TARA

Real Name: Invader-1

Identity/Class: Terrestrial construct (incendiary Eve-series synthetic humanoid)

Occupation: Government agent

Group Membership: Invaders (Blazing Skull (Mark Todd), Captain America/U.S. Agent (John Walker), Jim Hammond, Spitfire, Sub-Mariner, Thin Man, Union Jack (Joseph Chapman))

Affiliations: Captain America (Steve Rogers), Roger Aubrey, Nia Noble, Admiral Peter Noble, Sulumor

Enemies: Axis Mundi (Baroness Blood, Gotteskrieger, :Necromancer" (Jonas Eckhardt), U-Man, Warrior Woman, Pterorists);
   formerly Mazikhandarian armed forces

Known Relatives: Jim Hammond ("father", deceased)

Aliases: Human Torch, Lady Torch, "Torchie", "Naked Flaming Girl"

Base of Operations: Dymhurst, England, UK;
   Formerly mobile aboard the Invaders' flagship Infiltrator

Education: Programmed by Red Skull and U.S. government

First Appearance: Avengers III#83 (July, 2004)

Powers/Abilities: Tara is an "incendiary Eve-series synthetic humanoid", or synthezoid, based on the design of the original Human Torch. She can surround herself with flame, and use it to propel herself through the air or project it as a weapon. Initally, Tara was unable to regulate her core temperature and thus could not prevent herself from igniting when she came into contact with air. She was forced to remain inside an airtight containment chamber in non-combat situations. As a mechanical construct, of course, Tara does not respire and does not need to breathe. She also seems to incorporate holographic projectors, and is equipped with systems called the Crucible Protocols which cause her incendiary core to overload.

Tara wears an experimental skinsuit which was designed to help her maintain a moderate body temperature; however, it appears she has achieved some measure of self-control, not igniting even when partially unclothed in a normal environment. The suit is presumably composed of unstable molecules, since it is unaffected by Tara's flame.

Height: 5'6"
Weight: 144 lbs.
Eyes: Brown
Hair: Brown

History: (Invaders III#9 (fb)) - The Red Skull, in his guise as US Defense Secretary Dell Rusk, had Invader-1 constructed as part of his elaborate plan to use a new team of Invaders both to develop new military hardware based on Kalahian technology and to destroy Captain America (Steve Rogers), the Torch (Jim Hammond), and the Sub-Mariner (Namor). Invader-1, or "Tara", as she was nicknamed, was planted on the team as a sleeper agent, unaware of her own programming.

(Avengers III#82 - BTS) - U.S. Agent, Spitfire and Union Jack traveled to Afghanistan to retrieve Mark Todd, formerly the hero known as the Blazing Skull, from a prison camp. Tara accompanied them in her containment chamber, which was mounted on the outside of their helicopter.

(Avengers III#83) - When the new Invaders interceded in a battle between Mazikhandarian pirates and the Atlantean army, Tara easily sank the pirate vessels. After the battle was over, the Invaders met with Namor in Atlantis, but Tara was obliged to remain in her containment chamber during their entire visit. Namor agreed to ally with the Invaders to overthrow the corrupt Mazikhandarian government and install a new regime more acceptable to the Americans, British and Atlanteans.

(Avengers III#84) - The Invaders and Atlanteans easily forced their way into Mazikhandar's capital but caused massive collateral damage in doing so. The Avengers scrambled to stop them, and the two teams squared off in a battle on the very steps of the Capitol. Tara briefly dueled with Hawkeye and Iron Man before driving She-Hulk into the ground. The Wasp, at her enormous Giant-Woman size, grabbed her and demanded that she retrieve She-Hulk, which Tara did.
   While the Atlanteans and the rest of the Invaders fought the Avengers, Spitfire and Union Jack captured President Hassan, and Namor arrived with General Rafiq, the President's intended successor. This had the effect of temporarily drawing the hostilities to a close - until Rafiq shot Hassan dead.

(Invaders III#0) - Tara participated in the "diversion" requested by the Invaders' secret commander, the Thin Man, drawing the Avengers into a renewed fight while Thin Man and Namor infiltrated the capitol itself. While Tara and the Invaders held the Avengers' attention, Thin Man confronted Rafiq over his assassination of Hassan. In reality, the Hassan "killed" by Rafiq was a synthetic - Dell Rusk had had the true Hassan murdered and replaced, and Thin Man wanted to capture the synthetic intact. Tara and Blazing Skull knocked the Wasp through the side of the building shortly before the Avengers' Captain America and Iron Man defeated Thin Man and U.S. Agent. However, Namor had already brokered a deal with Rafiq - the General would stand trial for Hassan's murder, and Mazikhandar would become a protectorate of Atlantis.

(Invaders III#1) - The Invaders met with Jim Hammond, now acting commander of the V-Battalion, to discuss an alliance between the two groups, but the meeting was interrupted by a group of the flying insectlike synthezoids known as Pterorists. Tara personally saved Hammond from a number of the creatures, then introduced herself and told him that she would not exist without him. After the Pterorists were driven off, Tara was resealed in her containment chamber. Hammond was angered that the Invaders had kept Tara naked when the technology to provide her with clothes was available, and Thin Man responded by giving her an experimental temperature-regulating skinsuit. Tara accepted the suit without opinion, though it disappointed the Blazing Skull, who had been flirting with her on and off since the Invaders were assembled.

(Invaders III#2) - Tara and the Invaders travelled to the battleship Infiltrator, commanded by Peter and Nia Noble, which was to be the headquarters for their secret war. Later, Tara thanked Hammond for getting her her suit, allowing her to spend downtime experiencing new things rather than being confined in her chamber. When Hammond told her she reminded him of Toro, she asked whether his perplexing "emotional outpouring" meant he wanted to make love to her. Hammond began to decline but was cut short by the sound of gunshots. Although they were only Blazing Skull and Walker testing the latter's shield, real danger soon arrived in the form of Pterorists, which were able to detect the supposedly cloaked Infiltrator by way of a homing beacon inside a Pterorist which the Invaders had captured. Tara was downed in the initial attack, drawing cries from both Hammond and Blazing Skull.

(Invaders III#3) - The Pterorists were led by the neo-Nazi superteam called the Axis Mundi, and though Tara recovered shortly and leapt into combat, she was handily defeated by Warrior Woman, who berated her for being incapable of performing the "one simple task" for which she was programmed. U-Man, meanwhile, commented that it would be a shame to destroy such a comely thing. Hammond flew into a rage, serving to briefly invigorate his inactive powers, which allowed him to overwhelm the Pterorists and Axis Mundi long enough to reach Tara's side. However, he was quickly struck down by Gotteskrieger. Ultimately, Thin Man was able to override the Axis transporter systems and force them to return to their base.

(Invaders III#4) - Some time later, Tara, the Torch, Spitfire and Union Jack went to Spitfire's family home, Falsworth Manor, in the English town of Dymhurst, following reports of vampires by Roger Aubrey, formerly the leader of the V-Battalion. That night, Tara happened across Union Jack, who was angry because he felt the Torch was coming between him and Spitfire. Before they could have much of a conversation, however, they were alerted to the mysterious disappearance of Spitfire.

(Invaders III#5) - Union Jack, Aubrey, Torch and Tara invaded the vampires' lair in the caverns beneath Falsworth Manor, with Tara burning a number of them before they could react. The vampires were led by the Axis Mundi's Baroness Blood, who was the mother of Spitfire's grandson by her deceased son Kenneth. The baby, John Falsworth, had inherited a blood disorder which required him to drink blood from both sides of the family. In order to supply this blood, the Baroness had kidnapped Spitfire. When confronted by the Invaders, the Baroness ordered her vampires to attack them, but they had drank Spitfire's blood, which was given to her through a transfusion from Hammond, and that gave Hammond control over their blood. He was thus able to incinerate all of them from the inside out - but Blood and John Falsworth vanished.
   When the Invaders returned to Falsworth Manor to rest, the Torch told Tara about his growing feelings for Spitfire, when they were interrupted by Union Jack. Torch and Union Jack then had a polite conversation about the future of the Invaders, as the latter playfully fed Tara ice cream with a spoon.

(Invaders III#7) - Having accepted leadership of the Invaders, the Torch was preparing to "make some changes" with the way the team was run, when he was shocked to run across Tara, being drawn topless by the artistic Union Jack and the extremely unartistic Blazing Skull while U.S. Agent watched, enjoying a beer. Although Hammond tried to explain why her behavior was inappropriate, she did not seem to understand his concerns. As so often happened, however, the conversation was interrupted by the arrival of Captain America, who was intent on shutting Thin Man - and the Invaders - down.

(Invaders III#8) - Captain America led Tara and the Invaders on an assault on U-Man and his renegade Atlantean forces at the North Pole, where they planned to use a device called a "thermonuclear trident" to melt the ice caps and destroy the surface world. Tara began striking down Atlantean soldiers with abandon, and Spitfire urged her to control herself and not get any of her friends killed. As the battle raged, U-Man was able to grab Tara and force her to activate the "Crucible Protocols", revealing as he did that she was created by the Axis Mundi to destroy the Invaders. Tara's temperature increased to extreme levels, activating the trident and sending her plunging unconscious into the Arctic waters. Namor recovered her, but then her body rose into the air of its own accord and generated a hologram of her creator - the Red Skull.

(Invaders III#8) - Captain America led Tara and the Invaders on an assault on U-Man and his renegade Atlantean forces at the North Pole, where they planned to use a device called a "thermonuclear trident" to melt the ice caps and destroy the surface world. Tara began striking down Atlantean soldiers with abandon, and Spitfire urged her to control herself and not get any of her friends killed. As the battle raged, U-Man was able to grab Tara and force her to activate the "Crucible Protocols", revealing as he did that she was created by the Axis Mundi to destroy the Invaders. Tara's temperature increased to extreme levels, activating the trident and sending her plunging unconscious into the Arctic waters. Namor recovered her, but then her body rose into the air of its own accord and generated a hologram of her creator - the Red Skull.

(Invaders III#9) - Red Skull explained that Tara - Invader-1 - had been created and planted with them for the express purpose of destroying Captain America, the Torch and Sub-Mariner, and that the creation of the Invaders had been orchestrated specifically so that Invader-1 could kill them. With this revelation, Tara's output once again increased, and the trident amplified her power by an order of magnitude. Out of desperation, the Torch was able to reaccess his lost powers, and flew skyward to try to talk Tara down. She begged for forgiveness, but could not overcome her programmed orders. Just then, however, Thin Man crashed the Infiltrator into the trident, destroying them both. With the world no longer in danger and the heat from the trident dissipating, the Torch tried to save Tara by absorbing her excess output. He succeeded in sapping her energy enough that her flame went out and she fell to earth, inert. However, the energy was too much for Hammond to contain, and he exploded high above the North Pole.
   Tara, still deactivated, was not present at Dymhurst with the other Invaders for her "father's" funeral days later. The following morning found Union Jack sitting a quiet vigil over her silent body in the Invaders' temporary HQ at Dymhurst. U.S. Agent and Blazing Skull stopped by long enough to reassure him that Tara wasn't dead.

Comments: Created by Chuck Austen and Scott Kolins; principally developed by Allan Jacobsen and CP Smith.

I'm embarrassed to admit how long it took me to realize Tara's name was a sideways reference to Toro.

Seriously, though, EVERYONE hit on Tara. Obviously, had the series continued, this was going to cause some friction, and she was played as just the kind of sexy I'm-so-naive robot/clone/alien that's so useful for that function in a narrative. "Modesty does not concern me. It has been decided that this uniform is preferable to me going into battle unclothed." I want to officially announce my support for Blazing Skull, though. Throw the guy a bone (No pun intended).

Also, it's kind of strange that Tara was specifically designed to be a human torch (I am assuming Hammond does not have an "incendiary core", given his combustion was always attributed to a design flaw), but wasn't given the innate ability to control her power.

Walker called himself Captain America while he was with the Invaders (and apparently so does the government), but, except for in the Group membership section, I've referred to him exclusively as U.S. Agent for clarity's sake.

Man, the art. I think the single biggest weakness was probably that the coloring style didn't mesh with the inks at all. I hate it when fans pick some one thing and fixate on it as What Was Wrong when something they like failed, but man.

The Nazis built The Firebrand Squadron, non-sentient duplicates of the original Human Torch, in 1942 (as seen in Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #3 & #4) to battle Cap, the Torch, and Sub-Mariner; maybe they reused some of the technology to build Tara -- "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again"
--John Kaminski

Tara got an entry in OHotMU 2006 A-Z#10.

Profile by LV!

Clarifications: Tara, the Invader, is the developmental descendent of:

  • Human Torch, Jim Hammond, flying, fire-controlling android created by Phineas T Horton, @ Marvel Comics#1
She is unrelated, but likely named in homage, to:
  • Toro, Thomas Raymond, sidekick of the original Human Torch, killed fighting the Mad Thinker, @ Human Torch Comics#1
She has no known connection to:
  • Firefall, fiery member of the First Line @ Marvel: Lost Generation#12
  • Tara, synthetic lifeform and psychic vampire of the Children of the Comet @ Adventures into Fear#20
  • Tara, oldest daughter of Starhawk and Aleta of Earth-Guardians of the Galaxy @ Defenders I#29
  • Tara, vampire created by Dracula @ Blade: Vampire Hunter#1
  • Tara, Bangladeshi girl mutated by the Virus with some connection to Green Tara @ Peter Parker: Spider-Man#48
  • Green Tara, Buddhist goddess @ Peter Parker: Spider-Man#48
  • Human Torch, Johnny Storm, fiery founding member of the Fantastic Four @ Fantastic Four I#1
  • Human Torch, Frankie Raye, fire-powered female and herald of Galactus better known as Nova @ Fantastic Four I#238
  • Any other characters named "Tara" or any other torches

Images:
Full shot (flaming) - Invaders III#2, front cover (including ads)
Head shot (flaming) - Invaders III#1, p14, panel 5
Full shot - Invaders III#2, p26, panel 3r
Head shot - Invaders III#2, p22, panel 4
Red Skull hologram - Invaders III#9, p2, panel 3


Avengers III#84 (August, 2004) - Chuck Austen (writer), Scott Kolins (artist), Tom Brevoort (editor)
New Invaders#0 (August, 2004) - Chuck Austen & Allan Jacobsen (writers), C.P. Smith (artist), Andy Schmidt (editor)
New Invaders#1-5 (October, 2004 - February, 2005) - Alan Jacobsen (writer), C.P. Smith (artist), Andy Schmidt (editor)
New Invaders#7 (April, 2005) - Alan Jacobsen (writer), Jorge Pereira Lucas (artist), Andy Schmidt (editor)
New Invaders#8-9 (May-June, 2005) - Alan Jacobsen (writer), C.P. Smith (artist), Andy Schmidt (editor)


Last updated: 03/22/14

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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