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Invasion #1: The Alien Alliance,
art by Bart Sears
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Mini-series
Publication date Issue #1 January 1989
Issue #2 February 1989
Issue #3 March 1989
Number of issues 3
Main character(s) Justice League International
Creative team
Writer(s) Keith Giffen
Bill Mantlo
Penciller(s) Todd McFarlane {issues 1-2}
Bart Sears (issue 3 & all 3 covers)
Keith Giffen (layouts)
Inker(s) P. Craig Russell
Al Gordon
Dick Giordano
Letterer(s) Gaspar Saladino
Colorist(s) Carl Gafford
Creator(s) Keith Giffen, Bill Mantlo
Editor(s) Andy Helfer
Collected editions
Invasion! ISBN 9781401220662

Invasion! was a three issue comic book limited series and crossover event published in late 1988-early 1989 by DC Comics. It was plotted by Keith Giffen, and ties up a great many plotlines from various Giffen-created DC series, including Omega Men, Justice League International, and Legion of Super-Heroes. A trade paperback collection of the three issues was released on September 3, 2008.[1]

The series was scripted by Bill Mantlo; it was his first work for DC after a long career at Marvel Comics. Pencils were by Todd McFarlane, Bart Sears, and Giffen himself; inks were by Joe Rubinstein, P. Craig Russell, Tom Christopher, Dick Giordano and Al Gordon. All three covers were pencilled by Bart Sears, including issue 1, contrary to DC's credits listing.[citation needed]


The Alien Alliance

The alien coalition consisted of the following races:

Dominators: the driving force behind the Alliance and the invasion of Earth, and consequently the Alliance's de facto leaders
Khunds: a brutish race of humanoid warriors
Thanagarians: Hawkman's people, now living under a fascist police state
Gil'Dishpan: an aquatic race of conquerors that live within hovering, armed and armored cybernetic shells
Durlans: a race of shapeshifters (see Chameleon Boy)
Warlords of Okaara: a race of warmasters from the Vega star system
Citadelians: the twisted clone-race that comprised the armies of the Vega system empire known as The Citadel
Daxamites: the seemingly mild-mannered humanoids who acquire Kryptonian-type abilities under a yellow sun, but are vulnerable when exposed to lead
Psions: yet another species from the Vega system, a reptilian race of amoral scientists, the result of ancient experiments in genetic engineering by beings who would one day become the Guardians of the Universe

Assembling this Alliance was a major diplomatic victory for the Dominators, considering the animosities many of the members shared for one another (particularly the three races of the Vega system). As it worked out, the Dominators provided the overall strategy for the Invasion, with input from each member world; the Khunds acted as the shock troops for the first wave of attack that overran Australia; and then each member world was tasked with invading or subverting a particular sphere of influence:

Additionally, some members of the Alliance were tasked with specific areas of responsibility and played little part in the military operations side. The Citadelians were given charge of administering the Alliance's vast Gulag of potential opponents and experimental subjects; the Psions were charged with (or left alone to) conducting biological research on humans; and the Daxamites were largely an observer group, providing medical and scientific assistance to the Alliance.


The emotionless, calculating Dominators have put together an Alliance to invade Earth and eliminate the threat posed by their unpredictable "metahumans" (secretly, the Dominators wish to harness this and breed their own army of metahumans, but this goal is kept secret from the rest of the Alliance, and from their own junior cadres). After purging the galaxy of numerous potential threats to their plan - assassinating many former members of the disbanded Green Lantern Corps, and attacking the Omega Men - the Alliance launches a massive attack on Earth, overrunning Australia and establishing there a base from which to conquer the rest of the planet. The Alliance tenders an offer to spare the human race provided that the world's governments surrender their metahumans, but the United Nations General Assembly overwhelmingly rejects this offer.[2]

Superman leads a counterattack against the main Alliance base. The counterattack is temporarily disrupted by the Daxamite observers, who become the equal of Superman and temporarily defeat him, but fall prey to Earth's atmospheric differences from their own world. After Superman helps save them, they decide to withdraw from the Alliance and help defend Earth, and a force of thousands of Daxamites enters the Solar system and become supercharged by yellow starlight. This, combined with key defeats in various theaters, and a full-scale and uncontrollable riot aboard the Alliance Gulag, leads to a quick collapse for the Alliance and individual surrenders by each former member.[3]

The coda to this, however, proved just as disruptive: a young Dominator, aspiring to prominence among his people, managed to isolate the human gene that made a person able to survive otherwise lethal episodes and develop superhuman powers. On his own initiative, he developed and deployed the Gene Bomb, a device that bathed the Earth in a weird energy and affected every metahuman exposed in malignant ways, causing them to lose control of their powers and eventually fall into a coma and die. Since the point of the invasion was to harness these beings, not eradicate them, the Dominator was imprisoned by his own government, but prior to execution a group of heroes unaffected by the gene bomb, led by the Martian Manhunter, managed to steal data from his mind crucial to reversing the effects of the gene bomb and restore most metahumans back to health.[4] Ironically, the detonation of the Gene Bomb was actually responsible for the creation of several metahumans.


Cover to Power of the Atom #7 by Roger Stern, which was an Invasion! crossover

Invasion! was DC's big crossover event for 1988. It crossed over into 30 other DC comics and also featured guest appearances from other DC Universe staples such as Adam Strange, the planet Thanagar, and one-time Justice League of America sidekick Snapper Carr and his team the Blasters. The Blasters would make several more appearances, fighting further alien threats to Earth.

The invasion of Earth and the Gene Bomb had some long-lasting effects on the DC Universe. In particular, the recently relaunched Doom Patrol, a combination of the '60s, '70s, and brand new members, lost two team members and fell apart. This was done to give new writer Grant Morrison a clean slate to revamp the book. He started with Crawling From the Wreckage storyline starting in Doom Patrol (vol. 2) #19. Morrison used the Invasion fallout for a pair of Animal Man stories, including the acclaimed "The Death of the Red Mask". Also, the Gulag storyline introduced the character of Vril Dox II and the organization called L.E.G.I.O.N., which received its own title soon after Invasion! ended.

The Gene Bomb was also responsible for giving powers of mind control to Maxwell Lord. Lord would later use these powers in an attempt to neutralize and contain all superheroes. Opposing him originally was Blue Beetle, who he killed. Thousands of innocent people (and many criminals) died due to his plans, before he was finally killed by Wonder Woman.

One of the Dominators ended up under the control of the Queen Bee, ruler of the fictional country of Bialya. Though he did not long survive her anger, the technology he introduced was used against the Justice League multiple times. Several other Dominators were left on Earth for years and appeared in various comics (usually briefly) including one in Captain Atom (became a farmer), a few in the Outsiders #44, and a cameo in a prison break in Flash. Also, a Dominator appeared in Joker: Last Laugh #3. A Khund was also killed by Mongul during a prison break in Green Lantern.

The greatest impact of Invasion was its introduction of the metagene as the explanation within the DC Universe as to how some people gain superhuman abilities.

The Flash's father, Rudolph West (a Manhunter agent) appears to die in an explosion in Cuba, defending the land during Invasion #2. His subsequent returns would plague the Flash and his mother multiple times.

Unusual for the time, the three issues were published as perfect-bound comics, each the length of three usual comics - a throwback to the "80-page giants" of the Silver Age.


Tie-In Issues

DC also released a special edition of the Daily Planet as a tie-in to the storyline (the front page of which appears on the last page of Invasion! #1).

The 2008 trade paperback collection of Invasion! includes cover copy stating "Secret No More!"[1].


The Invasion! storyline was parodied in Marvel Comics' Uncanny X-Men #245. Among other elements, the "Gene Bomb" became the "Jean Bomb" (modelled in appearance on Jean Grey), said to have the power to "destroy relationships."


External links

  • [1] -- full study of the series and its importance.


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