BHOC: INVADERS #17

This would have been another book that I bought in a 3-Bag during the time, and one of the books that I would have bought the bag for in the first place (along with FANTASTIC FOUR.) I was a fan of INVADERS and so an opportunity to fill in one of the holes in my admittedly-scant run was always welcome. This particular issue introduced Warrior Woman, writer Roy Thomas’ Nazi answer to Wonder Woman, just as the earlier Master Man had been for Superman.

A word here about regular INVADERS illustrator Frank Robbins is probably in order. Robbins was a cartoonist with a long history of working on newspaper strips. He’d segued over to comic books when the business got rocky for him, writing as well as illustrating stories for the major companies. But he was an awkward fit for super heroes most of the time–his Milton Caniff-derived style making them seem a bit cartoony. He’d contort their bodies oddly as well–he never quite found that groove where the exaggeration of the form for effect lives. Consequently, he was a divisive artist among fans. For my own, while I didn’t care for him on most things, for some reason he worked for me on INVADERS, and when he eventually left teh series, it somehow lost a lot of its uniqueness.

As with most issues of INVADERS, the story here is steeped in Roy Thomas’ own history and experiences, with references to people and events that matter to him. In some ways, the book was really being done for an audience of one. This issue, like so many it seems, opens up with the Invaders having been captured by the Nazis, and here paraded in front of Adolf Hitler himself. The Invaders were brought down while searching for the abducted Private Biljo White–named after a prominent fan cartoonist from the early days of comic book fandom. Private White was the creator of the comic book Major Victory back on the home front–and Major Victory is said to have gotten his powers from the Super-Soldier Serum, which makes the Nazis think that Biljo may know something about that fabled concoction that created Captain America.

And, in fact, Roy got the actual Biljo White to draw the page of Major Victory Comics that gets shown here and in the previous issue of INVADERS–the one that hints that he knows more than he should. And indeed he does! Turns out that private White was an old friend of one of the scientists who worked on the Super-Soldier Serum, and one night when they both got drunk, he revealed a few details of its composition to White. This information is enough for Madame Ratzel to combine with the process that created Master Man to create a serum which turns her into an even more powerful superhuman figure.

Meanwhile, the Invaders use teh explosion in Madame Ratzel’s lab which empowers her as a diversion so that they can mount an escape. Namor is able to break the chains suspending his prison from the ceiling and careen into the tube containing the Human Torch. Once air seeps in, the Torch can Flame On again, and then it’s only a matter of seconds before all of the Invaders are liberated. Why the Nazis didn’t just kill these guys is a mystery for the ages, but it’d be a pretty short comic book if they had. The Invaders figure on using this opportunity to capture Hitler himself, and then theoretically end the war.

Hitler is depicted as cartoonishly here as he might have been in a 1940s comic book, and he scrambles for escape and begs plaintively for his life ans the Torch and Toro close in on him. Meanwhile, Namor mixes it up with Master Man, who is overjoyed to get another crack at polishing off the fish-man. And Cap and Bucky just cause general mayhem. But just as Hitler’s goose seems literally cooked, the Torches are blasted by high-pressure water from off-camera. It’s Madame Ratzel, who has now adopted the costume and name of Warrior Woman in the cause of the Third Reich.

And given that this is Warrior Woman’s debut, she totals the Invaders–dropping Captain America over the cliff side the castle is on in a cliffhanger ending for next issue to resolve, then joining together with Master Man to finish off the Sub-Mariner once the Torches and Bucky have been knocked cold. So once again at the end of this issue, the Invaders have been captured by the Nazis–and once again, they’ll end up imprisoned rather than killed. Is it any wonder that these guys lost the war with planning such as this? Anyway, at this point things are To Be Continued!

5 thoughts on “BHOC: INVADERS #17

  1. I live Robbins’ art. Totally fits the time period, especially since he lived in it. Warrior Woman comes off like Joan Bancroft if she were in “Cabaret”. A little creepy. Alan Moore perfected the model 29 years later in “Tom Strong”

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  2. Warrior Woman believing Biljo knows the secret of the super-serum, because he wrote it into a comic, calls to mind an actual incident from the 1940s where agents from the FBI visited the offices of Astounding Science Fiction, because they’d published a story that the federal agency believed had leaked state secrets regarding the construction of the atom bomb. The editor John W. Campbell had to convince them that the facts used in the story were in the pubic realm and that anyone well read in current atomic science could have written the story.

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  3. Just bought all the invaders reprint volumes on Amazon..great stuff…my late pal Alan kupperberg did a great job..

    Tom Sciacca

    Sent from my Windows Phone ________________________________

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