Invasion! was a massive crossover event in the DC Universe published in 1989, plotted by Keith Giffen. It features a massive Alien Alliance led by the war-like Dominators and Khunds intent on wiping out humanity to destroy all of Earth's metahumans. This all-out ass
Invasion! was a massive crossover event in the DC Universe published in 1989, plotted by Keith Giffen. It features a massive Alien Alliance led by the war-like Dominators and Khunds intent on wiping out humanity to destroy all of Earth's metahumans. This all-out assault on superheroes led to a war consuming the entire world, and ramifications throughout the universe. The story was primarily published in three core issues, with tie-ins appearing in all regular monthly titles at the time.
After extensive research, a coalition of super-scientist Dominators and their warlike allies the Khunds determine that humanity poses a threat to the rest of the universe. Although most other alien species are rather consistent and predictable, the amount of genetic diversity present in the human race has made them too powerful to allow continued existence. There is a strand in human DNA called the "meta-gene" that allows them to develop extraordinary powers under duress, and become superheroes, whose presence must be eradicated before it becomes unstoppable. An Alien Alliance is formed from many prominent civilizations on a number of worlds, all of whom agree that the metahuman threat must be wiped out. Dissenters are imprisoned in a great Starlag. Assembling a fleet of hundreds of warships, the Alliance travels to Earth and makes their message clear in a great invasion. All superheroes must be surrendered to them peacefully, or the nations of the world will be completely obliterated in the struggle to take them forcefully. United Nations representatives from across the world meet to deliberate on the Crisis, and never have they all agreed so forcefully or spoken with such a singular voice. They tell the aliens to drop dead.
In the First Strike, war rages across the world as heroes and villains alike fight to protect their homeland. Facing global genocide, many of the warriors are forced into a more serious and deadly arena of combat than ever before. Finally, a summit is held coordinating Earth's superhuman forces. Captain Atom is the commander of all metahuman forces, Amanda Waller is in charge of intelligence and coordinating supervillains, Wade Eiling is placed in charge of the military and Maxwell Lord acts as official liaison to Justice League International. The tides turn in favor of the heroes, as this rallying point gets them organized enough to start kicking ass and hitting where it hurts. Rioting at Starlag led by Vril Dox and the Omega Men overthrows the guards at the cost of many casualties. Realizing that they are on the wrong side of the war, the Daxamites ally with earth command and turn on their collaborators, leading to a complete victory. It is a day of great triumph for our planet, as for once the many nations of the world were able to put aside their differences and unite against an external threat.
The largest effect that Invasion! had on the DC Universe was the introduction of the concept of metahumans. There is a genetic trait that allows for the development of superpowers should something activate it. This explanation for why so many people are imbued with superpowers is now commonplace, used for many characters both good and evil. It has become the standard explanation. This has also led to a good deal of retconning origin stories. Many characters have been found to possess the meta-gene since then, which often adds a layer of credibility to otherwise dubious origin stories, even for comic books. For example, the Flash supposedly gained powers when he was hit by chemicals and a bolt of lightning. Revised origins would indicate that these chemicals did not give him his abilities, but rather helped him unlock recessive powers that were already there.
Another massive retcon is established for the Legion of Super-Heroes mythos. The many races that make up the United Planets are often criticized as being too human-like to prevent a realistic view of alien diversity. Despite the fact that they are supposed to be different species, almost all of them look and act exactly like humans but with the addition of a single superpower. It is revealed that this is because they are all descended from humans. Some months after the Crisis, Valor discovers that Dominators are still abducting humans and conducting experiments. After rescuing a large population of metahumans, they decide that the best path would be to go out and colonize Buffer Planets between Earth and Dominator Space. As such, a large number of people with ice powers build new homes on Tharr, future home of Polar Boy, and so on. Many aliens in the time of the Legion are really metahumans after a millennium of breeding, which explains a lot.
Doom Patrol was rebooted by the crisis. Grant Morrison was coming onto the ongoing title, and previous writer Paul Kupperberg agreed to bring the line-up along towards only the characters he wanted to use. Many of the existing teammates had to be gotten rid of. Celsius died in the fighting, Karma left shortly prior to avoid incarceration, Lodestone fell into a coma, Negative Woman lost her powers, and Scott Fischer succumbs to his cancer. Morrison's run starts in the immediate aftermath with the Crawling from the Wreckage storyline, and would go on to be considered one of the best in the team's history.
The L.E.G.I.O.N. was borne entirely from the invasion. Silver Age character Brainiac 2 was taken from obscurity and updated as an adult. He teams up with a number of other Starlag prisoners, including the Durlan, Garryn Bek, Lyrissa Mallor and Strata to form an intergalactic police force. This team has a lot of connections to the future Legion of Super-Heroes by lineage and by theme.
Blasters were another team specifically designed to come out of the story. A group of metahumans from all over the world brought together by common origins... the death gauntlet used for research by the Dominators. They included Crackpot, Dust Devil, Frag, Jolt, Looking Glass, and the Justice League's old sidekick Snapper Carr. They formed their own team that would go on to further adventures, and also picked up an alien named Churljenkins who became Snapper's girlfriend, a rogue Dominator named Gunther, and Dust Devil's overprotective mother Mrs. Levy.
The primary storyline was told throughout the eponymous miniseries Invasion! which consisted of three issues each of which were 80-Page Giants. This provides the backbone for the event with all of the important plot points, and can be read alone in its entirety to understand the story. The crossovers function as further insight into the story, providing a more detailed look at the actions of the individual characters and teams during the Crisis. Tie-in stories were divided into First Strike and Aftermath.
Following the actual physical invasion that took place after the first issue, these stories strictly took place in between Invasion! #1 and Invasion! #2, providing a look at how heroes around the world were dealing with the Alien Alliance individually and in small groups before they actually got organized. These are the stories that the event is primarily known for, featuring the actual war themselves. Most of them end with the cease-fire, and the super-hero summit.
In the reading order presented in the back of each main issue:
- Daily Planet Special #1
- Checkmate (Volume 1) #11
- Firestorm the Nuclear Man #80
- Flash (Volume 2) #21
- Justice League International #22
- Manhunter (Volume 1) #8
- Wonder Woman (Volume 2) #25
- Superman (Volume 2) #26
- Adventures of Superman #449
- Animal Man #6
- Doom Patrol (Volume 2) #17
- Power of the Atom #7
- Starman (Volume 1) #5
- Swamp Thing (Volume 2) #81
- Captain Atom (Volume 1) #24
- Detective Comics #595
- New Guardians #6
- Spectre (Volume 2) #23
These issues take place between Invasion! #2 and Invasion! #3 dealing with fallout from the main battle against the aliens. Although the heroes had recently made their victory, which appeared final at the time... they would still face the last ditch efforts of the Gene Bomb meant to completely decimate them. Aftermath tie-ins cleared up loose ends in the storyline before moving on to the conclusion of the event in the core issues. Interestingly, they still take place right after the technical middle of the story.
In the reading order presented in the back of each main issue:
- Checkmate (Volume 1) #12
- Firestorm the Nuclear Man #81
- Flash (Volume 2) #22
- Justice League International #23
- Manhunter (Volume 1) #9
- Wonder Woman (Volume 2) #26
- Superman (Volume 2) #27
- Adventures of Superman #450
- Power of the Atom #8
- Starman (Volume 1) #6
- Captain Atom (Volume 1) #25
- New Guardians #7
- Doom Patrol (Volume 2) #18
- Suicide Squad #23 (unofficial)
- Justice League Europe #1
- Blasters Special #1
- L.E.G.I.O.N. '89
- Doom Patrol: Crawling from the Wreckage
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 4) Annual #2
- Spectre (Volume 2) #24
Items: None known.
Vehicles: None known.
- No special notes.
- Green Lantern (Volume 3)
- Justice League International
- L.E.G.I.O.N. (Volume 1)
- Legion of Super-Heroes (Volume 4)
- Omega Men (Volume 1)
Links and References