Off The Page: Invasion!
By Patrick McNair
Nov 29, 2016 - 8:26 AM
Tonight begins the first in a four night crossover in the DC TV "CW verse", introducing the Dominators, a race of alien scientists that seek to perfect the state of the universe. Supergirl will kick off the crossover (although the majority of that episode will be a stand-alone affair, merely serving as a lead-in to the Dominators arc), with the real action beginning on The Flash on Tuesday and continuing on Wednesday and Thursday with Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow respectively. Furthermore, the Arrow portion of the crossover will be its 100th episode and will feature every major character from the show in some form or another. As for the four night crossover itself, it will be based on the 1989 comic, Invasion! written by Keith Giffen and Bill Mantlo, with artwork provided by Todd McFarlane (the creator of Spawn) and Bart Sears. Invasion! would see Earth being invaded by an Alien Alliance, led by the Dominators, as they try to destroy the Metahuman menace they perceive to be a threat to the rest of the universe.
The Dominators, a race of alien geneticists, attempt to isolate the "meta gene" responsible for giving humans superpowers. Fearing humanity’s growing potential, the Dominators lead a coalition of warlike races to subjugate Earth and control the fate of humankind.
Following a long stint at Marvel Comics, Bill Mantlo joined DC to write the script for Invasion! , a three issue comic event written in 1989. The overall story was plotted by Keith Giffen, which tied together numerous plot lines from Giffen created series, including Justice League International , Omega Men and Legion of Super-Heroes .
The ruthless and calculating Dominators, ensconced on their home world, experiment on humans to discover the secret of the "meta gene", the gene responsible for creating metahumans that grant human beings superpowers. Only a handful of humans survive their brutal testing, but this gives the Dominators enough concern to organise an Alliance to invade Earth, given the rising prominence of metahumans and their potential threat to the rest of the galaxy. The Dominators establish a coalition of various species, including the Warlords of Okaara and the Daxamites to travel to Earth and neutralise the metahumans. Along the way, the Alien Alliance dismantles the Green Lantern Corps and takes the Omega Men prisoner aboard the Starlag, the Alliances’ prison ship. Additionally, the Alliance secures Darkseid’s non-interference with the invasion by stating that they would not destroy the planet in aid of Darkseid’s quest for the Anti Life Equation. Now ready, the Alliance comes out of hyperspace and launches a full-scale assault on Earth, taking over Australia and using the country as their base of operations. Confidence that humanity is in chaos over the secrecy of their plans, the Alliance offers an ultimatum: they will spare the human race if the world governments hand over their metahumans. The United Nations rejects this offer, telling the aliens to "drop dead."
With the invasion fully underway, heroes and villains unite to confront the alien menace. The US President assigns key roles to General Wade Eiling, Captain Atom, Amanda Waller and Maxwell Lord to organise a resistance and a superhero summit is created for a successful counter-attack to be formed. The heroes decide to go on the offensive by breaking the ceasefire that had been negotiated earlier and attack the alien headquarters in Australia. The Daxamites, who had joined the Alliance strictly to observe proceedings, become infatuated with the discovery of powers of their own due to Earth's yellow sun (Daxamites are a sister race of Kryptonians) and attack Superman, believing him to be a threat. While Superman fights off a legion of super powered Daxamites, they fall prey to lead exposure in the atmosphere, but Superman transports them to outer space, outside of Earth's atmosphere. Moved by Superman's display of heroism, the Daxamites switch sides and call in the Daxam fleet to oppose the rest of the Alliance. With an army of super soldiers at their disposal, the Justice League is able to turn the tide of the war, while a riot breaks out on the Starlag. Martian Manhunter posing as a Dominator caste leader, issues a message of surrender, humiliating the Alliance. With their credibility irreparably damaged, the Alliance agrees to an unconditional surrender and pledge to never invade Earth again.
However, a lone Dominator scientist manages to isolate the "meta gene" and ignites a Gene Bomb across Earth's atmosphere. The bomb causes many metahumans to go crazy as the bomb attacks their nervous systems, making their powers completely uncontrollable. The world is plundered into a new type of destruction, with metahumans destroying the planet they fought so hard to save. General Eiling informs the Justice League that they only have six hours to deal with the problem themselves until he is forced to intervene. As worldwide destruction ensures, heroes are pitted against heroes as Maxwell Lord and Lex Luthor establish a massive medical centre to deal with the numerous casualties. The League realises that in order to neutralise the metahuman virus, they will need to travel to Dominion World, the Dominators home world, find the scientist responsible and retrieve the antidote from him. A team composed of Superman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and Rocket Red, among others travel to Dominion World in a covert mission and discover that the scientist in question was a renegade and has been imprisoned for his actions (the Dominators believing that the metahumans have been destroyed, rendering them useless for further experiments). Martian Manhunter steals the antidote information from the scientist’s mind and the team makes a narrow escape. The group travels to the Starlag to compose the antidote on the Dominator lab there as Superman ignites the antidote like a bomb over the Earth, curing the metahumans of their ailment. The world breathes a sigh of relief as the heroes have been saved, ready to safeguard the planet from the next galactic threat.
Invasion! was DC's big crossover event for 1989. The event crossed over into 30 other DC comics (known as First Strike and Aftermath ) in a huge, companywide event story. The invasion of Earth and the effects of the Gene Bomb had lasting consequences for the DC Universe, including a relaunch of the Doom Patrol comic and giving Maxwell Lord mind control powers. By far the biggest contribution of Invasion! was the introduction of the concept of metahumans and the "meta gene" as a catch-all explanation for people with superhuman abilities. The "meta gene" was a genetic trait present in some individuals that would allow for the development of superpowers should a set of circumstances activate it. Using this explanation, many origin stories were retconned, such as the Barry Allen Flash, who originally gained his speed powers from a combination of chemicals and a lightning strike. Although, in revised accounts, that experience merely unlocked the recessive powers that were already there. Invasion! is a fun (but long) comic and it'll be interesting to see how the CW version will fare. If you want an entertaining alien invasion story, then Invasion! is worth recommending, particularly since the Dominators have been rarely used since, despite their villainy and striking appearance.
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