Comic Book Review: Invincible

Details: First published in 2003 by Image Comics. Ended this year with issue #144. Official site is https://imagecomics.com/comics/series/invincible. Created by writer Robert Kirkman, artist Cory Walker, and continued to by drawn by Ryan Ottley.

A while back, Robert Kirkman, writer and creator of Invincible as well as The Walking Dead announced that he was ending Invincible. As per my reading of his goodbye letter, it seemed like he just didn’t want to write it anymore. Which makes sense if you’ve been keeping up with other things Kirkman has been doing. Kirkman writes and produces The Walking Dead television show as well as the comic book of the same name. Both properties are wildly successful, though you could argue they’ve fallen off a bit since their conception. I imagine that working on the t.v. show alone takes up most of his time. That’s probably the reason why Invincible is ending. Regardless, after almost two decades, Invincible is over. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Invincible is about Mark Grayson, a young man who decides to become a superhero. Grayson is the son of Omni-Man, a Superman-esque superhero in a world that largely mirrors the DC Comics universe. There’s villains and superhero organizations that resemble the Justice League.

To me, Invincible started off as a what-if story riffing off characters from the DC Comics. The point of the story was mainly to subvert expectations, playing off tropes established in the comic book genre and trying to be unpredictable. Think about it like how Game of Thrones subverts expectations in regards to the fantasy genre, often times shocking viewers. Except that Game of Thrones did a better job of it than Invincible.

Halfway through, it decided it wanted to be a space opera, which wasn’t bad considered Ottley’s impressive art. Somewhere near the final third of the series, you could feel the lack of direction in the book. It was clear to me that Kirkman had no idea where he wanted to take the story. He tried a reset, returning the protagonist back to the time period where the first issue took place. After a few issues, it seems like Kirkman lost interest in the idea and decided to end that, sending the protagonist right back where he left off in the future.

It was around this time that Kirkman let the fans know the series was ending. The rest of the series was simply Kirkman rushing through and trying to end all the plot lines. We get one more big battle and then a rushed happy ending. Not very satisfying.

Looking back on the series, there were a lot of moments that did surprise me and keep me interested. However, the primary draw of this book has been Ottley’s art and the visceral violence he portrays. It is some violent stuff and Ottley makes it look even more gruesome than you’d imagine it. Other than that, Invincible is mediocre book.

Overall, Invincible was a decent story that you can feel free to read if you have time to kill. I enjoyed it at least. It is a gory book with many adult themes. This is definitely not for kids. Invincible is not a must-read book. It’s not a masterpiece. If you decide to skip it, there’s nothing to feel bad about. You haven’t missed out on much except Ottley’s art. Do a quick search on the internet if you’re curious. Ottley’s art deserves a look.

Score: 6.7/10

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