During World War II, a team of Marvel heroes banded together under the group moniker of the Invaders to prevent the tyrannical Axis Powers from seizing control of much of the world. These heroes: Namor, Captain America, the original Human Torch (Jim Hammond) and Bucky (now the Winter Soldier) never forgot what they saw during that conflict, and are committed to never letting other tyrants seize global power. This January, that commitment will lead the original Invaders to reunite in the present day for an all-new series from writer Chip Zdarsky.
This reunion will find Captain America, Jim Hammond, and the Winter Soldier on a much more morally complex mission, though, because they're coming together to battle their old comrade, Namor, who recently declared Earth's seas off limits to the surface world, and has shown he's willing to enforce his decree with violence. How will the team handle battling their former friend? Is Namor truly a villain, or a king seeking to protect his people from forces that would exploit, kill and poison them? What kind of relationship did the original Invaders have during World War II? Those questions will fuel Zdarsky's new series, which features present day sequences by artist Carlos Magno and World War II flashbacks from artist Butch Guice.
CBR spoke with Zdarsky about Namor's perspective; his plans for Cap, Bucky and the original Human Torch; and how the book is a spiritual successor to his run on Marvel 2-In-One.
CBR: So, Chip, in Invaders you're picking up Namor in the aftermath of both his recent appearance in Avengers that Jason Aaron wrote and his appearances in the Defenders “Best Defense” event that you and Al Ewing wrote. What can you tell us about how his experiences in those books inform his actions in Invaders?
Chip Zdarsky: It’s a pretty direct line from what Jason’s been doing, for sure. The Defenders one-shot acts as a character study of Namor before we go full-on into Invaders. He needs to build Atlantis up in the wake of recent events, so this issue is about his attempts to build alliances.
One of the most interesting things about Namor's role in Invaders and the larger Marvel Universe, now, is he's become an antagonistic figure to the surface world, but one with a very arguable viewpoint. What's it like writing him like that? How angry is he at the surface world?
Yeah, I’m not interested in writing Namor as a villain. But I am interested in writing him as a man who needs to protect his nation and the oceans. The surface world uses and abuses those oceans with nothing to keep them in check. In the surface world, if someone came into your country and polluted it and mined it for resources, you’d be angry. This is where Namor’s at.
Namor's views on the surface world means Captain America must now fight against a former comrade. How comfortable is he with that when you pick up with him in Invaders? What's your sense of Steve and Namor's relationship over the years?
They were friends born of WWII, fighting side by side against a greater enemy. And neither of them have stopped fighting since then, really. Steve wants to save Namor, because subconsciously he sees parallels between him and Bucky and his original years as the Winter Soldier, that maybe there are other forces at work here, pushing Namor to be the aggressor yet again.
Your cast includes another character with a complicated history with Namor, the original Human Torch, Jim Hammond. When we last saw Hammond it was at the end of Secret Empire: Brave New World, where he decided to stay behind in Atlantis and help Namor. What can you tell us about what Hammond has been doing since then? What kind of role will he play in this book?
We start with Jim back on the surface, living a quiet life, working on a memoir of sorts. He feels closest to Namor in a lot of ways, as someone who straddles two worlds. Human, yet not. But Namor just sees the human part now and has no use for Jim’s help.