Writer James Robinson has found a somewhat plausible reason to bring back the old Invaders in the ironically-named “All-New Invaders,” and issue #2 continues the reunion-in-the-making. The Sub-Mariner remains absent, which is actually a key plot point, but the original Human Torch, Captain America and Cap’s one-time sidekick Bucky (in his current incarnation as the Winter Soldier) have come together to fight a Kree warrior seeking a long-lost but powerful artifact. Steve Pugh and Guru-eFX team up for a pretty polished, moderately updated look for the old gang, who don’t look out of place at all going up against a modern villain like Tanalth the Pursuer.
Pugh kicks off the issue, in fact, with a dynamic splash page of the former Bucky in action. The page is symbolic of the old-is-new dichotomy of the title, leading off the story with a traditional style splash but with a newer iteration of a familiar character. Robinson uses the remainder of this sequence to explain the nature of the story and establish the rest of the issue’s events, and it serves that purpose, but his Winter Soldier is more like the Bucky of old than the hardened soldier that he’s been portrayed as in other comics. His rapport with Cap seems a little too old-school and in conflict with the newer, darker nature of the character, and he spends an awful lot of time out in the open for someone who the world believes to be dead.
It’s a necessary contrivance, perhaps, to make the dynamic of the tale work, but combined with other such reaches they collectively make the story merely plausible, rather than believable. A heretofore unknown weapon here, a conveniently placed memory wipe there, and before long Robinson’s story asks readers to willingly suspend a lot of little disbeliefs. It’s not too difficult to do, as it’s still enjoyable to see this team, or at least part of it, fight together again in a modern setting, and the rest of the character interaction is fun and typical of what Robinson often does best. Throughout, though, it feels like readers are being told to make themselves comfortable, just don’t mind all the noise and the dust.
Robinson caps off the issue as the action winds down with a clever validation of the comic’s title, but even this feels a little forced. Robinson provides enough strengths to outweigh the weaknesses, and it looks good throughout. “All-New Invaders” #2 is still a fun ride, as long as readers can navigate around a few potholes.