Jim Krueger talks "Avengers/Invaders"

Fri, March 28th, 2008 at 12:00am PDT

Comic Books
Dave Richards, Staff Writer

"Avengers/Invaders" #1 on sale in May
During World War II, the Nazi war machine seemed poised to steamroll the entire planet. But in the Marvel Universe, a handful of heroes stepped forward to make sure that wouldn't happen; men like Captain America and his partner Bucky, the original Human Torch and his partner Toro, and Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner. These champions became even more dangerous to the Nazi menace when they banded together to form the superhero team known as the Invaders.

The Invaders helped win the war, but Captain America's disappearance and presumed death (the first time) lead to the team disbanding. This May, the Invaders are back in action -- but they'll find themselves mysteriously transported from the battlefields of WWII to the present day Marvel Universe, where they'll run into a host of modern day superheroes in "Avengers/Invaders," a new 12-issue miniseries by writers Jim Krueger and Alex Ross and artist Steve Sadowski. CBR News spoke earlier with Alex Ross about the project, and Jim Krueger joined us today to talk more about the hotly anticipated miniseries.

With the popularity of books like DC Comics' "Justice Society of America" (to which Ross regularly contributes), Krueger and Ross's "Project Superpowers" series from Dynamite, and now "Avengers/Invaders," it seems there's a strong interest for the comic book heroes of the Golden Age of comics.

Pages from "Avengers/Invaders" #1
"In light of celebrity detox programs, terrorist wars, global warming and everything else, there's a sort of zeitgeist out there that is making us look back at the same time we're looking forward to the next election and changes in the way we operate in the world. As a result, we're looking at the old heroes," Jim Krueger told CBR News. "And, to a degree, looking to them with the hope that we will be inspired to face life right now. So, how does that work itself out? We grab onto those heroes, bring them here, and see what they have to say about our world."

The resurgence of books featuring Golden Age characters – some of whom are often obscure -- means in order to find an audience, each title has to provide something distinct and engaging to modern audiences. With Marvel currently publishing "The Twelve," a miniseries featuring particularly lesser-known Golden Age heroes transported to modern times, Ross and Krueger wanted to make sure "Avengers/Invaders" was an especially unique experience.

Pages from "Avengers/Invaders" #1
"[Our book] is not a transplant story at all," Krueger said. "In fact, to a degree, it's the story of each of us, looking back to when we were younger and saying 'If I could only go back and tell myself what I needed to know.' It's much more that kind of story, but with a lot off ass-kicking and fighting. Our hope is to take advantage in the story of the death of Cap and the return of Bucky, of Iron Man's regrets as well as those of the Winter Soldier/New Captain America. This is about the far past and the recent past."

"Avengers/Invaders" begins in the far past on the frontlines of World War II. "We begin with the Allied insurgence into Italy," Krueger said. "And everything begins to go wrong from there. Union Jack and Spitfire are with the Invaders. Then Union jack gets shot, and things begin to go strange."

This sudden strangeness is what rockets the Invaders into the present day Marvel Universe. "The Invaders transportation into the future is a major mystery of the series," Krueger remarked. "It is the basis for both the trip to the future--and the Avengers' eventual trip to the past (which should be really cool, by the way)."

Pages from "Avengers/Invaders" #1
Certainly, Steve Rogers's fate in the present day Marvel U means the WWII era Captain America is bound to play a big role in "Avengers/Invaders," but his fellow Invaders will get their time in the spotlight as well. "They all have very important and key moments in the series," Krueger confirmed. "I would say the Original Human Torch has a subplot in Act One that becomes the major plot of Act Two while Toro will really come into his own in Act Two and beyond."

The Invaders' arrival in the present day causes the rival Mighty and New Avengers teams to implement plans on how best to handle the temporally displaced heroes. But the Invaders aren't sure they want to be a part of either group's plans. "The Invaders want to get back to the war and fight it -- they don't know why they're here, and they have no reason to trust anyone -- especially since the first 'super team' that approaches them is the Thunderbolts," Krueger explained. "The Mighty Avengers, under Tony Stark, want to shield the Invaders from anything they could learn that would affect the past and therefore the future. Their goal is to quarantine the situation; contain it. But, as to the new Avengers, they don't trust the Mighty Avengers' ability to take care of Cap. After all, they didn't do such a good job of it the last time.

Art from "Avengers/Invaders" #1, cover of issue #2
"The Invaders being [in the present] is a major problem," Krueger continued. "It's that whole respect for the time continuum thing. If they don't return, history changes. If they learn anything from this current time, history changes. If they do anything, history changes. And, as usual, the two Avengers teams have very different opinions as to how they need to deal with the situation. And therein lies the basis for the initial confrontation between the teams."

"Avengers/Invaders" reunites Krueger with frequent collaborator Steve Sadowski, and the writer couldn't be happier. "Steve's great. His art is great. It's a blast to have him be part of a third Alex & Jim thing --Steve did one of the 'Paradise X' specials, then 'Project Superpowers' #0, and now this," Krueger stated. "He's part of the team and one of our favorites."

Art from "Avengers/Invaders" #1, cover of issue #2
The project is proving especially rewarding for Krueger because it allows him to honor the work of a comics creator who inspired him in his youth. "The old 'Invaders' book was really important to me as a kid. Frank Robbins' superhero art remains some of my favorite comics stuff ever," said Krueger. "Completely exciting and crazy to look at. No one did books like he did. He deserves attention, and I hope that this gets people excited about the old 'Invaders' stuff and Frank's amazing approach to sequential art."

As heroes confront heroes and move backward and forward through time, the tone of "Avengers/Invaders" changes accordingly. "I'm really proud of all my Spider-Man stuff. I think it's really funny," Krueger remarked. "But then, of course, we're depicting war in WWII, which is the opposite. There are a number of different tones throughout. I'm hoping for something in the end that just feels like a really good story. And one that needed to be told."

Related
ALEX ROSS TALKS "AVENGERS/INVADERS"

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