So Long, Invincible…..
One of the best comics on the stands is reaching the final act. It was announced early last week that Invincible, the other Image series written by Robert Kirkman, would be coming to a close with issue 144. Invincible has been running just as long as The Walking Dead, but has a fraction of the popularity, which is a real shame, because it’s easily one of the best superhero universes on the shelves. Originally featuring art by Kirkman collaborator Cory Walker, who was then replaced by the mighty Ryan Ottley, Invincible is a book that’s not afraid to not pull any punches. Characters were killed, maimed, and scarred both physically and mentally. Like Walking Dead, there’s a long list of characters that were favorites of mine from Invincible that have either died or changed so much over the course of the story that they’re no longer favorites. It’s well above the usual indie comic takes on Super Heroes.
For those unaware, Invincible followed the life of Mark Grayson, a young superhero who learns that (SPOILER ALERT) his father Oni-Man is secretly leading an alien invasion of Earth. After defeating his father, Grayson teams up with Earth’s protectors and starts giving the superhero thing a try. But, juggling high school and college, girls, and other extracurricular on top of also fighting evil proves to be a much bigger task than Mark expected. Along the way friends become enemies, Mark has a child, and even teams up with Spider-Man, thanks to Robert Kirkman owning Invincible and being the writer of the underrated Marvel Team-Up book from the early 2000’s.
Invincible is a lot like if you took the powers of Superboy but gave them to Peter Parker.
However, Mark Grayson doesn’t have the same moral code like Peter Parker, so it’s interesting to watch him react to the world around him. That’s not to say that Mark Grayson is a super criminal, far from it. It’s just that many times Mark Grayson is faced with some pretty difficult choices, and part of what makes Invincible such a fun read is that Kirkman not only has Mark make those difficult choices, he also will refer back to them when you least expect it. Nearly everything that happens in Invincible has consequences, and comes into play later on in the story.
With an artist like Ryan Ottley, it’s no surprise that Invincible doesn’t look like anything else in the superhero world of comics. Even original artist Cory Walker had a distinct style that helped distinguish Invincible from other indie superheroes. But it’s with Ottley that Invincible REALLY shines. Ottley can do it all; from wrenching emotional arguments between Mark and his girlfriend Atom Eve, to showcasing some of the most violent fights in superhero comics. For proof, just look at the “Viltrumite War” storyline, which still contains some of the most insane violence I’ve ever seen in a superhero book.
Why am I writing so much about Invincible? Well, it’s because I want people to start picking it up. Even though Robert Kirkman announced the final issue, that issue won’t hit for another year, so there’s plenty of time to get caught up on the best superhero book you haven’t been reading. There’s no real “easy entry point” right now, starting from the first collection is really the best way to go. Invincible is a fantastic ride, and if there were any justice in this world, it would be as big as The Walking Dead. The fact that Adult Swim or FX hasn’t come knocking to adapt it is baffling to me. Do yourself a favor: grab the first trade paperback, hardcover, or even the compendium, and strap in for an awesome comic book ride. Then you can be sad just like me.