Invaders #7 succeeds as a callback to Civil War but it’s a fairly standard beginning to a new chapter in the series.
Think of everything that made Civil War (the movie and the comic event) one of the most famous Marvel stories in recent memory. The conflict between Captain America and Iron Man arguably tops that list. Then, in the movie, Bucky Barnes is a key player in the story. Invaders #7 features these essential elements and, as a result, the issue feels like another non-canonical continuation of Civil War. Readers who want to see this feud continue to play out will probably enjoy Invaders #7. Otherwise, writer Chip Zdarsky’s latest installment is simply average.
As a fan who can’t help but smile at even the slightest reference to Civil War, this writer enjoys Invaders #7. The allusions to Mark Millar’s iconic event aren’t heavy-handed; instead, they feel like natural consequences to Steve Rogers’ failure to stop Namor from attacking the surface world. Tony Stark has every right to be angry with his longtime teammate on the Avengers. Stark has popped up throughout the series (and other recent comics) and warned Rogers about Namor. Just as he was in Civil War, the First Avenger is stubborn to a fault and countless people have to pay the consequences when Namor launches two attacks that turn the residents of two cities into water-breathers.
Sometimes, the little things make all the difference. Here, the work of artists Carlos Magno and Butch Guice and color artist Alex Guimarães make the argument between Rogers and Stark feel deeply personal. They’re not just two characters throwing emboldened words at each other on paper. They’re two friends with a complicated relationship and this latest incident plunges them into a new conflict with each other. Guice and Guimarães actually draw the spit flying from Rogers’ and Stark’s mouths and the sweat on Starks face as the fight intensifies, which makes the dialogue feel harshly real.
Another fine detail comes when Stark gets the last word before he storms off. Rogers asks Tony not to attack Atlantis because innocent American citizens are staying there. “I’m a realist, Steve, not a monster,” Stark replies. While he leaves, Guimarães draws Stark’s face in shadow. This small choice makes the line more impactful because the shadow represents Stark’s renewed distrust of, and disappointment in, Rogers. Hopefully, Zdarsky will continue to explore this relationship.
It’s easy to focus on the implications of another conflict between Rogers and Stark but Invaders #7 also launches the series into a new chapter, “Dead in the Water.” Going into the issue, Namor had already attacked the surface world. Now, Rogers and other heroes have to do whatever it takes to end this looming war. Unfortunately, by the end of this opening installment, Namor looks even more indomitable because he gains possession of the Sërpent Crown, which will allow him to command others and resist telepathic interference. By using this powerful artifact, Namor basically becomes a villainous Aquaman, if not one of his antagonists. Magno and Guice make the crown look like Medusa’s hair, which complements the tonal shift from a superhero story into one that’s about modern mythology. As the Sub-Mariner puts the crown on his head, his trusted aide Machan tells him, “you’re invincible.” That possibility should terrify Stark and Rogers, especially since they’re not on the same page anymore.
Throughout the issue, Zdarsky and the art team fully embrace the comparisons between Namor and Aquaman. In one panel, Namor, holding a golden trident, sits on an underwater throne that looks like it’s right out of DC’s version of the lost city. (Arthur Curry, is that you?) These associations are inevitable, especially when Namor, like Curry, continually fights for the survival of his people despite a (seemingly) ethnocentric surface world.
In Namor’s eyes, these people are dangerous through their arrogance; they stubbornly seek to maintain their way(s) of life despite the fact that they’re polluting the planet. Zdarsky touches on some real-world issues and puts a Marvel’s spin on them. At one point, a news broadcast mentions that, eventually, the oceans will be the only habitable land left, which is why Namor feels justified in his decision to transform some humans into water-breathers. (He’s preparing them for life under the sea.) Logically, anyone can poke holes in that argument but Zdarsky’s usage of these problems brings some realism to the comic.
As the beginning of a new storyline, Invaders #7 won’t blow you away; it merely gets the ball rolling. But a renewed conflict between Stark and Rogers and the incorporation of pollution concerns make this a successful issue.
What’d you think of Invaders #7? Where do you hope to see the story go from here?