Writer: Robert Kirkman
Artist: Ryan Ottley
about to do something I never thought I’d do. I’m
about to give my second five star rating in less than two
weeks, and the same writer did both books.
I’m not even getting paid to do it.
if you haven’t even heard about Invincible,
you’ve probably been in a cave for the last few months
(albeit a cave without internet… Actually, just about
any place without internet, since the book is so hard to
find, but I digress). It’s being hailed by many as
one of the best superhero comics out there, and, after this
issue, it’s vying for the position of THE best superhero
story so far -- Mark, having come into his own as a teen
superhero, faces the only challenge greater than living
up to the example set by his father, Omni-man: dealing with
the fact that papa’s really a villain. Of course,
readers have wondered about this ever since he murdered
the Guardians of the Globe (an ill-disguised Justice League),
but issue #11 removes all doubt.
tells Mark where he “really comes from” in almost
exactly the same he did when Mark was a child, except that
instead of the Viltrum being a high-minded race looking
to save worlds, the name of the game is galactic conquest.
After culling the weak from their race through years of
bloodshed, the Viltrum established an empire, conquering
those who surrendered and annihilating those who resisted.
time Mark’s father was born, much of the galaxy already
belonged to the Viltrum Empire. Dad joined up and rocketed
through the ranks, leading armies in the desolation of worlds.
However, the Empire’s expansion nearly became the
Empire’s collapse. Forces were stretched too thin,
and a new plan was devised wherein the highest ranking officers
would be sent in alone to retard the development of a planet’s
defenses, ensuring it would be ripe for conquest.
as we know, Dad got Earth, but he also got daily alien invasions,
trans-dimensional disasters, time traveling robot death
machines, and even supervillains threatening his assigned
territory. Before Pops could even plan the coming invasion,
he was working full time just to save the world and somehow
slipped into the role of a superhero. Now, however, the
charade is over.
has been a fun read for a while, now. As I mentioned in
my The Walking Dead
review, Kirkman is definitely the hot commodity in comic
writing today, and the dozen books he does every month attest
to his nigh-inexhaustible imagination.
man, did he just outdo himself!
story is easily as steeped in superhero lore as Alan Moore’s
Supreme, as deftly plotted as Warren Ellis’
The Authority, and as instantly entertaining as
Brian Michael Bendis’ Powers. What’s
more, it isn’t a damn thing like any one of those
books, and THAT’S the genius of it.
we’ve seen all these elements before:
Superhero father and son? The failed attempts are too numerous
Pop’s really a lone invader from a hostile alien race
coming to take over the planet? Dare I invoke Dragonball
The son, being raised on a different world, must fight his
father and abandon his heritage? Demons of Apokolips, say
it ain’t so!
magic of Invincible is its seamless blending of
ingredients. In its hero, Mark, it finds the appeal of the
everyman/trickster hero epitomized by Spider-Man. The denizens
of the superhero society are stolen from Watchmen, Avengers,
JLA, Powers and just about every other major comic
you can imagine.
unlike so many books where it’s just a gimmick or
a wicked jab at opposing comic companies, Kirkman uses the
archetypes of the superhero genre for pure storytelling.
When he brings in an Iron Man clone, it’s not to poke
fun at Marvel or slack off for a month by copying an old
story; he’s pulling from the history of the genre
to make something honest and new.
seems to be a prevalent attitude among comic writers that
there are three main archetypes available: Superman, Batman,
and Spider-man. Alter the outfit and origin story a little
-- BAM! New hero.
we wonder why superhero comics are dying.
approach, on the other hand, is just what we need. Is it
a superhero story? Yeah. Is it the same superhero story
we’ve been fed over and over for the last fifty years?
The pieces are the same, but the game is completely different.
there’s the fact that Ryan Ottley’s art suits
the story like a finely tailored glove. Maybe it helps that
I never really went for Cory Walker’s work on the
book (I guess it might have felt too European), but Ottley’s
style has really grown on me. I still wonder how he managed
such a smooth transition from Walker’s designs. When
you compare their other work, you see how completely different
they can be, but Ottley approached Invincible with
no egotism and adapted his style to keep the look of the
I think Ottley’s become more than just a replacement.
His tenure as a webcomic artist shows his love of working
with faces, and if there’s one thing a title with
this much emotion and humor needs, it’s a face artist.
But if you also need proof that he can deliver the powerful
images the genre demands, look no further than the two-page
spread in this month’s issue. Hell, just look at the
first page and you know what kind of talent you’re
as I bring this review to a close, I again must apologize
for gushing over Robert Kirkman. If this had been last month’s
issue of Invincible, I probably could’ve gotten away
with a less embarrassing rating ‘cause, dammit, I’m
trying to be a hard ass, here. I expect comics to challenge
and entertain and justify the ungodly amount of money we
waste on them.
have thought one guy could surpass my criteria twice in
one month?! How can I criticize when they’re so damn
isn’t fair! *runs off crying like a little girl*