The end is here! Machan, given flesh from Namor's mind thanks to the Serpent Crown, has initiated his final plan for world dominance!
But the Invaders are here to save the day!
Invaders comes to the big conclusion it’s spent the last year building towards, and while the end feels a tad rushed due to page count restrictions, it’s still a hell of a read. In the end, all wounds are (nearly) healed, and the bonds of brotherhood – forged in the fires of World War II – stand strong. Captain America, for his part, can never stay mad at Namor, no matter how many times they may clash. There’s a good man in there, he reasons. And that man is who stood beside him, fought, and sacrificed on the battlefields of yesteryear.
At its heart, this series has been about the dynamic between these two strong-willed brothers-in-arms. Sure, Jim Hammond, Bucky, Spitfire, and even Toro have been on hand to flesh the story out, but the core dynamic has been between Namor and Cap. Decades have passed, and even in the time since Cap was awoken into modern times, a world of conflict has passed between them. These men see the world in starkly different terms, yet their mutual respect for one another has always pushed them shoulder-to-shoulder. Writer Chip Zdarsky has done an outstanding job of exploring that dynamic throughout Invaders. Cap views the world in idealistic terms, always seeking the best in everyone and every situation – and Namor is consistently the opposite. Yet these are two good men who have an infinite amount of respect and love for one another and will always have each other’s backs.
The resolution to the conflict with Machan is itself a foregone conclusion, but the epilogue is not. Namor wants to take Machan back to Atlantis for punishment and execution; Cap says the world must punish Machan to absolve Namor of wrongdoing. For Namor, the price of doing this (and, per Cap, there is always a price) is his bloodlust. The tension comes from whether or not Namor can put his pride aside and abide by Cap’s wishes.
From there, events feel a little rushed. It’s a shame Marvel didn’t allot Zdarsky a slightly longer page count to accommodate some final statements on the themes explored throughout this series, but it was not to be. Zdarsky wrings what poetry he can out of the space given, though, and does a profound job of it.
For the most part, Carlos Magno and Butch Guice (alas, the latter only getting one page to draw this issue) do a bang-up job as usual. However, there are panels where Magno’s pencils look slightly wonky (for lack of a more technical term) and the details are rushed; throughout the series he seems to have a slight problem with properly rendering people from far away. The artist still tries to put as many loving detail into these figures as he does everything else, resulting in figures who are over-rendered in the process. This is a small price to pay for page after page of Magno’s lush and gorgeous art, though. Credit too should go to colorist Alex Guimaraes for his stunning pallet throughout. Underwater scenes, especially, take on a strong sense of beauty and wonder.
It’s a shame Zdarsky, Magno, and Guice apparently had no more stories to tell with the Invaders (or that Marvel only wanted twelve issues for whatever silly reason). These twelve issues have been an obvious labor of love for everybody involved, and comic shelves are a dimmer place without this book. Zdarsky, especially has had an epic coming out party this year as a writer to be reckoned with – who would have ever thought the quirky artist of Sex Criminals had these chops in him? Take a bow, Mr. Zdarsky. You’ve earned it.
Invaders ends as it began: one of the strongest books on the shelves, and a powerful meditation on the bonds of wartime brotherhood and whether or not they're strong enough to prevail when one brother goes off the deep end. This book has absolutely been not only one of Marvel's finest in 2019, but one of the medium's best books, period.
Invaders #12: V for Victory
- Writing - 10/1010/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9.5/109.5/10
- Color - 10/1010/10
- Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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