Invincible: The Best Superhero Comic You're Not Reading
Invincible is the best superhero comic on the market that nobody’s reading. As the comic just hit the 100 issue milestone, I figured this would be a good time to discuss the merits of the series and hopefully convince you to give it a try. It’s one of my all time top comics, and I really think you’ll enjoy.
First off, a little background on the story. Written by Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead), the easiest way to describe Invincible is ‘what if Peter Parker had Superman level abilities’. This is actually a vast understatement, but it gets the point across. Mark Grayson is your average high school student when he starts to develop super powers. Not totally unexpected as his dad is the world famous hero Omni-man. Like Parker, he has to deal with all of the intricacies of balancing work, school, and saving the world, as well as family, friends, girls and invading aliens and sociopaths. Good premise, fairly normal. But it’s what happens next, and the execution thereof that makes the series so great. Epic is an understatement.
It’s difficult to talk about the rest of the story, for fear of spoilers. Trust me, this is one story where you don’t want to know what happens next. Part of the fun of the series is experiencing all the twists and turns alongside Mark. One thing I can say is that there’s no status quo. Unlike most comics where things have a ‘normal’ that they can return to after an arc or event, Invincible is more like the real world. If there’s a big fight in the middle of a city, it’s going to be felt. There will be physical and emotional responses to events that don’t just go away. A super villain is stopped after he killed a hundred people? It’s great that he’s gone, but a hundred people are still dead.
This leads me to my next and perhaps biggest point: this is a world that Robert Kirkman owns. It’s not part of the Marvel or DC main universes. There aren’t any tie ins or other writers Kirkman has to work with. It’s his own little world which means he can do (literally) whatever he wants. You’re familiar with the kind of events that happen in The Walking Dead? Now imagine those kind of things in a superhero universe. Also remember that Kirkman is a merciless god. Mark gets the crap kicked out of him, both physically and emotionally. There are times when you think “there no way he’ll..nevermind. Kirkman just did”. There’s nothing Kirkman won’t throw at our heroes.
Next we have the art. Invincible was originally illustrated by Cory Walker but shifted to Ryan Ottley. Walker was good, but Ottley is incredible. The art is truly breathtaking. The colors are great, character designs are awesome, fight scenes look and feel epic. There is a great level of detail to every aspect of the page. The easiest way is to show you, so enjoy a few panels:
Of course, it would be an odd story if it was Mark talking to himself the whole time. Fortunately, the rest of the cast is quite interesting. We have his mom and dad, Rex Splode, Robot and Atom Eve (other teen superheroes), Allen the Alien and more. It’s a varied and ever growing cast, and they’re really what the book is about. You have these characters, most with powers, who try to do the right thing and save the world. And it’s about what happens because of that. It’s a superhero story in the truest sense of the word. At the same time, it’s a real world. People get hurt, Mark doesn’t always get the girl, heroes fail on occasion because they’re people too. Very compelling, believable, and likable characters.
I love Invincible. It’s epic, it has great characters in a great story. It looks great. There’s really fantastic set pieces, the world looks cool. Fights are awesome. It’s full of great character moments. They story builds itself well. With 100 issues, there’s plenty of time to build up great arcs and event. Are you understanding what I’m saying? This is a really, really great comic. As much as I rave about X-Men and Batman, this is the book you should be reading. It’s simply one of the best comics hands down. No questions asked. How clear can I make it?
If there is a downside to the comic, it’s the slow start. It does take until around issue ten to really kick in to high gear. But once it does, it doesn’t slow down. Probably the strongest endorsement of the series is that I’ve yet to meet someone who doesn’t love it. Pretty much everyone who has agrees with me that it’s one of the best comics they’ve ever read. A friend of mine read issues 99 and 100, then proceeded to read the first 98 in the following week. It hooks you hard.
My advice? Pick up the first Ultimate collection, which should be enough to get you hooked. Give it a try. I really think you’ll like it. We need more people reading Invincible. Go buy it. Tell me what you think.