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Marvels Project, The #7: Review

May 2010
Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting

Story Name:

(No title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Marvels Project, The #7 Review by (March 29, 2011)
The 2 names of the Destroyer hides a complicated back-story. The Destroyer originally appeared in Mystic Comics #6 with origin as depicted here. He was American reporter Keen Marlow. He had a long career spread across several titles, though he didn't rack up as many appearances as Angel or Patriot. Then Roy Thomas got his hands on the story in Invaders #18 and made him Englishman Brian Falsworth instead, with the same origin but adding the connection to Erskine's process. And Roy had yet another person take over the role later in the war. Modern sources such as Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe Golden Age say that all 3 Destroyers were real, though they have to fudge Schmitt being killed twice. Keen Marlow was also the star of USA Comics 70th Anniversary. While this series has been revealing some links between Timely events, I think the biggest set of connections has been the number of people empowered by variations on Erskine's super-soldier formula. Some of the links had already been described in earlier modern comics:- The 50's Captain America; The Destroyer. I have already mentioned U-Man (and Master Man and Warrior Woman). And there is the possible link to the modern age via Noah Burstein who empowered Luke Cage and several others.

On the other hand this issue says that Bucky's origin in CAC#1 and most modern retellings was a complete fiction. This version is based on flashbacks in Ed Brubaker's own CA series, which seeks to make Bucky a harder character than previously portrayed, more in line with the Winter Soldier becomes. Brubaker never mentions Camp Lehigh and Cap's disguise as bumbling Private Steve Rogers. I suspect the whole Camp Lehigh thing was fake too in Brubaker's universe. In line with the new view of Bucky, he starts his career toting a machine gun here. But in Timely comics he didn't use weapons until well into US's involvement in the war. The 1st modern depiction of Bucky with a machine gun is probably at the end of Marvels #1, near the end of the war. I'm not sure how far Brubaker agrees with the role of Bucky in Wolverine: Origins #17-20. There Bucky has been made Cap's partner to do the things that Steve Rogers would be too idealistic to do, or Captain America too much of a symbol to be seen doing, such as assassination. Sub-Mariner being held prisoner rules out his many Timely adventures between HT#5b (mentioned last time) and Pearl Harbor. Another example of Brubaker's severe editing of 'history'. I doubt that this imprisonment harks back to SM's capture and trial in Marvel Mystery Comics #5.

Toro's story here and last issue is taken from modern Marvel comics Invaders #22 and Saga of the Human Torch #2. Timely's Human Torch #2 only had this issue's train crash, but also had survivor Toro adopted by a circus as a fire-breathing act, due to the mutant fire-resistance I mentioned last issue. HT never knew anything about Toro until he found him in the circus. Unlike last issue HT#2/Invaders #22/Saga #2 all agree that Toro didn't flame on until he met HT at the circus. The modern comics tied all the events together with a plot by Asbestos lady, a villain who didn't originally turn up until Timely's Captain America Comics #63 and HT#27.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Marvels Project, The #7 Synopsis by Rob Johnson

The heart of this issue is the introduction of Bucky and Toro as young sidekicks for Captain America and Human Torch, as we enter Fall 1941 and the start of Winter.

Sub-Mariner was captured last issue after he hit New York with a tidal wave. He has been held prisoner by the US government since then.

In Germany Prof Schmitt was sent to a concentration camp as an inmate last issue. But he remembers the partial version of Prof Erskine's super-soldier formula that he had been studying in Project Nietzsche. He whips up a batch in the experimental wing of the camp, and gives it to a fellow prisoner. This is English Brian Falsworth, son of WWI hero Union Jack, who had been undercover in Germany as American Keen Marlow. Schmitt is killed by guards, but transformed Falsworth escapes and fights behind enemy lines as the Destroyer.

Project Nietzsche escapee John Steele is still following Red Skull. Last issue he saw him meet with Atlantean renegade Meranno. Now Skull is hobnobbing with a Japanese general. Steele finds plans for a combined attack on Washington D.C. and Hawaii. He leaves to try to get word to America.

Back in New York Human Torch now has young partner Thomas 'Toro' Raymond. They met last issue when Toro burst harmlessly into flame. Since then his parents have been killed in a train crash, and HT has adopted him and is training him to use his flame powers.

Meanwhile Captain America has teamed up with another orphan Bucky Barnes. 16-yr-old Bucky had been living on a military base (even after his soldier father died) and was always in trouble. The US government had channelled his energy and trained him to be a propaganda answer to the Hitler Youth. They now made him Cap's partner. The idea that the partnership arose because Bucky discovered Cap's secret identity is described as more propaganda. Now Cap takes Bucky out on his first mission.

Lt Sawyer has moved on from sending Nick Fury and friends after Project Nietzsche in earlier issues. He is now in charge of Cap and Bucky. He reminds Cap that they should expect to re-enact tonight's mission for the camera's tomorrow. I.e. that they are part of a continuing propaganda exercise.

Meanwhile Angel has been tracking the Nazi spy 'handler' who escaped from him and Cap in #5. The heroes converge as the handler welcomes ashore some Atlanteans led by Meranno, whom Project Nietzsche has transformed into U-Man. The handler and his men and most of the Atlanteans are killed by Bucky's machine gun and Angel's pistols. U-Man escapes, but one live Atlantean is left captive.

Angel is presumably wielding Two-Gun Kid's guns for the 1st time here, that he was given in #1. Maybe it's a reaction to getting shot in #5.

Meranno as U-Man first showed up in Invaders #3-4. This was obviously after the Invaders were formed, so Marvels Project is jumping the gun by presenting him here. I don't believe there has ever been any direct claim that U-Man was created using Erskine's formula. However the creation of Master Man in Giant-Size Invaders #1 used a version of the formula, so I would guess that was used on U-Man too, and their companion Warrior Woman.

Steve Epting
Steve Epting
Dave Stewart
Steve McNiven (Cover Penciler)
Justin Ponsor (Cover Inker)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Bucky Barnes
Bucky Barnes

(James Barnes)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Jim Hammond)
Red Skull
Red Skull

(Johann Shmidt)

(Thomas Raymond)

Plus: Angel (Tom Halloway), Atlanteans, Destroyer (Brian Falsworth), General Chester Phillips, John Steele, Nazis, U-Man, Warrior Woman.

> Marvels Project, The: Book info and issue index

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