware of Red Skull's schemes; the Avengers assemble to stop the Invaders' rampage in the Middle East, but when Captain America comes face-to-face with his former allies, does he have the full story, or are the Invaders about to avert International disaster?

New Invaders #1 (October 2004)
"To End All Wars" Jacobsen/Smith

With Atlantis pledged to a sovereign alliance with Mazikhandar; Namor and the Invaders call in the aid of an old friend in the interest of protecting the oil rich nation, and expanding their battle with the villainous Axis Mundi!

The original Human Torch, Jim Hammond, joins the team in an alliance that sees the Invaders become an army thanks to the recruitment of Hammond's V-Battalion; a team comprised of descendants of Second World War veterans!
Hammond and his Battalion soon find they've reached the frontline when their transport is attacked by synthetic agents of the Axis Mundi - the Pterrorists! Will the insectoid swarm prove too poweful for these vintage heroes, or are they the perfect disposable threat for the old guard to work-out the rust of battle? The story starts here!

New Invaders #6 (March 2005)
"Oil and Water" Jacobsen/Lucas

After being murdered and resurrected by the Hand, Wolverine has become a controlled assassin for the terrorist organization, Hydra. Hydra's association with elements of the Axis Mundi has prompted them to lend their assassin-drone to the cause, and so, Wolverine is deployed to Mazikhandar where he joins the effort to interfere with the efforts of the new Invaders!

After killing Namor's trusted right hand, the Atlantean diplomat Sulumor, the battle turns personal as the Atlantean monarch excises his tempers on the invincible mutant! The battle that ensues sees each man lay waste to the other in what is a showdown between two of Earth's oldest, and most powerful mutant menaces! Perhaps the greatest casualty is Mazikhandar, but when push comes to shove, the Invaders are there to back the Sub-Mariner up! Enemy of the State tie-in!

Captain America #25 (April 2007)
"The Death of the Dream" Brubaker/Epting

In the wake of the superhero Civil War; Steve Rogers is to be put on trial for his crimes as an anti-registration rebel. This WWII patriot, once a hero to generations, is about to become a bargaining chip in government pleas to a public in shock after a disaster that saw the destruction of school. Flaunted before the courthouse, Captain America is exposed, and when the Red Skull launches his plan, Captain America is dead.

Now his thought-dead protégé, Bucky Barnes, must dig deep within himself to turn against decades of Russian programming, and seek vengeance for his murdered mentor. The hunt is on as Falcon and Winter Soldier launch independent attacks on Cap's sniper - Crossbones - but will they bring the killer to justice, or is the true villain lying right beneath everybody's nose? Here is the issue that changed the landscape of the Marvel Universe forever!

Friday, March 28, 2008

To End All Wars: Part 1 of 3 (Marvel)
New Invaders #1 When: October 2004
Why: Allan Jacobsen How: CP Smith

The Story So Far...
When the Invaders are reformed by US Secretary of Defense, Dell Rusk, they are deployed to the oil-rich nation of Mazikhandar, unwittingly the pawns of the the Red Skull!

The Invaders come to blows with the Avengers, but despite their struggles, still manage to unseat an attempt by the Axis Mundi to replace the Nation's ruler with a synthetic duplicate. The ensuing battle sees the Sub-Mariner compelled to declare the sovreign protection of Atlantis for the Middle Eastern state as part of an alliance of protection. Along with his fellow New Invaders, Namor promises to ensure the safety of this section of the world.

When Thin Man invites Jim Hammond and his V-Battalion to become involved in the operations of the militant new Invaders, the former Human Torch soon discovers exactly what the team is up against. With the Battalion's chopper coming under Pterrorist fire, the Torch's war of good against evil is reignited!

Tale of the Tape...
ARTWORK: CP SmithARTWORK: Scott KolinsStrength: Sub-Mariner 6 (Invincible)
Intelligence: Thin Man 5 (Professor)
Speed: Spitfire 5 (Super)
Stamina: Blazing Skull 6 (Generator)
Agility: Thin Man 6 (Rubber)
Fighting Ability: Sub-Mariner 6 (Warrior)
Energy Power: Human Torch 6 (Mass Destruction)

- Pterrorists are insect-like synthetic humanoids modelled on the Nazi villain, Agent Axis, using similar technology to that of the World War II android hero, the Human Torch. They are a technological clone army employed by the Axis Mundi, capable of utilizing Kalahian science to shift within sub-dimensional reality.
Not terribly durable, their strength lies in numbers, and the diversity of airborne attack.

- The Invaders are: USAgent, Thin Man, Blazing Skull, Spitfire, Union Jack, Tara, and Sub-Mariner. They are joined by Human Torch and the V-Battalion.

The Invaders are the premiere superhuman line of defense of the Allied Nations during the Second World War. Their membership was captained by the combined forces of; Captain America, Namor, the Sub-Mariner, the Human Torch, Toro, Bucky, and several other recruits, such as Union Jack, Whizzer, Spitfire, and Blazing Skull.

The Invaders were chiefly positioned to defend the world from the threat of the Nazi Party and their many superpowered machinations and allies. This struggle against tyranny would extend to the modern era, with many of the Invaders roster enduring through time by means of science, magic, and mutation.

The Math: Invaders Ranking: Sub-Mariner (#16)

What Went Down...
Image previously featured in a spotlight/pitch for USAGENT!As V-Battalion helicopter transport hovers over the Republic of Mazikhandar, it quickly comes under attack from unseen agents of the Axis Mundi! The fast-moving drones damage the choppers propeller blades, leaving the Battalion to make a crash landing on the battlefield.

With minimal casualties, the V-Battalion find themselves set upon by a lone soldier of the Pterrorist clone army. Jim Hammond, the original Human Torch, projects heat that explodes the synthezoid villain. As more Pterrorists swoop into the field, the Torch suffers under the use of his powers that had previously been dormant for extended periods. A shield carrying shadow looms to protect him, driving the spiked disc through the mid-section of the synthezoid... Captain America!

The Human Torch recognises his rescuer not as the original Captain, but rather John Walker, former USAgent who had assumed the mantle whilst operating with the Invaders under Dell Rusk.

A swarm of Pterrorists appears overhead prompting renewed combat from the forces of the Invaders and V-Battalion. Their missiles cut through the descending curtain of synthezoids, but the sheer volume of creatures remains potent.

Dr. Bruce Dickson, the Thin Man, reaquaints himself with his former ally, while using his own fantastic powers of malleability to stretch himself across the battlefield. With knife in hand, and no remorse for the manufactured soldiers, his hand is swift to slice through the competition.

The Torch again summons his powers, exploding yet more Pterrorists as they fly over the heads of both he, and the Thin Man. Also airborne is their ally, the Sub-Mariner, who combats the Pterrorists by more personal means.

One of the many faceless synthezoids descends on Namor, using it's own body as a missile. The creature expresses distain for the human-atlantean hybrid, inspiring the indomitable wrath of the scion of land and sea. Namor accepts the wicked -isms of race and creed, but demonstrates the false claim of weakness, using his mutant stength to rip the creature's head from it's shoulders.

On the ground; inheretor to the Union Jack mantle, Joseph Chapman, continues to fight the good fight, using more conventional weapons to stem the threat of the Pterrorist hordes. Though lacking in superhuman flair, Chapman's methods prove exceptionally effective. Joined by his lover, Spitfire, he directs her super speed to the V-Battalion, who find themselves overwhelmed by the Pterrorists.

Moving at staggering speeds, Spitfire races toward the beseiged Battalion with a blade sufficient to tear through the synthetic Pterrorists at blistering velocity.

Across the plane; Jim Hammond finds himself overwhelmed by the swarming hordes of synthezoids, only to be saved by a creature of similar design. Tara, a flaming android designed from Hammond's template, comes to his aid, engulfing him in the glow of wild flames he can no longer generate himself. She burns through the opposition with robotic efficiency!

Elsewhere still, another flaming fighter makes his presence felt, in the Blazing Skull. The manic mystic marches into the field, turning rubble from the destroyed buildings into his weapon, while delighting in his own invulnerability.

The USAgent continues to mow his way through the opposition, wielding shield and machine gun like a gladiator of old. He stuns one of the Pterrorist synthezoids with his weapon, before finishing it off with his spiked shield.

Having sustained substantial casualties, the remaining Pterrorists retreat as quickly as they emerged; leaving the Invaders none the wiser to the reasons for their assault.

ARTWORK: CP SmithThe Hammer...
With everyone pulling their weight in the fight, much to the convenience to new readers looking to get individual introductions to each member of the team, we give you Invaders victorious! Hey, and let's not forget the vital contribution of the V-Battalion, also.

Last week we held a poll to give readers the chance between two subjects of discussion: movies and teams.
Not surprisingly, overwhelming response [of two!] went the way of the major motion picture, and voted so last week we took a look at Iron Man, Hulk, and Batman; the starring line-up of 2008's mid-year blockbusters!

This also allowed us to continue discussion about characters and the importance of characterization, which brings us to today's convenient segue from that discussions, through the filter of a continued Golden Age presence, to talk about teams and the prominence and place of the reboot in mainstream comics.

This was to be Monday's entry in a jam packed week of superhero super-teams, but as you can see, time got the better of me. Best of intentions to carry that plan into April, where we'll hopefully get a chance to get a balanced look at both Golden Age line-ups from Marvel and DC, as well as their contemporary descendants. Ooo, a little bit of a tease for what's to come!

Anyway, here we are, looking back at Marvel's ill-fated response to 2004's rising success of Geoff Johns and his work on JSA. The Golden Age revival seems to be in full swing, expanding prominently to the DC Silver Age. Elsewhere; Marvel continues to potter around it's forgotten Golden Age properties with revivals in Agents of Atlas and The Twelve, each met with fairly strong response given the relative obscurity of most of Marvel's classic characters. More prominently positioned in the spotlight is the upcoming Invaders/Avengers crossover series, which details the post-Civil War reception of time displaced WWII heroes. Also worth a mention is Dynamite Entertainment's recent Project Superpowers, which revives expired properties from now defunct, Nedor Comics. The series continues Alex Ross' long association with classic properties, as does the latter mentioned Marvel book.

The reboot has copped it's fair share of flack over the decades. After deciding characters and characterization are king [Iron Man Annual #11], you expect an upturned nose when it comes to the trend inherent in New Invaders, but of course, you'd be wrong. Actually, I maintain to this day against, despite fierce opposition, that New Invaders was among the most exciting titles on the Marvel catalogue in 2004!

Golden Age Top 25
#1 Batman (DC)
#2 Captain America (Marvel)
#3 Superman (DC)
#4 Black Adam (DC)
#5 Sub-Mariner (Marvel)
#6 Catwoman (DC)
#7 Green Arrow (DC)
#8 Hawkman (DC)
#9 The Phantom (King Features)
#10 Robin (DC)
#11 Bucky Barnes (Marvel)
#12 Patsy Walker (Marvel)
#13 The Spectre (DC)
#14 Aquaman (DC)
#15 Wonder Woman (DC)
#16 Black Canary (DC)
#17 Hawkgirl (DC)
#18 Dr. Occult (DC)
#19 Thin Man (Marvel)
#20 The Sandman (DC)
#21 Sandy (DC)
#22 Wildcat (DC)
#23 Blazing Skull (Marvel)
#24 Lex Luthor (DC)
#25 Slam Bradley (DC)

We last checked ranking progress
of the Golden Age characters in
October 2007! [New Invaders #0]
Got thoughts about their progress
in the ranks? Drop a comment!
The Invaders are interestingly a fairly strong argument for both consistent characterization, and the benefits of revamps. Though I'm sure examples could be cited, for the most part, the characters have avoided the blemish of 90's "Xtreme makeovers", despite having much of their history defined decades after their initial 1940s appearances.

New Invaders pushes these vintage characters through a very modern filter. One need only glance at CP Smith's digitally treated artwork to recognise that this is a very contemporary experiment in the comics form. It's for this sense of adventure and artistic experimentation that I so fondly look back on the title, particularly because the visuals really reflect the daring Marvel showed when it handed over it's warhorses to King of the Hill TV writer, Allan Jacobsen.

Jacobsen does well to draw upon the wartime history of the characters, while also maintaining a great respect for the period of writing which greatly established the characteristics of the team - the 1970s - where writers like Roy Thomas mapped out the depth of the Second World War's forgotten tales, and brought in iconic new characters, like the retrofitted Union Jack (James Falsworth).

Of course, Jacobsen had a great pedigree to draw upon, and a surprisingly open slate. With populary maligned writer, Chuck Austen, responsible for launching the characters in Avengers, Jacobsen had the opportunity to take a run with a unique blend of the old; Human Torch, Sub-Mariner, Thin Man, and the new; USAgent, Tara, Union Jack (Joseph Chapman).
It's no doubt that the association these characters came to have with Austen drastically damaged their chances of success, but that's speculative digression.

What I find particularly interesting to observe is not just the way in which Jacobsen reinvigorates each character, which remains very true to strong facets of each character, but the history of the revamp/reboot in Marvel Comics.

The "Marvel Age" of comics began in the 1960s with the introduction of new characters like, Fantastic Four, Spider-man, Hulk, Iron Man, and the X-Men. Each was the creation of then Marvel Editor, Stan Lee, as envisioned by talented artists including legendary co-creators, Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko.

Crucial to Lee's success was an editorial attention that allowed him to tie his characters together, presenting a cohesive Marvel Universe. Stories told in such a way were relatively unique in a post-fifties industry directed almost exclusively at children, who were assumed to be unable to cope with complex story devices.

Marvel Comics was itself something of a reboot, formerly Timely Comics.
Taking it's name from one of Timely's popular sci-fi superhero titles, Marvel Comics; Lee also brought along some of the popular characters featured in the 1940s title. Here we find what is arguably the first major example of a superhero revamp as we know it today, and at the centre: Namor, the Sub-Mariner!

Clearly a fan of the stories that had come before; Lee inserts former Timely title characters, recasting them as guests in his new series. Early issues of Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Daredevil all featured the character in the role of ambiguously aligned antagonist, clashing with the heroes with typically ambivalent results.

As vengeful ruler of Atlantis, the undersea king would make many reappearances that would earn him lasting association with the Fantastic Four. Here, the character remains a similarly surly anti-hero to his early 1940's appearances, but gained greater motivation through an ecological message, and a romance for the Invisible Woman. This series also brought Namor into contact with another Stan Lee revamp - the Human Torch - who was a direct reinvention of the 1940s flaming android, featured in this very review of New Invaders!

Namor would go on to permeate throughout the new Marvel Universe, often terminally coloured by Lee's early entries into the character's new chapter. The ecological consciousness established of the character would make for many uninspired wars declared against the surface.

Captain America makes up the final piece of the Golden Age trinity; another prime example of a Stan Lee revamp. In fact, like his fictional fellows, much of Cap's history would be explicitly defined years after his World War II exploits.
Lee himself would recast the wartime warrior as a firm presence in the superhero world, joining popular individuals like Thor, Hulk, and Iron Man, as the original Avengers!

So, how do we feel about revamps and reboots?
I think the inevitable answer has to be mixed. Stan Lee may have made good on his resurrection of dying properties, but most comic fans can effortlessly recall the besmirchment of some of their favourite characters through distanced redirection. I think if we can draw nothing else from discussions like this on the Infinite Wars, it's that every case should be measured on it's individual merit. I certainly like to think I bring a balanced opinion, but you might disagree. Be sure to drop a comment if you've got any favourite revamps of your own, or just want to yam about the Golden Age Invaders!

Some say it's currently a Golden Age of comics blogging, but those people are probably just trying to protect themselves from devouring. That's right, it's Friday, and by pushing this entry back to Friday Fight Night, we're inadvertantly running on time for Bahlactus's Friday Night Fights! Bahlactus is a blog devouring cosmic entity whose hunger must be appeased by combat to save the universe!
If you're joining us for the first time, hey! Where you been, jerkface?! Hit up the issue index and do some catch-up, ya lousy poozer! Everyone else -- enjoy the weekend -- in much the same way! Yaaaay combat!

The Fight: 4.5 The Issue: 5.5

If you missed out on the New Invaders, then I would greatly recommend you check out some of our previous reviews, and consider picking up the complete collection. Sadly the series was cancelled with it's tenth issue (#9), suffering low sales possibly due to association with Chuck Austen, and timid reception of CP Smith's radical art style. Personally I was a very big fan, and consider it one of many examples where I've been ahead of the curve in slow acceptance. Don't believe me? Tell me you haven't come around to Dark Knight Strikes Again. Thaaat's right, fanboy! Amazon have the collection for a very low price, and if you use purchase links provided by the site, you help sponsor future entries through their affiliate program. And hey, don't forget to visit the Infinite Wars Gift Shop, which includes this, and most other issues reviewed (in collection format). Mmm, comics!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

IN STORES: March 26, 2008
You can probably find complete shipping list updates on most major comics sites. Consider this an opportunity to either do all your info-shopping in the one place, or get a speculative perspective on what might be worth checking out. These are untested reads. Secret Wars on Infinite Earths can offer no guarantee or endorsement of quality. These are simply titles that may be of potential interest. Some items may ship late.

The Infinite Wars now has a gift shop!
Now you'll find Amazon purchase links to hardcovers, trade paperbacks, and other collections, not only on regular entries -- but also new releases at the bottom of the Shipping List, and now a whole catalogue of potential purchases via the Infinite Wars: Amazonian Gift Shop. [Men are also welcome!] By shopping with Amazon via our purchase links, you not only find yourself a great deal, but also sponsor future entries on the Infinite Wars.

Thin and Crispy...
OCT070156 ALL STAR SUPERMAN #10 $2.99
JAN080188 JSA CLASSIFIED #36 $2.99
JAN082165 MIGHTY AVENGERS #11 $2.99
MAR071853 SAVAGE DRAGON #135 $2.99
APR071879 STRONGARM #5 (OF 5) $2.99
JAN082053 TRANSHUMAN #1 (OF 4) $3.50
JAN082123 ULTIMATE HUMAN #3 (OF 4) $2.99
JAN082126 ULTIMATE X-MEN #92 $2.99
JAN082188 X-MEN FIRST CLASS VOL 2 #10 $2.99

The Deep Dish...

Poverty has meant I've not seen a single issue of this series, something some might be envious of. I'm not sure if I just gauged the series' content better than most from early interviews, or if I'm really missing something here, but I can't actually imagine Countdown [to Final Crisis] being anywhere near as ghastly as many are saying. In fact, I'm quite sad I've missed out on the exploits of The Challengers; Karate Kid's squabbles with, of all people, Equus; and the back-ended continuation of the madness that is Superboy-Prime. In fact, there are only two concerns I feel for Countdown: One; as with 52, I'll probably never catch up on issues missed. Two; all these Kamandi overtones have me awfully concerned about reboot prospects...

Cover art from DAREDEVIL #90!- JAN082142 DAREDEVIL #106 $2.99
After struggling to get through the latest rivetting instalment of Cover to Cover; I'm reminded of the times when Daredevil was a must-have portion of the site. With the fanbase so heavily populated by those with compulsive bad taste, I like to think of myself as exceptionally well balanced, rather than fickle. That is to say, as much as I enjoy Daredevil as a character, Brubaker's run on DD leaves me waning in the alley, bored stupid.

I don't want to come down on Brubaker, but I was pleased to hear the iFanboys break from their typically predictable opinions, in a recent episode, to note the LBS phenomena in Captain America; albeit, with expected apologies and excuses for said writer. I don't hate Ed. I just curse him for bringing about the day when I actually miss seeing Brian "popeyed bald git" Bendis on something.

- JAN080185 GREEN LANTERN #29 $2.99
It's been just twenty years since the DCU was redefined after the apocalyptic mayhem of Crisis on Infinite Earths. The twentieth anniversary has brought with it a string of Crisis related series, ad nauseum, and as we "countdown" to the Final Crisis, I just can't help but be nervous. If you've noted the Spider-Boycott banner in posts, you know we aren't exactly inclined to make concessions for sloppy, slate-wiping story telling. I'm not quite sure I could hold a grudge against an entire universe, but I do dread the prospect of another DC reboot. ARTWORK: Alex RossEspecially with the work of Geoff Johns, and other, setting so many things right over the past five years.
I don't know if this is really cause for alarm, but it certainly seems odd to see a Green Lantern origin shoe-horned into the core title. A chance to sew the seeds of eagerly anticipated future events, using an illuminated history as retroactive precursor? Let's hope so!


I'm starting to think we might as well hand over a devoted section of the shipping list to the kid-friendly titles. This time around the FF are serving up a throwdown with the Mad Thinker's Awesome Android; while Iron Man, equipped with Centurian Armor, promises a visit with Alpha Flight!
I must reiterate - I have not had a chance to read any of the Marvel Adventures comics with any kind of regularity - but I am starting to suspect we should stop thinking about the line as kiddy books. When I think back to my entry into the Marvel Universe, it was straight in the deep end. If all-ages writing on these books can be purely incidental, this could be a great refuge for fans seeking a brand new slice of classic comics. A real refuge from morose crossovers!

- JAN082166 NEW AVENGERS #39 SII $2.99
It was the tracing hear all around the world!
David Mack; having suffered an online bodyslam for a magazine trace on the cover of this issue; has come out to make vague allusions to a hidden art direction that could've justified the move. Unable to share the details due to story details, Mack has since delivered a brand new version of the cover, which you'll find when you head to stores.
JOHN CASSADAY cover to MOONSTONE BOOKS' first issue of their on-going exploits of the PHANTOM!With relatively small scale output, and lofty expectations, Mack was understandably primed for a sledging from disgruntled fans. The level his art is presented at implies an artform above tracing, giving fans good reason to lash out. That said, as much as this issue will generate sales through sensationalism, it might just make a mark as Mack's redemption, too.

- DEC073813 PHANTOM #22 $3.99
This month we initiated The Phantom into the Infinite Wars rankings - something long overdue! I've had a very long association with the character as a fan, and while I might not be able to recommend Moonstone's series to diehard fans, I like to keep an eye out for the spotted release of issues. For all things Phantom you can head over to, which has just done a feature on one of our features [Phantom #972], and joined the restructured links list which now boasts only those linking back. Love and war, and all of that...
I look forward to seeing more of the Ghost Who Walks in future entries.

Know Your Trade...
JAN083711 RACER X TP VOL 01 $19.99