In “Our Lives Together,” I spotlight some of the more interesting examples of shared comic book universes. You know, crossovers that aren’t exactly crossovers.
Today, based on a suggestion from reader Rob H., we look at how Roy Thomas cleverly explained away the discrepancies between the Invaders’ appearance in Avengers #71 and how they appeared in their own ongoing series.
In Avengers #71 (by Roy Thomas, Sal Buscema and Sam Grainger), three members of the Avengers (Black Panther, Yellowjacket and the Vision) were forced to fight (in a battle between the Grandmaster and Kang, with Kang selecting the Avengers as his representatives) against Captain America, Namor and Human Torch from the past. This was the first appearance of what Roy Thomas would later turned into the Invaders (they didn’t have a name yet) and it was the first evidence in then-current Marvel continuity that Steve Rogers and Namor knew each other during World War II (which I discussed in a Provide Some Answers a while back).
I love the very technical definition of “winning” there.
Okay, so recently, I showed the above fight from the perspective of the Invaders. Now, though, I’ll explain how Roy Thomas very cleverly retrofitted the original story into the continuity that he established in the Invader series.
You see, as you can note from the above story, the Invaders have traveled from 1941 in that Avengers story. Or at least that is what the Avengers believe. In reality, the Invaders ongoing series didn’t even START until December 1941. So how to reconcile that?
It all went down in Invaders Annual #1, which was set in 1942.
The first thing that Thomas did was to have Toro and Bucky written out of the story (in the opening part of the story, by Thomas, Frank Robbins and Frank Springer – Thomas cleverly had three solo stories featuring the three main Invaders and each one was drawn by a different Golden Age artist, with a cover, of course, by the most famous Golden Age comic book cover artist, Alex Schomburg, who I just did a spotlight on the other day) , as they were both members of the Invaders and they weren’t in the Avengers time travel story.
Next, in the Captain America/Agent Axis story by Thomas and Don Rico, Thomas has Agent Axis steal Captain America’s original, triangular shield and when Cap gets that shield back, he loses the round shield. That is why Captain America’s shield was his old one in the time travel story…
Similarly, in the Namor story by Thomas, Lee Elias and Frank Springer, the villainous Shark steals Namor’s newer shorts and makes him wear the older ones, so THAT matches, as well!
So now Cap and Namor both look like they did in 1941 to make the time travel story match (and Toro and Bucky aren’t there, because they weren’t in the Avengers story). What is particularly amazing is how Thomas did this all and didn’t even let it hurt the story. It still worked, plot-wise, for the story. That’s pretty amazing.
Thanks to Rob for the suggestion!
Okay, folks, if you have a suggestion for another interesting piece of shared continuity, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org!
In their spotlight on interesting shared comic universe continuity, CSBG sees how Roy Thomas retrofitted the Invaders for their first Avenger meeting