James Robinson is really impressing me on this title. It might say Invaders on the title, but Robinson is putting a lot of the focus on the under-used original Human Torch. Jim Hammond is a fascinating character with a ton of potential, and Robinson is really proving to have a nice handle on the character.
Captain America, Sub-Mariner, and Winter Soldier all appear on a fair number of the pages, but make no mistake; this is Jim Hammond’s book. When a super-powered pop star goes rogue, it is the Torch who tracks down her secret past and the “sin” of the original Invaders that did the original damage. Torch takes the blame like a champ, too. It is neat seeing how Robinson is writing the Torch so consistently in both his titles (this and Fantastic Four).
Not satisfied with the Kree and the original Invaders, Robinson tosses even more elements of classic Marvel in to the mix with Deathlok and the cyborg’s secret master. I won’t ruin it (although I think recent covers have), but this might end up being a pretty big tie in to a lot of clues found in Bendis titles over the past few years. Marvel has used these aliens for years, but their best role was definitely in the 1970’s title Killraven. I’m sure he’ll show up soon.
But for now, there are a legion of Deathloks taking on the Invaders. I was never a Luthor Manning guy (more of a Michael Collins deadhead, you know), but Robinson makes it easy to cheer for the mind-controlled, undead soldier. I also have to wonder about the psychopathic Deathlok that Jason Aaron used in his X-Men and Wolverine run.
One of the coolest choices in this book is the new Human Torch uniform that Marc Laming and Steve Pugh use for Hammond once he joins up with SHIELD. It is almost the same as the Super Soldier (or Nick Fury) suit, with the primary-colored shirt with a big logo on the front. Hammond’s has a flame (obviously) and the SHIELD logo on the sleeves. I hadn’t really thought about it before this, but the original Human Torch would look great on screen, wouldn’t he?
One complaint that keeps this book from being EXCELLENT is that the story always feels like second fiddle. Perhaps it is my resentment of the eternal and boring incursion story from the Avengers titles, but seeing Namor treat this book like it isn’t his priority; seeing Cap wrestle with bigger problems on his other team… well, it just makes this title’s stories feel like they don’t matter as much. If this is a relaxing distraction for Namor, how huge can the stakes really be for the reader? That makes this merely a GOOD comic.