First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast Ep.4: Checkmate #11

What the standard episode should sound like, as Bass and Siskoid cover a single tie-in comic, Checkmate #11, in which the aliens recruit human operatives to commit terrorist acts on the United Kingdom!

Listen to Episode 4 below (the usual filthy filthy language warnings apply), or subscribe to First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast on iTunes!

Relevant images and further credits at: First Strike ep.4 Supplemental

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And thanks for leaving a comment, and all our best wishes to our Aussie friends!

12 responses to “First Strike: The Invasion! Podcast Ep.4: Checkmate #11

  1. Great show guys! I’m in the same boat; I always thought the Checkmate Knights looked cool, but I never bought the book. Just not my kind of book back then. I’m a sucker for a hero in gold and blue/black. Dr. Fate, Guardian (and the Legion of Newsboys!) and this guy.

    My favorite part of the episode was Siskoid’s comic addict confession. How many comic shops are you banned from, Siskoid? Are there piles of 90s Image comics waiting for you to pick up?

    Oh, and I DO have quite a few Invasion crossovers, and the three issue mini, just not all of the crossovers. So I can follow along pretty well!


    1. At the time, I should think they got stuck with Fantagraphic books as likely as anything. I think it only happened at the one store which isn’t in business under the same name, and it isn’t my current store (at which I don’t have an account, I’m done with that). It hurt me to do it to the store with the clerk who laughed at my orders (of Kochalka: “My little nephew draws better than this!”), so I really couldn’t do that to the great store we have now.

  2. I read the first two issues of Greg Rucka’s CHECKMATE. I thought it was good, but I couldn’t help but compare it to his QUEEN AND COUNTRY which I liked a whole lot more.

    Hmm… I know I had more to say on this episode, but once you guys mentioned FAWLTY TOWERS, I started thinking about that for an hour and don’t remember anything else.

    Great show!

  3. I read this entire run of Checkmate back in the day, with the Invasion! 2 parter being my gateway. I always suspected that this story was retooled from an existing script where Checkmate fight the IRA. The Invasion! elements are introduced in dialogue and a single TV shot, so relatively easy to tweak.

    I have always loved the uniform design of the Knights, but the series as a whole became problematic for me as they introduced a villain called ‘Bishop’ (getting there before the X office did). He was an ongoing antagonist who was eventually revealed to be a long-serving Checkmate insider. The big problem with that revelation was that it contradicted his thought baloons in his first appearance where he encounters Checkmate operatives and is surprised that the Knight is a series of people, rather than a lone individual. I can only surmise that Bishop was introduced without Kupperberg pre-determining his identity, then he lost track of what he orignially wrote.

  4. I thought the costumes were cool enough to give the original comic a shot. But it was clear it wasn’t something that wasn’t going to work for me. So I stopped. This issue sounds better than what I have heard of the book. As a John Steed Avengers fan, I suppose this would be the one to pick up.

    As for DC Sword and Sorcery, I like a lot of their 70s stuff, as brief as they were. Ironwolf in Weird Worlds. Stalker, Starfire, and Beowulf are all wild fun rides. I also could never really get into Warlord.

  5. Hi Siskoid and Bass, have been enjoying the Invasion podcasts so far. Invasion happened after I began collecting comics so it was a case of having to go back and find the series as well as whatever back ups I could find. Checkmate was one of those that I managed to find. For my first exposure, and probably for many who came onto the series because of the Invasion storyline, you were definitely thrown into the deep end as regards trying to decipher who’s who. If you had not been collecting Checkmate before, you would have probably thought that Sir Lionel was the principal character of the book, as opposed to being just one of the many Knights that were part of the organisation (and would become especially more confusing for new readers on picking up issue 12 and finding no sign of Sir Lionel anywhere!).

    Checkmate was definitely an improved series when Rucka got hold of it. He brought in Checkmate initially during his Detective Comics run and co-opted Sasha Bordeaux, Bruce Wayne’s bodyguard from the Bruce Wayne-Murderer storyline, into Checkmate. Then, in Countdown to Infinite Crisis, it was revealed that Checkmate was taken over by Maxwell Lord, using it as a vehicle to develop the OMAC project. Only in the aftermath of Infinite Crisis did Amanda Waller, Mr Terrific, Alan Scott, Fire et al was brought in and formed part of the great series that Rucka developed subsequently.

    Look forward to listening to the rest of the podcast series, especially the next one as I did not pick up the Firestorm issue at the time.

  6. I started to feel like this episode was recorded just for me as references were made to John Steed of The Avengers, the original House of Cards, Doctor Who, and Fawlty Towers. You seemed to be naming all of my favorite things. Then your true feelings about J.R.R. Tolkien and the Warlord comics were revealed and I realized that it was all just a cruel bait-and-switch trick … Darrin 😉

  7. You guys missed a British “easter egg”: Cavendish Foods was the name of the company owned by Peter Bowles, in To The Manor Born, a delightful romantic comedy, starring Penelope Kieth (of the Good Life/Good Neighbors fame).

    I read the early issue of Checkmate, up through the Janus Directive. It was a great concept; but, it just never developed into that exciting a series. Also, it kind of lacked for central field characters. I also had expectations of a DC version of SHIELD, with that gonzo 60s Bond look and feel; but, Kupperberg wasn’t going there. Since I wasn’t getting the espionage thrills I was seeking, I ended up dropping the book and spent more time seeking out Modesty Blaise collections.

    1. Thanks for that Jeff. To the Manor Born is an all-time favorite of Ruth’s. I’ll tell her about that reference :-)

  8. Like you fellows, I liked reading about Checkmate in Byrne’s Action Comics bought off a convenience store spinner rack, then had no option in buying a direct market only comic. I’ve read one or two Checkmate issues since and found them as terrifically boring as anything else written by Paul Kupperberg, plus I refer to Steve Erwin’s artwork with terms like “proportionate” and “workmanlike.” I don’t recall this level of gleeful bloodbath, though.

    I am a ruiner, and I can be mean-spirited. See previous paragraph. Yeah, I dallied with DC in the late ’80s, but mostly stuck with Marvel and more specifically the X-titles until going into the ’90s. I’m currently charting my primary entry into the DC Universe one annual at a time on the Bloodlines Podcast.

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