Engaging The Invaders: Interview With Christos Gage
By: Matt McGloin, Editor/Publisher Byron Brewer, Managing Editor INVADERS NOW! #4 Having saved the life of Winston Churchhill in WWII, the British Prime Minister recommended the young team of super-heroes that were currently fighting off the Nazi invasion band together to form a team - The Invaders were born! Led by Captain America, Namor and the original Human Torch, the Invaders would continue to fight the good fight, seeking and destroying the vile plague known as Nazism wherever it may be! Now, the Invaders have regrouped once more in the present-day Marvel Universe, reunited by the Golden Age Vision to come to terms with demons from their past - and to face a demon they have never faced before! In WWII, the Invaders were forced to make a life-or-death decision. When the Nazis infected a group of townfolk with a contagion that endangered the lives of every man, woman and child on the planet, the Invaders had no other choice but to put them down! Now this scourge has returned, leaving the present-day Invaders faced with the inevitable question of history repeating itself. As the Invaders struggle to fight off an enemy they have previously battled, another attempts to invade - the elder god Shuma-Gorath! The invincible engine of chaos and destruction has targeted Earth once again! Cosmic Book News spoke with writer Christos Gage on collaborting with Avengers/Invadersco-producer Alex Ross of Dynamite Entertainment, comparing the Invaders with other Marvel teams such as the Avengers and X-Men, the characters involved and the threat from Shuma-Gorath! INVADERS NOW! #4 Cosmic Book News: Those heroes of World War II, the Invaders, have been reunited and brought into the current Heroic Age of the Marvel Universe. How would you compare the Invaders to other teams in the Marvel U., such as the Avengers or even the Fantastic Four? Or how about the Invaders in their youth compared to say a teenage team of X-Men? Christos Gage: I think the difference is that the Invaders are war veterans. They were formed during wartime, and came of age in the fires of war. No time for teenage angst in this group. They have nothing in common except the enemy and their shared experiences. What I like about the Invaders is that they embody what makes America great: they are a disparate group of people from widely varied backgrounds, coming together to form a whole greater than the sum of its parts, working for a greater, nobler purpose. INVADERS NOW! #4 Cosmic Book News: What can you tell us about Alex Ross’ involvement with Invader’s Now? Do you collaborate with him on a regular basis? Where did this idea of the Invaders’ resurrection come from? Christos Gage: It’s very much Alex’s baby. He loves the Golden Age characters dearly, and with his two prior miniseries, Avengers/Invaders and The Torch, he has worked to bring them into the present day and reunite the original team. He’s the one who had the idea to bring them back together. Invaders Now is the culmination of his journey, and I feel privileged to work with him on it. Once the overall story was settled on, Alex has been very gracious about giving me a lot of freedom in writing the scripts, but he has stayed very involved in all aspects of the process. It’s been pretty mind-blowing for me to have Alex Ross ask my opinion regarding a cover! I’ve had a lot of fun working on this project with him, and I hope he feels the same. Cosmic Book News: The Golden Age Vision is an interesting character. He seems to have some knowledge of events to come as he reunited the original Invaders to deal with the current crisis. What can you tell us about his role in Invaders Now? INVADERS NOW! #4 Christos Gage: He definitely is a bit of an Obi Wan Kenobi character, but I very specifically didn’t want to make him omnipotent or a deus ex machina. I’ve tried very hard to write him consistently with his past appearances. He’s from another dimension, and has perceptions humans don’t, so he knows things other characters aren’t aware of. But he’s not the Watcher. He doesn’t know everything. Just a little bit more than the others. Cosmic Book News: In regards to Joe Chapman, the current Union Jack, he is the only Invader not part of the original squad as the Vision wasn’t able to “reach” Brian Falsworth. What part will Joe play in this mini-series? Christos Gage: Well, he got turned into a mutant monster in issue #2, so that’s the part he’s playing right now! But in all seriousness, I did appreciate having him around because, my love for the character aside, I think it’s important to have one character who is looking at this from an outsider’s perspective...as a surrogate for the reader, who probably isn’t a World War II veteran (although if we have any reading I’d love to hear from them!). He provides the point of view of a person of the modern era. Cosmic Book News: In issue #1, Namor brought up an interesting point in his conversation with the Torch -- that men like him are needed now as he will do what is “necessary without hesitation” -- that they are “reluctant to kill.” The Torch responded with a question of regret. Do you personally feel that the “reluctance to kill” is the difference between the way heroes (true heroes, not anti-heroes like say Wolverine) are written today compared with when the original Invaders was written by the likes of Roy Thomas? Christos Gage: I think that what Namor was referring to was the mentality of a warrior…not someone who loved war, but who was prepared to do what was necessary if called upon to take up arms against an enemy that threatened life or liberty. In comics nowadays there seems to be a line between heroes who refuse to kill under any circumstances, and anti-heroes who have a violent streak, like the Punisher. The Invaders sort of walked the line between them. They were fighting Nazis – they were at war. They didn’t kill if they could avoid it, but when they went onto battlefields against tanks and mortars and machine guns, there wasn’t much choice. I thought that was interesting in that it’s a grey area you don’t see much any more. INVADERS NOW! #4 Cosmic Book News: As we seen with issue #2, the “regret” the Torch mentioned was a flashback event where a town full of people were killed by the Invaders during WWII. However, it could be said the people were hardly innocent - at least in what they have become. Will the Invaders get a second chance to redeem themselves or are they destined to repeat history? Christos Gage: That’s what the story is all about…they’re facing a similar situation, but under very different circumstances. The world is no longer at war, and technology has advanced tremendously. In 1945, the Invaders had no choice but to kill the townsfolk who had been changed by Arnim Zola’s virus into infectious, mindless engines of destruction whose continued existence threatened all humanity. Is there a better alternative now? Wait and see… Cosmic Book News: You seem to be taking Invaders Now from a rather WWII/earthbound story to into one more magic and cosmic based. With Marvel, as of late, there seems to have always been this “great divide” between their street-level/earth characters and the space-based cosmic ones. As someone who has written on both sides of the page so to speak, do you feel the characters can play in each other’s playground - and well enough as to satisfy fans of each genre? Christos Gage: I think there are some characters who naturally fit into cosmic level stories (Warlock, Dr. Strange, Silver Surfer) and others who are most at home in street level action (Daredevil, Luke Cage). But that’s not to say you can NEVER cross the line. Spider-Man has been involved in an earth-shattering saga or two, like the war against Thanos, and some of the best Silver Surfer moments are when he interacts with normal humans. Obviously you’re not going to get much drama out of Jigsaw taking on the Silver Surfer, and if you’re going to have Daredevil beat Thanos there’d better be a pretty good reason for it, but a good story is a good story. I remember some fine Ann Nocenti/John Romita Jr. stories involving Daredevil going up against Mephisto. I think it’s okay to break the rules sometimes if it’s done properly. Cosmic Book News: It was revealed with the December and January solicits that the near-omnipotent extra-dimensional demon, Shuma-Gorath, will be taking on the Invaders. Does Shuma-Gorath tie into the Invader’s past somehow? How will the team be able to deal with such a cosmic-level threat without a magic-based ally such as Doctor Strange? INVADERS NOW! #5 Christos Gage: That all plays out over the course of the story, so I can’t really answer without giving too much away. But yes, we will see that Shuma-Gorath is entwined in the events of the flashback to World War II that we saw in our second issue. As for the team dealing with a cosmic threat, well, the idea is to keep Shuma-Gorath from entering our world so we don’t have to…but that’s quite a feat in itself! Cosmic Book News: What does the future hold for the Invaders? Will we see them interact with the rest of the Marvel U. at all? Christos Gage: That depends on the readers…if they want to see more and ask for it, there will probably be more! I know as a fan myself, I’d love to see them reunite from time to time. Cosmic Book News: Thanks for your time! Really enjoying Avengers Academy as well! Christos Gage: Thanks! Look for "Invader's Now! #4" December 8th with #5 in January!