Interesting Tidbit #2: While mini-series with four to six issues seem the best investment for comic publishers, twelve issue maxi-series were quite popular during the 1980s. Many unforgettable and influential series came out during this decade such as SECRET WARS, CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS, WATCHMEN, AMETHYST, PRINCESS OF GEM WORLD, and SQUADRON SUPREME. Investing in such a lengthy limited series was deemed too much of a financial risk, thereby causing the twelve-issue form to die out in the 1990s. Luckily for comic readers today, DC Comics’ BATMAN: THE LONG HALLOWEEN revivified the form, thus allowing us to read this AVENGERS/INVADERS limited series.
Here it is, the moment you all have been waiting for (and knew was coming): a battle royale between the Invaders and the Mighty Avengers, and it only took reading two issues! Huh, what’s going to happen for the other ten?
TITLE: Battlefield Brooklyn
WRITERS: Alex Ross and Jim Krueger
PENCILS: Steve Sadowski
COLOR: inLight Studios
This issue comes right off of the last one with Ms. Marvel explaining to Tony Stark the gravity of the situation, and the need to quarantine the time-displaced heroes. Tony is of course feeling a little nervous about the whole thing, not only because, as of now, he has no idea how the heroes got to this time, but also because Cap, the Steve Rogers Cap, is back in the flesh. The Invaders meanwhile, are trying to figure out what the heck is going on while traveling to Brooklyn, Cap’s home base. What proceeds then is a fight between the Avengers and the Invaders, with the Avengers merely wishing to contain the problem, not fight, and the Invaders believing these are Nazi soldiers. Namor decides to retreat for the moment after the rest of the Invaders’ team is incapacitated and later placed in holding cells. The issue ends with Bucky initiating an escape attempt, and the New Avengers deciding on a plan of action to help the Invaders.
The dialog was as good as it could be for a basically “fight issue.” Ms. Marvel’s motivational speech to Tony Stark was well scripted except that it seemed to not fit the characters involved. Tony will probably always be self-loathing and no amount of compassion is going to change that (heck, not even hitting the bottle could change that) and Carol Danvers really doesn’t seem like the kind of person who would give a speech like that. Would she? Especially after her meltdown in MS. MARVEL #37, thinking that she is not strong enough for her leadership roles. Probably the main controversy surrounding this issue is the fight between the two teams. Now, this fight could be seen as superfluous or redundant, especially since there is an old/new era fight going on in SECRET INVASION, but I would like to think that this fight means something COMPLETELY different than the one going on in SI. Let’s break down the similarities/differences between the two fights:
AVENGERS/INVADERS SECRET INVASION
*40s heroes vs. modern heroes *70s heroes vs. modern heroes
*Conflict against Mighty Avengers *Conflict against mixed Mighty/New
*Battle royale in 2nd issue *Battle royale in 2nd issue
*40s heroes confused, think they’re *70s heroes confused, think they’re
fighting Nazis fighting Skrulls
*Time-displacement cause of drama *The Skrulls’ fault, or some weird break
in the space-time continuum
*Ultimate conflict: yet to be seen *Ultimate conflict: Skrulls’ invasion
Well, I am not liking my findings! But, to step-away from the similarities between these two books, I think that it’s best we get this “obviously gonna happen sometime” fight over sooner rather than later, so I do appreciate that!
The “Okay, Axis, here we come!” was a great line, and I liked how it opened and closed the issue. The Ms. Marvel b**** slap to Bucky was clever, especially with her correcting him on her name. Wasp shows why she’s on the team, not as a powerhouse, but as a thinker, but she was underused, and really, Wasp always seems to be underused. Does she truly have a place on this team?
I really appreciated the cameos that seem to relate to the present-day Marvel Universe, sans Skrull infiltration, like Peter Parker coming in at a great time after Namor throws that axe at Iron Man. Peter’s presence at the fight helps set up the ending of the issue, and potentially the next issues to come. On that same page, we see Jessica Drew’s shadowy outline. Why? Yea, she’s a part of the Mighty Avengers, soooo why isn’t she down there with her team? This seems fishy, and we can’t say it has anything to do with SI. Afterall, it has already been explicitly stated that AVENGERS/INVADERS has NOTHING to do with SECRET INVASION, yet why choose the single most controversial character in the latter series and place her in this issue in a very sketchy way? Color me confused! Another cameo is Bucky Barnes as Cap, reading The DB. The scene with the Paul Anselm(s) was short and was so downplayed that it is probably going to work out that this superbly minor character will be the downfall of the time-thread. I mean, there has to be some reason to have him sucked into the green mist. *PSST* I told you the old man and his grandson in the first issue would be revisited!
I also enjoyed the four glimpses at the now imprisoned Invaders. Again, I applaud the use of Bucky as the mouthpiece because it really brings us into the mind of the character and the lengths he would go not only for his country, but for Cap as well: “Hell, I’d give my right arm just to see Cap fight again.” (He was close, it would be his left.) The end brings the issue full circle in a way, ending with “Okay, Axis, here we come!” and foreshadowing what will soon happen.
To wrap up, if there’s one thing you learn about me through these reviews, it’s the fact that I LOVE details; visual details, details in dialog or story, just plain details. Comics are more enjoyable for me when there are multiple readings of the story; that of the base or most simplistic story that is being told, and then a second, deeper reading. With that said, AVENGERS/INVADERS is trying so hard with details that I want to believe in this book so much. The obscure reference of the “time frogs” was so obscure (for me, anyway) I had to look it up. Staying in touch with the rest of the Marvel Universe is especially deserving of respect, and that one page with Captain America (Bucky) looking down on The DB, has so much detail and subtle emotion in it that it is one of my favorite pages. Finally, the antepenultimate (yea, that’s a word) scene with the original Bucky extricating the plastic explosives from his arms is even more of a further testament to this idea of details. Bucky doesn’t just appear one panel with nothing and then the next with explosives in-hand; no, they describe panel by panel how he got those explosives (wait…i-is that a fingernail?), made it reasonably realistic, and they were able to further Bucky’s characterization while they do it. DETAILS!!!
3.5 webheads out of 5; Good art for the story (see previous review), and for the most part the writing/dialog is well done. I feel like this issue is an improvement over the previous one, and I think the best is yet to come. I just hope this maxi-series will hold out for 12 issues without crawling at a sloth’s pace!
Reviewed by your Friendly Neighborhood, Spider-Girl