Following his departure from DC comics and his magnificent run on Earth 2, writer James Robinson headed over to Marvel. One of his first announced projects was the series All-New Invaders, a continuation of sorts to the WWII era team. Upon the announcement of the new series, it seemed that Marvel was looking to expand their comics line to include stories and teams that reached further than the regular team books and sought to explore some of the lesser known relationships, and there's still a chance that can happen.
Robinson is a gifted writer that is capable of handling ensemble casts like many of his peers, which is why it's puzzling to see so much of All-New Invaders focuses solely on a single character. Jim Hammond, the original “android” Human Torch, is reintroduced to the reader in this debut issue, but the stilted dialogue and lack of other defined characters to build off of makes it a dull meeting. The seemingly unnatural narrative gets a shot in the arm once things get kicked into high gear and the action begins, mostly because it offers the reader a point of reference for the character's capabilities - he shows us what he can do instead of telling us.
It's made even more clear how much better Robinson is at writing “the team” than singular characters, at least for this series, when Hammond flashes back to his days with the original Invaders in World War II. Not only do we get to see some great Nazi-punching action, but we see the big picture of what this comic could become when the gang is fully assembled. Endless exposition can hurt the pace for a comic, and while it's not as tightly wound as some here, it does hold the readers hand for longer than necessary at times.
Artist Steve Pugh works the pencils for All-New Invaders, and his work gives the comic a boost it rightfully deserves. Pugh's attention to detail makes the artwork truly remarkable, and his splash page reveals are to die for. The only real fault in the artwork lands on the final page, and even though it's supposed to appear unnatural, it gives off the air of an unfinished draft rather than completely finished. As awesome as Pugh's work is for the title, his drawings are made even better by the stellar coloring of Guru-eFX. The glossy appeal of the colors really cement the characters and setting of the comic, capturing a tone that Robinson works almost too hard in establishing with the narration.
All-New Invaders is not poorly written, it's just cobbled together in a manner that unfortunately hinders it. The sub-par dialogue is certainly made up for by Steve Pugh's artwork, which is really stands out from much of Marvel's other comics. There are brief shining moments where you can see the full potential for the title, and with plenty of time it will grow into those shoes, but the first issue is still learning to walk.