Monday, March 1, 2021

Why You Should Read Invincible

After much anticipation, the animated adaptation of Robert Kirkman's Invincible lands on Amazon Prime Video this month. For many, this is their most anticipated superhero project of the decade. For others, this is the first time they're hearing about the series. I only read Invincible for the first time last summer, so if you're new here then allow me to fill you in.

I don’t think I knew anything about Invincible up until about a year ago. Even though I fill my online spaces with comics creators and readers, I never heard anyone talking about this superhero series from the creator of The Walking Dead. But if no one’s talking about it, why did it run for such an insanely long time? Last year I finally decided to sit down, crack open all twenty-five volumes of Invincible, and ask myself: What’s the big deal?

The series starts out as a simple enough superhero origin story with a bit of a domestic spin. Instead of Mark Grayson being an orphan, he’s got a loving mother and a father who just so happens to be one of the world’s greatest superheroes. After Mark comes into his own powers, he dons the name Invincible and begins his own heroic adventures.

The big deal with Invincible is that it stands out among other superhero books as a full blown soap opera. Everyone talks about things like X-Men and Batman being dramatic stories with the occasional fight scene, but Invincible really feels like a long-running story with soap opera elements sprinkled throughout every issue.

I say that Invincible’s dad, Omni-Man, is one of the greatest heroes in the world because he really is just one in an entire superhero universe - and a massive one at that. Similar to Black Hammer, Invincible managed to create a full-blown connected superhero crossover universe with more or less one single ongoing series. There was the occasional spin-off mini-series, but most of the stories involving Mark Grayson and his many, many allies on Earth and throughout the universe all take place within the pages of Invincible.

But the extended Invincible cast doesn’t just show up every time Mark needs a hand. There are over thirty characters with their own intricate storylines and character arcs that span over the entire run of the series. The tiniest, randomest thing, such as an alien stowing away on a space shuttle, will happen in one issue and become a huge deal fifteen issues later.

It's always a blast when major characters show up for one page to add more details to whatever plot they’re conspiring only to disappear as soon as they appeared. There’s so much going on that I have no idea how someone kept up with every storyline over the course of the fifteen years that Invincible was running. Binge-reading the complete series is the only way to go.

If you like big, epic superhero universes but don’t know where to start with the Big Two’s convoluted mess, Invincible is Spider-Man, the Justice League, Teen Titans, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Dragon Ball Z all in one book. If that’s not enough to get you interested: the final battle takes place inside of the sun. Go read Invincible.

Click here to grab a copy of the first volume of Invincible. Also available here for free via Kindle Unlimited.