Time is the great equalizer, the constant that levels the playing field and pays no heed to wealth, power, position or achievement. It treats all men and women equally. At least, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. But for the semi-immortal King of Atlantis, an android with the ability to manipulate fire and fly, a super-soldier who was frozen in the depths of the ocean for decades and his teenage partner who was brainwashed, turned into a Russian super-assassin and kept on ice for goodness knows how long between missions, the rules that govern the passage of history aren’t quite the same.
Known as The Invaders during the Second World War, a quartet of heroes who fought for the Allied cause, they were once the closest of comrades but the intervening years saw them dragged in a multitude of different directions and as War Ghosts begins, the former team mates find themselves on opposing sides of a seemingly inescapable, oncoming war. With Namor and Atlantis gathering their forces, it’s left to Captain America, Bucky Barnes and Jim Hammond, the former Human Torch, to try and convince their friend to stand down before the surface world and undersea kingdom engage each other in a devastating conflict. Which, given that the King of Atlantis seems determined to go through with his plan come hell or high water, becomes a near impossible Sisyphean task that leaves three quarters of the Invaders desperately trying to do the right thing and save their friend from himself and his demons.
War Ghosts is a story of the soldiers who came home from World War II and those that didn’t make it. It’s tale of the crushing impact that being immersed in conflict can, and all too often does, have on the individuals forged by battle and the horrors of war. It’s the story of hidden histories and secrets and how the net that both cast eventually catches up with, and lays waste to, everyone, no matter how strong they are.
Chip Zdarsky’s frank exploration of the human psyche and how it can take a lifetime for mental damage to manifest itself, throws familiar characters headlong into an unfamiliar situation and forces them to confront the notion that, no matter how much you give or how hard you try, some fights just can’t be won. Magno and Guice’s retro flavoured art gives Zdarsky’s story a sense of history and gravitas, and help make it one of the most interesting and involving books in the current Marvel arsenal. If the creative team responsible for Invaders continue to capitalise on this incredible start, this new take on a classic team could easily become one of the best comics of this, or any other, year. You know that popular adage about old soldiers? It’s absolutely true… Tim Cundle