Wednesday

OMU: Golden Age -- Part Three

The stories from the “Golden Age” of the Original Marvel Universe, set in the decades surrounding World War II, suggest a disturbing truth, that fighting crime as a superhero is extremely dangerous work. In fact, it would seem that many who took up the call paid for it with their lives, for their careers were brief and they were never heard from again. Taking a closer look at these obscure characters, we often see that they were not really up to the task, and it is little wonder they were ultimately overwhelmed and defeated by the forces of evil they sought to challenge. These are the casualties of the Golden Age, and their careers stand as cautionary tales to would-be superheroes of later generations.

The following is a guide to the casualties of the OMU’s “Golden Age.” Bear in mind that, while some of these characters were brought back in some form or other in comics published in the mid- to late-1990s, these stories are beyond the established OMU canon, and therefore represent alternate versions of the characters. While these alternate versions may have survived to old age, those who lived in the Original Marvel Universe were most assuredly dead by the time the Fantastic Four led the superhero resurgence of the 1960s. The timing of their deaths was usually suggested by the characters’ publication history. Also, some plausible speculations were suggested, either by the stories, the connections between the stories, or by the nature of the characters themselves, as to the “behind-the-scenes” activities, motivations, or ultimate fates of the characters. These speculations are included when relevant, since the Original Marvel Universe is now a closed system. See Part One for further explanation of my rationale.


Casualties of the OMU Golden Age


The Angel

First Appearance: Marvel Comics #1 (November 1939)
Years Active: 1939–1946

Killed on Christmas Day, 1946.

Private detective Thomas Halloway, a true renaissance man, donned a red and blue costume to fight crime as the Angel, a nickname he had earned in his youth when he saved the life of an inmate at the prison where his father was the warden. Halloway’s mother had died in childbirth, and his father had raised the boy at the prison, where he received an unorthodox education. Wishing to fight crime more directly than he could as a gumshoe, Halloway adopted the identity of the Angel and used his fighting skill and wide-ranging knowledge to smash numerous crime syndicates and other menaces to public safety.

After one particular adventure, the Angel came into possession of an enchanted cape, which granted him the ability to fly, although he found the experience unnerving and difficult to master, using it only when absolutely necessary. He battled criminals for seven successful years, all through the dark days of World War II, until his devil-may-care attitude finally cost him his life on Christmas Day in 1946.


The Black Marvel

First Appearance: Mystic Comics #5 (March 1941)
Years Active: 1941–1942

Killed in late spring 1942.

Dan Lyons journeyed to a Blackfoot Indian reservation to take up the mantle of the elderly Indian hero who once saved his father’s life. After passing a battery of tests of strength, stamina, skill, and intelligence, Lyons was awarded the secret of the Black Marvel, which allowed him to reach the pinnacle of human ability. He returned to New York City, designed a black, red, and gold costume for himself, and declared his one-man war against crime. After fighting numerous criminals, mad scientists, unscrupulous businessmen, and Nazi spies, he soon became the chief nemesis of a gang of mobsters calling itself the Order of the Hood. Eventually, the Black Marvel’s luck ran out and he was captured by the Order of the Hood and tortured to death.


The Blazing Skull

First Appearance: Mystic Comics #5 (March 1941)
Years Active: 1939–1942

Killed in late spring 1942.

Newspaper reporter Mark Todd went to China in 1939 to cover the Sino-Japanese War. There, he stumbled upon a mysterious race of “Skull Men,” who granted him superhuman strength and an invulnerability to fire. Sickened by the carnage he had covered as a reporter, Todd renounced his philosophy of pacifism, donned a red costume and flaming skull mask and attacked the Japanese army. His activities eventually widened to include all the Axis powers, which came to fear this uncanny specter. Although immune to flame, Todd unfortunately was not immune to bullets, and met his death while battling the Nazis in the late spring of 1942.


The Blue Blaze

First Appearance: Mystic Comics #1 (March 1940)
Year Active: 1940

Killed in the autumn of 1940.

In the early spring of 1940, two grave robbers were terrified when an eerily-glowing man clawed his way out of a ninety-year-old grave and confronted them. The name on the headstone read “Spencer Keen,” a man thought to have died in a tornado in 1852.

Spencer Keen had been the son of a noted chemist who worked at a midwestern college in the 1840s and 50s. One night in 1852, Keen was on his way to a costume ball at the college. He had donned a tight-fitting blue bodysuit, black leather boots, a studded belt, and a cowl that hid most of his face, inspired by legends of a mysterious avenger in the African jungles known as the Ghost Who Walks. Keen stopped in to see his father, who was working late in his laboratory. His father revealed the nature of the experiments he had been conducting with a mysterious bluish energy, which Keen dubbed “the blue blaze.” The elder Keen claimed that he had used the blue blaze on various animals, and though it seemed to kill them instantly, they would revive months later with vastly increased strength and stamina. Keen worried that his father had gone insane. However, a tornado suddenly tore through campus, destroying the laboratory along with numerous other buildings, and in the chaos, Spencer Keen was bathed in the strange blue energy. Afterwards, with the school and nearby town devastated and nearly all the population killed, Keen was counted among the victims of the storm and quickly buried, still wearing his masquerade costume.

Nearly 90 years later, Keen awoke, finding himself super-strong and basically invulnerable. After escaping from his grave, he found a city had grown up where the town once sat, and the small college had become a major university. Keen soon stumbled across a plot hatched by a half-Japanese, half-Polish scientist, Professor Maluski, to create a race of zombies to take over the world. After defeating Maluski, the bewildered Keen was hailed as a “superhero.” His efforts to explain himself were misinterpreted, and he was dubbed “The Blue Blaze” by reporters. Soon after, Keen battled an insane scientist named Barko, who had developed a freezing ray, and had him committed to an asylum.

Over the summer, the Blue Blaze became a sensation, and many local mobsters came to fear their super-strong, bulletproof foe. One such crime boss, called Dr. Gair, employed a Jewish astrologer and magician known as the Star-Gazer, who seemingly created monsters and death rays to kill the Blue Blaze. However, the Blaze was triumphant and the villains ended up dead, much to Keen’s satisfaction. Later, the Blue Blaze battled a villain calling himself Dr. Vortex, who was intent on fanning the flames of war in Europe. Dr. Vortex proved to be a formidable foe, and their struggle was only ended when both men, locked in hand-to-hand combat, tumbled into a flooded limestone quarry and drowned.


Citizen V

First Appearance: Daring Mystery Comics #8 (January 1942)
Years Active: 1940–1944

Killed in late summer 1944.

In the spring of 1940, British Army Lieutenant John Watkins was on a boat in the English Channel when it came under attack by a Nazi plane, which strafed the boat with machine gun fire. Watkins was hit and fell overboard. When the boat returned to base, it was reported that Watkins was dead.

However, somehow Watkins survived and was found by a French fisherman, who took him home and nursed him back to health. Months later, Watkins returned to England, to the great surprise of his commanding officer. Since he was legally dead, Watkins was recruited to become a special agent to infiltrate Nazi-occupied countries in Europe and inspire the resistance. He agreed, was given a modified uniform and a mask, and adopted the identity of Citizen V—“V” for Victory.

As Citizen V, Watkins returned to France and waged a one-man guerrilla war against the Nazis, leaving his calling card—the letter V displayed in whatever manner presented itself—everywhere he went. Eventually, Citizen V made his way into Germany and later still into Poland, where, at the Warsaw Uprising, the Nazis finally caught up to him, and a bullet to the head ended the career of Citizen V.


The Falcon

First Appearance: Human Torch Comics #2 (Fall 1940)
Year Active: 1940

Killed in the autumn of 1940.

A brilliant young Assistant District Attorney named Carl Burgess, inspired by the heroic antics of the dashing Angel, donned a costume and stalked the night to fight crime as the Falcon. Although a pretty good brawler, Burgess proved no match for the city’s criminal element, and after only a few weeks, was beaten to death by a gang of hoods.


Father Time

First Appearance: Captain America Comics #6 (September 1941)
Years Active: 1941–1942

Killed in late summer 1942.

Larry Scott was the son of a man who had been convicted of murder and was set to be executed in the electric chair in the summer of 1941. Convinced that his father was innocent, Larry Scott did everything he could to prove it and save his father’s life. Unfortunately, his efforts failed and his father was executed on schedule. The experience caused Scott to become unhinged, and he donned a hooded cloak and a mask, took up a scythe, and began killing criminals, vowing to “make time work against criminals instead of the innocent.” Calling himself “Father Time,” Scott terrorized the underworld for nearly a year, before his insanity made him careless and he got himself killed.


The Fin

First Appearance: Daring Mystery Comics #7 (April 1941)
Years Active: 1941–1942

Killed in the spring of 1942.

United States Navy Lieutenant Peter Noble was a member of the crew of an American submarine that sank in the spring of 1941 during a training exercise. Desperate to survive, Noble took an oxygen tank and abandoned the ship as it sank toward the ocean floor. However, rather than being crushed by the water pressure of the deep sea, Noble discovered that his body could withstand it. He soon found that he could breathe underwater as well. Fearing that he was some kind of freak, Noble did not return to the surface world, but instead eventually happened upon the small undersea kingdom of Neptunia. Accepted by the blue-skinned denizens of Neptunia, Noble eventually became their leader.

In early 1942, Noble attacked a Nazi submarine that came too close to Neptunia, and in the ensuing battle, many Neptunians were killed. Therefore, Neptunia declared war on Nazi Germany, and Peter Noble made many daring attacks against the Nazis on both land and sea, making use of an enchanted cutlass he had discovered in an ancient shipwreck. Dubbed “the Fin,” due to his distinctive headgear, Noble was considered a seafaring superhero by the American press, often compared to the Sub-Mariner—much to Namor’s chagrin. However, after only a few months, Noble was killed in combat. The true nature of his superhuman powers was never discovered.


The Silver Scorpion

First Appearance: Daring Mystery Comics #7 (April 1941)
Years Active: 1941–1942

Killed in the spring of 1942.

Betty Barstow, secretary to private detective Dan Hurley, was on her way to a masquerade ball, dressed in a superhero-style costume, when she stumbled upon a crime in process. She encountered a gang of crooks, who were so startled by her appearance that they were easily defeated by her martial-arts skills. Thrilled by the experience, Barstow decided to continue as a costumed crimefighter, and soon came to be known as the Silver Scorpion. She plagued the underworld for about a year, until she ran afoul of a mob boss who discovered her secret identity and had her murdered.


The Thunderer

First Appearance: Daring Mystery Comics #7 (April 1941)
Years Active: 1941–1942

Killed in February 1942.

Inspired by the dashing hero known as the Angel, ham radio operator Jerry Carstairs put on a blue-and-red costume and went out to fight crime as the Thunderer, using a microphone/speaker gimmick to frighten his opponents. Less than ten months later, he slipped off an icy roof and fell to his death.


The Witness

First Appearance: Mystic Comics #7 (December 1941)
Years Active: 1941–1942

Killed in early summer 1942.

The mystery man known only as the Witness declared war on the underworld just as America entered World War II. Originally donning a makeshift costume, he soon abandoned it, and merely wore a mask with his suit and hat, also growing a mustache. A violent man himself, he soon became the obsessive nemesis of an especially violent gang of mobsters called the League of Blood, and they had several brutal battles over the winter and spring of 1942. Ultimately, though, the Witness, for all his strength and fighting skill, was overwhelmed by the League’s superior numbers and gunned down. His body was weighted down with cement and dumped in the river, where it was never found.


The Yankee Clipper

First Mentioned: Uncanny X-Men #215 (March 1987)
Years Active: 1943–1944

Killed in combat in 1944.

The Yankee Clipper was the female member of a team consisting of the Crimson Commando, Stonewall, and Super Sabre, which was brought together in 1943 to supplement the forces of the Invaders and the Liberty Legion, though their exploits were much less celebrated. On a mission during 1944, the Yankee Clipper was killed in combat.


The Robots of the OMU Golden Age


Electro the Robot

First Appearance: Marvel Mystery Comics #4 (February 1940)
Years Active: 1940–1941

Destroyed in late spring 1941.

Professor Philo Zog, an extremely wealthy and brilliant inventor, built a large, powerful robot which he called “Electro.” The robot was bulletproof, and could even withstand small artillery. It could run at over 100 m.p.h. It could leap into the sky and cover huge distances, and was possessed of tremendous strength. The robot could be summoned by means of a wireless transceiver.

Concerned about crime and the degenerating world situation, Professor Zog recruited a dozen men, among them a capable agent named Dick Gardner, to serve as a vanguard against criminals and foreign subversives, using Electro as their main weapon. Zog’s valet, Mr. Burke, and his secretary, Wilkins, helped manage and operate the organization.

For fourteen months, Zog’s organization was wildly successful, and Electro, painted bright red and yellow, was hailed in the press as “the Marvel of the Age.” However, in the late spring of 1941, the Third Reich decided to try to steal the secrets of Electro for their own purposes. In an explosive battle between the Nazi commandos and Gardner’s anti-crime syndicate, the robot was utterly destroyed, Professor Zog was killed, and his laboratory was blown up. The surviving foreign agents were jailed, but most of the members of Gardner’s group were killed. The remaining members decided to disband.


Flexo the Rubber Man

First Appearance: Mystic Comics #2 (April 1940)
Year Active: 1940

Destroyed in the autumn of 1940.

In the spring of 1940, after many years of research and development, scientists Joel Williams and Joshua Williams, brothers, built a robot with a rubber body filled with an experimental gas, which they could operate by remote control. Their creation was dubbed “Flexo the Rubber Man” and he used his great speed, astounding strength, and ability to fly to perform spectacular feats.

Over the summer, the Williams brothers used the unspeaking Flexo mainly as a servant and to assist them with various research projects. However, when an unscrupulous scientist, a Dr. Murdock, tried to create a death-ray machine using stolen radium, Flexo was enlisted to halt the dangerous scheme. Later, Flexo again came to the rescue when a German spy, Karl Damos, stole a torpedo-defense device the Williamses had developed for the Navy. Then Flexo was used to stop a series of arsons committed by a fascist calling himself the “Iron Duke.”

Josh and Joel Williams, being Jewish, were very concerned about the situation in Europe, especially with Hitler and the Nazis having just conquered France, and they discussed using Flexo as a weapon against fascism.

Having come to the attention of the Third Reich, Nazi agents kidnapped the Williams brothers and took them to Germany, along with the formula for a new high-explosive they were working on. Flexo was instrumental in rescuing his creators from the Nazis and returning them to the U.S.

A month or two later, as autumn arrived, the Nazis gained their revenge by having the Williams brothers murdered. Unable to make Flexo work to serve their cause, the Nazis destroyed the robot and burned down the brothers’ laboratory. All their research was lost.


Previous Issue: The Survivors!



Friday

OMU: Golden Age -- Part Two

The comic books from the so-called “Golden Age” published by Marvel’s earlier incarnations, Timely and Atlas, give us a rough idea of what was going on in the Original Marvel Universe during the decades surrounding World War II. In addition to the major heroes, most of whom were members of the Invaders, there was a sizeable cohort of superheroes, costumed adventurers, and masked detectives whose exploits surely inspired many of the heroes who would follow their example in the superhero resurgence of the 1960s. Indeed, many of this earlier generation would survive to see that day, some enjoying a peaceful retirement and some eventually meeting a tragic fate. A few even found a way to return to a life of adventure, despite being thirty years past their prime. These were the survivors, who for one reason or another, managed not to get killed in the course of their adventures—quite an accomplishment considering they faced not only vicious mobsters, diabolical scientists, and powerful super-villains, but also the full fury of the Nazis and their Axis partners. Although neither as famous nor as successful as the members of the Invaders, these heroes nevertheless made their mark and lived to tell about it.

The following is a guide to the surviving heroes of the OMU’s “Golden Age,” based on the chronological analysis of the later stories, excluding non-canonical stories published after the early 1990s. See Part One for further explanation of my rationale.


Survivors of the OMU Golden Age


The Blonde Phantom

First Appearance: All Select Comics #1 (Fall 1946)
Years Active: 1946–1949

A year after the end of World War II, Louise Grant, secretary to private detective Mark Mason, decided she could do more to fight crime, and created the persona of the Blonde Phantom, dressing in a long, low-cut red evening gown and a domino mask, using her enormous sex-appeal to give her a psychological advantage over criminals, whom she would dispatch with her martial-arts fighting skills. After three years, Grant retired from such adventuring, married Mark Mason, and settled down to a domestic life. Twenty-five years later, she became involved in heroic circles once again when, now a widow, she became the secretary to Jennifer Walters, the She-Hulk.


The Blue Diamond

First Appearance: Daring Mystery Comics #7 (April 1941)
Years Active: 1941–1947

Professor Elton Morrow discovered a strange diamond-like gem during an expedition to the Antarctic in early 1941. During the long trip by boat back to the United States, he studied the gem and the eerie blue light that emanated from it. Unfortunately, while in the North Atlantic Ocean, the ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat and sank. Morrow grabbed the box containing the gem and tried to use it as a flotation device. However, the Nazis saw him and opened fire with a machine gun. The gem exploded, embedding thousands of tiny fragments into Morrow’s body. Morrow was rescued and returned to the U.S., where he discovered his body had become diamond-hard, granting him invulnerability and enhanced strength. He decided to use his newfound powers to fight against crime and fascism, devised a colorful costume, and named himself the Blue Diamond.

In 1942, the Blue Diamond joined the Liberty Legion and served with distinction, helping defend the home front until the war was over. A few years after the war, he retired from costumed crimefighting and eventually moved to Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Although he grew old, his powers never faded, but when there was a resurgence of costumed heroes in the 1960s, he decided to let the younger generation have their day. Eventually, he encountered the alien Shangra the Star-Dancer and, after a brief battle alongside Ben Grimm, the Thing, Morrow agreed to join the beautiful Star-Dancer in outer space as her mate. She used her powers to transmute his body into a more diamond-like form to withstand the rigors of space travel. His subsequent fate is unknown.


Bucky (III)

First Appearance: Young Men #24 (December 1953)
Years Active: 1955–1956

In 1955, Jack Monroe was a high school student, and he developed a close friendship with one of his teachers, a man named Steve Rogers, since they were both huge fans of the World War II era hero Captain America. Rogers revealed that he had discovered the original Super-Soldier serum and had intended to become the new Captain America. Monroe offered to act as his sidekick and assume the identity of Bucky. When a man claiming to be the Red Skull attacked the United Nations, Rogers injected Monroe and himself with the serum, and the two immediately developed enhanced strength, stamina, and agility. They continued to fight crime for several months, until the unstable serum caused them to become mentally unbalanced. After tarnishing the reputations of the legendary heroes, they were arrested by the FBI, exposed as frauds, and placed in suspended animation until the government could figure out what to do with them.

They were revived about a decade later and twice came into conflict with the original Captain America, who had himself recently been revived from suspended animation. After his partner committed suicide, Monroe suffered a mental breakdown and was taken into custody by S.H.I.E.L.D., where the chemical cause of his insanity was diagnosed and treated. Eventually, he recovered and was released. Then, with the help of the original Cap, he assumed the superhero identity of the Nomad and finally became the champion of justice he had always wanted to be.


Captain America (IV)

First Appearance: Young Men #24 (December 1953)
Years Active: 1955–1956

The man who would rename himself “Steve Rogers” was a big fan of Captain America throughout World War II. When he eventually learned that the original Captain America had been killed shortly before the end of the war, he set about learning all he could about his idol. In a storehouse of military records in Germany, the young man discovered the formula for the original super-soldier serum used to create Captain America in 1941. With war raging in Korea, the man contacted the U.S. government and made a deal to use the formula, which he would not turn over, to become the new Captain America. In the early stages of the project, the man was granted access to the government’s classified files on the original Cap, which led him to have his name legally changed to “Steve Rogers,” even undergoing plastic surgery to make himself look more like the real Steve Rogers. Unfortunately, the Korean War came to an end and the government cancelled the project.

The new Steve Rogers got a job as a high school teacher, and befriended one of his students, another huge Captain America fan named Jack Monroe. Then, in 1955, a man claiming to be the Red Skull captured the United Nations building and held all the delegates hostage. Inspired by the crisis, Rogers injected both himself and young Jack Monroe with the serum he had created from the formula, and they went into action as Captain America and Bucky. The public, who were none the wiser, were thrilled, but unfortunately, the serum was unstable, and since the pair had not been exposed to the “vita-rays” of the original super-soldier experiment, they were quickly driven insane. After several months of tarnishing the reputations of the legendary heroes, they were arrested by the FBI, exposed as frauds, and placed into suspended animation until a way could be found to deal with them.

The pair was revived about a decade later and came into conflict with the original Captain America, who had not died after all. Later they were brainwashed by the villainous Dr. Faustus, and the man who wanted to be Captain America instead became the Grand Director of a racist hate group called the National Force. After another battle with the original Captain America, the Grand Director committed suicide.


The Crimson Commando

First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #215 (March 1987)
Years Active: 1943–present

Frank Bohannon was a mutant whose power kept his body at the peak of human physical perfection and granted him nearly-superhuman senses. During World War II, Bohannon was inspired by the numerous other costumed heroes of the day and created the identity of the Crimson Commando. In 1943, he was teamed up with three other superheroes, Stonewall, Super Sabre, and the Yankee Clipper, to perform missions considered too “dirty” for the Invaders. In 1944, the Yankee Clipper was killed, but the three men soldiered on until the war was over.

Following the end of the war, the three teammates returned to Massachusetts and began fighting crime, mainly in Boston and throughout the New England area, though their brutal tactics garnered them a spotty reputation in the press. During the Korean War in the early 1950s, the three costumed vigilantes again offered their services to the U.S. government as “commie-smashers.” However, the government rejected their offer and persuaded them to abandoned their costumed identities and retire from crimefighting.

Left without clear purpose, the trio retreated to a vast remote estate, where they continued to train and plan for their eventual comeback. When a new generation of costumed superheroes appeared in the 1960s, Bohannon and his friends sneered at them as weak and ineffectual. Their long years of isolation and bitterness warped their attitudes, and eventually they began kidnapping criminals, bringing them to their estate, and hunting them down as a training exercise, believing humans to be “the Most Dangerous Game.” After crossing swords with members of the X-Men, Bohannon and his partners finally returned to the spotlight, joining the government-sponsored super-powered taskforce called Freedom Force.


The Destroyer

First Appearance: Mystic Comics #6 (October 1941)
Years Active: 1942–1945

Roger Aubrey was an Englishman, a friend to Brian Falsworth, and in 1939 the pair traveled to Germany to show their support for a peaceful relationship between Nazi Germany and the United Kingdom. However, as soon as war was declared between the two countries, Aubrey and Falsworth were arrested as enemy aliens and sent to separate prison camps. Aubrey was selected for scientific experimentation and was handed over to the unscrupulous Nazi scientist Colonel Dietrich. As a result of Dietrich’s experiments, Aubrey was shrunk down to nearly a foot in height, and then brainwashed. In 1942, he was made a member of a group of costumed agents called the Crusaders, which consisted of others who were similarly empowered by Nazi science and conditioned to believe they were fighting for the Allied cause. Aubrey was called the Dyna-Mite and served alongside William Nasland, the Spirit of ‘76. The Crusaders were thus sent to attack the Allied superhero group the Invaders, but in the course of the battle, the Nazi deception was uncovered and the Crusaders disbanded.

Aubrey later assisted the Invaders on a mission to Berlin, where Colonel Dietrich was captured. Back in England, Dietrich was able to reverse the shrinking process. During the mission, Aubrey had learned that his friend Brian Falsworth had also received superhuman abilities while a prisoner of the Nazis, but had escaped and attacked the German Army as the costumed commando known as the Mighty Destroyer. However, Falsworth had determined to give up that identity to assume his father’s role as the Union Jack. Therefore, wanting a chance at revenge against the Germans, Aubrey took Falsworth’s old costume and named himself the Destroyer. He was airlifted behind enemy lines and spent the rest of the war waging a one-man campaign of terror against the Axis powers. After the end of the war, he returned to England and retired his costumed identity.


Dominic Fortune

First Appearance: Marvel Preview #2 (1975)
Years Active: 1933–1948

David Fortunov was a private detective who, in the 1930s, became a dashing celebrity adventurer-for-hire under the alias Dominic Fortune. He often worked alongside his girlfriend, an entrepreneur and adventuress who called herself Sabbath Raven, until she disappeared in 1940. With America’s entry into World War II, Fortunov volunteered for military service. After the war ended, he decided not to resume his career as Dominic Fortune and instead settled down and started a family. He was finally reunited with Sabbath Raven nearly thirty years later.


Golden Girl

First Appearance: Invaders #26 (March 1978)
Years Active: 1942–1945

Gwenny Lou Sabuki was among the Japanese-American population sent to relocation camps at the outbreak of World War II, along with her father, the noted surgeon Dr. Sam Sabuki. In 1942, the Sabukis were kidnapped by the super-powered spy Agent Axis, along with the junior members of the Invaders, Bucky and Toro, and an African-American boy named David Mitchell. In the course of the ensuing battle, both Sabuki and Mitchell were exposed to an unknown form of energy that granted them each a superhuman ability.

Finding herself able to emit a blinding golden light from her body, Sabuki adopted the name “Golden Girl” and donned a costume designed to celebrate her Japanese heritage. She agreed to join Bucky, Toro, and David Mitchell, who assumed the identity of the Human Top, in a group called the Kid Commandos. The group was primarily involved in morale-boosting activities on the homefront, for the government tried to keep these teenaged heroes out of dangerous combat whenever possible.

Early in 1945, the group was disbanded and Gwenny Lou Sabuki decided to focus on her education. A few years later, another costumed heroine briefly used the name “Golden Girl,” but there was no connection between the two.


Golden Girl (II)

First Appearance: Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941)
Years Active: 1949–1950

Elizabeth “Betsy” Ross was a member of the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, recruited by the War Department to assist Captain America and Bucky with many of their earliest cases, serving as a liaison between the heroes and military and domestic authorities. She continued to work with them occasionally after America entered World War II and the pair of heroes joined the Invaders. In the summer of 1943, she enlisted in the newly-formed Women’s Army Corps. Later, when the original Captain America and Bucky had to be replaced, Ross established a working relationship with the substitute heroes. After the war, she continued to work with the third Captain America following the death of the second one.

In 1949, the second Bucky was crippled by a gunshot wound while fighting gangsters, and Captain America recruited Ross to be his new partner. Revealing himself as Jeffrey Mace, he provided her with a golden costume and a brief period of intensive training. She adopted the name “Golden Girl” and joined him in his adventures. After a while, she realized she was not cut out for playing superheroine and abandoned her costumed identity. However, she and Mace had initiated a sexual relationship by that time, and within a year he retired from crimefighting as well. Soon after, they were married and moved to Boston, where he worked as a newspaper reporter and she became a housewife.


The Human Top

First Appearance: Invaders #26 (March 1978)
Years Active: 1942–1945

In 1942, teenaged David Mitchell was working as a delivery boy when he stumbled on a plot by the super-powered spy Agent Axis to kidnap a hospitalized Toro. He was taken prisoner, along with Toro, his Invaders teammate Bucky, and a Japanese-American girl named Gwenny Lou Sabuki. In the course of the ensuing battle, both Mitchell and Sabuki were exposed to an unknown form of energy that granted them each a superhuman ability.

Mitchell found he could suddenly spin his body at an incredible rate of speed. He decided to put on a striped costume and assume the name “the Human Top.” He then joined Bucky, Toro, and Sabuki, who called herself “the Golden Girl,” in a group called the Kid Commandos. The group was primarily involved in morale-boosting activities on the homefront, for the government tried to keep these teenaged heroes out of dangerous combat whenever possible.

Early in 1945, the group was disbanded and David Mitchell decided to retire from adventuring to go to college.


Jack Frost

First Appearance: USA Comics #1 (August 1941)
Years Active: 1941–1945

A strange being dubbed an “ice elemental” was discovered in the Arctic and brought to the United States in the summer of 1941. The being, given the name “Jack Frost” by the scientists studying him, escaped from the research facility and soon became an outlaw and killer vigilante, dispensing his own brand of “cold justice.” Despite his often-deadly methods, Jack Frost was inducted into the Liberty Legion in 1942 and served to protect the homefront for the duration of the war. After the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Jack Frost returned to the Arctic wastes, disgusted by humanity. He was never seen again.


Marvel Boy

First Appearance: Marvel Boy #1 (December 1950)
Years Active: 1950–1951

Robert Grayson was a human boy who was raised in a colony of Eternals living on the planet Uranus, having been brought there in a spaceship built and piloted by his father, Professor Horace M. Grabsheid, a.k.a. Matthew Grayson, a German Jew who had anglicized his name when he immigrated to the United States to flee fascism in Europe after his wife and daughter were killed. Among the Uranian Eternals, young Bob Grayson developed nearly superhuman intelligence and was given a pair of energy-manipulating wristbands. In late 1950, the lad returned to Earth to use his powers for the betterment of humanity. He did so for about a year and was known as Marvel Boy.

However, Grayson soon received an urgent message that his father had succumbed to an illness that the Eternals could neither diagnose nor treat. He tried to arrange a loan to purchase the needed medical supplies, but was refused by the bank. Thus, there was a significant delay as he acquired what he needed. When he finally returned to Uranus, Grayson found the Uranian colony had been completely destroyed. Overwhelmed with grief, he salvaged a pair of devastatingly powerful Quantum Bands, put them on his wrists, and set a course back to Earth to wreak his vengeance on the bank manager. A billion miles out, though, Grayson was thrown into suspended animation in a freak mishap, and did not arrive for fifteen years. Now totally insane, he went on a rampage and was opposed by the Fantastic Four. In the course of the battle, Grayson overloaded his Quantum Bands and was vaporized. The indestructible bands were taken by Reed Richards for study and soon turned over to S.H.I.E.L.D. for safekeeping. They were eventually assigned to an agent named Wendell Vaughn, who would become the superhero known as Quasar.


Red Raven

First Appearance: Red Raven Comics #1 (August 1940)
Years Active: 1940–1944, 1964

In the mid-1920s, an airplane making a transatlantic trip crashed into a strange island floating in the sky, concealed by an ever-present cloud formation. The island was home to a race of mysterious beings known as the Bird-People. The only survivor aboard the plane was a young red-haired child, who was adopted by the Bird-People’s king and raised to be a skilled warrior and a wise emissary to the world of the surface-dwellers. On his twentieth birthday, in 1940, the man, renamed Red Raven, was given a pair of artificial wings and a scarlet and gold costume and sent back to the world of humans to take to them the philosophy of the Bird-People.

Red Raven’s attempts to fight crime and injustice soon had him being hailed as a “superhero” by a fascinated public. In 1942, Red Raven joined the Liberty Legion, and remained a member in good standing until late in 1944, when he grew so embittered against the human race that he decided to return to the island of the Bird-People. However, he found they now had a new king, who was planning a major assault on the human race, intending to conquer them while they were weakened by the carnage of World War II. When his arguments against the mad plan fell on deaf ears, Red Raven took desperate measures to save his people from being wiped out. He released a gas which placed them all in suspended animation. He then placed each of the Bird-People into a life-sustaining capsule and sank the island beneath the Atlantic Ocean. He placed himself into suspended animation as well, after setting a device to raise the island and revive him in twenty years.

The island rose to the surface in 1964 and Red Raven awoke. However, the island was discovered by Warren Worthington III, the member of the X-Men called the Angel, who was escaping from the nearby island headquarters of the mutant terrorist Magneto. After battling the Angel, Red Raven decided to return to suspended animation and sink the island again for another period of time. However, a few months later, an undersea earthquake dislodged his capsule and sent it floating to the surface, where he was discovered by the Sub-Mariner. Unfortunately, the years in suspended animation had adversely affected Red Raven’s mind, and he became unhinged, intent on reviving the Bird-People to destroy humanity and take over the earth. Unfortunately, he discovered that the cryonic device had malfunctioned and all the Bird-People were dead. Consumed by rage, grief, and guilt, Red Raven went berserk, destroying the island in a catastrophic explosion. He was killed instantly.


Stonewall

First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #215 (March 1987)
Years Active: 1943–1975

Louis Hamilton was a mutant whose power could turn him into an immovable object, as well as granting him a measure of super-strength. During World War II, Hamilton was inspired by the numerous other costumed heroes of the day and created the identity of Stonewall. In 1943, he was teamed up with three other superheroes, the Crimson Commando, Super Sabre, and the Yankee Clipper, to perform missions considered too “dirty” for the Invaders. In 1944, the Yankee Clipper was killed, but the three men soldiered on until the war was over.

Following the end of the war, the three teammates returned to Massachusetts and began fighting crime, mainly in Boston and throughout the New England area, though their brutal tactics garnered them a spotty reputation in the press. During the Korean War in the early 1950s, the three costumed vigilantes again offered their services to the U.S. government as “commie-smashers.” However, the government rejected their offer and persuaded them to abandon their costumed identities and retire from crimefighting.

Left without clear purpose, the trio retreated to a vast remote estate, where they continued to train and plan for their eventual comeback. Hamilton also studied to become a lawyer. When a new generation of costumed superheroes appeared in the 1960s, Hamilton and his friends sneered at them as weak and ineffectual. Their long years of isolation and bitterness warped their attitudes, and eventually they began kidnapping criminals, bringing them to their estate, and hunting them down as a training exercise, believing humans to be “the Most Dangerous Game.” After crossing swords with members of the X-Men, Hamilton and his partners finally returned to the spotlight, joining the government-sponsored super-powered taskforce called Freedom Force. However, in 1975, Hamilton was electrocuted by the villain Donald Pierce while defending Muir Island from an attack by the mutant-killing Reavers.


Sun Girl

First Appearance: Sun Girl #1 (August 1948)
Years Active: 1948–1949

The mysterious adventuress known only as Sun Girl burst on the scene in the summer of 1948 and became a worldwide sensation. Her astonishing beauty, unsurpassed martial-arts skill, unparalleled acrobatic ability, and unconquerable will made her the toast of a fascinated public and the bane of a frustrated underworld. In addition to her natural abilities, she employed a number of technological devices as well, provided by admirers in the scientific community. Chief among these was a “sunbeam ray” that produced a blinding light.

Sun Girl teamed up once with Captain America (Jeffrey Mace) and also briefly partnered with the original Human Torch. Suddenly, during the spring of 1949, Sun Girl vanished without a trace, as mysteriously as she had appeared nine months before, and was never heard from again.

In subsequent years, many legends grew up around Sun Girl, propagated mainly by men who remained obsessed with “the Mysterious Beauty.” Some claimed she was really a secretary and former WAC named Mary Mitchell. Some claimed that she had been fighting crime as early as the late 1920s or early 1930s. Some claimed that she was the Human Torch’s lover or an extraterrestrial or a goddess. However, the truth about Sun Girl was never discovered.


Super Sabre

First Appearance: Uncanny X-Men #215 (March 1987)
Years Active: 1943–present

Martin Fletcher was a mutant who possessed super-speed. During World War II, he was inspired by the numerous other costumed heroes of the day and created the identity of Super Sabre. In 1943, he was teamed up with three other superheroes, the Crimson Commando, Stonewall, and the Yankee Clipper, to perform missions considered too “dirty” for the Invaders. In 1944, the Yankee Clipper was killed, but the three men soldiered on until the war was over.

Following the end of the war, the three teammates returned to Massachusetts and began fighting crime, mainly in Boston and throughout the New England area, though their brutal tactics garnered them a spotty reputation in the press. During the Korean War in the early 1950s, the three costumed vigilantes again offered their services to the U.S. government as “commie-smashers.” However, the government rejected their offer and persuaded them to abandon their costumed identities and retire from crimefighting.

Left without clear purpose, the trio retreated to a vast remote estate, where they continued to train and plan for their eventual comeback. When a new generation of costumed superheroes appeared in the 1960s, Fletcher and his friends sneered at them as weak and ineffectual. Their long years of isolation and bitterness warped their attitudes, and eventually they began kidnapping criminals, bringing them to their estate, and hunting them down as a training exercise, believing humans to be “the Most Dangerous Game.” After crossing swords with members of the X-Men, Fletcher and his partners finally returned to the spotlight, joining the government-sponsored super-powered taskforce called Freedom Force.


The Thin Man

First Appearance: Mystic Comics #4 (July 1940)
Years Active: 1940–1945

In the spring of 1940, scientist Bruce Dickson was on an expedition to climb Mt. Kalpurthia in the Himalayas. During the climb, a blizzard descended on the mountain and Dickson was separated from his party, becoming hopelessly lost. While searching desperately for shelter, he found a strangely glowing cave and entered it. The interior of the cave was unaccountably warm, drawing Dickson to investigate. He discovered a tunnel leading deeper into the mountain, the other end of which opened into a fantastic hidden land—a gleaming futuristic metropolis. Overcome with shock and exhaustion, Dickson passed out.

Upon awakening, Dickson learned that he had entered the otherdimensional realm of Kalahia, and that his body had been transformed by the alien science of the Kalahian Council of Elders so that he could make himself paper-thin, as they could. Over the next several weeks, as he tried to adjust to this new society, Dickson befriended Olalla, the beautiful young daughter of the Kalahian leader. When he convinced the Council of Elders to allow him to return home so that he could use Kalahian science to help humanity, Olalla begged her father to let her accompany him. The Chief Elder relented, and soon Olalla and Dickson built a futuristic fighter jet to carry them back to America.

On their first mission, Dickson and Olalla took on a gang of racketeers lead by the infamous Clip Walton. With his amazing physical abilities and advanced alien technology, Dickson made short work of Walton’s gang and turned the defeated crime boss over to the police. Calling himself “the Thin Man,” Dickson continued to fight crime with Olalla’s help until America entered World War II in early 1942. Then, the Kalahian Council of Elders insisted that Olalla return to the safety of their mountain retreat until the war was over. Now very much in love, Olalla and Dickson parted tearfully. A few months later, Dickson joined the Liberty Legion and was a member in good standing until the end of the war.

Following the defeat of Japan in the summer of 1945, the Liberty Legion disbanded, and Dickson returned to Kalahia, only to find it had been utterly destroyed, and that Olalla and the others had been killed. Grief-stricken, Dickson soon discovered that an old enemy of the Invaders, known as Agent Axis, had learned of the existence of Kalahia and tried to conquer it after Nazi Germany lost the war earlier that year. Unable to subjugate the Kalahians, Agent Axis killed them all and destroyed the city, then fled to parts unknown. Abandoning his identity as the heroic Thin Man, Dickson spent the next thirty years trying to track down Agent Axis and get revenge. With the help of Captain America, Dickson finally located Agent Axis, now living in the United States under the auspices of the CIA. When confronted by the two heroes, the elderly Agent Axis laughed at them, saying he had long ago been pardoned of all war crimes in exchange for his cooperation with the U.S. government. Outraged, Dickson wrapped his sheet-thin body around Agent Axis’ face, smothering him to death. Bound by his moral code, Captain America turned Bruce Dickson over to the police to be charged with murder.


Ulysses Bloodstone

First Appearance: Marvel Presents #1 (October 1975)
Years Active: circa 8250 BC–1968 AD

The man who would one day call himself Ulysses Bloodstone was born into a small tribe of Scandinavian nomads some ten thousand years ago. While hunting for food one day, he discovered an unearthly crystal, which contained an alien lifeform known as the “Hellfire Helix.” Bloodstone made a deal with the alien and was granted superhuman strength, but when the alien killed the rest of his tribe, Bloodstone decided to destroy the crystal. The alien gem exploded under his attack and a piece of it lodged permanently in his sternum. Along with his superhuman strength, Bloodstone also received amazing regenerative powers from the gem embedded in his chest. Eventually, he discovered it had also made him immortal.

Thus, Bloodstone witnessed the rise of civilization and lived through all of human history, occupying himself with various pursuits, often seeking out thrills and danger to spice up the monotony of his unending existence. In the late 1960s, Ulysses Bloodstone met his destiny when he finally was separated from the Bloodgem, destroyed the Hellfire Helix, and died, his body rapidly decomposing into a desiccated skeleton.


The Vision

First Appearance: Marvel Mystery Comics #13 (November 1940)
Years Active: 1940–1943

Aarkus, a law-enforcement officer from another dimension, first appeared on Earth in late 1940, when a scientist named Dr. Enoch Mason experimented with a device that could breach the barrier between dimensions. Aarkus found that he could transport himself through clouds of smoke to materialize anywhere in the world, and this ability, coupled with his unearthly appearance, led to him being dubbed “the Vision.” He continued to come to Earth to fight the terrible, incessant crime he found here—much worse than anything in his home dimension, which Dr. Mason called the “Smoke World.” As World War II raged on, Aarkus grew more and more disgusted with the human race. Finally, on Halloween 1943, after a particularly gruesome case, he could stomach no more, and left the Earth, never to return.


Previous Issue: The Golden Age!



Monday

OMU: Golden Age -- Part One

Although my timeline for the Original Marvel Universe works forward from the Fantastic Four’s debut in 1961, this is not meant to imply that that is the beginning of the story. In fact, there is a rich history of events leading up to that point, with numerous stories that have never been accurately portrayed. Just as the Silver Age comics are often unreliable sources for what “actually” happened in the Marvel Universe, the body of works published by Marvel’s predecessors, Timely and Atlas, only give the roughest of sketches as to the adventures of the so-called “Golden Age,” which centers on World War II. Some of these events were depicted in The Invaders, a series published in the 1970s but set in 1942. Others were revealed or clarified in flashbacks seen in a wide variety of Marvel’s titles, right up to the cessation of OMU stories in the early 1990s.

The following is a guide to the major heroes of the OMU’s “Golden Age,” based on the chronological analysis of the later stories. In order to fit these events into the pre-established timeline, occasional revisions were necessary. Also, some plausible speculations were suggested, either by the stories or connections between the stories, as to the “behind-the-scenes” activities or motivations of the characters. These speculations are included when relevant, since the Original Marvel Universe is now a closed system. Also, it is important to note that the Original Marvel Universe excludes stories published after the early 1990s, including series such as Thunderbolts and Citizen V and the V-Battalion. Events and revelations from these stories were considered non-canonical. See previous posts for a full explanation of my rationale.


Major Heroes and Sidekicks of the OMU Golden Age


Captain America

First Appearance: Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941)
Years Active: 1941–1945, 1962 to the present

Steve Rogers was a very frail young man from New York City who was outraged by the spread of fascism in Europe, and in early 1941 he attempted to enlist in the Army. Rejected due to his poor health, Rogers pleaded for a chance to serve his country, and was introduced to General Chester Phillips, who recruited Rogers for an experimental procedure code-named Operation: Rebirth. Rogers was taken to a top-secret facility in Washington, DC, where he met the renowned scientist Dr. Abraham Erskine, and learned of Erskine’s development of the super-soldier serum, a chemical cocktail that could make Rogers into the ultimate human fighting machine -- the first of many, if the experiment was a success. After weeks of tests to determine his suitability, Rogers received the serum and underwent a treatment of “vita-rays” to stabilize the serum’s effects on his body. The experiment worked, and Rogers emerged from the procedure transformed into the pinnacle of human strength and fitness.

Unfortunately, a Nazi spy had infiltrated the project and, horrified, immediately pulled out a gun and tried to kill Rogers and Erskine. Rogers defeated the spy, who was accidentally electrocuted, but it was too late for Dr. Erskine. His gunshot wounds proved fatal, and since he had never committed the full formula to paper, the secrets of the super-soldier serum were lost. In the wake of this set-back, the government redirected the super-soldier program into maximizing the potential effectiveness of Steve Rogers. Inspired by the exploits of the British World War I hero Union Jack, the government designed a red, white, and blue stars-and-stripes costume for Rogers, who would use the codename “Captain America.” It was hoped that Captain America would be both a champion of liberty and a counterpart to the mysterious Nazi agent known only as the Red Skull.

Rogers was assigned to Camp Lehigh to serve as a cover for his activities as Captain America. There, he met the camp’s “mascot,” the teen-aged orphan James Buchanan Barnes, nicknamed “Bucky.” After Barnes stumbled upon Rogers’ secret identity, he was also given a costume and permitted to act as Cap’s sidekick. Soon, Captain America and Bucky took the public’s imagination by storm, and countered numerous threats to America’s security. Shortly afterwards, Rogers was presented with a unique discus-shaped shield made of a virtually-indestructible metal alloy that had been created in an industrial accident. Late in the year, Captain America and Bucky joined with other costumed heroes in forming the Invaders, and spent most of the rest of the war fighting the Axis powers directly.

In March 1945, Captain America and Bucky attempted to prevent the Nazi scientist Baron Heinrich Zemo from launching a bomb-laden drone plane. Too late to stop the take-off, the heroes leapt aboard the plane and tried to sabotage it. The plane exploded, killing Bucky instantly. Captain America was thrown clear, but landed in the icy waters of the North Atlantic. There, unknown to all, the super-soldier serum prevented Rogers from freezing to death, enabling him to enter a state of suspended animation. Thus, Rogers slowly drifted to the Arctic, his body entombed in a cocoon of ice.

Fearful of the effects on Allied morale of the loss of Captain America and Bucky at this critical stage in the war, the government soon decided to secretly replace Rogers and Barnes with William Nasland and Fred Davis. Barnes’s remains were eventually identified, but Rogers was officially listed as “missing in action.”

Steve Rogers was revived about 18 years later after his former teammate, the Sub-Mariner, discovered the ice cocoon being worshipped as an idol by an Arctic tribe and hurled it out to sea. It drifted south, the ice slowly breaking away in the warmer waters, until Rogers was discovered by the recently-formed superhero group the Avengers, who successfully brought him out of suspended animation. Rogers had not aged in the meantime, nor suffered any worse after-effects than partial memory loss, and immediately resumed his career as Captain America, though the world had changed dramatically in the intervening decades.


The Spirit of ‘76

First Appearance: Invaders #14 (March 1977)
Years Active: 1942–1946

William Nasland became the costumed adventurer known as the Spirit of ‘76 when he was duped by a Nazi agent into joining a team called the Crusaders, which was meant to attack and defeat the Invaders. Nasland was given a patriotic costume with a special bulletproof, fireproof cape. Other members of the Crusaders received other pieces of Nazi technology that enabled them to become Captain Wings, Dyna-Mite, Ghost Girl, Thunderfist, and Tommy Lightning. However, after the Invaders exposed the Nazi agent’s duplicity, only Nasland elected to continue using his costumed identity. The Spirit of ‘76 was active throughout the war in supporting the Allied forces both at home and abroad.

In May of 1945, as the war in Europe was winding down, Nasland met with President Harry S. Truman, who asked him to replace the original Captain America, who was thought to have been killed in action. Honored, Nasland agreed and was given a Captain America costume and a facsimile of Cap’s shield, although it was not indestructible. Nasland was partnered with Fred Davis, the new Bucky, and they immediately went into action against Japanese forces in the Pacific.

After the end of the war, Nasland continued as Captain America, and became a founding member of the All-Winners Squad, the peacetime counterpart to the Invaders. Unfortunately, in 1946, Nasland was killed by the evil android Adam-II while protecting the up-and-coming politician John F. Kennedy.


The Patriot

First Appearance: Marvel Mystery Comics #21 (July 1941)
Years Active: 1941–1950

Jeffrey Mace was a columnist for the New York City newspaper The Daily Bugle, and, inspired by the exploits of Captain America, decided he could do his part to protect America from Nazi agents, as well as common criminals. He created the costumed identity of the Patriot.

As the Patriot, Mace developed a working relationship with Bugle reporter Mary Morgan, who assisted him on numerous cases, although she was unaware of his true identity. In 1942, Mace responded to a call for help from Captain America’s sidekick Bucky to rescue the Invaders from the clutches of the Red Skull. Mace teamed up with several other costumed heroes, and after a successful first mission, they decided to remain a team to serve as a domestic counterpart to the Invaders. Called the Liberty Legion, the team remained active throughout the rest of the war.

The Liberty Legion disbanded in the summer of 1945, but Mace continued to fight crime as the Patriot. By this time, Mary Morgan had developed a romantic attachment to the Patriot, and assisted him primarily in the hopes of proving to him she would make the perfect wife. However, their relationship changed in 1946, when, while helping the All-Winners Squad battle an evil android called Adam-II, Mace took on the identity of Captain America when the previous Cap was killed. Honored to serve as America’s premiere champion of liberty, Mace decided to continue to act as Captain America, immediately joining the All-Winners Squad, and so the Patriot identity was retired.

In 1949, Fred Davis, who had served Mace as Captain America’s sidekick Bucky, was crippled as a result of a gunshot wound sustained while fighting gangsters. Mace then found himself a new sidekick in the person of Women’s Army Corps officer Betsy Ross, who had served as Captain America’s liaison with the authorities since 1941. Ross adopted a golden costume and the codename Golden Girl. Around that same time, the Human Torch was believed killed and Toro disappeared, so the All-Winners Squad was officially disbanded.

Jeff Mace and Betsy Ross quickly found their relationship becoming increasingly sexual, and in 1950 they decided to retire from crimefighting and get married. After a successful career as a Boston newspaper reporter, Jeffrey Mace died of cancer in 1972.


Bucky

First Appearance: Captain America Comics #1 (March 1941)
Years Active: 1941–1945

James Buchanan Barnes, an orphan and ward of the state, lived at Camp Lehigh as the unofficial “mascot,” nicknamed “Bucky.” There, in 1941, Barnes befriended Steve Rogers, and soon stumbled on the fact that Rogers was secretly Captain America. Rogers proposed that Barnes serve as Cap’s costumed sidekick, and after receiving approval from the military brass, Barnes received intensive training and a red-and-blue costume. Soon, Captain America and Bucky took the public’s imagination by storm, and fought to protect America from both foreign agents and domestic criminals.

Late in 1941, Captain America and Bucky joined other costumed heroes in forming the Invaders, and spent most of the rest of the war fighting the Axis powers directly across the globe. In 1942, Barnes was instrumental in forming the Liberty Legion, a group of costumed heroes who defended America’s homefront while the Invaders were abroad. Later that same year, he and his teammate Toro, who was the sidekick of the Human Torch, formed a splinter group called the Kid Commandos, after meeting the super-powered teenagers Gwenny Lou Sabuki and David Mitchell (Golden Girl and the Human Top, respectively).

In 1944, after helping Captain America deal a major setback to the German rocket program at Greymoor Castle, Bucky reached his 18th birthday and resigned from the Invaders, gave up his costumed identity, and enlisted in the U.S. Army as a regular soldier. After years living in Cap’s shadow, Barnes was determined to prove himself as a man. He was eventually assigned to a base on the east coast of England where the Army developed experimental aircraft.

In March 1945, Barnes assisted Captain America with a mission to stop the Nazi scientist Baron Heinrich Zemo from launching a bomb-laden drone plane. Too late to prevent the launch, the heroes leaped aboard the plane to try to sabotage it. Unfortunately, the craft exploded, and Bucky Barnes was killed instantly.

The American government covered up Bucky’s death, as well as the apparent demise of Captain America, and replaced each of them with new recruits. The truth about the life and death of James Buchanan Barnes would not be revealed for more than a decade.


Bucky (II)

First Appearance: Marvel Premiere #30 (June 1976)
Years Active: 1945–1949

Fred Davis, a former batboy for the New York Yankees, was selected to become the new Bucky after the death of James Buchanan Barnes, and was teamed up with the new Captain America, William Nasland. In 1942, Davis had helped the original Bucky form the Liberty Legion by impersonating the young hero, and it was his physical resemblance to Barnes that inspired the government to choose him to be the new Bucky. After receiving a brief period of intensive training, the pair was sent to battle Japanese forces in the Pacific. After the end of the war, Davis joined Nasland as one of the founding members of the All-Winners Squad, alongside former members of the Invaders.

In 1946, William Nasland was killed while fighting the evil android Adam-II, and Jeffrey Mace, formerly known as the Patriot, took over the role of Captain America. Davis revealed to Mace that he was not the original Bucky, nor had Nasland been the original Captain America, a fact unknown to the public. Davis continued to play Bucky to Mace’s Captain America until being crippled by a gunshot wound in 1949.

Shortly after Davis was forced to retire from crimefighting, his teammate Toro disappeared following the seeming death of the Human Torch, so the All-Winners Squad was officially disbanded.


The Human Torch

First Appearance: Marvel Comics #1 (November 1939)
Years Active: 1939–1949, 1953–1955, 1975 to the present

The Human Torch was an android created in 1939 by Professor Phineas T. Horton. Due to a flaw in his chemical composition, the android burst into flames when he came in contact with air, and so, believing his creation to be a danger to the public, Horton sealed the android in an airtight tomb and buried him deep in the ground. However, the android escaped and was dubbed “the Human Torch” by the news media. The Torch sought only to be of help to humanity and to make a place for himself in society. Distancing himself from Horton, he created a civilian identity under the name “Jim Hammond” and used his fantastic powers to fight crime.

Early on, the Torch met a young circus performer named Thomas “Toro” Raymond, who had a natural immunity to fire. In truth, Toro was a mutant, and meeting the blazing android activated his latent powers. Toro could then “flame on” as well, fly, and project the blazing plasma that surrounded his body. He joined the Torch as his sidekick and shared his adventures. In late 1941, the Human Torch and Toro joined the Sub-Mariner, Captain America, and Bucky to rescue British Prime Minister Winston Churchill from a Nazi assassination attempt. Churchill convinced the heroes to work as a team against the Axis powers and dubbed them “the Invaders.”

The Human Torch and Toro served as members of the Invaders throughout the war. In 1945, as the Axis powers were collapsing, the pair tracked Nazi leader Adolf Hitler to his underground bunker in Berlin and incinerated him. Later, when the war was over, the Torch and Toro joined the other members of the Invaders in forming the All-Winners Squad, dedicated to fighting domestic crime rather than engaging in military operations. Then, in 1949, a gang of criminals managed to douse both the Torch and Toro with a chemical that neutralized their powers. Being an android, the Torch was rendered inert, and, thinking the hero was dead, the criminals buried him in the Nevada desert.

Some four years later, the Human Torch was reactivated by an atomic bomb test. He burst from his grave, his powers fully restored, and was soon reunited with Toro, whom he rescued from the Soviets. They resumed their crimefighting crusade, but by 1955, the Torch realized that the radiation he had been exposed to was causing him to lose control of his powers. He returned to the desert and attempted to destroy himself by going super-nova. However, he was merely once more rendered inert. The Torch remained in this deactivated state, lost in the desert, for nearly eight years, until he was discovered by the criminal mastermind known as the Mad Thinker. An expert in robots and androids, the Thinker repaired the Torch in order to use him against the Fantastic Four. Thus, the Torch battled Johnny Storm, a blazing superhero who had named himself the Human Torch in honor of the original. Deactivated again at the end of the battle, the Torch would be given a new lease on life a decade later when he was found by the Avengers.


Toro

First Appearance: Human Torch #2 (Fall 1940)
Years Active: 1940–1955

Thomas Raymond, nicknamed “Toro,” was an orphan who worked as a circus performer, due to a mysterious natural immunity to flame. In truth, Raymond was a mutant with latent pyrotechnic abilities. These powers manifested themselves when he came into contact with the android crimefighter the Human Torch. Since his parents had been killed by one of the Torch’s enemies, the Asbestos Lady, Raymond joined the Torch on his crusade against crime, learning to use and control his mutant abilities.

In late 1941, Toro joined the Human Torch when they teamed up with the Sub-Mariner, Captain America, and Bucky to save British Prime Minister Winston Churchill from a Nazi assassin. Churchill convinced the heroes to work as a team against the Axis powers and dubbed them “the Invaders.” Toro served as member of the Invaders throughout the war, also joining Bucky in a splinter group called the Kid Commandos when they met the super-powered teenagers Gwenny Lou Sabuki and David Mitchell, who acted as the Golden Girl and the Human Top, respectively. In the spring of 1945, Toro helped the Human Torch track Nazi leader Adolf Hitler to his underground bunker in Berlin, where the Torch incinerated him.

After the war, Toro joined the other members of the Invaders in forming the All-Winners Squad, in order to fight crime rather than enemy agents, as well as continuing as the Human Torch’s junior partner. He took a brief leave of absence to care for his dying foster mother, and in 1949, soon after he returned to action, he and the Torch encountered a gang of criminals who doused them with a special chemical that neutralized their powers and paralyzed them. The criminals buried the Torch, believing him dead, and turned Toro over to Soviet agents, who took him behind the Iron Curtain and brainwashed him. With the disappearance of the Torch and Toro, the All-Winners Squad officially disbanded. For four years, Toro faithfully served his communist masters.

In mid-1953, the Human Torch returned and rescued Toro from the Soviets. They resumed their crimefighting crusade for about two years, until the Torch realized that he was losing control of his flame and becoming a danger to the public. After the Human Torch left for good, Thomas Raymond retired permanently and foreswore ever using his powers again. Eventually, he married a woman named Anne and lived a normal life.

About a decade later, the Human Torch was discovered by the criminal mastermind known as the Mad Thinker, who tried to use the former hero as a pawn in his schemes. The Torch was seemingly killed again, and this time was treated to a proper funeral, which Thomas Raymond attended. However, he was kidnapped by the Mad Thinker, who forced him to attack his former teammate, the Sub-Mariner. Once freed from the Thinker’s brainwashing, Toro led the Sub-Mariner back to the villain’s headquarters, but was killed in the ensuing battle.


The Sub-Mariner

First Appearance: Motion Picture Funnies Weekly #1 (1939)
Years Active: 1939–1950, 1962 to the present

Namor was born both a hybrid and mutant, the son of Princess Fen of the undersea kingdom of Atlantis and surface-dwelling ship captain Leonard McKenzie. Raised in Atlantis, Prince Namor held a grudge against the surface people for the perpetual havoc they seemed to wreak on the oceans in general and Atlantis in particular. When he reached manhood, he attacked New York City for the first time, and though he called himself Prince Namor, the Avenging Son, he was dubbed “the Sub-Mariner” by the press. After meeting the New York policewoman Betty Dean, Namor developed an uneasy accord with the surface world, though he would occasionally engage in spectacular battles with the android hero the Human Torch. After Namor decided to oppose the Axis powers in the Second World War, he was cheered as a hero in Allied countries, even in New York, which had tasted his wrath in the past.

In late 1941, Namor joined his former sparring partner, the Human Torch, along with Captain America and the sidekicks Bucky and Toro, in saving British Prime Minister Winston Churchill from a Nazi assassin. Churchill convinced the heroes to work together as a team to fight for the Allied cause and dubbed them “the Invaders.” The Sub-Mariner served as a member of the Invaders for the duration of the war. When the Axis powers were defeated in 1945, Namor returned to Atlantis, but his relationship with Betty Dean caused him to remain involved in the affairs of the surface world. Two years later, Namor met another hybrid between Homo sapiens and Homo mermanus, his cousin Aquaria Nautica Neptunia, who soon adopted the identity of Namora, “the avenging daughter,” and had numerous adventures both above and below the surface of the oceans.

Then, in 1950, the Sub-Mariner and the Atlanteans were attacked by the villain Paul Destine, who wielded the power of the Serpent Crown and called himself Destiny. Unable to withstand Destine’s superhuman powers, Namor’s mother and grandfather, Emperor Thakorr, were killed and the Atlantean people were scattered to the seven seas. Namor was stripped of his memory and sent to live as a bum in New York, the city he had often tried to conquer. He lived as a drunken derelict for twelve years until having his memory partially restored by the Fantastic Four. Namor then resumed his tempestuous relationship with the surface world while trying to fulfill his birthright as the ruler of Atlantis.


Namora

First Appearance: Marvel Mystery Comics #82 (May 1947)
Years Active: 1947–1950

Aquaria Nautica Neptunia of the undersea city of Maritanis, was, like her cousin Prince Namor of Atlantis, a mutant hybrid between Homo sapiens and Homo mermanus, her water-breathing father having fallen in love with a surface-dwelling woman. When her hometown was destroyed in 1947 by a gang of criminals using the nuclear torpedoes from a stolen submarine, she adopted the name “Namora,” meaning “the avenging daughter,” and sought vengeance, aided by her cousin, Namor, the Sub-Mariner.

Subsequently, Namora had numerous adventures, both above and below the surface of the oceans, sometimes working with the Sub-Mariner and sometimes working alone. At some point, she married an Atlantean named Talan and the couple immigrated to the city of Lemuria in the Pacific Ocean. Eventually abandoning her adventures to devote herself to her life with her husband, Namora discovered she was unable to get pregnant, which caused a great strain on their relationship. Shortly after the devastation of Atlantis in 1950, she sought out the Atlantean geneticist Vyrra and convinced him to clone her. The resulting baby girl was named Namorita, and was passed off as the natural daughter of Namora and Talan. Sometime later, Namora was murdered by the wicked Lemurian princess Llyra, who wanted Talan for herself.


The Whizzer

First Appearance: USA Comics #1 (August 1941)
Years Active: 1941–1948, 1967–1971

Robert Frank was the son of research scientist Dr. Emil Frank, who was working deep in the jungles of Africa. When young Bob was bitten by a venomous cobra, Dr. Frank watched in horror as the cobra was suddenly killed by a mongoose, which itself was fatally injured in the fray. Desperate, Dr. Frank recalled an old wives’ tale about mongoose blood and injected his dying son with a generous amount. Somehow, the mongoose blood activated Bob’s latent mutant powers, the resultant physiological changes burning the cobra venom out of his system and granting him superhuman speed. Unfortunately, Dr. Frank’s heart was too weak to withstand the stress, and he died of a massive heart attack.

Robert Frank returned to the United States and at first planned to follow in his father’s footsteps as a research scientist. However, as he gained mastery over his super-speed, he decided instead to join the growing crop of costumed adventurers. He fashioned a simple yellow and blue outfit, named himself “the Whizzer,” and sped off to fight crime and injustice. Able to cover a wide territory by dint of his speed, the Whizzer found himself often dealing with situations in ghetto neighborhoods, where other heroes rarely ventured.

In 1942, after America’s entrance into the Second World War, the Whizzer met the caped heroine known as Miss America when they both went after the same group of Nazi saboteurs. Together, they responded to a call for help from Captain America’s sidekick Bucky, who was assembling a team of superheroes to rescue the Invaders, who had been captured by the Red Skull. This team, dubbed the Liberty Legion, decided to remain together after their initial success, in order to protect the American homefront while the Invaders battled the Axis powers abroad. Several months later, however, both the Whizzer and Miss America were invited to join the Invaders, and they served as members of that team until the end of the war.

Following the Allied victory, the Whizzer joined his fellow Invaders in becoming a founding member of the All-Winners Squad, the premiere postwar superhero team. By this point, he and Miss America, a.k.a. Madeline Joyce, had revealed their true identities to each other and begun a romantic relationship. In 1948, Miss America got pregnant, and so she and the Whizzer retired their costumed identities and were married. In order to make ends meet, they took jobs guarding a nuclear research station, where an accident irradiated Madeline and her unborn child. When the baby was born months later, he proved to be a dangerously radioactive mutant, and was taken by the government to be placed in suspended animation until a treatment could be devised. Robert and Madeline Frank were distraught.

Taking a generous government pension, the Franks set off to travel the world, hoping to distract themselves from their grief about their son, Robert Junior. In the summer of 1949, Madeline became pregnant again, and soon began to experience serious complications. The following March, as Madeline’s pregnancy came to term, the couple sought help at the mysterious citadel of advanced science located on Wundagore Mountain in the tiny Balkan nation of Transia. They met the man known as the High Evolutionary, who agreed to do what he could to help them. Sadly, Madeline died in childbirth. The midwife, a super-evolved cow-woman named Bova, presented Robert Frank with infant twins, born and abandoned days earlier, but overcome with grief, he fled Wundagore as fast as his superhuman speed could take him. Unable to cope with so much personal tragedy, Frank became a derelict and aimless drifter for the next 17 years.

Eventually, Frank read reports of the young mutant superheroes Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, and convinced himself that they were his children. He sought them out and told them his story. Uncertain of their own origins, the pair accepted Frank as their long-lost father. Subsequently, he associated with the Avengers while trying to regain custody of his son from the government. Eventually, Frank learned that the nuclear accident which led to so much tragedy had in fact been intentionally caused by an old enemy from his days in the All-Winners Squad, the would-be world conqueror Isbisa. The Whizzer met Isbisa for a final showdown, and perished in the battle, shortly after learning that Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch were not his children after all.


Miss America

First Appearance: Marvel Mystery Comics #49 (November 1943)
Years Active: 1942–1948

Madeline Joyce was the ward of her uncle, James Bennett, who was financing a study of electrical energy at a converted lighthouse in New England. While visiting the lighthouse, she snuck into the lab one night to satisfy her curiosity. A violent thunderstorm was raging outside, and the laboratory was struck by lightning while Joyce was inside, sending a massive jolt of energy through her body. Upon recovering, she discovered she had gained superhuman powers. Inspired by the recent appearance of Captain America, she decided to use her abilities to protect her home from Nazi spies and saboteurs. She designed a red and blue costume and named herself “Miss America.”

Soon after, Joyce met the super-speedster called the Whizzer when they both went after the same group of Nazi saboteurs. Together, they responded to a call for help from Captain America’s sidekick Bucky, who was assembling a team of superheroes to rescue the Invaders after they had been captured by the Red Skull. This team, dubbed the Liberty Legion, decided to remain together after their initial success, in order to protect the American homefront while the Invaders battled the Axis powers abroad. Several months later, however, both Miss America and the Whizzer were invited to join the Invaders, and they served as members of that team for the duration.

After the war, Miss America became a founding member of the All-Winners Squad, along with her teammates in the Invaders, and turned her attention to fighting crime. By this point, she and the Whizzer, a.k.a. Robert Frank, had revealed their true identities to each other and begun a romantic relationship. In 1948, Joyce got pregnant, so she and the Whizzer retired their costumed identities and were married. In order to make ends meet, they took jobs guarding a nuclear research station, where an accident irradiated Madeline Frank and her unborn child. When the baby was born months later, he proved to be a dangerously radioactive mutant, and was taken by the government to be placed in suspended animation until a treatment could be devised. The Franks were devastated.

Taking a generous government pension, the Franks set off to travel the world, hoping to distract themselves from their grief about their son, Robert Junior. In the summer of 1949, Frank became pregnant again, and soon began to experience serious complications. The following March, as Frank’s pregnancy came to term, the couple sought help at the mysterious citadel of advanced science located on Wundagore Mountain in the tiny Balkan nation of Transia. They met the man known as the High Evolutionary, who agreed to do what he could to help them. A super-evolved cow-woman named Bova served as midwife, and did everything possible to ease Frank’s suffering. Unfortunately, the baby was stillborn, and Madeline Frank died in childbirth.


Union Jack

First Appearance: Invaders #7 (July 1976)
Years Active: 1915–1918

Montgomery Falsworth was a British nobleman, who became Lord Falsworth upon the death of his father. During World War I, stirred by a patriotic fervor, he designed a costume based upon his nation’s flag and became the shadowy government agent Union Jack. His unorthodox tactics scored many victories over the Germans and their allies. His success inspired a few others to follow his example, and they briefly formed a team called Freedom’s Five. His main nemesis during the Great War proved to be his own brother, the vampire known as Baron Blood, who served the German intelligence services for his own purposes. Shortly after the end of the war, Lord Falsworth gave up being the Union Jack and returned to civilian life.

However, during World War II, Lord Falsworth briefly assumed the identity of Union Jack again to aid the Invaders in battling Baron Blood. In the course of the battle, Lord Falsworth was crippled. However, his daughter Jacqueline became the superheroine Spitfire, and his son Brian assumed the identity of Union Jack to carry on in his stead. Lord Falsworth lived to be quite elderly, and died in 1970 while helping Captain America end the threat of Baron Blood once and for all.


Union Jack (II)

First Appearance: Invaders #18 (July 1977)
Years Active: 1942–1945

Brian Falsworth was the son of the English nobleman Montgomery, Lord Falsworth, who had served as the costumed commando Union Jack during World War I. However, in 1939, Falsworth disagreed with his father regarding Britain’s policy towards Nazi Germany, believing Hitler was doing good things for the German people. Falsworth went so far as to travel to Germany with his friend Roger Aubrey, but was shocked to learn the truth about the Third Reich. Still in the country when war was officially declared, the friends were arrested and sent to separate prison camps.

At the concentration camp where he was imprisoned, Falsworth met a German biochemist named Professor Eric Schmitt, who had been jailed for his refusal to cooperate with the Nazi regime. Schmitt had been forced to work on developing his own version of the super-soldier serum, based on notes stolen by Nazi spies from the late Dr. Abraham Erskine. Schmitt had succeeded, but did not want the Nazis to gain the formula. Instead, he administered the serum to Falsworth, who suddenly found his natural abilities enhanced to peak performance. Schmitt was killed, but Falsworth smashed his way out of the camp, adopted a bizarre costume, and attacked the German Army as “the Mighty Destroyer.”

In time, Falsworth met up with the Invaders, one of whom was his younger sister Jacqueline. He abandoned the identity of the Mighty Destroyer when he inherited the mantle of the Union Jack from his father, and served with the Invaders for a brief period. Falsworth remained active as the Union Jack until the end of the war in 1945. Gradually, the effects of Schmitt’s super-soldier serum wore off, and soon after the war, Falsworth’s body had returned to its natural state. Then, in 1953, he was killed in an automobile accident.


Spitfire

First Appearance: Invaders #7 (July 1976)
Years Active: 1942–1945

Jacqueline Falsworth was the daughter of English nobleman Montgomery, Lord Falsworth. In 1939, her older brother Brian left to tour Nazi Germany, in defiance of his father’s anti-Hitler attitudes. Unfortunately, as soon as war was declared between the two countries, Brian was arrested and sent to a concentration camp. Later, in 1942, Falsworth and her father became involved in the exploits of the Allied superhero group the Invaders. After being bitten by the Nazi vampire Baron Blood, she received an emergency blood transfusion from the android Human Torch. Soon afterwards, Falsworth discovered that the combination of the vampire ichor and android blood had, through some unknown means, endowed her with superhuman speed.

Intent on following her father’s example, Falsworth fashioned a costume for herself, took the name “Spitfire,” and volunteered to join the Invaders. She soon discovered her brother Brian was working as the costumed commando the Mighty Destroyer, an identity he abandoned to serve alongside her in the Invaders as the second Union Jack. At the end of the war in 1945, Falsworth retired from adventuring to marry Lord Crichton, with whom she had a son Kenneth. Her powers gradually faded, and by 1950 they had disappeared completely.

As Lady Crichton, she lived a quiet life as an English aristocrat for the next 25 years, seeing the death of her brother in an automobile accident, the death of her husband, and finally the death of her elderly father. In 1975, she arranged a reunion of sorts of the Invaders when the Nazi metahumans √úbermensch (Master Man) and Kriegerfrau (Warrior Woman) were finally revived from suspended animation. In the course of the battle, Lady Crichton received another emergency blood transfusion from the android Human Torch, with startling results--her body was rejuvenated to that of a teenager, and her superhuman speed had returned. However, still an old woman mentally, she could not bring herself to return to a life of adventure,but did maintain an association with the Sub-Mariner and his young cousin Namorita.


Teams of the OMU Golden Age


The Invaders

First Appearance: Giant-Size Invaders #1 (June 1975)
Years Active: 1941–1945

When the Nazi metahuman √úbermensch, a.k.a. Master Man, menaced British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, he was defeated by a quintet of costumed heroes who joined forces for the first time. The group included Captain America and his sidekick Bucky, the Human Torch and his sidekick Toro, and the Sub-Mariner. Churchill convinced the heroes to act as a team to counter the Nazi threat, dubbing them “the Invaders.”

The Invaders were the premiere team of costumed superheroes fighting for the Allied Powers during World War II, forming in late 1941 and really getting rolling after the United States joined the war early in 1942. They operated primarily in the European theater of operations, performing occasional missions in Asia or elsewhere, including the high seas.

At one point, the Invaders were captured and brainwashed by the Red Skull. Bucky escaped capture and formed a new team of heroes to come to the rescue. This second team, known as the Liberty Legion, decided to focus on protecting the American homefront from spies and saboteurs. Bucky remained in the Invaders, however.

Later, the Invaders welcomed two British adventurers into its ranks, the original Union Jack, hero of World War I, and his daughter, the super-fast Spitfire. When the Union Jack’s legs were crushed in a battle with his brother, the Nazi vampire called Baron Blood, his son Brian replaced him as the new Union Jack. Bucky and Toro formed a splinter group called the Kid Commandos after meeting super-powered teenagers Gwenny Lou Sabuki and David Mitchell, who acted as the Golden Girl and the Human Top, respectively. Eventually, the Invaders also inducted the former Liberty Legion members Miss America and the Whizzer.

At the end of the war, the Invaders officially disbanded, but soon formed a new team called the All-Winners Squad, which was dedicated to fighting domestic crime rather than engaging in military operations.


The All-Winners Squad

First Appearance: All Winners Comics #19 (Fall 1946)
Years Active: 1946–1949

In the aftermath of World War II, President Harry S. Truman asked the members of the Invaders to form a new team dedicated to fighting crime in the United States, and so they formed the All-Winners Squad. The founding members were the Human Torch and his sidekick Toro, the Sub-Mariner, the Whizzer and Miss America, and the second Captain America (William Nasland) and his sidekick, the second Bucky (Fred Davis). The Sub-Mariner’s post-war duties in Atlantis caused his participation in team activities to be sporadic, however.

In 1946, the team fought menaces such as Isbisa, a would-be world conqueror, and a female crime boss called Madame Death and her time-traveling accomplice “Future Man.” Tragedy struck the team when William Nasland was killed during a fight in Boston with the evil android Adam-II, while protecting the up-and-coming politician John F. Kennedy. Jeffrey Mace, the former Liberty Legion member known as the Patriot, was involved in this mission, and was immediately tapped to become the third Captain America. The public was unaware of the switch, and Mace became a member in good standing of the team.

In 1948, Miss America accidentally got pregnant by her lover, the Whizzer. They retired from the team and got married, finding employment working security at a nuclear research station. Unfortunately, their old enemy Isbisa escaped from jail and caused an accident that irradiated Miss America. Her baby was later born a dangerously radioactive mutant, and the pair never suspected Isbisa’s involvement.

The remaining members of the All-Winners Squad found themselves being pulled in different directions by the rapidly-changing society of postwar America, and in the summer of 1949, after the sudden disappearance of the Human Torch and Toro, the team officially disbanded.


The Liberty Legion

First Appearance: Marvel Premiere #29 (April 1976)
Years Active: 1942–1945

The Liberty Legion was formed by Captain America’s sidekick Bucky in 1942 in order to rescue the Invaders, who had been captured and brainwashed by the Red Skull. The founding members of the team were the Blue Diamond, Jack Frost, Miss America, the Patriot, Red Raven, the Thin Man, and the Whizzer. Calling themselves the Liberty Legion, they decided to remain as a team after rescuing the Invaders, and dedicated themselves to protecting the American homefront from crime, spies, and saboteurs for the duration of the war.

Later in 1942, Miss America and the Whizzer left the team to join the Invaders. In 1944, Red Raven quit to return to the hidden island of the Bird-People. The remaining members stayed together until the conclusion of the war in the summer of 1945, and then disbanded.


Next Issue: The Survivors!