I’ve always been a fan of the classic Golden Age Timely Comics, but I’ve always felt a bit frustrated with them. Those old comics have a sort of amazing primal power at their core, but the art never quite seems to live up to the stories. They read like the creations of a bunch of young kids with grand ideas but weak skills, lots of creativity but only a slight clue of how to execute on those ideas.
So a series like this one is really welcomed by me. Finally, we have a chance for these grand primal ideas to actually be executed well. Finally, we get a spectacular sequence like we do in the second half of this issue, when the Sub-Mariner and Human Torch have one of their earthshaking battles while Namor tries to crush New York under a tidal wave.
It’s a terrific series of scenes, especially because these scenes have appeared in comics before. Appropriately for a comic that takes place in 1941, Brubaker and Epting quote liberally from the original texts while giving the story a thrilling modern feel. We see Namor’s blazing intensity and feel the Torch’s heartfelt tries to cool down his counterpart’s anger. We see new heroes, inspired by their recent predecessors, who put on costumes and choose to fight to save the city. And it all leads to the very inspiring first public appearance by the greatest hero of all.
My favorite scene in the comic is the very last panel. In it we see the three characters all together. There’s Cap on the left, with the blue in his uniform emphasized. The Sub-Mariner is in the middle, all pale flesh. On the right is the Torch in his bright red jumpsuit. From right to left, that’s red, white and blue. What better foreshadowing can there be of the future battles of the Invaders?