19 Apr 2017

Invincible - A long time coming

Well it's been a crazy couple of days as things change here and the launch of A Canadian Tabletop Gamer. One of the things that I have not done in a while is a review of a comic book or volume of comics. It's fitting that Robert Kirkman announced the closing of his hit series that is not Walking Dead and one of my favorite comic series in print - Invincible.

The upstairs bookshelf -
a very small portion of the Bear comics collection
The series will end with issue #144 and probably end the TPBs (all seen in the image above) at volume 25 so long as the count of issues per volume doesn't change.

I am sad to see the series that has been running for 13 years come to an end. Invincible is about telling comic book superhero stories and ignore the tropes that litter that genre of the medium. Permanent death, realistic violence, grounded relationships in a world filled with flying people, and explored consequences. So not keeping a comic series alive because you can never cancel Batman, Superman, Spiderman, etc... is just another mold Kirkman is breaking with Invincible.

Let me show you around and introduce you to Mark Grayson.

Created by Robert Kirkman and Cory Walker, Invincible is about Mark Grayson. He is young man in his last years of High School, on the verge of college, and working at a dumb old american burger chain. He is a fan of the comic Science Dog and his Dad and Mom are regular parents. Nothing strange except his Dad, is the most powerful Superhero on the planet - Omni Man,

Oh it also seems he's getting  his super powers.

-- Art --
First off the art in Invincible changes in volume 2. This is not a bad thing and it even supported the change of direction plot wise. Originally Cory Walker was the series artist before he left the book and letting Ryan Ottley take over the art duties from #8 onward. Cory has returned for the odd special issue but the book quickly visually became Ottley's book. The transition in volume 2 was a who's who of Image Comics with guest work by Matt Roberts, Terry Stevens, Erik Larsen, Daven Johnson, and Cliff Rathburn.

Walker's art style is soft colours with thin lines. It's almost dreamlike but when you get to volume 3 or issue #9, the change to Ottley's thicker brighter colours gives a dimension of Mark Growing up and becoming a man. The art in the whole series is detailed and creative. Aliens look alien, strange, and odd. The action is visceral and bloody, but also easy to follow and clear in the demonstration of the powers of the super heroes. Characters are easy to identify and expressions are well done.

Team Invincible from volume 14 by Ottley
R-L Tech Jacket, Invincible, Allen the Alien, Omni Man,
Battle Beast, Space Racer, and Kid Omni Man.
-- Story --
The plot in Invincible is hard to write about because of the events in volume 2. Volume 3 onward is where the series takes off and goes from teen superhero coming of age to a full fledged super hero comic with it's own voice. So for anyone who is looking to read the series commit to reading to the end of volume 3 and they try hard to not look for the following 20 volumes.

I love the dialogue it's funny and refreshing. Kirkman knows his characters and each has a unique voice with no one coming off a background sound. It's easy in comics with large casts to ignore supporting characters and outside of their quirk to only use them for the odd quip and conversation with the main characters. Invincible does not do this, each character is unique and it shows in the writing.

I also love the seriousness of the plots while also poking fun at the genre and the idea of a world with super people and how that would look. It's a grounded fiction that shows realistic and common sense relationships in a fantastic world.

-- Rating --


Invincible sets a standard in comics and the super hero genre. It never gets boring and their is not filler in the whole series. Everything makes sense - a difficult task in a world of aliens and super people.

I will be sad to see it end but I'd rather it ends well than go on in a direction that I hate because the creative team is simply pushing out product instead of a well crafted story with a purpose. This is a must read.

- Cheers