This title is turning into a really great, old-school superhero comic. James Robinson isn’t trying to really deconstruct anything here, he’s just telling an exciting action story with cool characters, and I’ll never not be down for that.
This second issue begins a few hours before the end of #1, Bucky is in Vienna, Winter Soldiering it up and assassinating an ex-Stasi officer. The job goes smoothly, but afterwards he is attacked by those pesky Kree, and much like Human Torch, he is mind-zapped and given that same vision of the past. Bucky is able to interrogate one of the Kree (I love that he can speak Kree, so bad-ass) and finds out that they have Namor held captive, and are out to attack Human Torch. He calls up Cap, and they head to save their friend, which brings us up to where last issue left off. I did like how Cap was annoyed at Bucky for breaking his ‘supposed to be dead’ cover, Robinson does give Cap a bit of an old-fashioned side.
The fight back in Blaketon between Cap, Bucky, Human Torch and Tarnath was great fun, with the villainous Kree throwing around loads of power, and basically smashing the shit out of them. Cap realises that separately they aren’t strong enough, so they need to attack together, but even that doesn’t work. It’s just a pleasure to have these 3 characters working alongside each other, it’s simple, but it put a smile on my face for sure. The only reason the Invaders aren’t killed is that Tarnath receives word that her fellow soldiers have found the last piece of the Gods’ Whisper, so she just ups and leaves. Overall, this was a really great action scene, but it wasn’t all fun and games, as it basically destroyed Blaketon and leaves the townspeople angry and scared towards Jim Hammond. Robinson is doing a fantastic job at making Hammond a compelling, sympathetic character.
Later, on Cap’s Quinjet, Bucky and Jim fill him in on the back-story here. The mysterious vision that they both had last issue wasn’t some kind of fake memory after all, it was real, only after it had happened, and after they had split the Gods’ Whisper into three and hidden it, the other Invaders decided to have Aarkus, the original Golden-Age Vision erase their memories. It was pretty awesome to see such an obscure character show up again, I can’t wait to see the other Marvel Golden Age D-listers that Robinson pulls out of the Mothballs. He managed to make the fucking Red Bee compelling in Starman, so anything can happen. Cap is not best pleased that his friends lied to him, but he realises that their priority now is to rescue Namor from Hala. I loved that even though he knew most other people on Earth would be pleased to have the Sub-Mariner off-planet, they still had to save him, and man, that last line of the issue was a real fist-pumper. ‘We invade them’, totally awesome, it makes the team name make sense on top of being bad-ass.
Steve Pugh’s art was once again very strong, especially on the early Winter Soldier pages, where he was channelling Butch Guice and Steve Epting. This is an old-school comic, and his art fits that to a tee. This title isn’t reinventing the wheel, but it’s well-written, well-drawn and exciting, so it’s well worth your time.