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Marvels Project, The #8: Review

Jul 2010
Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting

Story Name:

(No title given)

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Marvels Project, The #8 Review by (March 29, 2011)
There are 4 threads running through this series. One of them is Angel's adventures and narration. Another comes from the title Marvels Project, showing how the creation of Captain America was part of a larger strategy by the US government. But apart from opposing Project Nietzsche and stealing Prof Erskine from it, this only manifested as support for the creation of Human Torch and Electro. A 3rd thread is the appearances of many of the early Timely heroes as discussed above, as part of the 70th Anniversary theme. Most of them are just cameos, but John Steele, Sky Devils, Phantom Bullet and Ferret have been woven into the story. And of course Nick Fury and 2 of his supporting characters are tucked in as well. But the 4th thread is somewhat at odds with no 3. Again as I have mentioned above, Ed Brubaker has squeezed out much of Timely's history as being unrealistic, and invented as propaganda.

Most of the Timely heroes who have appeared in these pages debuted in 1939/40, and so have entries in the Marvel Mystery Handbook. Apart from Cap & Bucky the other 1941 latecomers are Patriot (Human Torch #4 Spring 41), Thunderer (DMC#7 April 41) and Destroyer (Mystic Comics #6 October 41). There are many 1940/41 heroes not represented here that have been seen in modern comics, including Blue Diamond, Jack Frost and Whizzer, all members of the Liberty Legion. (Miss America didn't actually turn up until 1943, long after the supposed date of the origin of Liberty Legion.) We have met half of The Twelve, but we are still missing Black Widow, Blue Blaze, Mastermind Excello, Rockman and Witness (and Captain Wonder who also didn't appear until 1943). Among others I can recall seeing in modern Marvel there are Black Marvel, Blazing Skull, Silver Scorpion and Vision. And of course the Young Allies, who hardly fit in Brubaker's vision. Roger Stern in Young Allies 70th Anniversary and CA: Forever Allies limited series has them existing, but very different from their portrayal in Timely comics.

This issue combines Pearl Harbor with an attack on Churchill arriving in America to meet with Roosevelt. But these events didn't happen at the same time. Churchill's arrival on 22nd December 1941 was 2 weeks after Pearl Harbor. Giant-Size Invaders #1 retained this historical separation. And another difference between the comics versions is that in Invaders it was Master Man who attacked Churchill. U-Man didn't surface until Invaders #3. Bucky's first mission last issue was followed immediately by the events this issue. Thus there is no room for their adventures in Captain America Comics (or other Timely titles) between the origin and the end of 1941. I take this as expanding on the idea I mentioned last issue. I would suggest that Ed Brubaker's more realistic approach to WWII will render all Timely CA appearances apart from the origin as propaganda fiction. A similar fate applies to most of the Timely adventures of Human Torch and Sub-Mariner. And while Angel and many other Timely heroes have been shown in this series, it is also true that they have not been shown in any of their actual Timely adventures.

I forgot to add a note on Citizen V in the main body of the Synopsis. He was introduced in Daring Mystery Comics #8 and only managed to survive the name change to Comedy Comics for one issue #9, where he headed a French Resistance group known as the V-Battalion. But his descendants and legacy lived on in the present day in Fabien Nicieza's Thunderbolts and 2 limited series of Citizen V and the V-Battalion, plus a shared annual with Captain America in 1998. These included various flashbacks sketching in the intervening years.

This issue shows Nick Fury not joining the army before Pearl Harbor, but signing up after Red Hargrove is killed there. This is a divergence from the history shown in Sgt Fury and the Howling Commandos #34 (and repeated in Official History volumes), where Nick and Red join up together months before Pearl Harbor, where Red is killed. My point is that the new scheme reduces the time Fury has to attend boot camp (as seen in SFHC#62) and become a Sgt before leading the Howlers. (Whatever his joining date, we'd probably have to assume that his freelance experience (in this series or SFHC#34) got him to Sgt pretty quickly.)



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Marvels Project, The #8 Synopsis by Rob Johnson
This issue continues directly from the events of last issue, and everything comes together as we head straight for Pearl Harbor.

Captain America and Gen'l Phillips take the Atlantean captured last issue to Sub-Mariner, a prisoner of the US government since #6. Namor gets him to confess, and learns that U-Man/Meranno has collaborated with the Red Skull (as seen in #6) to carry out a joint German/Atlantean invasion of America. He also hears that Meranno led the Germans to bomb Atlantis, which caused Namor to attack New York with a tidal wave (again in #6).

John Steele contacts the French Resistance and gets out a message about the imminent German and Japanese invasions of Washington and Hawaii that he learnt about last issue. The message reaches Lt Sawyer, who is trying to persuade Nick Fury to enlist like his friend Red Hargrove has. Sawyer passes it on to Phillips.

The Germans and Atlanteans are now expected to attack Washington where Roosevelt and Churchill are having a secret meeting. Cap asks Human Torch and Toro to go to Hawaii and stop what they expect to be a single Japanese bomber. Unfortunately what they find is a whole fleet of planes.

Cap, Bucky and Namor successfully defend Churchill's arrival in America against an attack by U-Man and Atlanteans (with strangely no sign of any Germans).

But Torch and Toro hardly make a dent in the attack on Pearl Harbor.

In the aftermath, Roosevelt forms the Invaders (CA&Bucky, HT&Toro, Sub-Mariner), to fight enemies like Master Man. Red Hargrove was killed at Pearl Harbor, and Nick Fury joins the army and eventually leads the Howling Commandos.

Meanwhile John Steele continues the fight behind enemy lines, only to disappear sometime later in the war. He has turned up again in recent issues of Secret Avengers. (The character Sgt John Steele in Sentinel Squad O*N*E was someone else. I think.)

Another hero Citizen V also fights in occupied France. At home the list of heroes also grows (with cameos here for Red Raven, Laughing Mask, Dynamic Man, and Thunderer, as well as some of the heroes we have already met).

Red Raven only appeared once in 1 Timely anthology title, but at least it was named after him, the one-shot Red Raven #1. But Roy Thomas made him a member of the WWII Liberty Legion in Marvel Premiere #29. And before that he had brought him into modern-day Marvel in Uncanny X-Men #44. This guy was later retconned to be an android duplicate, and the real Red Raven awoke from suspended animation in Captain Marvel v5 #16.

Laughing Mask also technically only appeared once in Daring Mystery Comics #2. But he continued as the Purple Mask in DMC#3-4. He was 1 of the characters reused (as Laughing Mask) in the Twelve limited series.

Dynamic Man ran in Mystic Comics #1-4, and also resurfaced in the Twelve.

Thunderer was seen in DMC#7-8, and possibly as Black Avenger in All Winners #6. I think his only appearance since then has been a cameo in Marvels #1 (and now this issue).

At then end we skip forward to today. Steve Rogers and Matt Hawk (for some reason called Hawkins) locate Angel's grandson Jason Halloway, and Steve gives him Thomas Halloway's journal and Two-Gun Kid's mask and guns.

This epilogue harks back to #1 where Matt Hawk/Two-Gun Kid had returned back in time to die of old age. He left his mask and guns to Thomas Halloway who became the Angel, and wrote the journal on which this story is 'based'. We don't know when Angel gave Cap his journal. Jason Halloway has been invented here. It remains to be seen whether he will take up the mantle of his grandfather. Matt Hawk is still in the present here, and a long way from dying.

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> Marvels Project, The: Book info and issue index

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Steve Epting
Steve Epting
Dave Stewart
Steve Firchow (Cover Penciler)
Steve Epting (Cover Inker)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Bucky Barnes
Bucky Barnes

(James Barnes)
Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)
Human Torch
Human Torch

(Jim Hammond)
Toro
Toro

(Thomas Raymond)

Plus: Angel (Tom Halloway), General Chester Phillips, Howling Commandos, Invaders, John Steele, Master Man, Nazis, Two-Gun Kid, U-Man.