|Publication date||Issue #1 (January 1989)|
Issue #2 (February 1989)
Issue #3 (March 1989)
|No. of issues||3|
|Main character(s)||Justice League International|
|Created by||Keith Giffen, Bill Mantlo|
|Written by||Keith Giffen|
|Penciller(s)||Todd McFarlane (issue 1 and first half of issue 2)|
Bart Sears (issue 3 & all 3 covers)
Keith Giffen (layouts for all 3 issues and pencils for second half of issue 2)
|Inker(s)||P. Craig Russell|
Invasion! was a three issue comic book limited series and crossover event published in late 1988-early 1989 by DC Comics. It was plotted by Keith Giffen, and ties up a great many plotlines from various Giffen-created DC series, including Omega Men, Justice League International, and Legion of Super-Heroes. A trade paperback collection of the three issues was released on September 3, 2008.
The series was scripted by Bill Mantlo; it was his first work for DC after a long career at Marvel Comics. Pencils were by Todd McFarlane, Bart Sears, and Giffen himself; inks were by Joe Rubinstein, P. Craig Russell, Tom Christopher, Dick Giordano and Al Gordon. All three covers were pencilled by Bart Sears, including issue #1, contrary to DC's credits listing.
The alien coalition consisted of several disparate races; several had only appeared before with the Legion of Super-Heroes one thousand years in the future. Assembling this alliance was a major diplomatic victory for the Dominators, considering the animosities many of the members shared for one another (particularly the three races of the Vega system). As it worked out, the Dominators provided the overall strategy for the invasion, with input from each member world while the Khunds acted as the shock troops for the first wave of attack that overran Australia. Each member world was then tasked with invading or subverting a particular sphere of influence:
|Dominators:||the driving force behind the Alliance and the invasion of Earth, and consequently the Alliance's de facto leaders|
|Khunds:||a brutish race of humanoid warriors|
|Thanagarians:||Hawkman's people, now living under a fascist police state|
|Gil'Dishpan:||an aquatic race of conquerors that live within hovering, armed and armored cybernetic shells|
|Durlans:||a race of shapeshifters (see Chameleon Boy)|
|Warlords of Okaara:||a race of warmasters from the Vegan star system|
|Citadelians:||the twisted clone-race that comprised the armies of the Vega system empire known as The Citadel|
|Daxamites:||the seemingly mild-mannered humanoids who acquire Kryptonian-type abilities under a yellow sun, but are vulnerable when exposed to lead|
|Psions:||yet another species from the Vega system, a reptilian race of amoral scientists, the result of ancient experiments in genetic engineering by the beings who would one day become the Guardians of the Universe|
Additionally, some members of the Alliance were tasked with specific areas of responsibility and played little part in the military operations side. The Citadelians were given charge of administering the Alliance's vast Gulag of potential opponents and experimental subjects; the Psions were charged with (or left alone to) conducting biological research on humans; and the Daxamites were largely an observer group, providing medical and scientific assistance to the Alliance.
The emotionless, calculating Dominators have put together an Alliance to invade Earth and eliminate the threat posed by their unpredictable "metahumans". After purging the galaxy of numerous potential threats to their plan - securing Darkseid's non-interference by assuring him that they would not destroy the planet and thwart his quest for the Anti-Life Equation, assassinating many former members of the disbanded Green Lantern Corps, and attacking the Omega Men - the Alliance launches a massive attack on Earth, overrunning Australia and establishing a base there from which to conquer the rest of the planet. Meanwhile, the Spectre appeals to the Lords of Order to allow Earth's magicians to join in Earth's defense, only to be told that he must instead ensure their neutrality for fear of provoking the Lords of Chaos from intervening on behalf of the invaders and escalating the conflict into a cataclysm that would mean the destruction of everyone involved. The Alliance tenders an offer to spare the human race provided that the world's governments surrender their metahumans, but the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly rejects this offer.
Superman leads a counterattack against the main Alliance base. The counterattack is temporarily disrupted by the Daxamite observers, who become the equal of Superman and temporarily defeat him, but fall prey to Earth's atmospheric differences from their own world and how it affected their extreme and lethal sensitivity to lead poisoning. After Superman helps save them, they decide to withdraw from the Alliance and help defend Earth. To that end, a small fleet of troop transports arrive and demand that the Alliance withdraw from Earth. The Dominators decide to ignore them, unaware of the effect a yellow sun has on Daxamites, until the fleet deploys several thousand soldiers into space as a near invincible attack force. This, combined with key defeats in various theaters, and a full-scale and uncontrollable riot aboard the Alliance Gulag, leads to a quick collapse for the Alliance and individual surrenders by each former member.
However, a young Dominator, aspiring to prominence among his people, manages to isolate the "metagene" in humans that enables a person to develop superhuman powers. On his own initiative, he develops and deploys the Gene Bomb, a device that bathes the Earth in an energy that affects every metahuman exposed to it, causing them to lose control of their powers and fall into a coma. Since the point of the invasion was to harness these beings, not eradicate them, the Dominator is imprisoned by his own government. A group of heroes unaffected by the Gene Bomb, led by the Martian Manhunter, manage to take information from the Dominator's mind crucial to reversing the effects of the Gene Bomb and restore the affected metahumans back to health.
Invasion! was DC's line-wide crossover event for 1988. It crossed over into 30 other DC comics and also featured guest appearances from other DC Universe staples such as Adam Strange, the planet Thanagar, and one-time Justice League of America sidekick Snapper Carr and his team the Blasters. The Blasters would make several more appearances, fighting further alien threats to Earth.
The invasion of Earth and the Gene Bomb had some long-lasting effects on the DC Universe. In particular, the recently relaunched Doom Patrol, a combination of the '60s, '70s, and brand new members, lost two team members and fell apart. This was done to give new writer Grant Morrison a clean slate to revamp the book which included the addition of new meta humans that had powers awakened by the Gene Bomb. They started with Crawling From the Wreckage storyline starting in Doom Patrol (vol. 2) #19. Morrison used the Invasion fallout for a pair of Animal Man stories, including the acclaimed "The Death of the Red Mask". Also, the Gulag storyline introduced the character of Vril Dox II and the organization called L.E.G.I.O.N., which received its own title soon after Invasion! ended.
The Gene Bomb was also responsible for giving powers of mind control to Maxwell Lord, but such powers were mostly unused. Another character from the Justice League International whose power was improved was Fire. Initially, she could only exhale bursts of fire, but after being affected by the Bomb she got powers similar to Marvel Comics's Human Torch.
One of the Dominators ended up under the control of the Queen Bee, ruler of the fictional country of Bialya. Though he did not long survive her anger, the technology he introduced was used against the Justice League multiple times. Several other Dominators were left on Earth for years and appeared in various comics (usually briefly) including one in Captain Atom (became a farmer), a few in the Outsiders #44, and a cameo in a prison break in Flash. Also, a Dominator appeared in Joker: Last Laugh #3. A Khund was also killed by Mongul during a prison break in Green Lantern.
The greatest impact of Invasion was its introduction of the metagene as the explanation within the DC Universe as to how some people gain superhuman abilities. The Flash's father, Rudolph West (a Manhunter agent) appears to die in an explosion in Cuba, defending the land during Invasion #2. His subsequent returns would plague the Flash and his mother multiple times. Unusual for the time, the three issues were published as perfect-bound comics, each the length of three usual comics - a throwback to the "80-page giants" of the Silver Age.
In the reading order presented in the back of each main issue:
Others (omitted from the #2 list):
DC also released a special edition of the Daily Planet as a tie-in to the storyline (the front page of which appears on the last page of Invasion! #1). Spun off from Invasion! were Blasters Special #1 and L.E.G.I.O.N. #1, the latter of which depicted an aftermath.
All tie-in issues between #2 and #3 ended with the gene bomb being detonated in Earth's atmosphere, so that the coloring of the artwork is flipped to a photo negative.
A number of stories make oblique or explicit reference to Invasion! without being explicitly tied-in via their covers, including Wonder Woman Annual #1 and Wonder Woman #24 (in which Major George Baines and Etta Candy track the invasion from the South Pacific), Swamp Thing #80 (in which the Dominators send Swamp Thing's essence back through time), The Spectre #22 (in which Jim Corrigan's team investigates cattle mutilations and continues directly into Invasion! #1), while The Flash #20 has Wally West and Pied Piper shot by a Durlan before seeing the invasion fleet, and Suicide Squad #22 has Amanda Waller mentioning she must attend a special council with regard to Invasion. Animal Man #7 is not officially tied to Invasion!, but like the other aftermath titles, ends with the explosion of the gene bomb.
Swamp Thing #96-98 features a visit to Hell, in which the afterlives of many of the slain Invasion forces are seen.
The 2008 trade paperback collection of Invasion! (containing only the three core issues) includes cover copy stating "Secret No More!" ISBN 978-1401220662. A new edition was released in April 2016.